words fall away……
what are the implications……
the storm’s eye?
you know, words will fail you,
hope will betray you,
faith will mislead you,
your flesh will slowly tear from the bone,
and all your dreams will fade in the night.
– claude smith (2013)
Words Fall Away is an overview that spans 15 years of work (1998-2013) related to language, words written and spoken, unspoken and never written. The work emerged from open-ended experiments in non-verbal communication, not talking for days and days at a time, which were not done within the context of specially arranged silent meditation retreats or workshops but simply as a different way to move through my everyday life and activities. The experiments also came about, in some measure, in reaction to what appeared to me as the pervasive manipulation and obfuscation of language in all its forms and contextual arenas. To a greater extent though, I was very interested in a first-hand experience of what might happen internally and externally if I chose to stop speaking for moments, minutes, hours, days, weeks at a time. Over the years, as the experiments and work evolved, I noticed how we humans, through language, seem to have a need to leave our mark, to let it be known that “I was here,” “that, I matter,” “I have mattered.” In addition, it became obvious to me that every word, every innuendo, every interaction, every glance, no matter how subtle, has an impact, and probably, long-term consequences. We are, to a greater or lesser extent, an accumulation of tiny cuts, stabs, scrapes, and body blows, inflicted by others, and inflicted by ourselves on ourselves and on our environment. If the artwork in this exhibit gives you pause to reflect on how and why you use your words, and the profound effect your words have, I will have succeeded in communicating something essential I have learned on my journey as an artist.
Writing, drawing, scribbling and scrawling have always been an integral part of my life. This show is dedicated to my father, Sidney Smith, painter and calligrapher, who introduced me to beautiful writing and art-making in New York City in the early 1950’s. I would also like to thank master graphologists, Janice Klein and Roger Rubin, for their mentorship and friendship in the study of graphology and more. And, finally, I’d like to thank all the musicians in my life who take me to places that only music can reveal.
– Claude Smith (2013)
claude smith – WORDS FALL AWAY – RiskPress Gallery – july 5 thru july 28 2013
Photo+graphics by Peach Farm Studio