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Images courtesy of Christopher Fritton. Used by permission.

Christopher Fritton


Two things stick out immediately about Christopher Fritton’s visual works: his interest in the shapes of handwritten script, and the up-front presence of the tactile surfaces on which he makes these pieces. The interplay and interference between sight and touch are major themes in Fritton's work.

a work on glass on mirrors entitled Gadamer's Mirror

Hardly any of Fritton’s works exist on paper alone, nor are any created in purely digital form. Rather, one finds his poems and vispoems on a wide range of surfaces, including glass, encaustic (beeswax), aluminum foil, and papyrus. All of these materials are quite specific in how they literally feel. Even if you're only looking at a digital image of one of these pieces, their look calls forth their texture. To see them is to come close to touching them.

an encaustic piece entitled road

Unlike many visual poets, Fritton does not show great interest in focusing on typography, nor in working with individual letters or pieces of words. Most often, the main unit in Fritton’s works is whole words, and sometimes whole phrases and sentences, each of which is somehow transported a bit outside of its general, standardized meaning by the shape of his handwriting, or by its location within a field of other visual/tactile features.

one of chris fritton's waterspots

However, things are a bit different in his more recent series of “waterspots,” composed on a sewing machine. In these, Fritton focuses down to such a small visual scale that we are no longer sure that we are even dealing with the pieces of letters. In some cases it seems like no relation to language is even present, yet in some others there appears a faint sense of some piece of some letter from an alphabet we may or may not know.

(Jump to Fritton links on the resources page.)

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