Abet of my Alphabet

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Untitled, 2012 Polyester Black Thread Hand Sewn Into Cotton Rag Paper 7.5" X 5" © Nora Grant
Untitled (detail), 2012 Drawing, Silkscreen And Chine CollĂ© On Layered Sheets Of Tracing Paper 24" X 32" © Suzanne Herrera Li Puma
Abet of my Alphabet

116 Kroeber Hall
UC Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720
February 26th, 2014 - March 15th, 2014
Opening: February 26th, 2014 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM

East Bay
(510) 642-2582
12 - 5 pm, during exhibition periods
University of California Berkeley
mixed-media, installation


“Abet of my Alphabet” asks, in the language of the visual: what makes a writing a writing, a drawing a drawing? How do we write? What kinds of lines can we read?

We propose to fill the gallery with writing. (Drawing). We want to fill a space with writing. (Lines). We want to make a writing-scape. What are words without letters? What are essays without words? Do letters have to look like letters?

We are envisioning the gallery as a page with letters and lines. We offer language-projections, shape-languages, language-shapes, animate grammars, shapescapes, linescapes. Paragraphs, parashapes, perishapes.

Some expect writing to move from here to there.

From here                                                                                                                                        to here

We are reshaping the process of putting meanings into shape.

We offer other legibilities.

Through operations of translation and transfer we make unconventional use of techniques ingrained in the history of literacy: drawing, etching, silkscreen, monotype, assemblage.

Nora Grant begins with texture, extending sensical, lexical limits with common domestic objects. Plastic orange bags, copper sponges, saran wrap, medical gauze, and luffa sponges are disassembled, covered in ink and run repeatedly through a Charles Brand etching press. Each object then becomes the matrix for a series of monoprints, incidents of relief on the page. Through sequential printing, these monoprints appear as suspended moments visualizing the material’s physical transformation: grids unravel, lines scramble, holes spread, sense shuffles. Nora Grant has recently begun an open-ended series of line works on paper. Some of these lines are sewn into paper with polyester string, some are dipped in beeswax, some are scratched surfaces, some are made with dish soap, some are made with a black pen, and most entangle the line with the letter, the essay with the squiggle, the mark and its meaning.

Suzanne Herrera Li Puma begins with line-drawings that suspend the legible boundaries between figure and letter, shape and stray mark. Her line drawings are sometimes transferred through etching or silkscreen to shift the quality of the line and its relation to the paper’s surface. In one series, (making plurals) silkscreened and chine colle drawings are dispersed across several layers of tracing paper, punctuated by opaque color-forms. Meant to be hung in the center of a room from the ceiling, these transparent works do not distinguish between recto and verso, between the front of the mark and its back. In another current series, drawings are assembled on variously transparent mulberry and cotton-rag papers. Through the use of unreliable repetition and minute differences in color, they form sequences that suggest alternative grammars in which the lines’ precarious meaning goes astray.

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