Language system of bisected squares (It’s the highest honor they can give you. It means you belong to a family and a crew. It means that nobody can fuck around with you. It also means you can fuck around with anybody, as long as they aren’t also a member. It’s like a license to steal.)
Dry toner on book page
30.6 × 21.7 cm
43 × 32.5 cm framed in acrylic
Language system of bisected squares is a series of small scale works on paper created using laser-printed dry toner overprinted on torn out pages from the seminal publication Parrots of the World. Gowing arranges combinations repeating triangles to produce formally deconstructed letterforms that accumulate to form typographic statements that play with the idea that parrots might be the gangsters of the bird world—intelligent and impeccably dressed, conspiring to get what they want. These typographic statements are rhythmic and shapely interventions that recontextualise the original book pages, adding new life and creating new meanings.
This one-off original artwork is overprinted on a page torn from a used book. Any imperfections are an intentional part of the work.
Mark Gowing is an artist, publisher and designer working in in Gadigal/Wangal country, Sydney, Australia. He is the director of Formist, a publisher, type foundry and graphic design studio, specialising in books, typefaces and cultural commissions. Gowing is also co-founder of the groundbreaking music arts organisation Longform Editions. With a practice spanning more than 30 years, Gowing has produced projects for leading organisations and institutions with a passionate focus on visual art and language, design, film and music. He has been honoured with solo exhibitions at the 22nd International Poster Biennale in Warsaw, Poland, the Divieto d’Affissione in Turin, Italy and Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Gowing is a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale and his work is held in numerous institutional collections including the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, USA.