Joe Amrhein's multi-sized signs are textured texts, words designed into an array of fonts and colors, layered on top of each other, revealing through semi-transparent glass enough to be deciphered and "read." Reading his work entails being able to occupy two minds: one which sees the artistry of the signs themselves, and one which is able to peer through the layers and process the meanings of the words. This is an incredible semiotic project which depicts words as a series of signs (literally). And simultaneously, there is context.
The catalogue text for his 2004 solo show at Roebling Hall Gallery in Williamsburg (Brooklyn, NY) reads:
"Amrhein takes Robert Smithson's dictum, 'One must remember that writing on art replaces presence by absence by substituting the abstraction of language for the real thing,' as his starting point. From there, he zeroes in on the analytical and creative differences between showing and telling, the dissociations inherent between descriptive language and that which it describes.
Amrhein works on glass, vellum and even through shadows created by projecting light through his single pieces or installations. Working from his experience as a sign painter, Amrhein incorporates language taken from art journals such as 'Artforum,' 'Art in America,' and 'Flash Art' into works that critique the art world's theoretical excesses and tease out innate poetical possibilities."
(Source for catalogue text: http://spareroom.org/invisible/inc_roebling.html