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Bonnie Gordon b. 1941, Maroon Wave, 1986; acrylic on steel, 25 3/4 x 12 3/8 x 3 1/2 inches; Gift of the artist and the Nina Freudenheim Gallery, 2017

Bonnie Gordon b. 1941, Maroon Wave, 1986; acrylic on steel, 25 3/4 x 12 3/8 x 3 1/2 inches; Gift of the artist and the Nina Freudenheim Gallery, 2017

Bonnie Gordon is one of the most imaginative artist/photographers in the United States. Her work has consistently challenged categorization because she manipulates imagery and text—literally stretching it—to create works that have ranged from single two-dimensional cyanotype photographic prints to enormous, gallery-filled sculptural installations. This scroll is the only one of its kind Gordon has created. Undulating textual threads take seemingly serendipitous journeys across the surface of her works, tracing and changing meaning in a visual manifestation of contemporary theory that addresses how the unconscious functions.

French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan wrote about this process in 1977 in Ecrits, stating: “Psychoanalytic experience has rediscovered in man the imperative of the Word as the law that has shaped him in its image. It exploits the poetic function of language to give his desire its symbolic mediation. May this experience finally enable you to understand that the whole reality of its effects lies in the gift of speech; for it is through this gift that all reality has come to man and through its ongoing action that he sustains reality.” —NW