Reading Art: William Anastasi, Su-Chen Hung, Larry Johnson
February 27 – April 12 1987
“This exhibition, featuring paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture and a videotape performance, explores the connection between a visual representation of words or statements and the various meanings they evoke.
In his work, William Anastasi investigates captioning and self-reflection. The paintings and images of generic words are imbued with additional meaning via the personal perceptions and interpretations of the viewer. The act of reading involves the observer in Anastasi’s introspective inquiry of how certain words evoke diverse, often contradictory messages.
While Anastasi sets up a resonance between a word’s meaning and the personal experiences of the audience, Larry Johnson’s word pictures question the idea of the photograph as a representation of reality by appropriating names and biographical information and presenting this material in varying graphic depictions. In one work, a series of photographs display names of famous movie personalities against a vibrant red background. These "word-portraits” immediately call to mind the disparate personae and their “images,” even though all are identically presented in a graphically cool and slick manner.
The words in Su-Chen Hung’s video performance, East/West are not pictorially presented, but are nevertheless the subject and content of her piece. While Anastasi and Johnson make works intended to engage the viewer in the process of reading, Hung on the other hand, is actually reading a text. Hung speaks via a split screen image, with Chinese and English being spoken simultaneously. The content of the words in the two languages is similar but not identical, and thus forces contemplation of the nature of words, language and meaning.“