Sentient in Seattle – 23 May 2018

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Birth: Born 23 May 1891 – Par Lagerkvist, a Swedish novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and recipient of the 1951 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Par Lagerkvist:

“Nothing is more foreign than the world of one’s childhood when one has truly left it.”
“Only the gods have many destinies and need never die. They are filled with everything and experience everything. Everything – except human happiness. That they can never know and therefore they grudge it to men. Nothing makes them so evil and cruel as that men should presume to be happy and forget them for the sake of their earthly happiness.”
“Eternity… It has nothing to do with life, I thought; it is the contrary to all life. It is something limitless, endless, a realm of death which the living must look into with horror. Was it here that I was to dwell?”
“It is incomprehensible that he should want to have these futile people here, and still more incomprehensible that he should be able to sit and listen to them and their stupid chatter. I can understand that he may occasionally listen to poets reciting their verses; they can be regarded as buffoons such as are always kept at court. They laud the lofty purity of the human soul, great events and heroic feats, and there is nothing to be said against all that, particularly if their songs flatter him. Human beings need flattery; otherwise they do not fulfill their purpose, not even in their own eyes. And both the present and the past contain much that is beautiful and noble which, without due praise, would have been neither noble nor beautiful. Above all, they sing the praises of love, which is quite as it should be, for nothing else is in such need of transformation into something different. The ladies are filled with melancholy and their breasts heave with sighs; the men gaze vaguely and dreamily into space, for they all know what it is really like and realize that this must be an especially beautiful poem.”

This Date in Art History: Born 23 May 1790 – James Pradier, a French neoclassical sculptor.

Below – “Sappho”; “The Three Graces”; “La Toilette d’Atalante”; “Phryne Removing Her Veils”; “Nyssia”; “Satyr and Bacchante.”

For Your Information: 23 May is National Taffy Day in the United States.


This Date in Art History: Born 23 May 1861 – Jozsef Rippl-Ronai, a Hungarian painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Studio at Kaposvar”; “Still Life with Mask”; “Woman with Three Girls”; “Arising”; “After Bath”; “Self-Portrait.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 23 May 1906 – Henrik Ibsen, a Norwegian playwright, theater director, and poet.

Some quotes from the work of Henrik Ibsen:

“It is inexcusable for scientists to torture animals; let them make their experiments on journalists and politicians.”
“The majority never has right on its side. Never, I say! That is one of these social lies against which an independent, intelligent men must wage war. Who is it that constitute the majority of the population in a country? Is it the clever folk, or the stupid? I don’t imagine you will dispute the fact that at present the stupid people are in an absolutely overwhelming majority all the world over.”
“Money may be the husk of many things but not the kernel. It brings you food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; acquaintance, but not friends; servants, but not loyalty; days of joy, but not peace or happiness.”
“The spirit of truth and the spirit of freedom-they are the pillars of society.”
“I’m no longer prepared to accept what people say and what’s written in books. I must think things out for myself, and try to find my own answer.”


This Date in Art History: Born 23 May 1861 – Jozsef Rippl-Ronai, a Hungarian painter: Part II of II.

Below – “The Artist’s Mother Sewing”; “Black Haired Girl”; “Cherry Tree Blossoms”; “Evening Mood”; “Girl with a Blue Hat”; “In the Garden.”

Worth a Thousand Words: St. Kilda, Scotland.

This Date in Art History: Born 23 May 1910 – Franz Kline, an American painter.

Below – “Painting Number 2”; Untitled; Untitled; Untitled; “Black Sienna”; Untitled.

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Birth: Born 23 May 1947 – Jane Kenyon, an American poet and translator.

“Happiness”
by Jane Kenyon

There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.

And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.

No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.

It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basket maker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.
It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.


