My work is concerned with the hidden, structural beauty of language. Language is a deeply human trait that we use in every aspect of our lives, though its workings are largely mysterious to us as speakers. From a very young age our minds are in a highly receptive state, listening for the patterns, rhythm, and regularity of which all languages are composed, but by adulthood we are no longer so aware of this. My work draws attention back to those patterns deep in our minds and the rich, varied beauty they contain.
I explore the systems of language that we use so effortlessly—phonetics, syntax, semantics, etc.—through prints and artist’s books. In each piece I isolate an aspect of a text and create a visual correlate of its structure. To do so, I use historical maps and diagrams as a touchstone, adopting their forms and techniques as a way to represent the rich patterns of our linguistic competence. By linking an area of language with the visual strategies of the chosen historical image, I am able to generate imagery from the linguistics of the text itself.
I am drawn to printmaking because its iterative, serial processes are conceptually related to the content of my work. Throughout all areas of language, the notion of smaller units combined into larger structures is central: sounds into syllables, syllables into roots/affixes, roots/affixes into words, words into phrases, phrases into sentences, sentences into discourses. Iteration, recursion, combination via rules, variations on patterns—these concepts are foundational to the way our minds process language. Representing these processes through printmaking, with its inherent iteration, sequence, and serial variation, gives a tangible analogy to the complex beauty of our linguistic knowledge.