letters home/lettres à ma mère is a body of work to be read.  the spectator, transformed into the reader, deciphers a collage of texts transcribed within a grid system.  each square inch holds either a letter or an empty space.  like the text you are reading now, the movement is from left to right, from top to bottom.  however, unlike the text you are reading now the end of the line splits words, the spaces between words is not always respected, and punctuation is not always present.  shifts occur between the two official languages of canada, (english and french,) and among the sources cited there are posts from social media, institutional tracts, current affairs, literature, and lyrics.  there is also an interest in text that performs itself, such as the work, on and on.
 installation shot at ellephant gallery in montreal, quebec, 2015.

the words are painted by hand using a flat bright brush dipped in ink and applied stroke by stroke. this labour intensive approach radically slows down the process of “writing” allowing changes in the choice and transcription as the work proceeds.  however, once the ink is applied to the paper, the words become finalized and there is no going back. in this way the work becomes a document which propels itself forward with the only opportunity for altering the meaning of what came before residing in what is yet to appear.

the works are to be read, and the artist has recorded herself deciphering the texts as part of the work’s presentation (to listen, click on soundcloud icon.)  this performance of the texts reveals their content –which coming as it does from an intuitive gathering together of words speaking to and from a state of exile, homelessness or abandonment  –folds back into silence and obscurity once read.

for more information on the work see letters home/lettres à ma mère under the works on paper page : https://likewritingwithwater.wordpress.com/drawing/

to read ophélie chalabi’s text on the work produced for the galerie b-312 exhibiton (in french only) click here : https://likewritingwithwater.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/karen-elaine-spencer-letters-homelettres-a-ma-mere-galerie-b-312/

good luck ?, ink on arches paper, 76 x 170 cm. 2014

the artist reads “good luck ?”
reading from the text “good luck” which intermingles words taken from the street, literature, and social media which speak to love, addiction and a feeling state of frozen.
reading from “good luck ?” at ellephant on november 7th, 2015 with john sobol on sax –photo by : bruce redern

Untitled-5i maintain, ink on arches paper, 76 x 227 cm. 2014

the artist reads “i maintain”
reading from the “i maintain” text which intermingles news sources of naima rharouity’s death in the montreal metro station in 2014 with texts taken from personal letters, literature, facebook, and found lists.

reading “i maintain” at gallery b-312 on the 31st october 2015  –photo by : ophélie chalabi

_MG_9823Photo Guy L'Heureux
the day i, ink on arches paper, 76 x 56 cm. 2014

on and on, ink on arches paper, 56 x 76 cm. 2013

_MG_9831Photo Guy L'Heureux
always the same, ink on arches paper, 56 x 76 cm. 2013

word word word, ink on arches paper, 76 x 114 cm. 2014
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