This month, the library is pleased to display the artwork of local artist Mark Angelo Salza in the Gallery @ SPL with his exhibition: Words in a Forgotten Language: Speaking in Tongues. Please join us for a reception celebrating the exhibit.
It’s been a long time since I picked up a paint brush. Initially I thought this series of paintings was going to be about the difficulty my brothers and I had in school learning to read and indeed, the difficulty all people with learning differences have. I got curious about alphabets. How did they evolve? How did these shapes come to symbolize sounds and even if we don’t understand these shapes are our brains hard wired to try and make sense of them? So, I started looking into ancient alphabets and the shapes they used thinking I would work on a series of paintings I would call “Words in a Forgotten Language” creating shapes that people would instinctually want to make sense of even though they were meaningless and give them a taste of the experience people with dyslexia have when struggling to read.
Soon the work evolved into something else entirely. First by abandoning the left to right writing concept then evolving into something completely different and unexpected. It turned into a visual meditation of the path I have been on for some years now. I became completely immersed in the work doing one or two paintings a day blowing through every scrap of paper I could lay my hands on. As I was completing paintings I was sharing them with my friend Marianne Thompson an artist in possession of tremendous gifts whose opinion carries enormous weight with me. At one point she suggested I was swept up and inspired in the same way people are who speak in tongues and I realized that was true.
Thus, the added title of “Speaking in Tongues” was born. There are so many things over these past years I have needed to say but couldn’t find the vocabulary for, things that needed to come out into the light of day. Things that if left unexpressed would eventually crush my soul. I am grateful to have found my way back to the world of color and shape, it’s exactly what I need to keep me rooted in the present where all life resides, free of the past and unconcerned with a future that hasn't happened yet.
"The menu is not the meal. On the one hand there is the real world and on the other there is a whole system of symbols about that world which we have in our minds. These are very very useful symbols, all civilization depends on them, but like all good things they have their disadvantages, and the principle disadvantage of symbols is that we confuse them with reality, just as we confuse money with actual wealth." — Alan Watts
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