Contemporary American Art – Marcus Glenn

In the words of one writer, “Glenn’s figures are animated and mannerists in approach, often stretching and twisting into impossible positions. Marcus Glenn also has created a unique form of combining painting with sculpture to form a bas-relief effect. He calls this style Flat Life and has been developing the idea for more than a decade. Marcus is considered one of the most excitng of a new breed of young African-American artists to emerge in recent years. His work deals with issues that continue to fascinate him, like the creative process of making art; the solitary experience of the artist, the dialog between art and the viewer.”

Below – “Lillie Up Close and Personal”; “Moderate Inspirations”; “Gossip at the Gallery”; “Places I Go When I’m Depressed II”; “Midnight Blues”; “Three Bass and a Lady.”

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A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 23 May 2018

“The biggest mistake is trusting the wrong people who generally are also the dumbest.” ― Marino Baccarini.

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Sentient in Seattle – 22 May 2018

Musings in Spring: Sei Shonagon

“In autumn, the evenings [are the most beautiful], when the glittering sun sinks close to the edge of the hills and the crows fly back to their nests in threes and fours and twos; more charming still is a file of wild geese, like specks in the distant sky. When the sun has set, one’s heart is moved by the sound of the wind and the hum of the insects.”

Art for Spring – Part I of II: David Lloyd Glover (Canadian, contemporary)

Below – “Storm Passing”; “Rue de Provence, France”; “Lake’s Edge”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 22 May 1967 – Langston Hughes, an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist.

“Dreams”
by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Art for Spring – Part II of II: David Glynn (American, contemporary)

Below – “Study in Bikes”; “Wine, Women, and Song (Banjo)”; “Whipped Cream”

Worth a Thousand Words: Plitvice Lakes, Croatia.


This Date in Art History: Born 22 May 1948 – Tomas Sanchez, a Cuban painter and engraver.

Below – “Thought Cloud”; “Luz atraves”; “Canal”; “Landscape”; “Contempladores de cascades”; “Naciimiento de Una Isla.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 22 May 1859 – Arthur Conan Doyle, a British writer best known for being the creator of Sherlock Holmes.

Some quotes from the work of Arthur Conan Doyle:

“It is a great thing to start life with a small number of really good books which are your very own.”
“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
“You have a grand gift for silence, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.”
“Watson. Come at once if convenient. If inconvenient, come all the same.”
“A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones.”
“I’m not a psychopath, I’m a high-functioning sociopath. Do your research.”
“Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent.”
“‘Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?’
‘To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.’
‘The dog did nothing in the night-time.’
‘That was the curious incident,’ remarked Sherlock Holmes.”
“The game is afoot.”

Below – Arthur Conan Doyle; Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes; Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes; Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes; Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes.

This Date in Art History: Born 22 May 1844 – Mary Cassatt, an American painter: Part I of II.

Below – “The Boating Party”; “Tea”; “Summertime”; “Young Woman in Green, Outdoors in the Sun”; “Young Girl at a Window”; “Self-Portrait.”


Musings in Spring: Casi McLean

“The greatest thing about dreams is they don’t expire. They can lay dormant for years and when you pull them out and dust them off, they shine like new.”


This Date in Art History: Born 22 May 1844 – Mary Cassatt, an American painter: Part II of II.

Below – “The Fitting”; “Young Woman in a Black and Green Bonnet”; “Woman Standing Holding a Fan”; “The Child’s Bath”; “Woman with a Pearl Necklace in a Loge”; “The Reader.”

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A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 22 May 2018

“Ignorance is not bliss. Rather, ignorance is blistering.” ― Craig D. Lounsbrough, American writer.

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada June 18, 2016. REUTERS/David Becker/Files – RTX2IRRV

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Sentient in Seattle – 21 May 2018

Musings in Spring: Murasaki Shikibu

“There is much to be said for cherry blossoms, but they seem so flighty. They are so quick to run off and leave you. And then just when your regrets are the strongest the wisteria comes into bloom, and it blooms on into the summer. There is nothing quite like it. Even the color is somehow companionable and inviting.”

Art for Spring: Ablade Glover (Ghanaian, contemporary)

Below – “Red Orange Profile”; “Yellow Forest A1”; “Marketplace 127”


Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 21 May 1926 – Robert Creeley, an American poet, novelist, and essayist.

