Viewer “reading” candy-braille piece
Curators Exhibition Essay for I Really Want You to Like Me at 21 Grand Gallery 2011 (solo)
Braille Installations by Kathrine Worel explore a terrain that would most accurately be dubbed “tactile semiotics”.
With Post Modern art’s preoccupation with deconstructing the relationship of signs, symbols, signifiers, and signified it’s surprising that there hasn’t been more examination of the peculiar place that Braille occupies within the scheme of language – as a codification based on touch. Worel comes to this form of touch-based language as a conceptual artist rooted, in this case, in the practice of sculpture.
This work refers to a tradition of utilizing text in art (esp. of a conceptual vein) to address the basic relationship between symbol & meaning. Somewhat at odds with this abstract concern is the tradition in feminist art of examining the body as a form of identity in relation to society at large. Both are concerns for the artist, and she has developed her application of Braille as a way of melding the two. Though the work is engaging visually, the act of touch is intrinsic to the experience: an act she has interpreted as both deciphering meaning and manifesting desire.
Viewer interacting with This Much at 21 Grand Gallery in Oakland.CA 2010.
Viewers interact with and activate the pieces through touch, their “reading” leaving traces, creating visible histories of transgressive intimacy.
Adhered directly onto the wall, painted and lit to disappear into the surface, the plaster installations use casts from my body (nipples, fingertips, teeth) as Braille nodes to form words and sentences. I use my own saliva to adhere the candy dot Braille, daring visitors partake in a sweet kiss when they “read” these works.
The minimalist nature of these Braille works heightens allusion to language as an invisible yet potent artistic structure. Further, by merging my body with the physical site and the written words I point to the conflicted relationship between systems based work, poetics and the carnal body.
Guest “reading” What You See Is What You Get, Installation View of This Much & To Know Me Is To Love Me, detail of I Really Want You to Like Me
untitled braille print, candy dots on hemp paper left in rain, 2014
I AM, 8′ x 26″ cast teeth, plaster, ladder, paint (installation detail)
Three views of In It That Is More Than Itself (object petite “ah”) at the Diego Rivera Gallery in San Francisco, 2001