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Artist's Statement

"LANGUAGE" & "LANGUAGE PALIMPSEST" SERIES

The "Language" and "Language Palimpsest” Series, are mixed media pieces on wood panels. They are comprised of paint, ink, paper, string and metallic dust. They involve language systems, sacred geometry, symbols, and cosmic imagery. In the two language series, I am exploring the methods of communication from the pictographs in cave paintings to the varied and different languages used throughout history. I’ve also added another love of mine, quotations. I have quotes on creation and the universe by artists, astronomers, poets and writers.

In researching different writing systems, I began to think about communication with other intelligent beings in our universe, and what elements would be the same. If we are subject to the physics of our known universe, such as: gravity, space and time, then wouldn't all entities be likewise bound? If so, would they also use symbols as a means of communication?

In some of the art works, the viewer must open the piece to see more of the graphic elements and quotations. This prompts the viewer to act upon and engage more fully in the art-work.


Further exploration of language systems, especially the most ancient ones, led to the "Language Palimpsest Series." The title of this series came from my sanding the bottom layers - leaving remnants and traces, which is the palimpsest. I've also included modern languages, along with the sacred geometry and various symbols used in different belief systems.

The following are detailed descriptions of the “Language Palimpsest” series.

“VESICA PISCIS” is an ancient symbol of two circles coming together and overlapping one another to form an almond shape in the middle – the Mandorla. It was used during medieval Christianity and symbolized the interactions and interdependence of opposing worlds and forces, the circles may be taken to represent spirit and matter or heaven and earth. In much earlier religions it symbolized the vulva, the source of life.

Jane and Dirk Velten say that “to step into the Mandorla is to move beyond "either-or" thinking - even beyond ideas of common ground or compromise - and stand in the tension of opposites long enough for something new to emerge. In the realm of the Mandorla, the whole truly yields something greater than the sum of its parts, opening doors of possibility, discovery, and creativity.”
Languages used: Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

“SEAL of SOLOMON” represents the magical ring of King Solomon, which gave him power over demons and genies and to commune with animals. It was often used in medieval Jewish, Christian and Islamic legends. In alchemy, the up and down triangles, which is the combination of fire and water, is known as the Seal of Solomon. The symbol represents the combination of opposites and transmutation.
Languages used: Early Phoenician, Early and Classical Greek, Latin and Swedish
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“SACRED GEOMETRY” has long been used in sacred architecture and sacred art. It’s “divine” proportions and patterns form a complex system of religious symbols and structures involving space, time and form. These patterns are perceived as sacred and are thought to foster the Mysterium Magnum (the Great Design). By studying the nature of these patterns, forms and relationships and their connections, insight may be gained into the mysteries – the laws and lore of the Universe .

Paracelsus and other alchemists employed the term "Mysterium Magnum" to denote primordial undifferentiated matter, from which all the Classical Elements sprang. It is also often employed in Christian theology as a euphemism for " sacrament ".

In contemporary usage, sacred geometry refers to the mathematical order to the intrinsic nature of the universe. Some of the most prevalent geometric forms ascribed to sacred geometry include the sphere, sine wave and the golden spiral.
Languages used: Amharic language of Ethiopia , Choctaw, Cree, Laluxo the Sudan and Navajo.

“SPIRAL DANCE” (also known as the “Grapevine” and “Weaver’s Dance” according to Starhawk) is a neo-pagan dance. Standing in a circle, the hand-joined dancers move to form a spiral into a center point and then out again to form the circle. In dance rituals, the participants undertook to represent their god, creation and their journey on earth. The Spiral Dance is distinguished by its visionary mysticism and ecstatic experience, and by its emphasis on women and the Goddess (although it also brings in the God, similar to most forms of Wicca). The compass points are shown as women with their hair flowing out as in a dance.
Languages used: Ancient Berber, Celestial Writing, Chevrons, Cuneiform, Linear A and Malachim.

“METATRON’S CUBE ” is the “Fruit of Life” pattern which has 13 circles. From the earliest Kabbalist scriptures, the Archangel Metatron, who maintained the “eternal archives of the Lord,” supposedly forms the cube from his soul. In Christianity the cube, considered a holy gylph, was often drawn around an object or person to ward off demons and satanic powers.

In alchemy the cube was favored as a containment circle or creation circle.
Languages used: Alchemical Symbols, Armenian, Early Phoenician, Farsi, Polish and Proto Sinaitic.

“AKHET – KHEM” are from the Ancient Egyptian and Hieroglyph languages. Akhet from Ancient Egyptian is the place where the sun rises and sets; often translated as “horizon” or “mountain of light.” Akhet is based on the Pharaoh Akhenaten, when he replaced the pantheon of gods with Aten or “Sun Disk.”

Khem is the Egyptian word for language. It is also the old name of Egypt . Al-Khem (alchemy) means” the secret science of Egypt .” Today’s chemistry is developed from yesteryear’s alchemy.
Languages used: Egyptian Hieroglyphic, Meroitic, Sumerian and Phoenician.

