John McGreal's three new books - It's Abstraction, Concretely, It's Figuration, Groundly and It's Representation, Really - continue the `It' Series published by Matador since 2010. They constitute another stage in an artistic journey exploring the visual and audial dialectic of mark, word and image that began over 25 years ago. Emerging out of the first books on the Bibliograph published in 2016, initiated with It's Nothing, Seriously, these new texts retain some of the same structural features. The Bibliographs contain the same focus on repetition and variation in meaning of their dominant motifs of representation, abstraction and figuration which have framed philosophical discourse on epistemology and ontology in aesthetics; their chance placement in each Bibliograph interspersed with one another displaying and enhancing similarities and differences. At the same time these works constitute a development in the aesthetic form of the Bibliograph. In earlier works on Nothing, Absence and Silence, it was just a question of finding and transferring given textual references from their source to construct their Bibliographs, with the focus being on the strategic position of the latter within each book. In these new works, the concern has been with working on the line and shape of the references themselves, with their enhanced spacial form as well as that of each Bibliograph as a whole. In shaping and spacing the referential images, the place of words and letters became as important as their semantic & syntactical role. Expansion and contraction of whole words was used to enhance this process. Under such detailed attention their breakdown into particles of language, into part-words and single letters was a result. The recombination of elements produced new words in a process of restrangement with new sequences of letters having visual rather than semantic value. The play on prefixes of dominant motifs yielded new words as did tmesis. This concern with the form of referential images does not preclude an equal commitment to their content. The aleatory character of textual entries in each Bibliograph encourage the reader to let his or her mind go; to read in a new way on diverse contemporary issues across conventional boundaries in the arts and sciences at several levels of physical, psychical and social reproduction.
John McGreal was born of working-class parents into a post-war London Irish culture that placed a high value on education and the written word. In addition to writing works of poetry for 20 years, his professional experiences as a sociologist, translator, psychoanalytic counsellor and artist have all informed the books.