Seeing Simon Evans’s “ The Voice” through Language

Simon Evans, The Voice, 2010. Mixed media on paper. Collection of Alka and Ravin Agrawal

Verbal Description tours at the Jewish Museum bring our exhibitions to life for visitors who are blind or have low vision, using descriptive language and touch objects to convey the visual world. In conjunction with The Arcades: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin, an exhibition pairing contemporary works of art with each chapter of philosopher Walter Benjamin’s The Arcades Project, the following verbal description closely examines a work by the artist Simon Evans:

The Voice by Simon Evans is a three-and-a-half foot by three-and-a-half foot work on paper that at first glance appears to be a large white circle. As we look closer we see that the large circle is made up of many thin rings. Each ring is so thin that it is similar in size to a paper straw wrapper that has been flattened.

The rings create a pattern similar to when one might examine the rings of the interior of a tree, in that each ring is slightly different in color. The colors range from beige, to light brown, light tan, and the darkest rings are those with a reddish brown tint to them. The rings draw the viewer in to look closely to find that each ring is a repeating pattern of the statement, “The Voice.”

This phrase repeats around the circumference of each ring. It has been written by hand over and over and over again. This hand-written repeated phrase, “The Voice,” “The Voice,” “The Voice,” The Voice” seems almost endless and makes the artwork feel at once obsessive and meditative.

To learn more about programs for visitors with disabilities at the Jewish Museum, visit All programs are free.