"Abet of my Alphabet" Opening 2/26 at Worth Ryder Art Gallery

Worth Ryder Art Gallery Presents:



Nora Grant   &   Suzanne Herrera Li Puma

Wednesday, February 26 through Saturday, March 15, 2014

Worth Ryder Art Gallery, 116 Kroeber Hall, UC Berkeley Campus

Open Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 12 – 5 pm

Opening Reception: Wednesday, February 26, 4 – 7 pm


“Abet of my Alphabet” asks, in the language of the visual: what makes a writing a writing, a drawing a drawing? How do we write? What kinds of lines can we read?

We propose to fill the gallery with writing. (Drawing). We want to fill a space with writing. (Lines). We want to make a writing-scape. What are words without letters? What are essays without words? Do letters have to look like letters?

We are envisioning the gallery as a page with letters and lines. We offer language-projections, shape-languages, language-shapes, animate grammars, shapescapes, linescapes. Paragraphs, parashapes, perishapes.

Some expect writing to move from here to there.

From here                                                                                                                                                       to here

We are reshaping the process of putting meanings into shape.

We offer other legibilities.

Through operations of translation and transfer we make unconventional use of techniques ingrained in the history of literacy: drawing, etching, silkscreen, monotype, assemblage.

Nora Grant, “Untitled”, polyester black thread hand-sewn into cotton rag paper, 7.5″ x 5″, 2012.

Nora Grant begins with texture, extending sensical, lexical limits with common domestic objects. Plastic orange bags, copper sponges, saran wrap, medical gauze, and luffa sponges are disassembled, covered in ink and run repeatedly through a Charles Brand etching press. Each object then becomes the matrix for a series of monoprints, incidents of relief on the page. Through sequential printing, these monoprints appear as suspended moments visualizing the material’s physical transformation: grids unravel, lines scramble, holes spread, sense shuffles. Nora Grant has recently begun an open-ended series of line works on paper. Some of these lines are sewn into paper with polyester string, some are dipped in beeswax, some are scratched surfaces, some are made with dish soap, some are made with a black pen, and most entangle the line with the letter, the essay with the squiggle, the mark and its meaning.

Suzanne Herrera Li Puma, “Untitled” (detail), drawing, silkscreen and chine collé on layered sheets of tracing paper, 24 x 32″, 2012.

Suzanne Herrera Li Puma begins with line-drawings that suspend the legible boundaries between figure and letter, shape and stray mark. Her line drawings are sometimes transferred through etching or silkscreen to shift the quality of the line and its relation to the paper’s surface. In one series, (making plurals) silkscreened and chine colle drawings are dispersed across several layers of tracing paper, punctuated by opaque color-forms. Meant to be hung in the center of a room from the ceiling, these transparent works do not distinguish between recto and verso, between the front of the mark and its back. In another current series, drawings are assembled on variously transparent mulberry and cotton-rag papers. Through the use of unreliable repetition and minute differences in color, they form sequences that suggest alternative grammars in which the lines’ precarious meaning goes astray.

Artist Biographies

Nora Grant is a visual artist and writer. In 2011, she received her B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley. Her works on paper experiment with shapes and textures that push the boundaries of what language can name, inviting alternative vocabularies and flexible lexica. Sometimes representational, sometimes visual nonsense, the work investigates process, the human desire to make sense of things, and the metaphors embodied by the materials and machinery used. Her work was recently shown in a group exhibition at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, “Fun-A-Day” (2013) and a group exhibition in the Worth Ryder Art Gallery, “Combat Paper, When the West Was Won Recall” (2011). She has published prose poetry and short stories in the Cal Literature of Arts Magazine and personal essays in Tellus, the Cuesta College Annual Literary Journal.

Suzanne Herrera Li Puma is a visual artist and graduate student in the department of Rhetoric at University of California, Berkeley studying critical theory and visual arts of the 20th century. She is interested in how to mobilize acts of seeing/reading from the side of the concrete. Her works on paper (drawing, etching, silkscreen, collage) use lines to explore states of suspended legibility between figure and shape, letter and mark, space and non-space. She also uses papers of varying transparency and opacity to explore the bilateral surfaces of the graphic mark. She received her BA in Visual Arts from Columbia University, with an emphasis on printmaking and photography, and her MA from Columbia University in Philosophy.

Please join us for an opening reception on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 from 4 to 7 pm!