Alphabet, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, box size 3 1/4 x 5 3/4 in.
I've just completed a new work in my series of very small paintings inside a box, this one on the theme of the alphabet (you can see a previous work here, with links to others) Letters are symbols and their shapes are interesting abstractions.
Alphabet, top and inside of box
I tried to find a combination of letters for the top of the box that wouldn't read as a word (or a well-known tv show) and that would be visually engaging. But ah well, the inside of the box: do you mind the love and kisses?
Al Held, The Yellow X, 1965; acrylic on canvas, 144 1/2 x 178 in.
I stole the idea of using the alphabet to make abstractions from Al Held. A couple of years ago, Cheim & Read gallery mounted an exhibition of his Alphabet paintings, and it was a powerful show of what their press release rightly called "monumental paintings". They have been in my mind ever since.
Alphabet, paintings side 1, ca. 1 1/4 x 1 1/4 in.
My very small images have very little in common with those of Al Held, but I enjoyed the challenge of trying to see some letters in a new way. It isn't easy to remove their ready associations; letters are so insistently themselves.
Alphabet, paintings side 2, ca. 1 1/4 x 1 1/4 in.
Because the parchment is translucent, I try to have a visual relationship between the image on each side. And although I a box usually contains 12 little paintings, with an alphabet of 26 letters, this box has 13.