MARINKA BOZZEC, FACELESS MEN, PENCIL ON PAPER, 2015
“Sometimes found words are the most pure because they have nothing to do with you. I take things as I find them. A lot of these things come from the noise of everyday life.”
- Ed Ruscha
My artistic practice has evolved from a longstanding concern with the use of language, and how it permeates every aspect of human experience. Language enables us to communicate, educate, and to create, yet it may also be used to discriminate, oppress, and enslave. Such a powerful tool, yet almost invisible because of its sheer all-pervasiveness - words are everywhere, working for purposes beneficent, benign, and malign. They are our slaves as well as our masters. Fonts are the clothing that words use to make themselves not only visible or legible, but attention seeking objects of desire. Fonts dress up our words in costumes sometimes exotic, sometimes workmanlike; this typographical raiment, may it be floridly decorative or minimally severe, repackages our messages, whether poetry or propaganda, and sends out other, more subtle messages of its own.
Language and font, message and medium, are crucial to Marinka Bozzec’s practice, as well as an ongoing engagement with an atypical artist’s media, coloured pencil. More often associated with children’s drawings or commercial illustration, coloured pencil is usually seen as a kind of flippant cousin of other, more “serious” drawing media such as charcoal or ink. Bozzec challenges traditional beliefs about the nature of drawing itself through not only her unconventional choice of media, but in her deliberately flat, deadpan surfaces. These drawings boast no mark – making, no obvious texture, seemingly no trace of an “artist’s touch” – indeed, they are as blankly immaculate as the anodyne products of an inkjet printer. This invisibly meticulous technique, a total denial of many of the beloved tenets of drawing, combined with her collector’s instinct for gleaning found phrases, give my work a kind of restrained intensity, a slow punch to the eyes and minds of the audience.
A film noir aesthetic of eternally falling darkness, hard shadows, and equally hardboiled sentiments is suggested by the interplay of iconic images of disasters, melancholy, and menace with lugubrious snippets gleaned from novels, poems, movies, song lyrics & popular idioms. The phrases, severed from their original contexts in written and spoken language, take on a mysterious and poetic new existence beyond the ideas and meanings they once signified. Hovering in illusory skies and before minimal tonal gradations of black, impinging themselves upon photorealist imagery, or scrolling in front of silhouetted buildings, figures, statues, and aircraft, they now occupy an ambiguous space of slippage between the aesthetic and poetic properties of language and its more obvious, everyday intentions to communicate and describe the human condition.
Marinka Bozzex 2013