Word art works : visual poetry and textual objects

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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- This exegesis concentrates upon select pieces from a wide range of practice in a field which I have named word art work, and attempts to convey some of the complexity of relationships between visual and verbal aspects of textual objects. After a broad introduction to the word as art, a personal background is established to an interest in concrete poetry which began in the late 1960s. I explain the move from placing framed poems on a gallery wall (1970) to putting a poetry book on wheels (1973) and carving epigrams into scraps of polished granite (1976), and then look at how variations of a single work have made one into many with qualitative differences; how photography has been an important ingredient in my working between media; how I came to see and say with signs, using the standardised formats of public signage to make word art works; and how the 'abjectness' of materials and scale affects and effects textuality in a wide variety of social arenas. By the end of the exegesis I hope to have explained how inscribing complete short poems into large basalt crystals (2007) is both a leap into new practice and a return to my beginnings. The exegesis ends with a discussion of new media poetry/art through websites (1998) and digital animated poems (2004-2006). Coming into art through poetry - that is, through an intense engagement with language itself - I bring a kind of 'literary looking' into the construction of art works. In attempting to elucidate and contextualise the place of both materiality and variation in the development of my own body of work I necessarily engage with the photography as both document and deed, and use it to form yet other kinds of visual poetry. My interest has been to see if some of the innate qualities of poetic language (density, potency, poignancy, memorability, and so on) could be 'translated' into objects which integrate and embody text. This doctorate is practice-based. The many new and original works which I have made as my research are given critical explanation, context and interpretation in this exegesis, which hopefully adds fresh insights to the field of word and image studies.
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