Sylvia Ptak

8 January 1998 - 14 February 1998
Opening Reception 8 January 1998 8pm

Project Room:

Dissembling Language, Spidersense #2

Mercer Union is pleased to present the second part in the Spidersense series of six exhibitions curated by board members Reid Diamond and Evelyn Von Michalofski. For each Spidersense, a visual artist and a concrete poet engage in spatial activities; one artist in the project room and one artist featured in the brochure.

The fact that language us often thought of as a non-physical entity in our lives is testament to how perceptions are formed by our reception points. In oral conversation, for example, there is no visual engagement with the octaves of the vocal cords as the brain instructs the muscles to form air from the lungs into audible words. Mostly, we see the lips and teeth moving as an accompanying gesture, unaware of the frantic pulsations of our eardrums in the reception.

Sylvia Ptak’s installation Dissembling Language is composed of gestures of the written word. Using thread, pins and wire, she constructs physical entities which refer to language structures and at the same time retain a separate identity. While the lines of the thread presented on the surfaces of what appears to be a book or a post card are seemingly indecipherable as standard narratives, they are evocative of visual poetry. As they spin along and float off the surfaces, like an object or body freed from the gravitational pulls of the earth one can almost see the soundtrack from Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001. Da da da da da.

Reid Diamond

Sylvia Ptak is an artist and educator based in Toronto. She graduated from OCAD in 1987 and received her MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1995. She has exhibited in the United States and Canada. Most recently, her work was shown in the exhibition Fibreworks at the Library and Gallery in Cambridge, Ontario.