The Internet Age is widely understood as the apogee of image culture, but the medium in which we swim, buoyed by waves of chat, posts and tweets, seems increasingly to be the written word. Or so it appears in the company of Frances Stark.
Like more than a few artists of her generation, Stark (born 1967 in Newport Beach) often incorporates writing in her work, which was surveyed recently at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge. She has also published her texts independently in various magazines, catalogues and freestanding books, and has penned the odd exhibition review. A cross between fluidly interdisciplinary commentary and wry interior monologue, Stark’s prose showed up at the List Center not only as content in her drawings and collages but also in the works’ titles; in wall labels, which were generally restricted to the usual identifying information but sometimes digressed rather freely; and, most prominently, in the exhibition catalogue, which is not a conventional document (there are no illustrations) but an anthology of her essays, graced very occasionally with exceedingly terse marginal notations by the survey’s curator, João Ribas. Stark’s relish for marginalia is confirmed by the title of both book and exhibition, This could become a gimick [sic] or an honest articulation of the workings of the mind, which derives from a comment written in the margin of a used copy of Alain Robbe-Grillet’s 1955 novel The Voyeur. Stark transcribed the annotated page of this lucky find into a drawing in 1995. (Read more)
An artist who labels herself
Frances Stark puts words to work, with wit
Frances Stark is obsessed with something akin to the problem we all face every time we set about achieving anything: How to filter out distractions, white noise, and the marginalia of the mind. How to make thoughts cohere.
Currently enjoying her first US museum survey at MIT’s List Visual Arts Center, Stark is also obsessed — and here is where she differs from most of us — with how to make art.
Apparently, it’s not easy. Or else it’s almost ridiculously easy. Part of the fun of Stark’s work is that she alternates between confounding and confirming our expectations of how much work is involved in producing a “work’’ of art. (Read More)