“America”
by Robert Creeley

America, you ode for reality!
Give back the people you took.

Let the sun shine again
on the four corners of the world

you thought of first but do not
own, or keep like a convenience.

People are your own word, you
invented that locus and term.

Here, you said and say, is
where we are. Give back

what we are, these people you made,
us, and nowhere but you to be.

This Date in Art History: Born 21 May 1844 – Henri Rousseau, a French painter.

Below – “The Dream”; “The Sleeping Gypsy”;“The Snake Charmer”; “A Carnival Evening”; “The Flamingoes”; “Self Portrait.”

Worth a Thousand Words: Algarve, Portugal.

This Date in Art History: Born 21 May 1912 – Chen Dayu, a Chinese painter and calligrapher.

Below – “Rooster”; “The Autumn of the Autumn”; “Songju Sangsha”; “Qian Songyan”; “Green Leaf Poultry Mirror”; “Wisteria Rooster.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Birth: Born 21 May 1923 – Dorothy Hewett, an Australian feminist poet, novelist, and playwright.

“Digging It In”
by Dorothy Hewett

My father’s spade
has the hollow sound of regret
Goodbye Dad but he doesn’t look up
where the cannas once grew by the drain
sour and stubborn he keeps on digging.

The melancholy acres stretch away
behind him the trees already dying
a crow flaps crying
along the boundary fence where once
the timber stood.

I have disappointed him once again
another dream gone west
I won’t be here to listen to his plans
to rechannel the salty creek
replant the trees rejuvenate the farm
he will lease it out for a pittance
eventually selling it off for next to nothing
run down one sheep to the acre

but all the way back
driving across the Nullarbor
over the cattle grids
through the dog-proof fence
an empty drum on the boundary
WELCOME TO WESTERN AUSTRALIA
I will hear the sound of his spade
savagely breaking the clods
for a kitchen garden.


This Date in Art History: Born 21 May 1898 – John McLaughlin, an American painter.

Below – Untitled; Untitled; Untitled; Untitled; Untitled; “V-1957.”

Musings in Spring: Robinson Jeffers

“I believe that the universe is one being, all its parts are different expressions of the same energy… parts of one organic whole…. (This is physics, I believe, as well as religion.) The parts change and pass, or die, people and races and rocks and stars; none of them seems to me important in itself, but only the whole. This whole is in all its parts so beautiful, and is felt by me to be so intensely in earnest, that I am compelled to love it, and to think of it as divine.”

Contemporary American Art – Milton Glaser

In the words of one writer, “Born in New York City, he studied art at the Cooper Union Art School and the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, Italy as a Fulbright Scholar from 1952 to 1953. He has done much design work and from 1954 to 1974, was Chairman of the Board and Director of Design for ‘New York’ magazine. He has taught at the School of the Visual Arts in New York and lived in New York City.”

Below – Untitled Triptych; “Matisse Drawing from Life”; “Monet Reaching for His Palette”; From “The Tuscan Series”; “Lautrec and His Ladies”; “Monet and His Nudes.”

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A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 21 May 2018

“I personally think humans have got about as far as we can go. We’re wrecking the planet. We’re never short of good reasons to massacre each other. Wrong god. Wrong race. Wrong color. Wrong sex. I’m actually quite surprised a thoroughly pissed-off History hasn’t waved a flaming sword and we’re all back in caves in the snow, chewing on half-cooked mammoth. And even that’s more than we deserve.
No wonder we still can’t get to Mars. I suspect the Universe is making damned sure we don’t get the chance to contaminate other planets with our stupidity. It’s keeping us on this one where the only thing we can damage is each other.” ― Jodi Taylor, British writer.

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Sentient in Seattle – 20 May 2018

Musings in Spring: Sei Shonagon

“In summer the nights [are the most beautiful]. Not only when the moon shines, but on dark nights too, as the fireflies flit to and fro, and even when it rains, how beautiful it is!”

