Carl Jung wrote that there are things which can be conveyed with symbols that cannot be conveyed with modern language. These ideas are so ancient they
precede the modern human form of Homo Sapiens Sapiens.
This idea has fascinated me.
Though I used to work exclusively in an impressionist style, I have recently experimented with more primitive forms, symbolism and flat shapes.
This new collection of work came from my own fascination with ancient logographic writing forms and geometric shapes of early human civilizations. I began to draw simple shapes as a meditation, much like they would have been drawn when written language was first developing in Sumerian and the Indus Valley.
The shapes flowed out of me easily, as if my mind was somehow full of these ancient shapes and symbols and I had drawn them before.
Ancient symbols still carry meaning. At some level of consciousness they speak to us and remind us of a time when we did not read words and sentences. We used a far more powerful form of visual communication. Though not as versatile as the modern alphabet, symbols were able to convey an entire idea.
In my paintings I have not copied these forms from anywhere in particular but they are influenced by my observation and reading on the subject of ancient logographic and hieroglyphic writing systems. Some of the forms are simply a basic rendering of the human body, or of a bird. They are the most basic way of communicating the concept of “human”.
The outcome is a collection of intuitive modern relics that remind us of the way humans used to convey information silently from person to person using drawings on boulders , trees and in caves.
Maybe we can still communicate whole concepts without using words.
A Collage of container ships by Jenny O'dell
Jenny Odell is a collector, but not of physical objects. She collects photos of landmarks, geographical features, large ships, and man made pools. They are merely digital images but they give you a certain perspective of the Earth we live on. These are not things you can actually collect (Unless you’re a multi-millionaire) but they help you see the imprint of technology and advanced civilization on the Earth.
They also suggest the vast reach of modern commerce and global economy.
Collecting is one of the traits that we share as humans. We want to arrange, compare and categorize. This helps us understand our world. This way we can feel we have a little control with the knowledge we accrue. I was not allowed to drink pop as a kid, but I used to collect bottle caps, shells, stickers (scratch and sniff), rocks and coins.
I did not have the internet either, so I could not do what Jenny is doing now. Her collections are a way to look at and sort the overwhelming amount of images that we see. Her collages are an expression of a filter device we have. We are constantly asking where things belong: dangerous, crude, ridiculous, hot, dark, alive, dead, immoral. Everything can be put into multiple categories simultaneously depending on the kind of filter you are using and your parameters. If you do not do this, I strongly suggest you try. This is one of the ways we add meaning to the world as human beings.