American Art – Part I of VI: Richard Phillips
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Richard Phillips (born 1962): “Phillips often incorporates material taken from a range of cultural sources, from porn, advertising and fashion spreads from the 1950s,1960s and 1970s to the pop paintings of Mel Ramos, Alex Katz and Andy Warhol, translating these into glossy, hyperrealist portraits. The result is stylised figures either in heightened colour, reminiscent of 70s Technicolor films, or in black and white, which he paints in flat, slick surfaces on canvas or aluminium. He often crops the body from each figure, scaling up his subjects’ faces and re-situating them against a bold, neutral ground. Phillips’ figuration involves a level of abstraction where a radical lack of illusion sits on equal terms with the artist’s strong fascination for and empathy with his protagonists. His subjects, often drawn from pop culture or politics, are presented with few naturalistic details or clues to the place or setting. Staring out of their frames in blank perfection, they become the empty and inaccessible ciphers of contemporary power.”
“The chasm between the principles upon which this Government was founded, in which it still professes to believe, and those which are daily practiced under the protection of the flag, yawn wide and deep.” – Mary Eliza Church Terrell, daughter of American slaves, one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree, and social activist on behalf of civil rights and suffrage, who was born 23 September 1863.
American Art – II of VI: Louise Nevelson
“I’ve never been lifted. But I do like a bit of glamour in the morning.” – Louise Nevelson, Russian born American artist known for her monumental, monochromatic, wooden wall pieces and outdoor sculpture, who was born 23 September 1889.
“What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult.” – Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist and father of psychoanalysis, who died 23 September 1939.
Some quotes from the work of Sigmund Freud:
“Religion is an attempt to get control over the sensory world, in which we are placed, by means of the wish-world, which we have developed inside us as a result of biological and psychological necessities. But it cannot achieve its end. Its doctrines carry with them the stamp of the times in which they originated, the ignorant childhood days of the human race. Its consolations deserve no trust. Experience teaches us that the world is not a nursery. The ethical commands, to which religion seeks to lend its weight, require some other foundations instead, for human society cannot do without them, and it is dangerous to link up obedience to them with religious belief. If one attempts to assign to religion its place in man’s evolution, it seems not so much to be a lasting acquisition, as a parallel to the neurosis which the civilized individual must pass through on his way from childhood to maturity.”
“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.”
“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.”
“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.”
“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”
“Religious doctrines … are all illusions, they do not admit of proof, and no one can be compelled to consider them as true or to believe in them.”
“Immorality, no less than morality, has at all times found support in religion.”
“No, our science is no illusion. But an illusion it would be to suppose that what science cannot give us we can get elsewhere.”
“Everywhere I go I find a poet has been there before me.”
“In the depths of my heart I can’t help being convinced that my dear fellow-men, with a few exceptions, are worthless.”
“He does not believe that does not live according to his belief.”
“America is a mistake, a giant mistake.”
“It is impossible to escape the impression that people commonly use false standards of measurement — that they seek power, success and wealth for themselves and admire them in others, and that they underestimate what is of true value in life.”
Here is one writer describing the background and artistry of British painter John Gregson: “John Gregson holds a first class honours degree in Fine Art. He worked in the teaching profession in Nottingham and the south of England before turning to developing his own work. Initially in Sussex, but since 1998 in the beautiful village of Auberterre sur Dronne in the southwest of France where he and his wife Sue now live and he has his studio.
John’s work often demonstrates magnificent use of contrasting light and shadow, textures, reflections, scale and unusual perspectives.”
“Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.” – Euripides, Greek playwright and one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens (with Aeschylus and Sophocles), who was born 23 September 480 B.C.E.
Some quotes from the work of Euripides:
“Waste not fresh tears over old griefs.”
“There is in the worst of fortune the best of chances for a happy change.”
“Cleverness is not wisdom.”
“The wisest men follow their own direction.”
“Whoso neglects learning in his youth, loses his past and is dead for the future.”
“Experience, travel – these are an education in themselves.”
“Human misery must somewhere have a stop; there is no wind that always blows a storm; great good fortune comes to failure in the end. All is change; all yields its place and goes; to persevere, trusting in what hopes he has, is courage in a man. The coward despairs.”
According to one critic, “Tomasz Rut was born in 1961 and raised in Warsaw, Poland, the son of an Olympic athlete father and artist mother who together encouraged a love of art and the classics. During his childhood, Rut was introduced to the Pompeian Frescos as well as Renaissance and Baroque art, which have influenced his oils on canvas, murals, and graphic works. Rut had his first showing in Warsaw at the age of eleven.
Trained in Art Conservation at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Rut continued his education in New York City at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and at Columbia University in Manhattan. He eventually took a job in art conservation for the Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina, traveling the east coast restoring large scale murals in museums and mansions for such clients as the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, DC, the New Jersey State House in Trenton, the Gusman Center for the Arts and Vizcaya Museum in Miami.
It was during these travels he began to notice the void of figurative paintings from the past that one could purchase, so Rut invented a style aimed at filling this void. This style incorporated cracked canvasses that mimic aged Italian frescoes and figurative oils. ‘The one element evident in all of my paintings is the superficial patina or aging,’ which is created with a variety of transparent and semitransparent glazes, giving each work the aged and classic appearance that exemplifies Rut’s style.”
