Even as Renee Gladman's well-regarded, category-defying writing practice has turned from writing proper toward asemic drawing, that work has been available mainly in book form. Her 2017 Prose Architectures — inky scribbles that resemble sketches of urban architecture, blocks of indecipherable handwriting, or both — was the first publication in this direction for a writer who previously was known for prose and prose fiction, including her peerless series of Ravicka novels. Two other artist books followed: One Long Black Sentence (2020) and Plans for Sentences (2022), both of which built upon her asemic idiom. Gladman's contemplative Artists Space exhibition, Narratives of Magnitude, allows visitors to experience her drawings as material originals rather than published reproductions. This not only makes their physical labor more apparent but also shifts the associations her beguiling marks provoke. The gridded suite of nine drawings displayed on the entryway wall, “Slowly We Have the Feeling: Scores” (2019–22), hints at such differences. Each drawing is rendered on black paper and contains blurry pastel shapes situated within and around spare constellations of white geometric lines. Some lines have arrows at one end and others have mathematical symbols alongside them as if they charted vectors of energy across the picture plane. They resemble chalkboard demonstrations of cosmological motion, schematics of a universe whose machinations are equal parts mysterious and beautiful. Whereas […]
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