Word art

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Post from Meredith Weber

Michael Winkler‘s “Word Images 1982-2004,” is an experiment in the visual nature of language. The show, which contains pieces of the artist’s work from 1982-2004, is currently on display in the Rosenwald Gallery at the top of Penn’s Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, 3429 Walnut St.

Winkler’s work explores the connection between the way words are spelled and how

they look when charted on an alphabetically arranged circle (detail above). Winkler highlights how the organization of words such as “even” and “uneven”

visually represent their meanings.

In some pieces, such as “Time Study (in 8 languages),” he picks words and constructs images around them using a variety of media. In others, including the centerpiece “Artist’s Proof­Study #1,” he chooses certain words and lets the shapes speak for themselves without decoration. The contrast between these two styles is

highly noticeable.

The pieces are intellectually interesting and visually appealing, though some works are more satisfying than others. I found it amusing, if a little hokey, that Winkler wrote his artist’s statement using the same language diagrams that are the trademark of his art. If you happen to be on the Penn campus, the exhibit is worth checking out, especially if you are interested in the connection between words and shapes.

–Meredith Weber is a student in Colette Copeland’s class on art writing at the University of Pennsylvania.

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