Kay Rosen: The Gravity of Language

at OSMOS Station, NY

Opening Reception: Saturday, July 20, 2019 | 6–9PM

Based on an essay by Stephanie Cristello

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CATSKILLS, NY—OSMOS Station is pleased to present The Gravity of Language, a solo exhibition by artist-in-residence Kay Rosen. Featuring work from the 1970s to the present through the conceptual and thematic lens of ‘gravity’—as both a physical force, and a term for significance—the exhibition’s title is derived from the title of the essay written by Cristello published in OSMOS Issue 17, which traces select site-specific installations and works to explore undercurrents of mythology, and the relationship between text, image, and the body. 

Rosen’s career has been marked by her ontological use of language; a concrete presentation of text that echoes the conceptual meaning of the text itself. The exhibition will include adaptations of seminal works from Rosen’s practice, such as Leak (1991) most recently installed at the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as Sisyphus (1991), one of the artist’s rare instances of film, most recently included in the group exhibition In Light Of… at Chicago Manual Style. Also included is Rosen’s Constructed Landscape (Winter) (2013), which pictures a series of intersecting words in hues of gray—River, Hill, Valley—the letters within each word interlaced with one another, so that each either completes or complements the next. The title of the work is derived from a bilingual secret contained within its structure; ‘Hill’ and ‘River’ combining to spell Hiver, the French term for winter. Iterations of the artist’s work with staircases will also be installed, including an edition from Double Staircase (1978–81), a series of collaged photographic compositions that exist somewhere between performance documentation and land art, and Stair Walking (1981), which pinpoints the diagrammatic turn in Rosen’s practice, depicting the markings of movement measured by the artist (partial curves; horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines) in place of the photographic image.

The implicit ‘gravity’ of Rosen’s pieces refers to not only the many allusions to force throughout her practice, but also conveys the many definitions of the word itself, i.e.: the importance, significance, and severity of language that is imposed upon our way of looking at, and experiencing, the world around us. For Rosen, the dialectic of image and language never rests statically in one category, but instead in a type of limbo: images if they should be words, words if they should be images. Tailored to the context of the Catskills in New York, The Gravity of Language exposes the artist’s latent interest in motions of up and down, and all of the potential poetics in between. 

For images and press inquiries: info@chicagomanual.style

Support for this exhibition was provided by OSMOS Gallery New York.