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Vision-a, digital print with studio seal, 22” by 30”. 2016 (transform).
These digital transformations draw primarily on work generated with my own software. The calligraphic scripts, drawn with the same coded procedures that generated the master forms, are presented as a form of “visual poetry”. In these examples the scripts speak “visually”, as it were, about “form qualities” that permeate the master form. These characters evolved, in part, from my experience teaching in China in the 1980's. Later I learned that Wang Dong-Ling, who followed my course in China, had undertaken to create works with the visual qualities of traditional calligraphy but they were not actually characters. Such work with “no-character” (feizi) have, since then, entered main stream work by Chinese contemporaries. (See Note 1 below)
These transformations are original, limited edition, digital prints. They embody 65 years of my experience as an artist wrestling with visual form. As an artist, my work strives to achieve form that invites us to savor a transcending moment in everyday, commonplace life.
Presence, digital print with studio seal.
22” by 30”. 2016 (transform).
Sunset Cloud, digital print with studio seal.
22” by 30”. 2016(transform)
Gaia Speaks, digital print with studio seal.
22” by 30”, 2016 (transform).
Note 1. THE CHINA FACTOR: The influence of China on my work and the influence of my work in China is discussed by Shao-Lan Hertel in her essay, "Lines in Translation: Cross-Cultural Encounters in Modernist Calligraphy, Early 1980s–Early 1990" (YISHU: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art) 2016, pp 6-28. It was clear to me in the early 1960's that oriental influences were brought to New York in the Post WWII period. The influence of oriental calligraphy was present especially in the work of Robert Motherwell and Franz Kline. Also both Buddhist and Taoist teachings were a strong undercurrent.of ideas permeating discussions in the art scene in New York during the 1960's. I had lived in mid-town Manhattan during the height of that period and shared first hand accounts of the period with my class in China in 1985.
Coded characters without meaning: My use of non-meaning characters emerged through my work with code. As I developed my code I realized that I could generate characters that mimed the visual qualities of a language. Around 1989 I created one page documents labeled as "HODOS" correspondence. (Hodos is the name of my master program). The first character in this correspondence was "illuminated" with embroidered pen & ink work. Eventually the key pen and ink stroke in my large drawings was presented as an illuminated "glyph" ("non meaning" character"). In 1995, invited to exhibit for Artec in Nagasaki, I submitted four large brush stroke works that included vertical scripting as a visual language (no meaning). Those works present a unique blend of code merging eastern and western thought. My software title, "Hodos", is the Greek term for "way" , "road", or "path". I chose this classical Greek term as a kind of "western" pathway to the oriental tao. At its roots my software code is somewhat "taoist", the "way".
Coded Characters with Meaning: I hasten to add that, later in the 1990's, I also built a code routine for generating characters assigned to an alphabet. Texts were then presented, in some of my works with characters that could be translated. The coded texts in my "Flowers of Learning", the "Rocktown Scrolls" and most of my "Pearl Park Scriptures" have characters aligned with texts.