Kay Rosen: Short Stories/Tall Tales

MIT List Visual Arts Center

April 18 – June 29, 1997

Rear Window, 1993
Model for wall paint; sign paint on museum board
13.5h x 20.5w in

There Was This Dog Who Went Into a Bar..., 1997
Model for wall paint; sign paint on museum board
13”x 16-1/2”

Roughly, Thought, Through, 1990
Sign paint on canvas
20.5h x 29.5w in

Mistake, 1995
Graphite on paper
15.75h x 28.5w in

Adam and Even, 1992
Graphite drawing
20h x 30w in

There Was This Dog That Went Into a Bar, 1996/97
Sign paint on wall
36h x 45.75w in

Phantom Limb, 1996/97
Sign paint on wall
10h x 14.25w ft

Press Release

Kay Rosen: Short Stories/Tall Tales
MIT List Visual Arts Center

The Bakalar Gallery project space of the LVAC, complete a year-long series of projects in that same space in which artists presented work exploring the nature of language and communication. Joseph Grigely’s exhibition, ”Ordinary Conversations,” was presented in Fall 96, and Jill Reynolds’ project, ”The Shape of Breath,” in Winter 97.

While the adage, pictures are worth a thousand words, points to the endless interpretive and descriptive possibilities offered by visual representations, the specificity of language and words themselves are generally thought to offer more incisive meanings. Kay Rosen upsets this order by using language as the subject of her paintings, turning words themselves into pictorial images that explore the vicissitudes of language. The work asks viewers to explore the ways meanings are read, derived, and decoded from language by using puns, repetitions, abrogating conventional grammatical rules, and examining the graphical properties of words themselves. Relying on wordplay, humor, and attunement to popular culture forms, Rosen’s work is imbued with an irreverent charm.