"handwriting on the wall"

Apex Gallery
School of Mines and Technology
Rapid City, South Dakota

RT Livingston's interactive painted/text drawn installation focuses on survival in one form or another.

"I had no idea how this environmentalist, not to mention conceptual artist, would be received at a mining school in the Dakotas.  I was gratified at their openness."


'handwriting on the wall' 

an interactive exhibit

Apex Gallery 

handwriting on the wall


handwriting on the wall

present tense



signature piece

synthesize a worldview in just a few words.

If art is about nothing else, it’s about communication. 

The four painted/drawn wall installations are open to interpretation depending on you, the viewer’s, point of view.

The act of writing on the wall is immediate and direct with each stroke making up part of the text/drawing.

Three of the gallery walls have a series of painted grey squares placed horizontally across each wall. In rote fashion, each of three phrases is repeated over and over again providing a pathway to the brain where the
concept takes hold.

Much of my work references art of the past. Although these painting/drawings look nothing like the polyptychs [multiple panels], triptychs [3 panels], and diptychs [2 panels] of Italian Renaissance painting, they nevertheless pay homage to those compositional devices. Another reference is to the Minimalist aesthetic of the 1960s and 70s where a subject is revealed by means of its bare essentials, hence the simple squares and rectangle, with only a couple of words written across each
series, clarifies the concept.

Survival, in one way or another, is the overriding theme of the exhibit.

handwriting on the wall,’ can be read many ways. It defines the actual act of ‘writing on the wall’ as well a sense of foreboding by inferring such diverse issues as climate change or the survival of cursive writing as a way of creating synapses in the brain.

This ancient expression foretells impending doom as an inevitable fact.

The idiom has its origins in the Old Testament’s Book of Daniel, Chapter 5, where the Babylonian King summons the mystic Daniel, a captive Israelite, to interpret the mysterious disembodied ‘handwriting on the wall.’ The
phrase warns of doom. No one listens. That night the King is killed while his kingdom falls into the hands of the invading Persians.

present tenserefers to a grammatical time-frame that gives structure and uniformity to speaking or writing about our relationship to the here and now.

It also defines the uneasy state of the world.

impossible/crucialis my definition of everything that matters in life. The list is endless: family, relationships, health, the environment, security and peace name just a few.

Many situations loom dangerously dark and seemingly ‘impossiblebut it is ‘crucialthat we find solutions to these pressing problems if we are to survive intact.

signature piece’ is an interactive participatory drawing.

Cursive writing and drawing are directly related to one another. The first conscious drawing each of us creates is our own signature. We perfect it until it becomes a personal logo.

Our signatures stand in our stead when we cannot be present. They are legally binding.

Viewers are invited to write their signatures on the wall as part of the fabric that will create the overall interconnecting structure of the piece. The rectangular gives form to the diversity that mixes within.

What child doesn’t want to write or draw on the walls.

RT Livingston

Apex Gallery

January 16 – February 20, 2015