One discovers a musicality in these works that convey an intellectual and artistic rigor that gives expression to that realm where words and their meanings fall away and only the eye looks on in a hushed silence.
Touchon’s work helps us to see more clearly something that has always been present in the language of any sort: a certain claustrophobia; a claustrophobic feeling that something new and unknown gives us like confronting the elements of letters from a foreign language that we cannot convert to a familiar ‘known’.
There’s a need in our culture to find the recognizable letters, the meaning, the obvious context of words and to move fluidly to the next word without becoming “caught”. We secretly want to avoid confronting that terror that seems to plague our encounters with texts; that we will not “get it”. With visual poetry, we’re often pressed up against language and all of its parts. Touchon’s works contain that panic. We are forced out of the comfort zone in our mind’s constant dialog and onto the surface of his works that become the battleground of our resistance.
These works are an exploration of a classic modernist philosophical issue that dates back to the dawn of modern painterly concerns: non-objectivity and, in Touchon’s case, its relationship to the world of language and poetry. There is a tension between a nonobjective work and what the mind thinks about when confronted by its hermetic quietude.
Touchon’s non-objective poetic works free the words and letters from their service as carriers of meaning and let their forms communicate from a dignified silence in the primal language of visual art. Repetition, composition, rhythm, contrast, scale, proportion, surface, and the resultant harmony experienced or aesthetic response that we have to the work as a totality form the poetic response that we are reading in these works. One discovers a musicality in these works that convey an intellectual and artistic rigor that gives expression to that realm where words and their meanings fall away and only the eye looks on in hushed silence.
As we explore Touchon’s works we realize that they have been carefully and consciously composed to release their secrets over an extended viewing of them. We sense that we can probably be surprised by these paintings even after years of repeated viewings. These paintings exhibit a knowledge that we, as viewers, acquire our understanding through the building up of thousands of ‘focal moments’ as our small focal point moves around the work following the rhythms of the arabesques and discover the forms and motifs that reecho across the works.
Artists and poets engage in a trans-temporal dialog speaking to each other across the centuries through their works. Like mystics, they know that their works will have a lasting resonance and that they will inspire and prod and console certain creative souls of future generations as they have been by those whom they study and revere. As viewers, we have an opportunity to peek into their conversation through our study of their works.