Art for Spring – Part I of II: Andre Gisson (American, 1921-2003)

Below – “Carousel”; “Les Baignenses”; “Bouquet by the Sea”

Worth a Thousand Words: New Zealand – the Southern Alps.

Art for Spring – Part II of II: Carson Gladson (American, contemporary)

Below – “Sunlit Path”; “Pond”; Untitled

Musings in Spring: Guy Davenport

“Art is the attention we pay to the wholeness of the world.”

This Date in Art History: Born 20 May 1898 – Eduard Ole, an Estonian painter.

Below – “Passengers”; “Rannavaade”; “Linnavaade Alpidest”; “Strandpromenad i San Sebastian”; “Hilissugisene maastik”; “Pariisi vaade.”

A Poem for Today

“Love Song to My Neighborhoods”
by Kelli Russell Agodon

Sometimes I stroll through forests
just sprayed for the gypsy moths. I throw a rock
into the bushes to distract the hunters. Deer
me. I am writing to my hazards.
Open gutter to the lake, green oil, paint dumped—
I swam there, cut my foot on a beer bottle
and kept paddling
to years by the power plant, my bed
placed so I could see the voltage through my window,
an evening sparked from metal towers. I was pulsing
beneath an uncharged moon. Still am.
Let me introduce you to the nuclear
sub base, the girl next door. At night, missiles leave
their home on trains, protesters appear on tracks
a day too late. Afternoons, I buzz to the hum
of the generator. I know your lecture in my radioactive
heart:
sing organic, vegetarian bliss. But I can afford
to live here. I am a poor it.
Open my wallet and find. . . Moths?
Coins radiating? A small hazmat team? Let’s dream
big together. Turn off the lights. Watch my lungs glow.
I know you’d pay to see them.


This Date in Art History: Born 20 May 1907 – Carl Mydans, an American photographer and journalist: Part I of II:

Below – Daughter, Migratory Workers, Lower Rio Grande, near Raymondville, Texas; Italians in Refugee Camp; Wales; Saigon Refugee; CCC Corp Workers; Winter in Russia.

Musings in Spring: Roger Zelazny

“I watched the spinning stars, grateful, sad and proud, as only a man who has outlived his destiny and realizes he might yet forge himself another, can be.”

This Date in Art History: Born 20 May 1907 – Carl Mydans, an American photographer and journalist: Part II of II:

Below – Children of British Coal Miners; Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas with Basket; Sand Hogs; General Douglas MacArthur Landing at Luzon, Philippines, 1945; Cafe in Pikesville, Tennessee, 1936; Sharecroppers Standing on a Porch.

Musings in Spring: Edmond Rostand

“My soul, be satisfied with flowers,
With fruit, with weeds even; but gather them
In the one garden you may call your own.”

Contemporary American Art – Kamal Givian

In the words of one writer, “Inspired by masters such as Goya and Delacroix, he has spent decades painting, drawing, and sculpting. His work has been exhibited in galleries in Paris, New York, Chicago, Santa Fe, and New Orleans, among others. Central to most of Kamal’s creations is the distillation, interpretation, and/or reimagining of natural beauty, often as part of a dialogue with wilderness or the human body. He attributes his commitment to art to the purity of expression it affords him.”

Below – “Spring”; “Eye of Hurricane”; “Country”; “Terrace”; “Summer Houses”; “Aphrodite” (terracotta).

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A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 20 May 2018

“There’s no point in arguing with an idiot – save for exposing their stupidity in their own words.” ― Christina Engela, South African writer.

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Sentient in Seattle – 19 May 2018

Musings in Spring: Margaret Atwood

“But my dreaming self refuses to be consoled. It continues to wander, aimless, homeless, alone. It cannot be convinced of its safety by any evidence drawn from my waking life.”

Art for Spring – Part I of III: Gunther Gerzso Wendland (Hungarian/Mexican, 1915-2000)

Below – “Manantial”; “Tierra Amarilla”; “Ciudadela”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 19 May 1971 – Ogden Nash, an American poet best known for his humorous verses.

