Languages do not have to be spoken to be understood. In a visit to "Out of Words," an art show by artist Batia Eichenholz, that point is made abundantly clear.
Eichenholz, a fiberglass artist, has had a long romance with writing and handwriting. This passion led her to the creation of her current exhibit, on display at the Seamgallery in Megadim. The exhibit focuses on words stripped of their meanings, and examines their aesthetic qualities. Rather than first looking at the words contained in a certain piece of art, the viewer will be drawn to the texture of the painting, and to its colors and shapes.
The exhibition contains 15 pieces of art. Each piece is very different, but all contain the same thread. "[The exhibit] is only about the visual aspect, not the content of the letters," Eichenholz explains.
The artist utilized many common materials in her work, including cloth, paper, transparent pages and shopping bags. Using her sewing machine at home, she combined the materials by sewing and then embroidered them.
She began her research by examining ancient texts and letters, such as ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and writings by Rashi. Looking at the decorative element of these writings, it was very clear to Eichenholz that in the older manuscripts, scribes used the writings as different ways of expressing themselves, despite the strict rules that governed their work. Calligraphy, which evolved over time, shows the preferences and abilities of the scribe. Each piece of writing that the Eichenholz looked at was very personalized. Soon Eichenholz began to explore other languages.
"Music is a language. Everyone agrees on the notes as signs and symbols," she explained.
Once everyone agreed on these signs and symbols, music became a universal language. Dancers also have their own language, one that consists of movements. Knitters use a language of their own, one that allows any knitter to understand certain instructions. All of these different languages contain symbols that create a "text" for their users.
Eichenholz realizes that as people go about their daily lives, not everyone considers each of these mediums a language; she sees it differently, however. Traffic signs, for example, are another form of communication Eichenholz considers a language - and one understood by everyone in the many societies where the standardized signs are used.
The culmination of examining all these languages is represented in "Out of Words." Eichenholz displays her personal take on these languages in the form of art. The viewer will be drawn to the signs, letters, logos and icons in the artwork before they begin to interpret the language it represents.
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