Glyph B

Mylar, ink, and pencil on canvas
40 x 30 in | 101.6 x 76.2 cm

Inspired by the evolution of Chinese calligraphy over 3,000 years, Chang created the Glyph series to commemorate the contemporary expression of the Latin script, the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world and the foundation of her native English language. Glyph B isolates the letter B handwritten by 651 visitors to her installation work, each letter cut from the original responses on mylar and adhered to a penciled grid on canvas.

Nearly all the world’s alphabets can be traced to the symbols first chiseled on rock walls in Serabit El-Khadim, Egypt around 1850 BCE. The letter B can be traced to the Phoenician bēt, meaning “house,” which may derive from the Egyptian hieroglyph shaped like a rectangle with an opening at the base. The shape evolved into two triangles until it became the Greek letter beta, which is the form we still use today. Here, Chang methodically displays the variations and nuances of the strokes of this single letterform expressed by the human hand in the early 21st century.