Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery

Barnsdall Art Park

LOS ANGELES 1998 - 99



The waterfall . . . at once presents to the mind the beautiful, but apparently incongruous idea, of fixedness and motion – a single existence in which we perceive unceasing change and everlasting duration. The waterfall may be called the voice of the landscape, for, unlike the rocks and woods which offer sounds as the passive instruments played upon by the elements, the waterfall strikes its own chords, and rocks and mountains re-echo in rich unison . . .

Thomas Cole


The four elements: WATER, EARTH, FIRE, and AIR are the material from which GOLEMS are traditionally formed and they are conjured up to protect against evil that has come into the world. Our two earlier incantations of GOLEMESS in Los Angeles were protectors against attacks on the arts and freedom of expression.

GOLEMESS III, a protectress for the environment, represents our belief that the future well being of the Earth lies in the continuing empowerment of the female creative force. She is fashioned with soil from the Getty and Skirball Cultural Centers, gathered while they were under construction. She has always returned to a resting site just beyond the Sculpture Garden at the University of Judaism, from which her remaining core is retrieved for each subsequent evocation. For this occasion, dirt from the Santuario de Chimayo, New Mexico, has been included for its healing and regenerative powers, mixed with soil from the Metro station construction for Barnsdall Art Park.


Work from our KABBALAH and WATERFALL Series are essential aspects of EARTH ELEGIES II. Golemess’s voice, IN THE BEGINNING, an original, digital SoundScape, done in collaboration with the musician, Stephen G. Scott, contains various movements in which the elements play a crucial role: Out of the Void, Breath of Life, Tools, etc. A drop of water – the beginning of life – turns into a gentle stream, a waterfall and a river before flowing into the ocean. Besides our voices, it features the artist, Judith Amdur and Stephen G. Scott.

THE TAPESTRY OF HOPE poem, an interactive component on our web site – -- is meant to provide a momentary contemplation regarding our individual responsibility for the future well being of the EARTH. All poems received over the Internet will be inserted into an evolving book, EVOLUTION: A TAPESTRY OF HOPE, contained within the installation that will form an ongoing archive of collaborative works.


The elements have always played a pivotal role in our work. In the early 1970s, while living in Europe, the Earth Stains series began. Upon our return, we dedicated ourselves to the pursuit of the vanishing American landscape. Earth Stains evolved into Earth Series, a body of work created to encourage reflection upon the various implications inherent in the utilization of the earth’s natural resources. It encompassed both individual and collaborative works that explored these issues from three distinct perspectives: above, at and below the earth’s surface.


In the mid-1970s, the Landsat space images were transmitting intriguing and thoughtful perspective reversals of our earthly garden. While at Yaddo – birthing our collaborative entity, D. PAUL/SMALL – a series of paintings based upon these photographs were begun that corresponded to landscape imagery we were creating in collaboration at the earth’s surface. Zooming in further, we recorded old earth strata that had become exposed, as well as toxins buried below the earth’s surface which had begun to leach their way back into the environment.


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It is our belief that it is only through the finite nature of every existing thing that we may deduce the existence of the infinite. Through the details of a specific landscape, one can meditate on the macrocosm of nature and embrace the wonder of creation itself. The presence of obstacles – difficult terrain, harsh weather, exhaustion – often corresponds to the nearness of treasure, a moment of time, light or physical presence which always brings us closer to the desired.


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In 1993, a NYC museum commission of a site-specific installation, THE THREADS THAT BIND US -- EARTH ELEGIES I, opened up a new phase in our exploration of the spirituality in contemporary art. What ensued were collaborations with other visual artists, writers and musicians – past and present. We attempted to reach across the continuum of time to connect with this artistic wellspring, hoping it would serve as our shibboleth to join the endless thread of creation. This has helped immensely in our efforts to blend various disciplines with the new voices of technology. It has given us an additional gift – a fuller understanding of the creative spirit within us all.

