Art Speak - Piotr Uklanski

2017 Graphite on mylar
31.0 × 49.0 in


Art Speak is a term I use for the language employed by artists, curators and galleries to elucidate or enlighten, and occasionally elude the reader about a body or work. In simplest terms, it is a narrative meant to describe a work of art or an exhibition of works. More times than not the terminology used is crafted to be appropriate for a particular audience. And often I find it requires a significant background in the visual arts in order to be understood.

Text IN art is much debated. Is it contributive or reductive? Text AS art is what I’m exploring here, as well as the terminology used to explain art itself. In the Art-Speak works, two of a 32-part series, I illustrate a curatorial statement about an exhibited body of work. I have had the advantage of seeing the exhibition and so I have the visual component associated with the attempted explanation. The viewer of my works must read the text and try and mentally conjure the explanation into an accessible vision. Depending on whether the reader is well versed in Art-Speak or how clear or cryptic the narrative is dictates the level of comprehension of the actual exhibited works. Art-Speak is an examination into another person’s opinion of another person’s art.

– Marshall K. Harris, 2021

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