Language – color synthesis
Barry schwabsky

Language, as Mel Bochner has mentioned for more than forty years, is not transparent. But, if it is not transparent, what is it then? Two alternatives immediately come to mind: it’s probably opaque or it’s translucent. But what happens when Bochner repeats this message over time is that he seems to push language from relative transparency to relative opacity. After all, what do you do when you talk to someone and you think they don’t get the message? You repeat it, and if they still don’t understand it, you repeat it again.

All the repetition of the words prevents their clarity, this is the case in Bochner’s work: the words are always legible, but not always clear since he stamps words and phrases at various superimposed angles.

Another clear aspect of Bochner’s work is the dichotomy between color and language, both of which subsist due to their material nature. Both are physical aspects on the canvas. Color and language are inseparable companions in Bochner’s work. The mono-prints of him could generate countless studies around the use of color and how Bochner combines, separates, contradicts, and more.

One thing is clear to us, Bochner is right: language is not transparent, and it is so because it is full of color.