Currently on view at Mother’s Tankstation in Dublin, Ireland is Shane McCarthy’s solo exhibition “Words, sometimes, get in the way of meaning” The exhibition features a body of new works that come together as if intended to be one sculptural installation. Neon lights, videos, objects, and projections collide in the gallery creating a space where each piece activates as a fragment of the dialogue presented by McCarthy. The exhibition is diverse in it’s application of materials to content. Below is an excerpt from the press release which is an interesting response to the art world and explanation for choosing a title such as, “Words, sometimes, get in the way of meaning.”
“In his now famous text, Ten Rules of Writing,1 the late Elmore Leonard ‘casually’ noted,2 “(Joseph Conrad said something about words getting in the way of what you want to say.)” While, from my incomplete digging, what I think Conrad might actually have said was, “…words, as is well known, are the great foes of reality”,3 the form of Leonard’s memory-softened, first-personalized and far from throw-away remark is an object lesson, by example, in the writer’s sleight of hand. Shane McCarthy’s debut solo exhibition title and variation upon the same thought; Words, sometimes, get in the way of meaning, interestingly, appropriately, throws structure into the mix (the comma [pause for consideration] is king). McCarthy pushes the key signifiers out to the ends; “words…meaning”. Meaning, that if you either read everything, or skip everything in between4, then the core dialectic, absence/presence, remains apparent/evident. Language, smaller: words, now there’s the thing; tricky little, minxy, mini-concepts, like ‘solo’, like ‘debut’, like ART. Do they have greater, easier or diminished meaning in a world defined by search engines? Let’s run it.”
1 Originally published as a 2001 article for The New York Times in the series, ‘Writers on Writing’: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/16/arts/writers-writing-easy-adverbs-exclamation-points-especially-hooptedoodle.html This text has substantially resurfaced, courtesy of social media sites, subsequent to Leonard’s recent death at the age of 83.
2 ibid. Not only is the casualness an affectation, but I have just broken rule number four, “Never use an adverb to modify a verb.”
3 From Conrad’s 1911 novel, Under Western Eyes.
4 “Hooptedoodle”. See Leonard on Steinbeck: ibid no.1
You can read the full press release here. This exhibition is on view through November 2, 2013.