Video / Texts

Tibet House Interview (December 2012)



The Radiance (2010)


by James Walton Fox


In terms of Artistic Creation, the Word is both light and matter; "From the heart to the breath to the line," in Olson's classic formulation of how verse is born. The origin myth of Sanskrit, "the language of the gods", tells us that all letters were born from the first letter, the letter A, which is unique for being neither palatal, glottal, dental or otherwise limited by forms. 

Using Poetry as the habitable ground of Being and the primary symbol of Creative Energy, my work treats the concrete reality of language as place. Text, in essence, is a living vector. As Joseph Brodsky noted at length, we inhabit our mother tongues and the psychological architecture of our languages much more fully than we do the physical confines of any Russia or England or Spain or Indonesia.

The Poetry of all spiritual traditions, weather mantras of the east, whose repetition tunes the practitioner to the deeper reality, or the Poetry of the various western monodeities' laws, is a form of magic reality. As such, Poetry may be safely utilized as the materia prima of Artistic Creation. That is what I am interested in.

Painting is a branch on the great tree of Poetry. One finds an advanced vision of Poetry as painting in the oldest, and in my view the greatest, landscape painting tradition: that of the Aboriginal Australian "dreaming", where "songlines," invisible sacred energies, are illustrated and celebrated in all their mystery. The Chinese and Japanese landscape tradition is rich with sublime examples of the nexus of drawing and writing. In Europe, remove the texts of Homer, Virgil, jewish mystical grammar, and the Four Gospels, and the images of the Renaissance could be numbered on one hand. And the Koranic calligraphy tradition has used text in the most inventive formulations imaginable.

In our own time, "conceptual" artists such as Lawrence Weiner and Yoko Ono use Poetry as the fundamental material/non-material of their practice.

Thus, by employing the universality of Poetry as the seed of Artistic Creation, I create a dimension where the radiance of life is not separate from forms; text is not separate from space, but actually generates space; and the Poetry the very music of creation is made visible, physical, and local.


Changeless Nature

State University of New York, Oneonta College (2010)


How Soon is Now  (2011)

by James Walton Fox


O somma luce che tanto ti levi

       da' concetti mortali, a la mia mente

       ripresta un poco di quel che parevi,

e fa la lingua mia tanto possente,

       ch'una favilla sol de la tua gloria

       possa lasciare a la futura gente: 

che, per tornare alquanto a mia memoria

           e per sonare un poco in questi versi,

       piu si conceptera di tua vittoria.


                                                             Paradiso XXXIII:67-75


My work is a continual attempt to erase the boundary between Human Nature and The Environment.

I see Poetry as the fundamental source of habitable reality and a symbol of the ordering dynamics of creation. Poetry is a symbol of the beautiful mystery of breath.

It is the province of art to integrate the moral perfections and the commodified labor of humankind into a tangible emotional experience of Nature.  

The work of the artist is to balance these labors into an experience of contemporary eternity, whereby everyone, the initiate and the novice alike, may touch the pure unity of life. 

I speak of  Nature not as the antithesis of humanity, but Nature as Dante's "love that moves the stars." :  Nature as Emerson's "sanctity that shames our religions, and reality that discredits our heroes...the circumstance which dwarfs every other circumstance..." : Nature as Buddha Nature. I speak of  Nature as the chorus of The Smiths' How Soon is Now ? : 

       I am human and I need to be loved

       just like everybody else does.

I sing the ecstatic landscape : The place where the light of the imagination ripples across forests of knowledge : an eternal monument to the humanistic impulse : an impulsive quest for that experience of instant presence.

How soon is now?  

That question is at the core of the ontology of painting...and you can dance to it.