"The Neuro-Romantic Imphasion"

1982, CSU Sacramento, Sacramento, California

This was a conference, a convention, a seminar, a group art show; it was many things, probably both fish and fowl. Or should that be "foul?" See "New Odor for the Ages," below. To tell you the truth, I don't really know what the hell it was, and I was there.

But here's an attempt at describing it: A group of avant-garde subversives, led by poet Bari Kennedy and writer/artist Frederick J. Mayer, recognized in me a kindred spirit and shanghaied me into this short-lived art movement. There was a public ceremony by members of the occult group "Ordo Templi Orientis" (which, philosophically, derives much from the notorious Aleister Crowley). In the manner of science fiction conventions, which seem to have provided a template for this event, there were panel discussions on various topics. One I was invited to participate in was "How the science fiction, fantasy, and horror writing of Clarke Ashton Smith has influenced my own art." The only problem with that was that I was actually much more conversant with the works of H.P. Lovecraft, and wasn't really qualified to be on the panel.

The big draw for this event was the featured speaker: writer, humorist, and all-around lovable weird-but-brilliant guy, Robert Anton Wilson. In a rambling speech in his native heavy Brooklynese, he touched upon, among other things, the fact that if Plato was right, and every single category of stuff in the universe had its ideal version in some higher, more spiritual realm, then, since there was such a thing as "chicken shit" here on earth, there had to be, on another plane, ideal chicken shit. Chicken shit that was "poifect."

Amen. Who am I to argue?

"Novus Odoro Seclorum" (A New Odor for the Ages) by Walter Rhoads, 1982

About 30” tall. Mixed media: wooden understructure, foam rubber, canvas, acrylic paint.

We were ahead of our time.

Related Works
“Twinkie in a Sarcophagus”

“Novus Odoro Seclorum” is part of the “Sculpted Canvas” series. Click here to see more examples.


To read the artist's analysis of his “sculpted canvas” works, click here.