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Constructed Landscape (In Four Parts) Constructed Landscape (In Four Parts)

Kay Rosen — Constructed Landscape (In Four Parts)

In Constructed Landscape (In Four Parts), the words are the things themselves, components of a landscape: a valley, a hill, a river, a cave. They go on an evolutionary binge, one helping at a time, creating a scene over four pages that sequentially builds on the letters of the words that precede them. Each word efficiently recycles parts of its predecessor by incorporating its letters into the new bodies—acts of sharing rather than cannibalism. The process depends as much on position and incidence of the letters as on what the words represent. A hill rising out of a valley, a river snaking through and around them, an underground cave, all attempt to lift the language from a linear verbal narrative to a multilevel visual one.


Kay Rosen is a Midwest-based artist from Texas whose paintings, drawings, editions, collages, and installations on walls, billboards, and buildings use language as their imagery. Rosen’s work has been exhibited in museums and institutions nationally and internationally for several decades, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, where she had a retrospective exhibition in 1998–99; Museum of Fine Arts Boston; MASS MOCA, North Adams, Massachusetts; 2000 Whitney Biennial; Art Institute of Chicago; and in solo gallery exhibitions across the U.S. and Europe. Her recent work can be seen in February and March 2012, in Kay Rosen: Wide and Deep at Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York. A book about her work, Kay Rosen: AKAK, was published by Regency Art Press, New York City, in 2009. Rosen taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for eighteen years. She is the recipient of three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and an Anonymous Was a Woman Award. In a 2010 interview, Rosen said, “When it comes to reading my work, throw out all the rules you ever learned: spelling, spacing, capitalization, margins, linear reading, composition…all your old reading habits will be useless.”