Alan Gouk argues that visual art and language share little in common.
Gouk writes: "the relationship of words, either spoken or written, to 'things,' is a world away from that of visual sensation to its pictorial presentment. The pictographic representation of a tree has a morphological link to its object – this means that its significatory function is radically different from that of sign to 'thing' in writing. In developed languages the link between signs and their objects has become arbitrary; not the case when it comes to painting. It is much closer to 'reality' (however defined) than is the word."
He continues: "In writing what may have begun as a pictographic sign is quickly modified by the act of writing itself, the flow of the implement used etc., into a kind of short-hand in which the original sign is transformed until its pictorial element is lost. Not so in art, painting or drawing; here the short-hand – dots and dashes of paint or line retain their direct visual role and are continually brought back into a correspondence with the 'facts' of visual sensation (even in abstraction)."