Most ancient cultures grasped intrinsically and imperatively the awful power of language. To utter the true name of a divine being, or even a natural one, meant invoking powers and forces that may very well be beyond one's control. This recognition of the immanent value of words necessitated that one either be a virtuosic master of the subtleties of language, knowledgeable of the sacred incantations, or be a wily poetic artificer, able to tip toe around the subject, or be quiet. We have since learned very well some narrow aspects of the power that language has. The power to exploit, manipulate, intoxicate, and corrode. No culture in history has made language such a well honed precision weapon of mass destruction/deception as ours. If only we had a little of that primitive gnosis that understood you may be able to control a bear by invoking its true name, but you may also wake it from its slumber and be eaten for it. A little awe inspired piety could serve us very well. Maybe we should heed the wise words of Elmer J. Fudd: “Be very very quiet. I'm hunting rabbit.”
“Whisper its true name” is the title of an upcoming exhibition of my work at the Anton Art Center (www.theartcenter.org) in Mount Clemens, Michigan (yes, it was named after the catfish). The show will be up 16Oct07-30Oct07, and there will be an opening reception on 26Oct07. Hopefully someone will be able to make it and tell me how it looks. Below is the poster I just finished for the show, as well as a couple of images that will be displayed.
Ezekiel, the righteous fist of the divine, does battle with Melchior, the gnostic beast of nimble and acerbic wit, on the peak of Mt. Banal
Theodosius contemplates destruction as Frederick whispers sweet redemptive nothings in his ear