Glenn Ligon / Artist

Above Image – Glenn Ligon, Invisible Man (two views), 1991. Image Source.


Born 1960, Glenn Ligon is an American Conceptual Artist. His works explore American History, race, Identity, language and society. Ligon is mostly known for his text based work, specifically his ‘textured text paintings’ (above and below).

I really like these paintings for the blurred effect he creates half way through the text. Only recently I have noticed that the blurs form a human shadow. Reflecting on his context, the works represent a lost voice. The aspect I like about them is how powerful the text becomes as it’s blurred; the person in the image becomes silenced, yet I feel this amplifies the piece. I also find it interesting how much of a print this resembles, reminiscent of a mono-print, Ligon has created a really angst filled work. The below piece has a really intriguing, how he has used black paint on a black background, yet the text is still visible; comparing this to his context – the piece becomes very powerful.

Untitled, Etchings, 1992. Image Source.



I love how Glenn Ligon gives a voice to all his works, seen below in the neon. He has used what appears to be handwriting, which gives the work a human characteristic. I love the technique he has used by painting the top of the neon black; the glow of the neon still remains, but it now appears really ethereal; as though someone has written with pen yet it glows.

Untitled (If I can’t have love, I’ll take sunshine), 2006, Neon and Paint. Image Source.


I’m also really interested in how Ligon transposes work into other mediums; seen below. He has mad a print from one of his neon works. I like how he has taken the quality of a neon; the glowing outline, and then used that to replicate the neon in a print. I think both have individual qualities, but I am more drawn to the print. I love how he has taken what a neon has/needs; the glowing light and the dark surroundings – it’s a really interesting process, and something I want to experiment with myself.




Glenn Ligon –


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