Our project for ELEMENTS continues the collaborative tradition with our invitation to the L.A. artists Sam Smith, Robin Moriyah Spector and Lew Watanabe and the deceased artist, Felix Gonzalez-Torres. The VOICE OF THE LANDSCAPE SoundScape, a work-in-progress, is our second collaboration with Stephen G. Scott. Above our GOLEMESS is Sam Smith’s painting, Golem of Rabbi Loew, acrylic on canvas with copper and mixed media. On the canvas is the Hebrew word "EMET" (truth) which when written in reverse on the forehead of a Golem gives it life. On the lucite overlay is the word "MET" (death). When the first letter (Aleph) is removed from the truth, you are left with death; in this way, life is taken from the Golem. Surrounding both is the digital SoundScape, IN THE BEGINNING, our first collaboration with Stephen G. Scott.

Robin Moriyah Spector’s sculptural piece, Surrender – Contraction into Light, acrylic and resin polymer, is a broken vessel that is the receptor for our digital video, SPARKS OF LIFE. Lew Watanabe’s Silent Music, a granite water sculpture accompanied by two meditative benches are sited near our mixed media painting Peanut’s Leap. Overhead, the untitled cloud "stacks" of black and white offset prints on paper by the deceased artist, Felix Gonzalez-Torres float in their recontextualized sky.

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The VOICE OF THE LANDSCAPE video and SoundScape and the SPARKS OF LIFE video all draw inspiration from Kaaterskill Falls and Clove in the Catskill Preserve, NY. This area served as a creative wellspring for the first indigenous school of American painting, literature, philosophy, and environmentalism. Among the various readings are works by Washington Irving, William Cullen Bryant, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Walt Whitman, and Robert Frost. In addition to our voices, the actress Lynn Ann Leveridge, Laura Scott and Stephen G. Scott are prominently featured on this composition.


The inclusion of digital images and sound, video and interactivity has now become an essential part of our working process. This intricate layering of diverse imagery and multimedia weaves together many facets from past and present bodies of work and resulted in this new series, EARTH ELEGIES. In fusing the worlds of more traditional art processes with those of the digital realm, we find a new fluidity of expression has entered into our dialogue. Much as photography, film and video have changed the fixed images of painting, the digital domain elucidates the states of process and reveals its genesis. The making of marks and myths has been radically and forever altered.


In the end, the effect upon the soul is not dependent upon understanding.
As the velocity of change continues to accelerate at an ever-greater
exponential rate, the emergence of "newness" creates, at times,
an overwhelming sense of anxiety.

We seek comfort in the threads of time that weave their way through the digital dialectic. The 0’s and 1’s of our times are but a new use of the oldest of codes. It is only through a historical perspective that one can see the new is but the continuing threads of those that came before us.

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We dedicate this installation to the memories of
George Joseph Small,
whose knowledge and love of nature
continues to inspire and inform our creative spirit
and to
Melvin Herbert Friedman,
who gave his all too brief life so that others might live free
and share his reverence for all living things.


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Numerous hands have woven the cloth of this true collaboration.

It is with deep appreciation that we would like to thank the following for their creativity,
expertise and help in making this installation a reality:

Sam Smith; Moriyah Spector; Lew Watanabe; Jim Gillie; Stephen G. Scott; Dana Mayhew;
Jane Marshall; Marianna Diamos; Anonymous Donor; Catherine Elliot; Keith Williamson;
George Brich; Christina Johns; Lynn Ann Leveridge; Laura Scott; Judith Amdur; Tony Laudati; Karen and Lyle Fulks; Weldon Color Lab; Muse X Imaging; and Anyo Fine Art Editions;

Lastly, we would like to thank Scott D. Canty, Art Curator
who gave us the opportunity to present this particular aspect of our work
and the staff and installation crew of the Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Art Park.




Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery

Barnsdall Art Park



D. Paul/Small





1st STEP






Seeking to unite

Thoughts and language

Of one world

One Humanity

Man is but a strand
in the web of life







Please don't forget to sign our guest book.



D. Paul/Small


©1993-2023 - CoLabART - Lynn Small + Dennis Paul
   All rights reserved.