The written image, a house exhibit at Susanna Gold’s
Michael takes a peek at a private exhibition in the Bryn Mawr home of independent curator Susanna W. Gold, filled with works that play with visual signs, secret codes, and hidden meanings. – Artblog Editor


Symbolic codes of communication

Stella Untalan
“Soundings #1,” Stella Untalan. Matte vinyl paint, graphite, & white drafting ink on Rives BFK, 30” x 22,” 2012. Courtesy of the artist.

the written image., a private exhibition at the home of Susanna W. Gold, an art historian and independent curator, features the work of eight contemporary artists whose presented work, over 60 paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures, focuses upon symbolic codes of communication.

Stella Untalan

Stella Untalan, a Philadelphia artist, has 11 absolutely stunning pieces in the exhibition.

“Soundings #1,” pictured above, is one of a series of 13 (three of which are in the show). Sounding refers to the ancient practice of determining the depth of water by feeding out a line with a weight at the end (perhaps a precursor of sonar). The white points of ink on the grid evoke the movement of sound waves, suggesting a code of communication about the conditions of the deep blue sea.

Stella Untalan
“Amplitude 570 #1,” Stella Untalan. Vinyl paint and acrylic ink on Strathmore watercolor paper, 14” x 17,” 2014. Courtesy of the artist, photograph by Susanna W. Gold.

Untalan’s “Amplitude 570 #1,” pictured here, transcribes, as if in writing, visual information about the level of brightness of the particular brilliant shade of orange displayed.

Gerard Brown
“After Edith Wharton,” Gerard Brown. Digital print on Dibond aluminum (unique), 30” x 76,” 2014. Courtesy of the artist, photograph by Susanna W. Gold.

Gerard Brown

Gerard Brown is a well-known Philadelphia artist who teaches at the Tyler School of Art. His magnificent “After Edith Wharton,” for example, pictured above, spells out, using the alphabet of international maritime signal flags, the perfectly apt sentence from Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence: “In reality they all lived in a kind of hieroglyphic world, where the real thing was never said or done or even thought, but only represented by a set of arbitrary signs.” The surface of each cube in the piece represents a letter.

Patricia Dusman
“Between the Shadows,” Patricia Dusman, Encaustic and oil on panel, 16” x 12,” 2016. Courtesy of the artist, photograph by Susanna W. Gold.

Patricia Dusman

Patricia Dusman, a painter now living and working in Doylestown, has 10 wax-based encaustic works in the exhibit. Once the base layers of her work are composed, Dusman marks the wax, as if etching on ancient tablets, which she describes as “words turned into a pattern,” with hidden meaning. In “Between the Shadows,” pictured here, various forms and shades of cypher are portrayed, some more obscurely than others, “questioning,” Gold suggests, “what kinds of information and ideas we reveal and what we choose to remain hidden.”

Works by five other accomplished artists–Sophie Sanders, Rebecca Jacoby, Paula Cahill, Danielle Bursk, and Marguerita Hagan–are included in the exhibition.

the written image. presents a thought provoking array of works which, in a variety of ways, visually examine the symbolic and conceptual complexity of words and language. The exhibition has been skillfully curated by Susanna W. Gold, and the presentation in her bright Bryn Mawr home, which spans a series of rooms, is refreshingly pleasant.

The show runs until December 23rd and can be seen by chance or by appointment. Gold is having an open house this weekend (Saturday, 12/17, from 1–6 p.m., and Sunday 12/18, from 1–4 p.m.). She can be reached at 610-368-6927 or at


danielle bursk, gerard brown, Marguerita Hagan, Patricia Dusman, Paula Cahill, philadelphia, rebecca jacoby, Sophie Sanders, Stella Untalan, Susanna W. Gold


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