Kelly Mark

Anyone with a pre-computer, pre-digital background in graphic arts (or student newspapers or craft shop projects) will remember the Letraset sheets of fonts and alphabets. From transparent, waxy sheets, you could select and emboss neat black lettering onto your school newsletter, lost pet flyer, or work presentation. (This before PowerPoint, of course.) It was like owning a printing press, only your production cost was pennies per page. Then the early Macs and digital fonts relegated Letraset to the bottom drawer and, finally, the trash bin. Only Toronto artist Kelly Mark saved some of them, and she arranges the old letters into purely graphic forms that can’t be read like headlines or photo captions. Her show !@#$%^&* is entirely black-and-white, intricately assembled constellations of letters and dingbats from every font family. Each collage is like a continent or giant paisley. The glyphs and mathematical symbols and forgotten typewriter keys—when was the last time you used a ¢?—are demarcated by undulating boundaries. From a distance, you can’t identify the typographical components—they’re more like Ben-day dots. Study each work up close, and you’ll discern the scrambled, swirling alphabets. There is no grammar or literary meaning to discern from them, but they pull you in like good writing, no matter how nonsensical. BRIAN MILLER

Wednesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Starts: Oct. 14. Continues through Nov. 27, 2010

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