Early Alphabet Sets, 1997-2000
oil and mixed media
My project names configurations of human bodies according to a simple common code, the alphabet. By assigning alphabetical identities to these configurations, I discover, at another level, that I have arranged for the anatomical human body to encounter the social human body within a sanctioned conventional structure, a phonetic letter. Figures arranged as signs in pictorial space mirror bodies orchestrated by the unspoken laws that govern them in ordinary space, laws intended to control our physical interactions as social creatures. Embodied knowledge, information transmitted by corporeal understanding collides with social order, the sets of rules we use to accommodate and control the body’s passions. The human figure, with its complexity, multiplicity, and constant flux of thought, desire, dream, fantasy, mood, sensation, and action encounters a system of phonetic signs with its rules, its order and predictability, its encyclopedic scope and power to index, its elemental usefulness, its syntax, symmetries, and portability as a medium of exchange.