Throughout this exhibition, translation emerges as one of the central points of engagement for Conceptual and proto-Conceptual artists. To think through translation is to come to understand the complexities of communication: that some things can be transferred from one language to another, while other things cannot.
In Three Alphabets (2013), Gloria Ortiz-Hernández juxtaposes three versions of the English alphabet. The first is written in pencil on a ground of white oil pastel, the second in red pastel on charcoal, and the third in white pencil on charcoal. The upper register, which in its use of graphite on white recalls the work of Cy Twombly, suggests lightness in contradistinction to the middle register, which with its red and black palette stands in simple opposition to its neighbor. Ortiz-Hernández abuts two permutations of the same thing, revealing both similarity and the possibility of difference. The pale text on grey background found in the lower register serves to mediate the first and second alphabets, collapsing the two into one another.
This work is anachronistic, in that the play between the three alphabets harkens back to a time when translation across myriad languages was less consistent than it is today. Yet through her visual strategy of thesis/antithesis/synthesis, Ortiz-Hernández speaks to the continued relevance of dialectical speech and thinking, which remain integral to the process of meaning-making.
Gloria Ortiz-Hernández Biography
Gloria Ortiz-Hernández (b. 1943, Cali, Colombia) is an artist whose work has been shown in numerous museum exhibitions, most recently at the Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley, Massachusetts (2004); The University Galleries at Texas State University, San Marcos (2009); and the Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, New York (2011). Recent group and solo exhibitions were held at Galería Casas Riegner, Bogotá, Colombia (2012); Josée Bienvenu Gallery, New York (2012); and artBO International Art Fair, Bogotá, Colombia (2012). Her work may be found in a variety of museum collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts; The Morgan Library and Museum, New York; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; the Seattle Art Museum, Washington; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, among others. Ortiz-Hernández works in Bogotá and New York.
Cat Dawson Biography
Cat Dawson is a doctoral candidate (ABD) in Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo specializing in art of the American post-war postmodern. Her particular interests include the interplay between text and language, conceptual art and theories of the body, mid-century painting and the sexuality of abstraction, and psychoanalysis. Her dissertation is on sexuality and difference in American post-war painting.