Quintessense 2:
connection & communication

University of California Center
August - November 2004

The following images are part of the collection of original work displayed.
The mediums are silk paintings, digital prints and mixed media constructions.

Artist's Statement

I always wanted a large globe like pictured above. When one came into my possession (a long story) I decided to paint it as the 'flagship' for my exhibition, Quintessence: Connection & Communication, dealing with our place in the universe. All coastlines are carefully and accurately left in place, the elevations are indicated by yellow the highest to maroon at shoreline. The oceans are painted with silver paint mixture, also color indicating depth. The ocean currents are traced with silver.

As the twenty-first century approached my work centered on the magnitude of transition into the next Millennium.

The exhibition of 1999, Quintessence: A Portrait of Earth, focused on the forms and the structures – the essence of Earth.

Quintessence 2: Connection and Communication addresses the relationship of Earth within the universe, as well as among the people on its surface.

Structure of written communication is multidimensional. Marks that have been made since the dawn of people on the Earth are accompanied by significance both esoteric and universal

It is not always necessary to know a language in order to understand what is being communicated. The structure of language is not unlike the structure of the universe. Theoretical physics suggests Earth is a part of a vast chain-link entity connecting all that exists.

The hidden forms of energy and gravity and magnetism are much like hidden constructions and shapes that form our communications, and hence our relationships.

The beauty created by and through these structures is the basis of this exhibition.

When doesa mark take on meaning?

There is a juncture – a point in which meaning is recognized. A written word carries content. The structure of the letter or mark signifies as well as its position within the structure.

Meaning is adequately carried without reading each word in the text. Content is recognized through context. As well, unknown language takes on meaning by one’s desire to understand, and the search for signifiers and common denominators.

Hieroglyphics and other symbols that carry content have been used since the beginning of time. In some ancient languages such as runes, a mark can be a part of a word or stand alone as an icon. In modern language most letters can also stand alone when the culture puts recognized meaning to them. In the chain in which letters form words, and words form sentences, one understands in part by vocabulary of each word and in part through contextual placement.

I came to a country not reading the language. I found: one – the mind immediately associates with a familiar similarly spelled work and tries to attach that familiar meaning. And two – if the meaning is not clear, the mind searches surrounding structure to find some understanding. The quest to understand the written word is systematically sought out. Not so the spoken word, which often is just so much sound – undoubtedly from our plethora of daily noise surrounding us.

There is a visual/concept/meaning correlation apart from the phoneme/letter structure. When one reads a word a mental pronunciation occurs. Verbal is there. A word written in italics or upper case adds significance.

Although each culture has a slightly different approach, a distinctive manner of looking at things, basic meaning is universal.

Tree is tree, no matter if it is træ, tree, arbor or whatever. The meaning is the same as if the word is an icon. It is only when one digresses into parallel meanings that problems occur.

Text - writing – is merely a record of thought – the language of thought.

All text actually does is follow the mental phoneme structure, laid upon the letter structure. Text continues to exist in the writer’s mind in each stage of writing. So does text then exist in the reader’s mind, depending on the depth of reading. Some is skimmed over, yet we quote poetry long after visually seen.

Reading is done in personal time – the reader in control – skipping over, meditating upon. Art, as well is viewed with the viewer in control of the time. Should the story be read aloud, or viewed as video or film, the once-reader ceases to become the subject, but is another object, not in control of the assimilation of text or image.

One person’s perception of message is different from another’s. Therefore how can there be communication? If the meaning exists in one’s mind, and the words are not clear, or are misspelled or misinterpreted, the meaning must come through context of other words. If an icon from one culture, or from another time, carries meaning to that generation or location, and the meaning differs later or in another culture – is the original communication lost?

One could say text must be read in its entirety for original meaning in order to gain communication through the context. But what of hidden text? Fragments of cuneiform or faded petroglyphs?

Is the text contained within an envelope or in a hidden computer file non-existent and without meaning? If text was written on a napkin, and that napkin folded away, does the meaning change? That same napkin is lying on the table in plain view, but crumpled and wrinkled – is the text the same? Is the meaning the same to the reader as to the writer?

And what then, of the external atmosphere we absorb while reading. The autumn wind, spring flowers, a melody, someone’s voice, personal thought – any of these become entwined with the text in our minds. These memories have nothing to do with the written words, yet return to mind along with the text at a later reading.

Meanings, references, and cross reference – not unlike chain mail or a chain link fence.

Like Chain Link

It has been shown through years of mathematical calculations that this universe is much the same structure as that napkin.

Telescopes show us the galaxies are quite flat, and the theory is the universe itself is flat as well. But rather than lying there like an immense platter, it is crumpled and interwoven.

It is said that in the beginning – at the Singularity that some refer to as the Big Bang – TIME began as we know it. The many parts we call stars, and nebulae, and planets – as they formed began moving outward. The marking of this movement is Time.

But something else happened then as well. This was also the beginning of GRAVITY. The power that holds everything together, yet pushes everything away from each other.

This is the linkage between the stuff out there. In the universe, I prefer not to call it Space as that term is associates with emptiness, there is magnetism and light, but gravity holds things where they are.

On Earth, language is probably the most powerful force apart from gravity, magnetism, and light. It is what holds culture together and at the same time, separates people.

Cosmic stuff doesn’t communicate as we know communication, however all things are much aware of the others.

We are just beginning to see how beautiful this universe is. It was not long ago that we assumed it was just all darkness ‘out there’ and we had all the Light Shows from our vantage point on Earth.

Perhaps the language of Space – the communication of the Universe – is just beginning to be understood on Earth.

Quintessence: A Portrait of Earth addressed the forms, the structures, the essence of Earth itself, and the culture upon its surface. It was about perception of environment and place, and how opinion alters with understanding perceptions of others.

I addressed the impact of one upon another, and the place where One becomes the Other.

I addressed the surfacing of substructure as it breaks away and erodes the very elements it is intended to support, while culture itself breaks into smaller and smaller components.

Quintessence 2: Communication and Connection reaches deeper into that impact we have upon each other here on Earth, and the place Earth has within the expanse of the Universe.

And through this Earth endures.