Visual Language Tore Terrasi

Tore Terrasi is an award winning Intermedia artist and designer originally from the Boston area. He received a Masters of Fine Arts in Visual Design from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in 2005. His work has been nationally and internationally exhibited and published, including “Currents” International New Media Festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico, “L’Hybride Cinema Les Mots S’Animent (The Words Animated/Animation and Typography)” in Lille, France, The Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, The Cooper Union in New York, “Typomania 2017 and 2018” at The Moscow Museum of Russia, Forward Festival in Vienna Austria, The CICA Museum in Seoul, South Korea, and twice exhibited at TypoDay (Jordan, Amman and Bangalore, India).

The constant interplay between words and images has yielded especially fertile ground for my research and serves as the common thread connecting all my creative activity. My ambitions as a communicator are to reconsider the conventions through which we experience texts and images by way of exploring the simultaneously independent and interdependent nature of their relationship.

A more detailed examination into my work finds two major perspectives at play. The first is shared between British art critic John Berger and French philosopher Roland Barthes. They viewed meaning in art as being derived through the varied and multiple interpretations, perceptions, and experiences of the reader/audience. This allows the artist to both control and not control the intent or meaning of a piece. The second perspective, more linguistically based, is that of Russian literary and cultural critic Viktor Shklovsky. Shklovsky argued that one of the roles of art is to have a continuous cycle of de-contextualization and de-familiarization against that which is already established and familiar - turning the old and cliché into something new and revitalized.

"A Beautiful Face," Pixel Graphics, 2012

My work serves as a platform by which a semiotic/art hybrid approach looks to both de-familiarize our experiences with words, images, design, materiality, media, and technique (while playing against the familiarity of those very things) and in doing so, open a plurality of meaning and interpretation.

"Compost," Vector Graphics, 2018

My artwork also hybridizes digital process with analogue process and requires a high level of technical innovation. The resulting works categorize loosely with that of video, animation, photography, typography, design, and textiles yet they are not distinctly typical of these independent disciplines.

As such, I freely shift between static and dynamic media. Conceptually rooted by the word and image interplay my work necessitates the audience to experience information on the level of both text and image forcing a formed synthesis between the verbal and the visual.

The work in this exhibition represents two seemingly distinct bodies of work.

The first grouping is a series of experimental letterforms and typographic displays. Our reading experiences can be greatly altered and persuaded by how letterforms are presented. Type designers have been keenly aware of this since the advent of writing. The design of the letter helps establish a mood, a tone, to the text. I create different typeface styles that are inextricably linked to time and as such their mood or tone is established through a temporal dimension. A readers attention is brought to both the formal characteristics of the text as well as the content. At the heart of this work are notions of understanding, comprehension, and interpretation. Much of the work is left intentionally ambiguous of meaning allowing for the viewer to bring their own experiences to the work.

"We Are All Connected," Vector Graphics, 2018
"I Am Sorry," Vector Graphics, font 2019, poster 2020

The second grouping of work is from a series entitled “Strips”. These strips are a mash-up of two previously created series, “Grid Studies” and “Timescapes”. “Grid Studies” examines an outmoded visual system of organizing and archiving information. In other regards the work explores the nature or essence of grids, regardless of the information it contains. There is a beauty in the stacking of systems upon systems; writing, to page layout, to archival microfilm, to woven artwork. In “Timescapes” I remind the audience to define a panorama as an image that allows us to see more of an image - a more complete survey of a subject. However I ask how might we define a temporal panorama? A temporal panorama would suggest the ability to document the cause and the effect - the before with the after. Or at the very least, a temporal panorama allows us the opportunity to see more than a single moment in time or a single location in space, all the while affording us the luxury of viewing a single image. Within both series of work, the notion of time is a central theme. However, I ask you note the aesthetic similarities too. “Strips”, finds these common visual traits and in doing so creates cohesion and friction between the two distinct series of work.

"Timescape Strip #26," Digital Print, 36"x11", 2017
"Timescape Strip #23," Digital Print, 36"x11", 2017
"Timescape Strip #18," Digital Print, 36"x11", 2017
"Timescape Strip #20," Digital Print, 36"x11", 2017
"Timescape Strip #16," Digital Print, 36"x11", 2017
"Timescape Strip #14," Digital Print, 36"x11", 2017
"Timescape Strip #13," Digital Print, 36"x11", 2017
"Timescape Strip #12," Digital Print, 36"x11", 2017
"Timescape Strip #11," Digital Print, 36"x11", 2017
"Timescape Strip #9," Digital Print, 36"x11", 2017
"Timescape Strip #3," Digital Print, 36"x11", 2017
"Timescape Strip #1," Digital Print, 36"x11", 2017


Tore Terrasi