My work utilizes language and code to communicate various ideas and thoughts through my mixed media works and videos. My most recent series, “Artspeak”, explores the relevance of contemporary art to the lives of typical people by commenting on the language used in art journalism and critique and analyzing how typical people react to this language. I utilize Morse code, as the language used in the art world is a code that is only used and understood by a select few.
In an age where all of our art and communication can be reduced to and stored in a binary language, the fact that Morse code was one of the earliest forms of digital code and the first universal language of the digital age resonates strongly with me. There’s beauty in the simplicity of the simple dots and dashes of this outdated language, but layers of meaning and relevance can be conveyed using its symbolic lexicon. For example, my recent video "Enduring Conundrum" captures individuals from all walks of life repeating phrases taken from press releases of art exhibitions, and the mixed media works translate these phrases into Morse code. The works illustrate how words are never quite sufficient to describe a visual artwork
Previously my work had been characterized by immediacy and gesture, executed combining elements of both painting and drawing, and I typically tapped into the instinctual and subconscious to create spontaneous works of art. The line was essential, as its path through the work told the story and evoked the mood. My inspiration has come from sources as varied as the human figure, Chinese landscape painting, calligraphy, expressionism, appropriated images from art history, and the Morse Code.
About Bill Claps
Bill Claps is a visual artist and writer. Born in Glen Ridge, N.J., he has an A.B from Harvard University, where he studied painting and art history, and has studied painting and drawing at the Art Students League in New York and in Florence, Italy. He is the Visual Arts Director and Curator of the Jersey City Theatre Center and Merseles Studios Gallery in Jersey City, N.J., and a contributing writer to Artspace Magazine and Exibart Magazine. Bill lives and works in New York City.