Sunday, July 8, 2012

A fascination with symbology and script

"I believe in the language of symbols, because they carry the power to
transcend barriers, allowing us to travel beyond the barriers of culture, intellectual dogma, and ultimately personal identity." ... Juan Rosenfeldt

Mesopotamian incantation bowl

"Where there is a symbol, there is creation" ...
Stephane Mallarme to Jules Haret .. 1891

this appears to be a middle eastern 
chart of the cycles of the moon

I'm drawn to cultural symbols and script that
seem mysterious, in that they are unfathomable to me,
yet steeped in another culture's traditions, spirituality, 
lineage, and daily life . . books, paper, stone, wood.

Persian sale purchase document from the 1800's


Small folding manuscript in northern 
Thai script (British Musem)

Ironwood shaman's calendar
Pasir Dayak

The labryinthe at Chartres

Moroccan calligraphy, 19th century

A Sino-Arabic calligraphy panel by
Yusuf Chen Junhui
(translation: "praise be to God)

The oldest known inscriptions of a family tree
thought to show the names of emperors from the Chang Dynasty

from Sri Threads website

Nanso Satomi haken den by Kyokutein Bakin (1890),
one out of 98 volumes from his long novel, Yomihan 

Inscriptions on stone drums (Eastern Zhou Dynasty, China, 5th century BC)

Postage stamps as contemporary cultural identification symbols . . .

Using "asemic" (without semantic meaning) symbology in art . . 

Antoni Tapies

Two encaustic paintings from my Semiotics Series . . the symbols
are meant to be a mystery (asemic) and were chosen for 
the aesthetics of their graphic qualities.

Janna Gougeon 14 x 14 encaustic

Janna Gougeon, 12 x 12 encaustic

When I was young I wanted to be an archeologist, but that didn't seem very "practical". Then I discovered that there was something called sociology. That also didn't seem practical, as I didn't want to teach. So I chose to get a degree in psychology. Now, as an artist and spiritual seeker, my eye is drawn to visual symbols. In my fascination with the ancient (archeology), sociology (cultures), psychology (personal creation), I seem to have combined them all.


  1. You have combined them all in an exquisite way...congratulations on these two pieces. They contain mystery and that is no easy task!

    1. Thanks so much. I really appreciate that. :)

  2. You know I'm tracking with this. I've never run into 'asemic'--a particularly nice word. Thanks for all the historic pieces too. That Arabic writing is art all by itself isn't it? Great work as usual, Jann.

    1. Thank you, Willam. I recently discovered that word myself!

  3. Mystery and history...yes. Thanks for a rich post Jann. I am enjoying your work immensely.

  4. Bonjour Jann, vous semblez heureuse de votre cheminement artistique, en harmonie, vos pieds effleurent la terre et votre esprit effleurent le ciel et en cela vous faites le plus beau cadeau à la vie.

    1. Merci beaucoup, Thige. . Vous devez être un poète! Mots plus beaux. :) Vous savez, mon vocabulaire français n'est pas exhaustive, alors j'espère que cette traduction avec google est exacte.

  5. Beautiful post and beautiful works.

    1. Thank you, Lynn and thank you for coming by and commenting.

  6. correctif; votre esprit affleure le ciel :-)

  7. fantastic post and Thanks for sharing this info. It's very helpful.
    web agency brussels

  8. Your blog is a virtual feast! I love the imagery and the emotional response evoked when I visit!

    1. Thank you kindly, Crystal and thanks for visiting!

  9. Jann your two pieces feel very mysterious, as do all the images you've posted. Delicious post!

  10. Great post!! very informative.
    Thank you very much for such a lovely and informative post.
    Best college in Rajasthan