“Text as image, image as text: How one artist uses language to combine art and literature” with guest Alexandra Grant

Episode 84:

Originally broadcast: October 12, 2015

What happens when you combine abstract art with texts for poems and books? What can a painter do in collaboration with authors, people who work in an entirely different medium and whose writing may have no connection to the visual arts at all? On this s episode of Why? we talk with Alexandra Grant about her use of text in her paintings and her explorations with writers of all stripes.

Alexandra Grant is a text-based artist who uses language and networks of words as the basis for her work in painting, drawing and sculpture. She has been the subject of shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), the Contemporary Museum (Baltimore), and galleries in the US and abroad. Grant has explored ideas of translation, identity, and dis/location not only in drawings, painting and sculpture, but also in conversation with other artists and writers, such as her long-term collaborator, hypertext author Michael Joyce, the actor Keanu Reeves, artist Channing Hansen, and the philosopher Hélène Cixous. Grant maps language in different media: from intricate wire filigree sculptures to large scale drawing/paintings on paper. She investigates translation not only from language to language, but also from text to image, spoken language to written word, and representations in two dimensions to three dimensional objects. Some of the basic queries that fuel her work are: How do we “read” and “write” images? How does language place us? What is the role of the hand in a world dominated by electronic communication?

See Alexandra’s work at her website: www.alexandragrant.com

The text of this episode’s monologue can be found at “Are Fonts Art” part of Why? Radio’s blog, PQED.org.

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