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Concrete Poetic Images: Art by Kristin Leigh Calhoun

A text art piece combining the words Presence and AbsencePresence/Absence, ink on Thai kozo, parrafin

Kristin Leigh Calhoun works with text, manipulating words and letterforms into concrete poetic images. In some works, the focus seems to be on the conceptual meaning of the words, while in other works Kristin takes a more visual, formal approach, examining the aesthetic appearance of words and letters.

A text art piece combining the words self and doubtself Doubt, ink on handmade Hamada Kozo, parrafin


I’m enjoying looking through Kristin’s series Subtext. The images in this series are mostly composed of sets of two words, related in meaning and often similar in spelling. In pieces dealing with the term “self doubt,” Kristin arranges the words so that their relative position and design seems to affect the meaning of the other. In self Doubt, the word “self” hovers above “doubt,” the former exponentially smaller than the latter, suggesting doubt that overshadows the self.

A screen capture of Kristin Leigh Calhoun's art


In self DOUBT, the word doubt is transparent and set behind the solid word “self,” printed in the same size and font, altering the suggested meaning of the phrase toward the implication that the doubt is ever present, but not overwhelming.

A text art piece dealing with the idea of self-doubtself DOUBT, ink on Thai Kozo, parrafin

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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