My work is a synthesis of what has been for the past twenty years, the development of two different strains: painting (topography), and found object constructions (writing).

It has evolved into thinking deeply about the relationship between terrain and language, topography and writing, landscape and culture, and the separate modern traditions of Picasso (invention) and Duchamp (selection) which are equal parts of my background.

Much of what propels the urgency of this work is my powerful feelings of loss over what is happening in the Arc of the Fertile Crescent (Iraq and the Middle East), which is the Cradle of Civilization and the birthplace of writing.

Now, my paintings are a kind of palimpsest. They have always been developed in layers, related to archeology and geology. But what has changed is that silent incantations, in the form of indecipherable texts, much like spiritual writing (automatic writing or writing in tongues), are mixed into these layers as a muffled keening.

The Cyphers, (a body of work comprised of over 100 small constructions of found objects and typewriter parts that look abit like cyphers) were an important step to this synthesis. They were an expression of my fascination with the origins of writing and how reclaimed objects can take on a calligraphic dimension, thus gently suggesting that writing exists all around us, and in the residue of the progression of our civilization.

The turning point that the “Silent Language Series” has provided is that the Cyphers (writing) have essentially walked into the paintings and left their tracks, in the way that human kind walked into the Garden of Eden, and left its traces.

©Sono Osato