How to Choose an Image for an Invitation

The following isn’t an answer for the question positioned above, but rather several thoughts about the use of both words and images in a document. I’ll analyze an invitation that I recently prepared to my upcoming hands-on workshop at the Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University. The team at the Centre offered improvements to what I initially sent them, and we sent it today over relevant list-serves. These are the image and the text:





Noa Yaari, Artist in Residence 15/20 (detail), 2020. Ink and acrylic on paper, 22.9 x 30.5 cm, Toronto.

Artist in Residence” is an art project Dr. Noa Yaari created at home for the Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies. Dr. Yaari likes to say that the project is about how she has experienced the current pandemic, but it is much more than that. In this hands-on workshop, she invites us to dive into its details and the deliberations that determined its look. For instance, we will focus on the elements that convey discontinuity and insecurity, on the one hand, and those that express optimism, and self assurance, on the other. This would be an opportunity for us to examine how works of art open spaces for personal interpretations but also utilize perceptual and cultural codes that we share. We will also participate in a 10-minute drawing exercise to unleash our creativity in a supportive environment.

First, I like to direct your attention to the terms “residence” and “home” and the image of the upside down house. The title of the art project, “Artist in Residence,” suggest that its theme is an artist being in residence, which is confirmed by the indication that the artist created the project “at home.” This, in turn, brings the meaning of “residence” and “home” closer, blurring the distinction between the professionalism of “residence” and the intimacy of “home.” The text argues that I like to say that its about my “experience of the current pandemic.” Indeed, one of the main characteristics of it has been the integration of work and home through the “work at home” model. Considering this, what does the image of the house contribute to the invitation?

If the artist created the project at home, and the image of the house is of the artist’s home (we know it was painted there), than the artist experiences a downfall. The text points out that I invite the audience to dive into the project’s details; their planning and the contradicting emotions they evoke. The use of the term “dive” emphasizes the movement of the house (or artist) downward, and the term “invites” legitimates any interpretations that the viewer may realize in their mind while reading the invitation.

Second, the text indicates that we will examine how artworks function on the fine line between personal interpretations and shared perceptual and cultural codes. This reminds the reader that their interpretation – perhaps association between – the terms “residence” and “home” and the image of the house may be idiosyncratic, and equally so, a collective reaction.    

This verbal-visual composition intentionally creates a mental space that expands in various directions. It positions words and images in vicinity to one another to raise different meanings that make sense to the same degree, as paradoxes do. The hearts, roof, and snow in the painting enable the colour red to do so as well.       

Please join us at the workshop on Monday Sept 13, 12-2 pm. Via Zoom: https://yorku.zoom.us/j/96503824462?pwd=M0tSdDN4MkNKbXlpWjk3UGNvQUszZz09

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