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Dictionary Projects

The 1913 Funk and Wagnells Dictionary series came from a memory of how I found school to be quite difficult. I always joked that I could learn anything I needed from the dictionary and encyclopedia of course this was before computers! Tearing the pages out, reconfiguring them, and glueing the pages together in sets of four to give myself a paper canvases of about 2 feet by three feet to paint.


“As I paint, I collaborate with the dictionary, using the words and images to inspire me. Painting over to obscure parts and bringing in my own new meaning” The dictionary is so different from the way I am. It is factual, organized and labored where I am direct, intuitive and non- linear”. “What relationship do we have with objects and words and creatures that swirl around us”?

“ Lauren Ari works with very old dictionary pages. Selected words or images suggest characters or objects that Ari then draws in colorful tableaux. The drawings are whimsical, strange and engrossing studies of language, as well as definitions of a constructed reality. Often, they are accompanied by three-dimensional representations, making them a perfect complement in a collection of contemporary ceramics”

Karin Breuer, Curator
Achenbach Foundation For Graphic Arts

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