TIM O'KANE


Naxos

THE INITIAL BODY OF WORK I CALL “NAXOS” WAS EXHIBITED AT THE PIEDMONT VIRGINIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE GALLERY IN CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA FROM FEBRUARY 11 – APRIL 6, 2011 WITH SUPPORT FROM THE VIRGINIA COMMISSION FOR THE ARTS 2011 FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM. THE SERIES IS ONGOING AND WILL BE EXHIBITED AT PAGE BOND GALLERY IN RICHMOND IN MAY OF 2014.


Naxos is the location on the Eastern coast of Sicily where the Greeks first landed in the 8th century BC. My attachment to the land, history and culture runs deep, having traveled and worked there periodically over the last twenty years. I began this series with stones I found on the Naxos beach and in the mountains bordering the Ionian Sea.

EVOLUTION OF THE SERIES

The nucleus of the Naxos Series, the linear configurations of the stones, the geological lines, quartz and feldspar running through basalt inspired the choice of Japanese characters for the text which became the messages folded into the boxes. I chose Japanese for it’s visual grace and role as a hidden voice, hidden at last from the majority of Westerners. Wanting a context for the script, I decided to use my own writings, poems about dreaming in particular. Boxes and folded paper become the backdrops and enclosures, sometimes, the central subject, as they contain and limit the visual plane. These arrangements of objects, still subject specific as all representational work is but also geometrically abstract and challenging the idea of specific meaning, present a curious enigma. We know these things, they are familiar, but we don’t know them gathered together in this way or what they might mean. And in this, I have found a shared language with the nature of dreaming. The contrast this represents has become a very intriguing line to walk as a realist painter.

Signature

In the desert of pure feeling
we must forget all names,
freeing our dreams to construct
the symbols of our wonderment
and of our agony.

The painter loved the world
with its conflicts of light and shadow,
desolation and beauty.
His was just one intention in a troubled world,
the intimacy growing like ivy
around the obstacles of doubt,
as he watched
the carving continue on the monument of faces,
birds filling and emptying the promontory of sky,
the tenuous construction on networks of bridges
from soul to soul, dream to dream, day to day.

Tim O’Kane 2008