Nathan Coley is an artist specialising in site-specific artworks, one style of which is a found text displayed with Fairground Lighting.
Video: 7 mins
I’ve met Nathan Coley’s lightworks twice in person: his depressing, negative piece at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (THERE WILL BE NO MIRACLES HERE) and the sign at Jupiter Artland (YOU IMAGINE WHAT YOU DESIRE).
The feature photograph for this blog post is a photo I took of the completed piece he is shown working on in the video, once placed in situ at Jupiter Artland (a sprawling collection of modern outdoor sculptures in the grounds of a gorgeous mansion). And yes, it does have a terrific although not cheap cafe, as this might lead you to expect. There’s something about having an eating space around an art gallery that makes the cafe manager pull out all the creative stops visually and taste wise on the food offered.
In both the gallery of Modern Art and Jupiter Artland, the lettering screen is set up outside, in a large, green, open space. It’s a very successful juxtaposition: the lush growing green and the brash, huge, electronic light and harsh lines of the fairground lettering, glowing. It makes the wording as “inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel cake” – which is how a rough guy was described in the Raymond Chandler, hardboiled novel “Farewell my Lovely”.
The text pieces used are found – bits of dialogue heard in a taxi, a Geroge Bernard Shaw quote….
More Text Artists…
My Modern Met has written up an article about a whole bunch of other word artists: Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer who boldly address issues of power and 21st century,
Ed Ruscha (primarily a picture with huge words placed on them)
Wordplay/repetition: Bruce Nauman (wordplay), Mel Bochner (synonyms or same word repeated)
Graffiti-inspired: Ben Eine, Steve Powers.