Below – A few examples of the work of Ogden Nash:

“The Grackle”

The grackle’s voice is less than mellow,
His heart is black, his eye is yellow,
He bullies more attractive birds
With hoodlum deeds and vulgar words,
And should a human interfere,
Attacks that human in the rear.
I cannot help but deem the grackle
An ornithological debacle.

“The Middle”

When I remember bygone days
I think how evening follows morn;
So many I loved were not yet dead,
So many I love were not yet born.
Tell me, O Octopus, I begs
Is those things arms, or is they legs?
I marvel at thee, Octopus;
If I were thou, I’d call me Us.

“The Octopus”

Tell me, O Octopus, I begs
Is those things arms, or is they legs?
I marvel at thee, Octopus;
If I were thou, I’d call me Us.


Art for Spring – Part II of III: Yankel Ginzburg (Khazakhstani, contemporary)

Below – Untitled; “Shadows”; “Abundance in Yellow”


Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 19 May 1946 – Booth Tarkington, an American novelist, dramatist, and two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Booth Tarkington:

“I’m not sure he’s wrong about automobiles…With all their speed forward they may be a step backward in civilization — that is, in spiritual civilization. It may be that they will not add to the beauty of the world, nor to the life of men’s souls.”
“Youth cannot imagine romance apart from youth. That is why the roles of the heroes and heroines of plays are given by the managers to the most youthful actors they can find among the competent.”
“I mean the things that we have and that we think are so solid—they’re like smoke, and time is like the sky that the smoke disappears into. You know how wreath of smoke goes up from a chimney, and seems all thick and black and busy against the sky, as if it were going to do such important things and last forever, and you see it getting thinner and thinner—and then, in such a little while, it isn’t there at all; nothing is left but the sky, and the sky keeps on being just the same forever.”
“Boyhood is the longest time in life for a boy. The last term of the school-year is made of decades, not of weeks, and living through them is like waiting for the millennium.”
“Destiny has a constant passion for the incongruous.”


Art for Spring – Part III of III: Walter Girotto (Italian, contemporary)

Below – “Oh, My…”; “Black Hat”; “Climbing the Moon”

Worth a Thousand Words: Mount Jefferson, Oregon.


This Date in Art History: Born 19 May 1967 – Massimo Taccon, an Italian painter and sculptor.

Below – “Peace”; “Evoluton 1”; “Domine Quo Vadis”; “Dinamica 2”; “Alpha and Omega.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 19 May 1984 – John Betjemen, an English poet, writer, and Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1972 until his death.

“The Last Laugh”
by John Betjemen

I made hay while the sun shone.
My work sold.
Now, if the harvest is over
And the world cold,
Give me the bonus of laughter
As I lose hold.

This Date in Art History: Born 19 May 1929 – Richard Larter, an Australian painter.

Below- “Middle Shift”; “Egyptian Nights, Auckland Daze”; “Woman in Interior”; “Ginnindera – Wind and Water”; “Market Stitch Game”; “Julie.”

Musings in Spring: Murasaki Shikibu

“People make a great deal of the flowers of spring and the leaves of autumn, but for me a night like this, with a clear moon shining on snow, is the best — and there is not a trace of color in it. I cannot describe the effect it has on me, weird and unearthly somehow. I do not understand people who find a winter evening forbidding.”


This Date in Art History: Born 19 May 1871, Died 19 May 1963 – Walter Bowman Russell, an American painter and sculptor.

Below – “Stream, Italy”; Untitled Landscape; “Two Figures Gathering Water in the Desert”; “Solitude (Rocky Mountains)”; “Steamship Maine”; “Mark Twain” (bronze).

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A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 19 May 2018

“Donald Trump is a liar because he is a coward. It is fear and cowardice that make him lie. it is his fragile ego that makes him lie.” – Gizmo, The Puzzled Puppy, an American writer and author of “What Donald Trump Supporters Need to Know: But Are Too Infatuated to Figure Out.”

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