Art is the true lingua franca of the world that has the power to unite. It transcends boundaries, dictates, and rules. It blurs reasoning and clarity to allow for surprise, delight and magic. It turns the obvious on its head and makes truth seem like a dare. The artist in this show gives voice to the more universal components of communicating in myriad creative ways. And that primordial communication, absent our iphones and social media, is the truest, most timely, and invaluable art form.
Curated by Gregory de la Haba
Text-based art comes with an inherent flaw: it is almost counterintuitive to what the mind’s eye envisions. According to neuro-scientists, the cognitive functions of reading and observing fall into two separate yet interdependent hemispheres in our brain; the digital brain (left hemisphere) and the analog brain (the right hemisphere). Considering this divergence, if one is not fluent or familiar in the same lingo utilized by an artist, it can be tantamount to driving hopelessly in a foreign land without the assistance of Google Maps. If vernacular is the means to communicate, then surely a slight proficiency in that (the artist’s) tongue is needed as prerequisite for its apprehension. Or is it? Can text-based art still have meaning if the viewer is at a total loss in comprehending the words they’re seeing—or trying to read? Especially if those artworks are mere bulletin, advert, or catchy Bumper Sticker phrasing lacking any texture, unique styling fonts, and or funky coloring—as NYC-born graffiti so magnificently possessed. Furthermore, languages have nuances the way artist’s have styles, they are varied and complex. Many words have multiple definitions and some words change meaning by way of intonation, which is why understanding jokes in a language not one’s own is a difficult feat.
All of which raises the question: Is art meant to be read? And if so, literally? Is text-based art asking less of us and our primordial instincts by alienating the side of the brain where art thrives? Is it diminishing our ancient intuitive powers located in our non-verbal, analog brain if it is simply directing us to merely read words verbatim which then, by cognitive default, switches our instincts from a raw and unsystematic take on the observation of things for a purely linear, reasoned, rational, and literal understanding of them because that’s how the verbal, digital brain behaves? The digital brain, not surprisingly, is devoid of the power to process the grand gestalt of things thereby rendering it incapable of grasping the bigger picture of life with open mind (and heart).The digital brain prefers logic and analytics, and is always trying to crash when the analog brain is throwing a party, so to speak. The analog is nonsensical, fantastical, unreal, wild and insane. Digital is steadfast and, sometimes, too often dominant.
People who are right hemisphere dominant excel in art, have vivid imaginations, are in tune to non-verbal cues, grasp emotion, and have rhythm. It is why rock stars are adored by millions. But because life needs order and left hemisphere people are more numerous, museums have audible tours to aid in the viewing of art; and opera houses feel obliged to teach their audience what the proverbial Fat Lady is singing in Italian by way of plastering visually encroaching text messaging above the stage (or on the backs of seats) in the viewer-listener’s preferred choice of idioma. We can no longer attend a concert hall, relax, and immerse our mind’s spirit in the glorious sounds of music alone, or still our constantly-plugged-in-lives in front a chef-d’oeuvre to
allow our eyes - and only our eyes - the space to wander aimlessly, willingly, bravely, and calmly about the picture plane without the hemming in of a digital’s tutorial (audible or visual).
PULPO GALLERY is pleased to present The Proof Is Only Ocular (There Will Be No Audio Tours) as it takes a closer look at artists with a penchant for painting, drawing, and transcribing words, texts, and acronyms, and how such verbalization makes us see differently.