Artists' Statement: Beside the Point

A few years ago we replaced the lawn at our Los Angeles home with drought-tolerant plants. As we collected eventually two to three hundred varieties of cacti and succulents for our new, drier landscape, we became fascinated by the forms and colors of the plants and began to photograph them.

The resulting diptychs and triptychs link the common name, form and/or color of the succulent plants found in our garden with man-made objects and/or things from the natural landscape, thus creating visual puns. The word “pun” is a contraction of the English “pundigrion” (or wordplay), which is a bastardization of the Italian “puntiglio” (or equivocation), which is a diminutive of the Latin “punctum” (or point). Points, of course, are a distinguishing feature of cacti and many other succulents.


“A pun,” avers semiotician A. A. Berger, “is an auditory signifier that has two signifieds.” In this series, the titles function as signifiers with each having two or three linked images functioning as signifieds. Each work’s constituent signifiers and signifieds, when joined together, generate a sign, which, like all signs, becomes intelligible only when viewed in context with other signs.