FINAL DAYS: Artists Play with Words at Hicks Art Center Gallery

‘R/W: Reading & Writing Visual Experience’ runs through 4 p.m. Friday on the Newtown Campus.

The Hicks Art Center Gallery at Bucks County Community College proudly presents R/W: Reading & Writing Visual Experience through Friday, March 7. Featuring the works of nine artists, the exhibition explores the uses of reading and writing – from punctuation to publication – in contemporary art.

Amid the rapid expansion of social media, guest curator Gerard Brown has observed that we all live in a written world, constantly inscribing and decoding our surroundings.

“There is more writing around us than at any other point in human history, as 230 million tweeters send 200 million 140-charcter messages each day, as our statuses are endlessly updated, as robots text us and auto-replies soar through the ether,” Brown said. “Given their prevalence in our world, it comes as no surprise that artists are making use of language in general and writing in particular in their work, and that galleries are no strangers to the written world.”  

R/W: Reading & Writing Visual Experience features works by Aubrie Costello, Marianne Dages, Sharka Hyland, Martha McDonald, Martha Rich, Sheryl Ridenour, Matthew Sepielli, Rebecca Targ, and Susan White.

Several events took place to enhance the exhibition.

The spoken word was featured Tuesday, March 4, at a poetry reading and artist talk with Matthew Sepielli, Kevin Varrone, and Claire Wilcox in the Music & Multimedia Center. That was followed on Wednesday, March 5with an afternoon artists talk by Martha McDonald and Susan White. A gallery reception in the Hicks Art Center was held later that eveing, including  a curator’s gallery talk.

“Surrounded by writing, do we communicate any better? Are we more poetic, clearer, and more concise? Are we better readers?” asks Brown.  “The jury is out, as college writing instructors debate whether tweets inspire editing and precise use of language or whether they encourage excessive personal writing marked by disregard for grammar and spelling.

“The current exhibit doesn’t have a chance of answering questions about the profound impact of writing on visual culture, but it offers a status update on the various ways that artists employ actions associated with language – writing, reading, editing, and revising – in the creation of visual experience.”

The Hicks Art Center Gallery is located on Bucks County Community College’s campus at 275 Swamp Rd., Newtown, Pa., 18940, where there is ample free parking. Gallery hours for the final days of the show are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Admission is free. For more information, call 215-968-8425.

The Hicks Art Center Gallery receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.


Top - Martha Rich, He Was All She Was All (2014, acrylic on wood)

Bottom - Susan White, Sessilia (2013, book pages and wax) 

Jean Dolan
Assistant Director, Public Relations