Lip Service


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collages (visual works)


Art and Design | Art Practice


Lip Service, collage, measures 8 inches by 9.75 inches.

Artist's Statement

“The mouth is where the body and language meet. The mouth is also the site of proper language and improper body. The proper body is regulated through language. Our mouths caution us to keep civilized, despite our bodies.”

-Anthony Farrington “Kissing”

“How easily the body opens. How with difficulty does the mouth in awe, in praise. For there are words I cannot say.”

-Lia Purpura “Autopsy Report”

For there are words I cannot find, but let me define a few I have.

I/me: sentience, consciousness, thought, or, with any luck, soul.

Body, proper and improper: a walking, talking vessel containing I/me and of which I demand much yet have no control over.

Language: another system within the vessel, and of which I demand much and have no control over.

Detachment: the experience of having no control over the body or language.

Anxious: a feeling produced from, among other things, detachment.

Dear language,

Let this be a formal declaration of dissatisfaction. We need not go into who started this (you did), we're passed that now. I just wanted to tell you that if you continue to come to mind disordered and defiant, then I will present you as such. Should you insist on hiding inside my body, know that I will wear you on the outside. Please reconsider your current stance, as I feel we have a good deal in common and could be great friends.

Warmly if you capitulate but until then,

coolly and cordially yours,

Jana Purington


This work appeared in lam.prey, the 2016 Thesis Exhibition at Linfield College. Image courtesy of Jana Purington.


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