Kenyon College

Audrey Nation

March 18, 2015–April 10, 2015  [+]

Audrey Nation

Mount Pleasant, SC

Kenyon Class of ’15, Studio Art & Economics double major, Art History minor


I have never thought of myself as having ‘a way with words’ – they don’t come as naturally to me as I would like and often it feels that what is written does not actually say what it is meant to say. And so for this reason I find it ironic that I am working with text. But I have changed my way with words into a visual relationship and built words aesthetically the way writers build them to be read. 

The words I have used are fragmented phrases that are poetic in their own rights – separate from their original contexts. A theory of vision that says “the whole is other than the sum of its parts” can also be applied here to both language in general and these selected phrases as parts of a whole. These words may hold incredibly different meanings in and out of context, or they might not, whether or not the rest of the phrase, or poem, or book is known. 

Like writing, my work is made with an obsession towards particularity. I love rules, but regarding artwork, they are hard to know specifically and harder to try and follow. I do not strive for absolute perfection, but more of a handcrafted precision, where my hand in the piece is evident but clean. A focus on craftsmanship is one way in which I can set rules to follow and so I become enamored with the minutiae of a piece. The aesthetic control over technical details and process is concurrent with letting go of control over visual associations with the materials and interpretations of the chosen texts, which might vary indefinitely between viewers. The process of creating the physical words repurposes the text as an architectural object which is constructed carefully and purposefully.


–Audrey Nation, ‘15