Leslie Atzmon

While Brian Spolans is a printmaker, I am a graphic designer, and our two disciplines tend to see letterforms very differently. So when Brian approached me to co-curate an exhibition about the ways that type and text make visual meaning, I was intrigued. By working with him, I learned that while I am drawn to type and letters as visual entities that convey meaning independent of their semantic message, Brian was interested in projects for "Non-Text" in which the visual or formal qualities of the work obscured or sublimated the verbal content. Bringing together our two complementary approaches created a compelling joint vision for the show in which the visual and material aspects of the work in "Non-Text" enhance, sublimate, obscure or reshape the textual content. I also want to thank Brian’s two boys for their help as silent collaborators in this vision.

"Non-Text" features art and design that pressures the relationships between textual and visual media. The work that we selected for this exhibition tampers with text in order to obfuscate or transfigure written content. In Western culture, text and verbal language are typically used to clarify and communicate concepts. The visual language of the work in this exhibition actively subverts this default privileging of written and verbal language, in the process undermining our dependence on the meaning-making functions of verbal communication. For "Non-Text" we looked for designers, artists, architects, and poets who create unexpected contexts for verbal language, and in doing so give top billing to visual language.