I pretended to hand over the clipboard and pen I was using to take down the rumination of my interviewee, on two of his upcoming drawing exhibitions (the first of which was displayed at Newton Free Library in December). “Here,” I said to Eugene Dorgan, a full professor at Lesley University. “Why don’t you just write the article?”
The joke was that in our culture, the visually minded, so the stereotype goes, prefer to grunt rather than answer with sentence and paragraph when asked to comment on their talent. But, as I listened to my questions being answered with comments that asked more questions, and read Professor Dorgan’s answers to the emailed follow-up questions which answered fully and yet on careful reading, posed still more questions, I began to think that the joke, if taken too seriously, is on us.
Visual culture, certainly can’t be reduced to words, just as words lose import when reduced to pictures. But both are serious and refined comments on the state of our being, pointed questions as to who we are and where we’re going as well as lights to guide our way and ways. Moreover, it’s vital that they understand each other in order to have their full impact, not to be vitiated by an unnatural isolation. And where better to be understood, where else, in fact, than in the same person, striving to achieve a unity that only speaking pictures fully deliver.