In a 1000 words or more
Drawing is my earliest art-related memory. Scribbling, exploring the unlimited ability of
each crayon released from its box. Color, layering one value upon another.
Contemplating, this next to that looks nice but that next to that, not so much.
Consuming, tearing away the crayonsʼ protective paper, hoping not to break them,
wearing each color down to its nib – the purple shades first of course.
I relate this clear childhood memory, my personal process in visually exploring the
world in front of me, directly to that of learning how to read. At first I preferred crayons
and paper to pencil and paper. Quickly though, I learned the pleasure of the word. The
arrangement of those letters! How lines in those letters could move, twist, arch and be
as straight as I could draw them. Understanding that the mere arrangement of these
lines come to have a meaning is something I am still coming to terms with.
The power of a word. One word, two words, a grouping – enough to make a sentence,
a phrase, a poem or a story. Now that is something that keeps my interest.
The origin of inspiration for this work is the impending loss of my mother tongue. Living
in a foreign land, one is apt to lose oneʼs vocabulary while gaining another. Define Me
recalls a game my own mother had us play as girls. She would pass a dictionary
around the dinner table, and we were each to open the thick, heavy book at random
and allow our index finger to fall upon a word, the objective being to incorporate the
newly learned word into dinner conversation. The game was short lived among us but
it has remained with me as a happy childhood memory.
The act of opening a book, feeling the texture of its paper, the weight of its bind is
something I value deeply. I include with the installation of Define Me
an ever-growing collection of dictionaries. I encourage audiences to pick up and
peruse these soon-to-be archaic objects and perhaps find themselves a new
vocabulary word for the day.
Venice, Italy 2014