Skip to content

Exhibition: Past HALFULLAug 25–Nov 01, 2009


HALFULL is an exhibition of works by artist Kay Rosen. Rosen’s works concentrate on the slippery play between language’s visual and verbal structures and how that oscillation affects meaning. Evolving over three months, the exhibition includes selected collages, a video, and a wall painting. The exhibition begins with a selection of collages and a rarely screened video. Later, a wall painting and accompanying essay, “The Center is a Concept,” were added. The Rosen works in this exhibition were selected as accompaniments to and material for “Rebus,” a fall drawing class investigating the play between text and image that was taught in the School of Art and Design by painter and UIC faculty member Julia Fish.

In “The Center Is a Concept,” Rosen describes her process of hijacking found words as giving them a “second chance.” The words take on not so much double entendres as overlapping meanings with Rosen’s chimerical introduction of what Anthony Elms called a “sly visuality of language.” As Rosen wrote:

“These words and phrases are selected for their potential to represent things in an alternate way so that reading is an active, visual, deciphering process rather than a passive, cognitive, scanning process. With agility and efficiency words can enlist their own body parts, or lack of them, to convey meaning. It becomes evident that language can act out meaning and actually be a verbal surrogate for the thing it represents, turning the word into the thing itself. With the help of visual and grammatical strategies, language can exceed its function as signifier to artfully role-play the signified.”

HALFULL is presented concurrently with Gnathonemus Petersii, Project #12, and Reflection: a video program.


Kay Rosen


HALFULL is supported by the College of Architecture and the Arts, University of Illinois at Chicago, and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.