The “Prima Facie” series began with a desire to work with language paired with photographic imagery. It is one of my ongoing concerns.
For imagery I chose to work with facial expressions. Can one match accurately a facial expression to a word? When a person's facial expression appears angry can one link the word Angry to that expression? Perhaps Troubled would be more accurate if we were to enquire. Our judgement is “prima facie,” or at first sight.
Many states or investigations of this theme followed. The series concludes with the fifth state, where the facial expression has disappeared and is replaced by pure color and the text is the paint manufacturer's name for that color, which mirrors an emotional state, i.e. Warm Comfort rather than Cadmium Red.
John Baldessari, statement on the “Prima Facie” Series from Catalogue Raisonné, Volume Five: 2005-2010