What's in a word? More meanings than we might assume, if we consider the myriad ways in which artists in the California Biennial explore the use and misuse of words. The exhibition, at the Orange County Museum of Art through March 13, includes about a dozen such examples out of more than 40 artists selected by museum curator Sarah Bancroft.
"A lot of people think art is a visual experience, but it engages many senses," she says. "For me it's often an intellectual experience, and it seems very much natural that text and language would be incorporated into artwork. Text has a gravity — so many of these works have poignant senses of humor or are whimsical, and are also critical at once."
Some of the artists capture what they have found in public, such as Will Rogan in his "Other Worlds" series, in which he sought out and photographed storefront signs. Gil Blank plays with signs also, although he manipulates them through the computer, enhancing certain details and deleting others. Allison Wiese has created her own sign, a 28-foot-wide green awning with orange text, which asks, "So what are we going to do now?"