Through a Plexiglas window at the front of the pedestal a dial slowly rotates with an electric motor for the viewer to read the following words: 

Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Fabricated from post consumer recycled tin cans, and aluminum rivets. Over 575 metal triangles are cut, folded, and riveted together in a traditional quilt pattern. The individual triangles are tilted at various angles, distorting the appearance of the pattern depending on your perspective.

Witnessing the Weight of Words top detail

The structure of this pedestal is a metaphor.  Each triangle is tilted at a different angle. 

Angles change perspective just like words that have an entirely different meaning depending on the context in which they are used.

The quilt pattern on the piece appears very flat from a distance--if you are looking at a side straight on.  The pattern changes, however, when you change your viewing position. Thus the image of the triangles (and the words on the triangles) changes depending on your perspective

Close up view for Witnessing the Weight of Words with Limited Edition words

Another aspect of the words chosen for the pedestal Witnessing the Weight of Words is the use of art words.  The irony of a limited edition tin can for Ritz crackers comments to me about many aspects of our society and the marketing of art.  Other art words on this piece include commission, Dutch Masters, one-of-a-kind, hand made and many more.

Witnessing the Weight of Words  details imitated never copied

In addition, the use of materials originally intended for consumer goods as raw material to fabricate this piece comments on art as another product in our consumer society.

Witnessing the Weight of Words recycled tin cans words and text as pattern

The concept and construction of a pattern of words is based on new theories in graphic design.   For example, graphic design has recently begun exploring entirely new ideas about the placement of words on the printed page.  This is portrayed in contexts as diverse as children’s books, magazine advertisements and television advertisements.  Words are image.
















The pattern of words on a page can be like the pattern of a quilt. The repetitive patterns exhibited by a type font, or written characters such as in Arabic, or Chinese or many other aspects of words is usually taken for granted.  The printed pattern of one word alone can convey meaning.  For example, studies were done in which a TIDE box was cut up in small pieces.  In this case, people did not need to see the whole word to know that it said TIDE. 

Dial on Witnessing the Weight of Words says Visualizer

The dial rotates at an angle for the viewer to read.  All of the words have more than one meaning; words that belong in both an art context and other facets of life.  Many of the words on the dial are also visual puns to the concepts and construction of the piece itself.

Witnessing the Weight of Words on display in an exhibition.

This sculpture Witnessing the Weight of Words was featured in several photos in the book Manufractured: The Conspicuous Transformation of Everyday Objects. There is an entire chapter about my work! The text by Mara Holt Skov and Steven Skov Holt is very informative and an interesting read. 

Witnessing the Weight of Words is also included in the book Found Object Art. CLICK on the book title or image for more information. 


Permanent Collection of the Racine Art Museum,
Racine Wisconsin. 
20" height   x   18" width   x   18" depth    
Photo Credit for all images: Philip Cohen
Artist statement is available. 

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