Editors, news directors: A photo of Aethelred Eldridge in front of the Seigfred Hall mural
he painted is available at: www.ohiou.edu/news/pix/ELDRIDGE_AETHELRED.JPG
To arrange an interview with Eldridge, contact Media Services at (740) 593-1043.
ATHENS, Ohio (April 20, 2000) -- Ohio University Associate Professor of Art Aethelred Eldridge has
joined the ranks of Pablo Picasso, Chuck Berry, Roy Lichtenstein, Oscar Wilde, John
Lennon and William Blake with the publication of the "Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes," a
compendium of avant-gardes over the last two centuries compiled by author, artist and
critic Richard Kostelanetz and published in January.
Originally a French word, the term "avant-garde" is associated with the vanguard
of intelligentsia, particularly writers and artists who develop new or experimental
In his preface, Kostelanetz notes that his notion of avant-garde refers to those
out front, forging a path previously unknown, a road that others will take, art that is
"ahead of its times ... extreme, unique, distinct, coherent, witty, technological and
To be included in the dictionary, an artist must produce rare work that transcends
crucial esthetic conventions and establishes a distance from current artistic practices,
taking time to find its maximum audience, Kostelanetz wrote.
"Aethelred is a unique and extraordinary artist who we are very fortunate to have
working in the world and teaching in the School of Art at Ohio University," said Power
Boothe, School of Art director.
As an art professor at Ohio University since 1957, Eldridge has produced
thousands of works that include both images and text. His output over the last decade
has been primarily in the form of black-and-white self-published pamphlets that reflect
influences of poet and artist William Blake and include images of naked bodies, dancing
skulls, flying saucers and sweeping brooms interspersed with Bible-like quotes and
Eldridge's listing in the dictionary describes his art: "These self-described 'invective
pamphlets' are both cryptically pedantic, and at times autobiographical, all within his
own mythopoeia. ... Similar to the texts accompanying his images, his class lectures are
themselves works of art. Aethelred weaves playful, sometimes invective speech
tapestries with outlandish word associations, electrically charged phonetics and
scrambled catchphrases that succeed or fail with his often baffled listeners."
Eldridge's lectures are among the most popular on campus, attracting hundreds of
students from a variety of disciplines each quarter.
Eldridge says his inspiration comes from Blake and the Bible.
"Everything I am, I am for Albion's sake," Eldridge said. "Albion is fallen humanity,
the sleeping giant and the 'Great Awakening.'"
Eldridge also has completed a number of large paintings, including a five-story,
black-and-white mural, "Neowes from Golgonooza," a campus landmark painted on the
side of Seigfred Hall in 1987. The mural was painted over three previous murals by
Eldrdige, 70, who says, "If I can get the scaffolding, I'll do it one last time."
Eldridge founded the Church of William Blake, Golgonooza, on his property outside
of Athens near Mount Nebo.