THE WRITING ON THE WALL
The story doesn't write itself...
The Writing on the Wall inhabits that rarified space where the voice of a poet and that of a visual artist combine to provoke, within a culture that likes things to be simple and pigenholed, a desire to draw out emotions in the perenial search toward a new expressiveness in contemporary art much to the tune of Mark Leckey's, Cally Spooner's and Ed Atkins' dense, poetic texts in their videos and performances.
Xheka is primarily a painter but her interest in digital media and her unique voice as a poet has allowed her to experiment with new concepts and processes in creating a series of conceptual photographs that are playful, immersive, and reflective of contemporary experiences distilled through the poetic lens. The unlikely layers of Xheka's abstract art and the poetic half-phrases uprooted from her own unpublished poems as well as some of her favorite contemporary writers - Richard Sinken, Nina MacLaughlin, Cathy Park Hong, and Ocean Wong - create a gap in viewers' understanding which serves as an open invitation for something to come and fill the gap - their imagination. In a quietly ardent way the work wants the viewers to feel as if they are not in front of a photograph but rather walking through a poem, peeping under the layers, squnting in an effort to read the half hidden words, impatiently separating the colors from the text, reassessing the words as truths.
It might be unfashionable to think about emotion in art given the irony and sensationalism people have come to associate with the contemporary art scene but Xheka's work is more about the vulnerability that comes from understanding that despite social posturing, we don't honestly know ourselves as we think we do. And this is partly because we are mirrored back to ourselves differently from those who know us, because they are all different. In a sense, not only we do not know ourselves but we can never really know another. Except, a tiny bit. Creatively. Consequentially.
- Visual Influences
Barbara Kruger - Kruger’s work uses catchy phrases laid over images to challenge ideas of power, identity, and sexuality. "I workwith pictures and words because because they have the ability to determine who we are and who we aren’t."
Heather Phillipson - She trades irony and sensationalism for candy colors and emotional sincerity through her work in a variety of media including text and drawing. She is also an acclaimed poet whose work has appeared widely in print and online publications.