“ STAR OF DAVID” named after King David of ancient Israel , which consists of two interlocking equilateral triangles, the hexagram. According to legend, the Star of David may have originated from the Shield of David. It may also have evolved from the mysterious Seal of Solomon (five-pointed star) that was used in the ancient world as a talisman. It is a generally recognized symbol of Jewish identity and Judaism.
Languages used: Aramaic, Old and Paleo Hebrew, Modern Hebrew and Phoenician.

“OUROBOROS” is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon swallowing its tail. It is an emblem of wholeness or infinity. The Ouroboros often represents self-reflexivity or cyclicality, especially in the sense of something constantly re-creating itself – the primordial unity – that which can not be extinguished.

The turtle that holds up the world is one of the ancient creation myths. In India , the creator of the world took the form of a turtle to hold up the land. In the Far East , the shell was a symbol of heaven and the square underside was a symbol of the earth. The turtle was an animal whose magic could help you unite heaven and earth within your own life. In Nigeria , the turtle was a symbol of the female sex organs and sexuality. To the Native Americans, it was associated with the lunar cycle, menstruation and the power of the female energies.
Languages used: Thai, Brahmi (Sinhala), and Indian.

"On the Border between art and technology stands writing in all its boundless variety: topography and calligraphy to please the eye, signs and symbols to satisfy the mind, games to amuse and graffiti to provoke."          (George Jean)

 

WOMEN ARTISTS IN HISTORY

The impetus for the Women Artists Series came from my participation in a performance on the lives and works of historical women artists. While standing in the wings waiting for my time on the stage, I saw Dona Geib playing the role of Gwen John, a 19c English artist. She was standing on stage, in a long white dress with mutton sleeves, in front of a projection of Gwen John's painting, "A Corner of the Artists' Room." It was as if Dona Geib was in the painting itself. At that moment I thought to myself, "wouldn't that make a wonderful painting." So I began the series of contemporary women artists painted in the costumes and settings of their historical counterparts. Also from that performance, I created the illustrated slide lecture, "Walking Through History: Women Artists Past & Present."

" The women artists paintings are a series of pictures, each completely different in style and handling, utilizing Merrilyn's personal friends as portrait stand-ins for historical figures... the paintings present a robust celebration in color and detail of an exclusive, lively, and friendly art history..."
Scott Grieger

"...highly theatrical in approach, each portrait is also a mise-en-scene of the period in which the artist once worked. Most depict a well-known painting by the character being played...such pictures open a window into a woman-centered world we do not often see, through the eyes of a first rate artist."
Mary Alice Cline

 
COSMIC SERIES

The "Cosmic Series" are mixed media works on Arches Paper. They combine a distillation of my love for astronomy, the universe and creation myths. The paintings are abstract manifestations of my spiritual self. In these paintings I've combined the graphic elements of languages, universal symbols, various photographic images and my observations of the night sky. The art works reflect the joy and awe I find in our vast universe, the myriad star stuff that we on earth share with all of those distant points of light.
When I was a young girl and looked into the night sky, the planets and stars were my vision of heaven. They drew from me a longing to be connected to a creator, to be part of a grand plan; the yearning of wanting to know who am I and why am I here? Today, as an adult, I still embrace the awe and deep feelings from looking into the vastness of the night sky, but now I add to my initial curiosity and longing the knowledge gleaned from reading and study. From this ongoing fascination I am able to create many diverse art works.
Merrilyn Duzy

COSMIC IMAGERY QUOTES

From the review of "Quarks to Quasars" (1997)
...Duzy's work... deals directly with familiar and perhaps romantic visual stimuli of the star-filled night sky. (such as "Back of Beyond and "Rhythmatics on the Cosmic Stage,") Duzy takes her space impetus fairly seriously, as a subject at once untouchable and more real than a newspaper.
"...Space. per se, makes rare appearances in fine art settings, possibly in part because of our own fear of its magnitude and inscrutability. It's something we take for granted admire in awe, and sometimes cower beneath, duly humbled. Maybe it's high time more artists gave it the time of day."
Josef Woodward

"Duzy has derived the whirling shapes and colors of her painting "Maya" - which means illusion in Hindi - from an image she created on a computer. The foundation of the computer image was a photograph of Duzy twirling around (masked) in a cape by Mario Casilli, which she scanned into the computer.
The painting, though, with its glittery matter sprinkled about to convey a buoyant, starry atmosphere, presents a tangible texture that is not available from a computer image.
Nancy Kapitanoff

LANDSCAPES

"Color is of primary importance in the work of Merrilyn Duzy. It Resonates within her paintings and enhances her responses to nature. Her landscapes are part of continuing investigation into the creation of Earth. She says of her work, "...with lush color and moving lines I imbue the work with the universal emotions we get when we are in tune with nature."

COLLAGES

"I work in a variety of mediums and with a broad range of subjects. Among those are collages made with the refuse of our media rich society. The collages also stem from my childhood where magazines were my main source of visual stimulation. The variety of subjects, shapes and colors lend themselves to fanciful juxtapositions. The playful exuberance, humor and diverse images afford me endless opportunities for my collaged subjects and themes".