April 21, 2011

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Retna, whose real name is Marquis Lewis, began incorporating writing-influenced design patterns into his work in the mid- to late-’90s, as a steady stream of news about tension in the Middle East exposed him to the beauty of Arabic and Hebrew writing. His early works featured patterns based on both languages, often surrounding stylized portraits. Over time, he incorporated Asian calligraphy and South American and Egyptian glyphs, transforming the written languages of ancient cultures into an intriguing new form of contemporary art.