Beyond Words, an exhibition of new painting and collage works by
Cecil Touchon, will be on display from September 12 to October 10, at
William Campbell Contemporary Art. A reception for the artist will be held on
Fort Worth Art Dealers Association (FWADA) Fall Gallery Night, Saturday,
September 12, from 2:00 to 9:00 p.m. The show will feature the latest work
from Touchon's ongoing exploration of typographic abstraction, wherein
pre-existing letter forms are deconstructed and extemporaneously re-assembled
to create what the artist calls a "chance aesthetic."
Based loosely on the concept of the grid, Touchon's nonrepresentational collages juxtapose structure with spontaneity. Disparate text-inspired shapes are disassembled and compartmentalized within tight geometric areas, at times reminiscent of traditional printing plates, but remaining completely abstracted. Limited color palettes maintain a quiet cohesion among the various shapes, textures, and lines that move meticulously around the space, where the segments simultaneously align and overlap, protrude and recede. Ultimately, the compositions evoke a dynamic yet controlled environment throughout the picture plane.
Touchon's collages focus not on the prescribed, utilitarian function of letters, but rather on their fundamental design aspects and visual impact. "I am interested in the concrete fabric of language, not what can be made out of it as a representational medium," the artist explains. "I look directly at the letters, not at the ideas that float into one's mind from reading letters… This is why I say I am releasing the letters from their burden of being bearers of meaning. Hence, this leaves the viewer free of such burdens as well."
Touchon's creative process begins with small collages on paper, some of which grow into larger paintings. (Beyond Words will include both the smaller works on paper and the larger canvas pieces.) He originally selected the medium of collage as an homage to the printed page, which, historically, has served as the primary vehicle for representational communication. He chose to employ typography in reference to verbiage, but also because of its graphic impact. At its core, Touchon's principal interest lies in transforming the written word into something purely visual. "Working with typography as a base, I experiment with multiple ways of thinking about this kind of material such as color relationships and ways of reconstructing the material," he says.
Touchon strives to create a type of visual poetry within his work as he strips typical communication symbols of their familiarity to highlight their lyrical elegance. In this manner, he elevates through reduction, altering the letters from both visual and cerebral angles. Specific, identifiable systems transcend their assigned roles to become wholly aesthetic and universal, communicating in a way that is, consequently, beyond words.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Widely recognized throughout Texas and the United States, Cecil Touchon has substantially impacted the fine arts arena for well over two decades. The highly acclaimed artist has exhibited in galleries and museums in Dallas and Fort Worth, as well as in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Boston, Houston, St. Louis, and Atlanta, among other cities. International exhibitions include venues in Paris; Amsterdam; Berlin; Sydney, Australia; Seoul, Korea; Cuernavaca, Mexico; and Italy, where he participated in the Venice Biennial in 2009 and 2001.
Touchon is the founder and director of the International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction in Santa Fe, as well as the co-founder of the International Post-Dogmatist Group. He is also a member of the Massurrealist Society and founder of the La Sociedad Massurrealista de Mexico. He has been featured in dozens of exhibition catalogues, magazine articles, and scholarly publications, including Masters: Collage-Major Works by Leading Artists (Lark Books), published in 2010.
Touchon's work appears in the collections of several major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Chicago Art Institute, and the Tate Modern in London. His works are found in many corporate collections as well, including those of IBM, HBO, American Airlines, American Express, Citibank, Las Vegas's Bellagio Hotel, Neiman Marcus, Hallmark, and the Sanyo Corporation, to name a few.
A Texas native, Cecil Touchon was born in Austin and attended both North Texas State University in Denton and the University of Texas at Arlington. He has been represented by William Campbell Contemporary Art since 1984.