Counter to Type

In the Spring 2014 issue of Art Journal, Karen L. Schiff created an artists’s project, Counter to Type. Working from the typography on the covers and selected interior pages of the journal, she used colored pencils to draw on transparent overlays. She abstracted her images from the type: her lines and shapes call attention to — and defamiliarize — the design elements that structure the reading process. The printer then photographed her drawings, and superimposed them on the printed pages.

Schiff also created this video, which explores her working process and the decisions she made while creating the drawings.

Schiff’s artist statement is an essay in the issue, “Connecting the Dots/Hijacking Typography,” in which she discusses her project and word/image considerations. The following list provides links to artworks, writings, groups and exhibitions she mentions in the essay.

Word-Image Criticism

Relevant Text-Art Projects and Exhibitions

Contemporary Poetry Movements

Bob Perelman’s Poetry

Kenny Goldsmith’s Poetry and Pedagogical Theory

Karen L. Schiff’s artwork has appeared in the exhibition Art=Text=Art, which originated at the University of Richmond Museums and traveled to the Zimmerli Museum at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, New Jersey), and the Hafnarborg Museum (Hafnarfjör∂ur, Iceland). In the exhibition’s next location, at SUNY Buffalo, she will participate in the November 2014 symposium “Reading Pictures: On Text in Art.” She also has an essay, audio clips, and a curated conversation at the exhibition’s website. In 2013, her reviews of books about the artist Agnes Martin were published in Art Journal and Art in America, and her essay on word-image issues, “Beyond Thinking,” appeared in the Brooklyn Rail. In 2014, she had a second artist’s residency at Yaddo, and her artwork is appearing in a summer show at the Hverfisgallerí in Reykjavik, Iceland.