MATERIALITY AND THE IMAGETEXT: ON MITCHELL, YOUNG, AND HERRITT

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[This article was originally published by Entropy on 22 November 2017]

Currently showing in Denver, Colorado are two exhibits that explore the hybrid space of text and image: Scott Young’s Gas Light Love Bomb at K Contemporary and Linda Herritt’s Good Girl at Rule Gallery.

As a conceptual entryway into both Young and Herritt’s work, art historian’s W.J.T. Mitchell’s Picture Theory offers interesting passageAlthough somewhat dated in its examples (due, in no small part, to its pre-internet publication date), his monograph affords instructive points of departure for considering art and literature that meet at the intersection of image and word.

In Picture Theory, Mitchell defines three interrelated but distinct terms: image/text, imagetext, and image-text. The first of these three designations addresses the “problematic gap, cleavage, or rupture in representation”; the second “designates composite, synthetic works (or concepts) that combine image and text”; and the third attends to the “relations [between] visual and verbal.” In other words, the slash refers to a certain incommensurability, the concatenation specifies a type of work, and the dash indicates a particular relationship.

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