Stephen Addis: "John Cage's Zen Ox-Herding Pictures", 2008

Constructed by Stephen Addis & Ray Kass

"Ox-herding pictures have been created many times over the centuries. Some sets end with the eighth image, the empty circle. But as John Cage frequently noted, the final two pictures are also important because after enlightenment, one comes back to the world — both for one’s own continuing practice, and to help all others. While there have been many sets of paintings of the ox-herding series created in Japan, they almost always conform quite closely to the K’uo-an and Shûbun prototypes, with literal images when possible for the narrative."

"The five sets of John Cage abstract paintings that comprise John Cage’s Zen Ox-Herding Pictures created by Ray Kass and myself in 2008 from densely marked paper towels that Cage used to wipe his
brush offer a different potential connection between text and image in which you, the viewers, are invited to make your own correlations and interactions. The artist’s freedom from intention, often celebrated by Cage in his music, poetry, and visual art, is here extended to a major Zen theme; Ray Kass and I welcome your participation in this ongoing process."

- Stephen Addis, 2008