Melissa Wagner-Lawler


My current line of work focuses on destruction. Using repetitive and geometric forms, the space becomes abstracted through this destruction. The text used represents the attempt to make sense of the destruction and to reassure the viewer that everything will be okay, but does so from a place where they are unable to do anything about it. What or who is being destroyed is not clear. The destruction of the text and imagery on the page tells the story of the breakdown of this information through digital means.

Everyday our society’s ability to communicate is breaking down. The clarity of our thoughts in the digital environment has taken a backseat to the speed at which the information is received. Text messages, blog entries and status updates are the preferred method of communication. Often times, it takes longer to decipher these quick, poorly written messages than it does to understand a well-written sentence with obscure or seldom used words.

Using language as a primary visual element, the text in my work becomes abstracted through various digital processes. Cutting, masking, and layering techniques in Illustrator are used to destroy and manipulate it digitally. Printing, overprinting, and subtleties in ink are used to create a visceral, delicate surface on the page enticing the viewer to decipher the message. Is the language or message within the text important – and if it is important, why obscure it or make it difficult to read?

In our current technologies, nothing created can ever be permanently erased - fragments of the information will always remain.