The Hidden Text

The paintings in this series are built on a structure of a drawn text, a word or a phrase. Each approach of the canvas leaves a 3-dimensional shape of pigment on the support, and then on the physical terrain of the previous day’s work. As layers of color and texture are added, the text is at the same time obscured and expressed, translated into the numinous possibilities of abstraction.

I grew up in a text-dominated family. We all read books, magazines and newspapers. Writing came naturally to us, and our use of the English language was our capital in the world.

I loved letters (as in graphic symbols).
I loved writing letters (as in epistles).
I loved the smell of books and the sound and feel of paper.

I began with the pencil and my own handwriting.
I learned to letter stylized alphabets with pen and ink, studied design, typography, calligraphy, photography and printmaking.
I worked as a free-lance illustrator and graphic designer.

Asian and Western calligraphy, writing systems of all kinds, the paintings of artists including text in their work (Cy Twombly, Ed Ruscha, Basquiat), painters such as Van Gogh and the Post Impressionists, Abstract Impressionists such as Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell and street art have fed into this work. The text at the core of each work serves both as the compositional “bones” of the painting and a jumping off point for further reflection – the point at which I hand the work over to the viewer to complete.

–Peggy Schutze Shearn, June 2015