verbal versus visual

Tal R “Man with Pipe” 2008

I like to talk things out; evidence: this blawg. But there’s always been a very satisfying divide between what is visual and what can be described in words. I recently read a great interview with Tal R in Modern Painters and watched Gerhard Richter Painting. Both painters echo this tension/satisfaction.


To talk about painting is not only difficult but perhaps pointless, too. You can only express in words what words are capable of expressing, what language can communicate. Painting has nothing to do with that. That includes the question, “What were you thinking of?” You can’t think of anything; painting is another way of thinking.

(later in the film)

Each painting is an assertion that tolerates no company.

Tal R:

There is a clear progression to the images I pick up, but it is beyond my language. You invent something and afterward you talk about it. I think artists should watch out; they should admit that their work will always be faster than language. And I think art should be beyond language—otherwise go and write a story, go and be a poet.


1 thought on “verbal versus visual”

  1. I think this is especially true when you think of the varying experiences each brings to the table of both making and viewing pieces. We so often see through the lens of our own unique language/dialect. . . what words completely fit for me can be uncomfortably wrong for another’s experience of the same work. Maybe that is why verbal skills so baffle me, how writers bridge the great divide of dialects. Herein lies the beauty of craft mastery.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s