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Andy Calabrese champions balance, but the version of equilibrium practised in Words and Pictures demands that his pictures be supplemented by predominantly unnecessary words. Didactic explanations accompany technically proficient but somewhat cluttered drawings, cultivating a “more is more” aesthetic that is echoed by the format of the zine (8.5 x 11, 40- plus pages). Even the overwrought titles feel superfluous: “Time: the Ultimate Dictator,” “Pulling the Tail of Destiny,” “Escapist Simulacra.” Calabrese may be underestimating the intelligibility of his work, much of which is already quite explicit. One drawing, titled “Mass Produced Brain Food,” features an anthropomorphized brain being spoon-fed from a container labelled “Corporate Sponsored Filler” (ingredients include “Mollifying Entertainment” and “Dominant Ideologies”). Could this message be any clearer? And who is the intended audience? For those who already question mainstream values, Calabrese offers no startling insights; for those who don’t, the surfeit of scepticism will seem, at best, dense and unapproachable. (Daniel Marrone)

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