This series explores the relationship between word and idea. The word itself is a linguistic code containing a tangible idea, a mark that references something else.  As Alan Watts has said, “The menu is not the meal.”

     Thinking starts with simple concepts.  Simple concepts are put together with language to form more complex ideas. It is a process we learn little by little as we begin to read and speak.  Madeleine L’Engle notes, “We think because we have words, not the other way around. The more words we have, the better able we are to think conceptually.”

     These works use the written word as expressive marks on paper.  They are not meant to be read.  They are simply the physical residue of writing, like an undisciplined mind riding out a train of thought until it tames into some form of order from the chaos, like when bees swarm and morph into one configuration after another.  In this case, the simple idea of an object forms out of expressive language marks.


A poem by Julia Cameron:

I wish I could take the language

And fold it like cool, moist rags.

I would lay words on your forehead.

I would wrap words on your wrists.

“There, there,” my words would say –

Or something better.

I would ask them to murmur,

“Hush” and “Shh, shhh, it all right.”

I would ask them to hold you all night.

I wish I could take language

And daub and soothe and cool

Where fever blisters and burns,

Where fever turns yourself against you.

I wish I could take language

And heal the words that were the wounds

You have no names for.

Related Work

Broken Bowl

Synapse Tapestries

Real/UnReal botanical studies

Displacement Theory


    Copyright John Bonath 2019