Iconography becomes even more revealing when processes or concepts, rather than objects, must be depicted for the constraint of a definite "thing" cedes directly to the imagination. How can we draw "evolution" or "social organization," not to mention the more mundane "digestion" or "self-interest," without portraying more of a mental structure than a physical reality? If we wish to trace the history of ideas, iconography becomes a candid camera trained upon the scholar's mind.
Stephen Jay Gould
My obsessions stay the same - historical memory and historical erasure. I am particularly interested in the Americas and how a history that is rooted in colonialism, the language and iconography of empire, disenfranchisement, the enslavement of peoples, and the way that people were sectioned off because of blood.
There comes a point when you've exhausted your opportunities playing good guys. I've been around long enough, I think I'm entitled to explore a bit. But what I saw there was an opportunity to play a character different from what the audience's expectation was. A chance to take their crude experience of me - of my iconography, if you will - and turn it on its ear at an appropriate juncture in the film to be useful to the process of telling the story.
Except in a few well-publicized instances (enough to lend credence to the iconography painted on the walls of the media), the rigorous practice of rugged individualism usually leads to poverty, ostracism and disgrace. The rugged individualist is too often mistaken for the misfit, the maverick, the spoilsport, the sore thumb.
Lewis H. Lapham
To speak plainly and truthfully about the state of our world - to say, for instance, that the Bible and the Koran both contain mountains of life-destroying gibberish - is antithetical to tolerance as moderates currently conceive it. But we can no longer afford the luxury of such political correctness. We must finally recognize the price we are paying to maintain the iconography of our ignorance.
My visual landscape as a child was the inside of a lot of these old churches. And the Baroque drama of the things was what I was first engaging with artwise. I'm much more attracted to the aesthetic of religious iconography than the actual religious side. The passion and the blood and the violence and the gaudy side of it I find really fascinating.
Between the theme parks and the movies, the Disney iconography was probably the first set of archetypes that I was exposed to. Walt was able to expose me as a child to the full array of emotions, including fear and sorrow. Those movies and attractions haunted my dreams and made a deep impression on me as a child.
In reality, genuine epiphanies are extremely rare. In contemporary adult life maturation & acquiescence to reality are gradual processes. Modern usage usually deploys epiphany as a metaphor. It is usually only in dramatic representations, religious iconography, and the 'magical thinking' of children that insight is compressed to a sudden blinding flash.
David Foster Wallace
History--the product, not the raw material--is a bottle with a label. For many years now, the emphasis of historical discussion has been laid upon the label (its iconography, its target-group of customers) and upon the interesting problems of manufacturing bottle-glass. The contents, on the other hand, are tasted in a knowing, perfunctory way and then spat out again. Only amateurs swallow them.
The role that blood plays in Christian iconography is huge - the washing of the blood, the shedding of blood, the blood of the cross, the crucifixion, the violence of that imagery. These are horrific, and yet they are at the center of the Christian faith. There is a place where beauty and terror merge, and it's at the cross.
Modern man has been in search of a new language of form to satisfy new longings and aspirations - longings for mental appeasement, aspirations to unity, harmony, serenity - an end to his alienation from nature. All these arts of remote times or strange cultures either give or suggest to the modern artist forms which he can adapt to his needs, the elements of a new iconography.
The idea of decimation as a lottery converts the new iconography of the Burgess Shale into a radical view about the pathways of life and the nature of history... May our poor and improbable species find joy in its new-found fragility and good fortune! Wouldn't anyone with the slightest sense of adventure, or the most weakly flickering respect for intellect, gladly exchange the old cosmic comfort for a look at something so weird and wonderful - yet so real - as Opabinia?
Stephen Jay Gould
In Celtic Ireland the name Leo was Lugh, another solar hero and mystic. In Wales he was Llew, to the Romans Lugus, to the Sumerians Lughal. Its not the same dude on walkabout, it's the Astrological sign of Leo. In the Christian iconography we have one of the Evangelists represented by a Lion. In the Nativity scenes we see 4 animals around the cradle of the Son/Sun king. One of these is also a Lion. Christians probably believe that there was one in the area and just happened to wander into the inn to take a peek at sleeping Jesus. Good thing it wasn't very hungry.
My recommendation instead, however, is that we do not surrender questions of value, whether absolute matters of truth, goodness, and beauty or relative judgment of more or less truth, goodness, and beauty. With those questions to the fore, in fact, we can interrogate various other traditions and truly learn something that can improve our own. Perhaps the Presbyterians really do know more than we do about due process in church government. Perhaps the Orthodox really do know some things we do not about iconography. Perhaps the Mennonites really can teach us the meaning of 'enough.' Perhaps the Pentecostals can help liberate us from dull and disembodied worship. Baptists who have learned to improve their procedures from Presbyterians, their art from the Orthodox, their finances from the Mennonites, and their worship from the Pentecostals do not therefore become worse Baptists but better ones. And so around the ecumenical circle, no?
John G. Stackhouse Jr.