All Exhibitions

Drawn To Language

On view:

Exhibiting Artists

Adam Ames, Erik den Breejen, Anne Lise Coste, Jenny Holzer, Samuel Jablon, Jack Pierson, Ed Ruscha, Michael Scoggins, Gary Simmons, Leah Singer, and Hank Willis Thomas

Click here to see more photos from the Drawn to Language exhibition.

In Drawn to Language, words are given visual form. Letters, words, or phrases are transcribed, visualized, verbalized, symbolized, morphed into patterns, scrambled, or even erased. While the works in the exhibition vary conceptually – from amusing to political to philosophical – each work is defined by its use of words to create an image, a deeper meaning, or both. Visual artists have long been interested in the intersection between art and language. From ancient calligraphy to illuminated manuscripts, some of our oldest surviving texts are an amalgamation of these two forms of communication. Visual artists can be “drawn to language” in a variety of ways. Whether used for additional emphasis, to define pure meaning, to further a narrative, or simply to make a joke, language is an increasingly important element in visual art. The artists in this exhibition use new materials, processes and techniques to entice the viewer to examine language in new ways.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Also on view

    In the Pepperman Family Fine Arts Studio MINDFUL+

    Gala Narezo & Chantal Fischzang

    The Plastic Bag Mandala is an ongoing collaborative art piece that started as a project in a graduate design class at Pratt Institute to engage the public in a dialogue around plastic bag waste. The mandala has served as an interactive community artwork and outreach tool that has involved many diverse collaborators as it has evolved.

    The exhibit at CMA includes a plastic bag mandala, a mural illustrating the cycle of social impact (from idea creation to implementation), and examples of other creative projects that address behavioral change. In addition, hands-on workshops with collaborating artists and CMA’s Teaching Artists allow children to explore social change ideas within their own communities.


    Julia von Eichel’s work is concerned with the tension between chaos and control. From the process of creation to the final piece, the juxtaposition of precision and serendipitous expression is constantly at play.

    The artist starts with a large sheet of mylar. Working on the floor of her studio, she spills watered down, white acrylic paint, which naturally follows its own course until she disrupts its haphazard flow by directing the liquid with a blow dryer: gusts of wind against the edges of rivers. She shapes these rivers of paint with as much control as can be afforded when using pure air as a paintbrush.

    When the shapes have dried, von Eichel meticulously cuts out the forms with a meticulousness normally reserved for lacework. The result is a collection of spills that is both frenzied and intentional.

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