In the 1970's and 80's Bonnie Gordon traced the connections between a half-tone photograph and definitions found in Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged. The photograph, reportedly found in a Santa Monica, California junk shop, is of an "everyman" wearing a common shirt and tie. Every word used by Gordon, in connection with the photograph, was provided by the Merriam-Webster's dictionary. Gordon's project was to trace chance associations between the photograph and found words in order to "reveal or reify deep-rooted attitudes and experiences" that make our human bodies out of language. The project is enhanced (but also constrained) by three subjects besides the human figure: the color black, half-tone screen or pattern, and the action of stretching.
The Anatomy of the Image Maps
title note: subtitle: According to Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged [T.Shaw]
active: United States
Visual Studies Workshop Press
New York Council on the Arts
unknown Provided support through an individual projects grant
publisher: Visual Studies Workshop Press
publication history: One edition printed and distributed by Visual Studies Workshop Press [T. Shaw]
language poetry (local)
themes: Language and the human body [T. Shaw]
artists' book (local)
related works: other titles by the author The Four Temperaments, 1974, and Anatomy of Proteus, 1982 [T. Shaw]
community: press Visual Studies Workshop Press [T. Shaw]
manuscript type: mockups
location: other Press sheets and related ephemera exist in Visual Studies Workshop Press's production archive.
note: The artist has been working on this project for decades. Doubtless innumerable documents exist in her personal archive in Buffalo, NY pertaining to the book and project.