Michael Corris: Incidents on a Page: Dallas-Venice Dreamscapes: 1976-2020

Artist Statement

Artist’s Statement for “Incidents on a Page: Dallas-Venice Dreamscapes, 1976-2020”


I accept the conventional form of the typographic sample sheet as much as artists accept the anatomy of the body.


Using the design of the typographic sample sheet took care of a great deal for me because I didn’t have to design it.


For graphic designers, the typographic sample sheet is a thing the mind already knows. This gives me room to work on other levels.


That’s what I like about typographic sample sheets, that they come that way.


This way of realizing my subject permits me to submit to an impersonal discipline of ruled lines and all the other technical conventions of typography, while still responding to every artistic impulse.


The typographic sample sheet brings together two disparate ways of approaching the making of art — systematic (the form) and improvisational (the content) — and brings them into proximity with a third that is normally antithetical to both; namely, the most literal realism.


The title of this exhibition implies a retrospective view of projects that relate to Venice and to Dallas, independently of one another and eventually in tandem with each other. I like to imagine that the title of an exhibition is variable rather than fixed, to accommodate the possibility that as you get to know the works better, they come to mean something else entirely. Even before the work in this exhibition has been made public, I can conceive of it being titled “Incidents on a Page: Dallas-Venice Dreamscapes, 2020 through 1976”. That would suggest that the exhibition’s business is to construct a relationship between Venice and Dallas such that the names of these two cities refer not only to actual places, but also to a historical development and a state of mind. An attitude that is the foundation for an understanding of globalization principally through art and culture.


— Michael Corris, April 2020