Ignorama: A Group Show
From the Workshop of Ignotus the Mage

  This document describes the four members of the workshop of J.T. Pescador, aka "Ignotus the Mage," a twentieth-century artist running after the train to the new millennium. Portrait sketches of the artists have been supplied by Mr. Luce.

J.T. Pescador, "Ignotus"
Paul Hertz
Alma de la Serra
Darrell Luce

J.T. Pescador, "Ignotus" Work and Statement

Pescador    Hertz    de la Serra    Luce   



Juan Teodosio Pescador, b. 1937 Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Islas Canarias, Spain. Also known as 'Ignotus' or 'Ignotus the Mage.' Natural philosopher and skeptic, inventor of complex symbolic structures. Great-uncle of Alma de la Serra.

Of Sr. Pescador's early life little is known. Evidently he once taught rhetoric to high school students and was fired from his job for expressing his political views too freely during the fascist regime of Spain in the late 1950s. He supported himself as a stevedore, fisherman, and carnival "mentalist." As the mage Ignotus he assumes the role of a dysfunctional clairvoyant. Using a deck of cards of his own invention, he proceeds to tell only the present, claiming that he can see no further. In fact, like the I Ching or the Tarot, the cards have a complex symbolic function, but one which its inventor resolutely maintains is fraudulent. These same cards were further developed by Mr. Hertz for intermedia visual and musical compositions, after the two met.

Ignotus produces very little material art himself, for this he relies on the members of the workshop. One could call him a conceptual artist.

Paul Hertz Work and Statement

Pescador    Hertz    de la Serra    Luce   

Paul Hertz, b. 1949, Columbus, Ohio, USA. Hertz is the eternal journeyman, nearly a master of several disciplines but not successful enough at any of them to be able to give up his day job. He studied art and music and knows several languages, including Pascal and Catalan. Perhaps, like his friend Ignotus, he's too much of a dreamer to be able to hit the big time, but he is intensely loyal to his friends and dedicated to his art.

Hertz met Ignotus in the Canary Islands, where he had found refuge from the turmoil of the Vietnam War. The two established a firm friendship, sharing their ideas over many glasses of wine. Hertz supplied the artistic and computational tools to realize some of Ignotus's ideas. The subsequent arrival of Alma de la Serra during Ignotus's recovery from a serious illness led them to establish the 'Ignostudio,' as the workshop is also known, and to produce a line of heterogenous works tied together by common structures, in keeping with Ignotus's ideas.

Hertz develops interactive multimedia projects for the Collaboratory Project and teaches in the Department of Radio, Television and Film at Northwestern University.

You can view Paul Hertz's portfolio.


Alma de la Serra Work and Statement

Pescador    Hertz    de la Serra    Luce   


Alma de la Serra, b. 1972, Vilanova i la Geltru, Barcelona, Spain, great-niece of J.T. Pescador. After earning a degree in Mathematics at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain, de la Serra worked as a school teacher for several years, during which time she also began painting free-form abstractions based on topological manifolds, to which she eventually added appropriated images and computer graphics.

The failing health of her great-uncle Juan Teodosio, "Ignotus," led her to resign her position and move to the Canary Islands to care for him. There she encountered Paul Hertz, an artist and friend of her great-uncle, who persuaded her to join him in attempting to transcribe Ignotus's ideas to a tangible form. Upon Ignotus's recovery, the three continued working together sporadically. When they exhibited their art together, they frequently would sign one another's work and pass it off as their own, an action in keeping with Ignotus's theory of authorial irrelevance. Thus de la Serra's 1996 suite of digital images, "Deadpan, or, the Holy Toast," was exhibited by Hertz in several international venues, including the Polytechnic University of Valencia.

Darrell Luce Work and Statement

Pescador    Hertz    de la Serra    Luce   


Darrell Luce, b. circa 1963, probably in San Francisco. Luce is the wild man of the workshop, which he joined in 1996, at the request of Alma de la Serra. He either refuses to discuss his past or concocts sly stories that in retrospect cannot possibly be true. A realist in more ways than one, Luce paints in an expressionistic style that borrows freely from old masters, publicity stills, and cartooning. His sarcastically entitled 'Life of Ignotus' series documents his skepticism with regard to Ignotus's ideas--which Ignotus fully shares. His series of paintings of de la Serra apparently documents his relationship with her, though no one has yet figured out exactly what that relationship is, since Luce never gives a straight answer and de la Serra limits herself to saying "you either trust Darrell completely or not at all."