Kay Rosen: Short Stories/Tall Tales

Large red block letters fill the walls of a spotlit alcove. The letters read ANI, ETZS, and CHE.

Installation view, Kay Rosen: Short Stories/Tall Tales, MIT List Visual Arts Center, 1997. Archival slide image.

Bakalar Gallery
Featured Artists
Kay Rosen
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The Bakalar Gallery project space of the LVAC, complete a year-long series of projects in that same space in which artists presented work exploring the nature of language and communication.

Joseph Grigely’s exhibition, Ordinary Conversations, was presented in Fall 96, and Jill Reynolds’ project, The Shape of Breath, in Winter 97.

While the adage, pictures are worth a thousand words, points to the endless interpretive and descriptive possibilities offered by visual representations, the specificity of language and words themselves are generally thought to offer more incisive meanings. Kay Rosen upsets this order by using language as the subject of her paintings, turning words themselves into pictorial images that explore the vicissitudes of language. The work asks viewers to explore the ways meanings are read, derived, and decoded from language by using puns, repetitions, abrogating conventional grammatical rules, and examining the graphical properties of words themselves. Relying on wordplay, humor, and attunement to popular culture forms, Rosen’s work is imbued with an irreverent charm.