Odes to influence, invention, inspiration . . .

“I’ve never met a tradition that is not the result of successful invention. As soon as you invent something that everybody wants, unless you evolve that tradition, it starts to get smaller. I think of the Silk Road, in many ways, as the Internet of antiquity. Today it’s much faster but we had essentially the same results. When people met at the borders, you traded; you figured out who you are; do I trust you? Can we do business together? Can we be friends?”
— Yo-Yo Ma

A week after finishing my 31-miniatures-in-31-days exercise, which culminated in a “Silk Road” collage series, I am able to look at the month’s output with a bit of perspective. A period of sustained experimentation collided with a catalytic event (attending a performance of the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma), and suddenly I was off on a ride of intense thematic exploration. I am now able to link the end result to a piece I created seven years ago as a tribute to Kurt Schwitters. I felt strongly at the time that by transcending the individual characteristics of ingredient elements, the totality of a compositional effect could take on a reverential tone. I have nothing against irreverence, satire, or sarcasm in art, but I am increasingly comfortable with the idea that when I step beyond an inspirational experience, my natural tendency is to seek beauty, harmony, and perhaps even “the sacred” in a work of collage.

Sacred Ode To Merz
J A Dixon, 2006
homage to K Schwitters
16 x 20 inches (framed)
private collection

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