Saturday, November 17


What is text art?

It is easier to address what it is not: compared to narrative painting or historical painting or portrait painting: text painting non-figurative, it dislocates or disrupts the image and most importantly it can displace the visual.

Text Painting is a genre of painting and is part of the larger group of text art. Lawrence Weiner has a retrospective at the Whitney, but he is a sculptor who uses text as his material.

I asked the chicago-based artist esteban to share some insight into text painting.

JP: Lately you have been making more text painting, why is that?

ES: Text painting has the right spirit, it can be very sarcastic and funny, it has a beautiful simplicity to express huge issues.

JP: Give me an example.

ES: Here is Chicago we had a pretty bad storm a couple weeks ago. At first it started small, drizzling and raining-- but it was late and soon the storm exploded. I climbed into bed and listened to it thundering outside. It is very humbling to think how large nature is. I looked at the storm and just thought, it could destroy me now or the whole neighborhood and it wouldn't change much. When nature shows herself she is more grand than we can imagine. I was thinking about the hurricanes and how fragile we are.

JP: It is very humbling to see the true force of nature. Can art show us something deeper about the world?

ES: No, not deeper, maybe different. It can be a fresh perspective. During that storm I thought of Jupiter, the largest planet. The earth is smaller than most of Jupiter's moons, you can fit countless earths inside Jupiter. And suddenly I thought what a storm on Jupiter must be like. It was unimaginable.