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Words are theme of city exhibition Word Play

Words come to us in a myriad of ways: through the books we read, billboards that line our highways, the e-mails and texts that link us to others, radio, TV and the music on our iPods.

In the exhibition “Word Play,” on view at Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery, Oct. 4 to Dec. 30, 16 visual artists express themselves with words. “Word Play” features 31 artworks that include photographs, prints, ceramic sculpture, collaged artworks, drawings and mixed media.

Sometimes words are part of the scene in the artwork. In Peter deLory’s “With Dignity” from 1979, a carefully arranged tableau of a love letter, portraits, spilled wine and lingerie belies the content of the letter.

Sometimes words are the artwork. Jenny Holzer’s documentary photographs (c. 1984) show the artworks from her “Truism” series, which consist of short statements, common myths or phrases as slogans in LED lights running on a reader board.

In other artworks, words appear because of the artist’s choice of materials.  In Ross Palmer Beecher’s “Hershey’s Chocolate Quilt” from 1986, scraps of Hershey’s syrup containers are woven together to form a traditional, log-cabin quilt design.

City Curator and Collections Manager Deborah Paine selected the artworks from the city’s Portable Works Collection managed by the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs.

The featured artists are: Scott Aho, Ross Palmer Beecher, Carl Chew, Clair Colquitt, Elizabeth Connor, Peter deLory, Garek Druss, David Gihooly, Jenny Holzer, Mark Selcuk Onat, Berkeley Parks, Manoun Sakkal, Ted Savinar, Margaret Stratton, Bethany Taylor and Blair Wilson.

Image: Ross Palmer Beecher; Hershey’s Chocolate Quilt (detail); 1986; stitched tin with wire, bike tire tubing, and auto tail lights; 64″ x 48″. Photo courtesy of the artist.