For Annie Vought, writing represents an emotional revelation of the inner self. She renders that delicate relationship between words and personal identity in her intricate, hand-cut art. Using an X-acto knife, Vought slices tiny typography into large paper sheets, creating carefully coiled lexicons and newly labyrinthian replicas of found notes.
In an interview with the Art Museum of Sonoma County, Vought explains the significance that attracts her to inscribed language: “In the penmanship, word choice, and spelling the author is revealed in spite of him/herself. A letter is physical confirmation of who we were at the moment it was written, or all we have left of a person or a period of time. I also think a lot about the relationship between the public and the private, or more specifically about how the private side of ourselves can be made public.” When choosing to reproduce other people’s written communications as art, then, she recognizes that she’s exposing them in an intimate way. “But in the exposure is a vulnerability we all share,” she says. “I’m interested in human relationships, overall—the ones we have with ourselves and others.”
Gosh, I’ve been here before is her most detailed and time-consuming project to date, spanning 41”x53”. It combines tiny characters with complex geometrical motifs, spliced in layered concentric circles like a tree trunk’s cross-section. Another piece called House on Fire integrates the black silhouette of a home that appears to be going up in smoke, partially obscuring a lettered background. Whether you choose to decipher the lanced messages or merely admire Vought’s painstakingly precise patterns, her work is entrancing, manifesting her close attention to the elaborate complications of human language and psychology. You can see more of her skilled creations on her website.
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All images via Annie Vought.