Giving Notice: Words on Walls

27 August – 3 October, 2010

Gary Kennedy, New! (from Two New Wars), 2010

CATALOGUE LAUNCH: Thursday 23 September at 8 pm Giving Notice: Words on Walls presents projects by artists who, with hand-painted letters or custom-cut vinyl, apply font-based words, phrases and sentences directly onto gallery walls; in effect, these artists borrow the walls as public tablets to write on. The texts – in some installations filling entire walls – play with the ‘authority’ of the gallery and the written word while exploring the relationship between visual art and language. The works in the exhibition, which exist only for the duration of the public display and, in the end, will be painted over or destroyed, also challenge traditional notions regarding artworks as aesthetic objects and portable cultural and economic commodities. By working with existing commercial fonts and sign painting systems, the artists in this exhibition align their projects with the history of typography, stencilled lettering and industrial printing affiliated with temporary, text-based communications posted on billboards, signs and walls in the everyday environment. Indeed, the use of larger-scaled, font-based words – rather than personal and human-scaled cursive handwriting – imbues each artist’s text with an architectural and institutional presence, assertively placing their messages into the public realm. Some pieces investigate the formal conundrums of exhibiting imagistic words on walls rather than wordless images; others point to literary conversations or socio-political contexts with roots in urban and military environments well beyond the gallery walls. Curated by Peter Dykhuis the participating artists are: Brad Buckley (Sydney, Australia), Cathy Busby (Halifax, NS), Garry Neill Kennedy (Halifax, NS), Gordon Lebredt (Toronto, ON), Micah Lexier and Christian Bök (Toronto, ON and Calgary, AB), and Lawrence Weiner (New York, NY).