‘ brings together work by Toby Christian and John Robertson. Using text as a starting point, both artists show a tendency towards linguistic abstraction, reconstituting language into form with physical material. Through the manipulation of the textual sources of the works, words become obliterated, reduced and obscured. The works that result are the residue of this process.
The title of the exhibition, ‘ (apostrophe), signifies both omission and possession, a related metaphor for the state of the work, whose making may be seen as both a gradual deletion and omission of the text used to form it and a concurrent possession of the work as that of the artist’s. The works are figuratively apostrophic, more like interruptive punctuation than legible everyday text.
Toby Christian’s sculptures reprocess found texts, including newspapers, personal correspondence and printed texts of the artists writing. His precarious structures present compressed fragments of information: a few letters from words, scraps of colours from images. These corporeal poles are counterpointed by Robertson’s graphic, sign-like paintings formed from the overlaying of letters. The particularity of colour and surface, ranging from traditional canvas to clear PVC, give each painting a separate identity, a language of its own.
‘ presents an exploded consideration of text, where acts of its erasure create syntactical significance.