From the Music Archives: Bruce Springsteen
Born 23 September 1949 – Bruce Springsteen, an American singer and songwriter.
American Art – Part III of VI: Erin Gergen Halls
Artist Statement: “Two of my greatest loves are drawing and realism. Colored pencils have allowed me to indulge in both. I find the medium rich with challenge, thrilling, and an exhilarating way to express myself. Realism with colored pencil requires strong draftsmanship skills, confidence in problem solving and a love for detail. As a newer fine art medium, I am unable to emulate the processes of the Old Masters. Technique must be learned through trial and error. I am an avid reader and art book collector and have spent years studying and gazing at images that have engaged and inspired me. I am particularly drawn to women artists, past and present.”
“Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.” – Walter Lippmann, American writer, reporter, public intellectual, political commentator, author of “The Phantom Public,” and two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for his newspaper column “Today and Tomorrow,” who was born 23 September 1889.
Some quotes from the work of Walter Lippmann:
“There is no arguing with the pretenders to a divine knowledge and to a divine mission. They are possessed with the sin of pride. They have yielded to the perennial temptation.”
“It requires wisdom to understand wisdom: the music is nothing if the audience is deaf.”
“There can be no liberty for a community which lacks the means by which to detect lies.”
“Love endures only when the lovers love many things together and not merely each other.”
“Ignore what a man desires and you ignore the very source of his power.”
“Between ourselves and our real natures we interpose that wax figure of idealizations and selections which we call our character. We extend this into all our thinking. Between us and the realities of social life we build up a mass of generalizations, abstract ideas, ancient glories, and personal wishes. They simplify and soften experience. It is so much easier to talk of poverty than to think of the poor, to argue the rights of capital than to see its results. Pretty soon we come to think of the theories and abstract ideas as things in themselves. We worry about their fate and forget their original content.”
“There are at least two distinct selves, the public and regal self, the private and human.”
“Though it is disguised by the illusion that a bureaucracy accountable to a majority of voters, and susceptible to the pressure of organized minorities, is not exercising compulsion, it is evident that the more varied and comprehensive the regulation becomes, the more the state becomes a despotic power as against the individual. For the fragment of control over the government which he exercises through his vote is in no effective sense proportionate to the authority exercised over him by the government.”
“All men desire their own perfect adjustment, but they desire it, being finite men, on their own terms.”
“There is an ascendant feeling among the people that all achievement should be measured in human happiness.”
“The Bill of Rights does not come from the people and is not subject to change by majorities. It comes from the nature of things. It declares the inalienable rights of man not only against all government but also against the people collectively.”
“To create a minimum standard of life below which no human being can fall is the most elementary duty of the democratic state.”
“These various remedies, eugenic, educational, ethical, populist and socialist, all assume that either the voters are inherently competent to direct the course of affairs or that they are making progress towards such an ideal. I think [democracy] is a false ideal.”
“If we ask ourselves what is this wisdom which experience forces upon us, the answer must be that we discover the world is not constituted as we had supposed it to be. It is not that we learn more about its physical elements, or its geography, or the variety of its inhabitants, or the ways in which human society is governed. Knowledge of this sort can be taught to a child without in any way disturbing his childishness. In fact, all of us are aware that we once knew a great many things which we have since forgotten. The essential discovery of maturity has little if anything to do with information about the names, the locations, and the sequence of facts; it is the acquiring of a different sense of life, a different kind of intuition about the nature of things.”
Here is one writer describing the background and artistry of Italian painter Alberto Sughi: “Alberto Sughi was born in Cesena in 1928. A self-taught painter, by the end of his formative years he had become one of the greatest Italian artists of his generation. He started painting in the early 1950s, choosing realism in the debate between abstract and figurative art in the immediate post-war period. Even from his early works, however, Sughi’s paintings have avoided any attempt at social moralising. They depict moments from daily life with no heroes, allowing Enrico Crispolti, in 1956, to define his work as ‘existential realism.’”
“The wonders of the Grand Canyon cannot be adequately represented in symbols of speech, nor by speech itself. The resources of the graphic art are taxed beyond their powers in attempting to portray its features. Language and illustration combined must fail.” – John Wesley Powell, American soldier, geologist, professor, and explorer of the American West, who died 23 September 1902.
In the words of one historian, Powell “is famous for the 1869 Powell Geographic Expedition, a three-month river trip down the Green and Colorado rivers that included the first known passage through the Grand Canyon . . . Powell served as second director of the US Geological Survey (1881–1894) and proposed policies for development of the arid West which were prescient for his accurate evaluation of conditions. He was director of the Bureau of Ethnology at the Smithsonian Institution, where he supported linguistic and sociological research and publications.”
American Art – Part IV of V: Duane Hanson
In the words of one art historian, sculptor Duane Hanson (1925 –1996) “is known for his realistic works of people, cast in various materials, including polyester resin, fiberglass, Bondo, or bronze. His work is often associated with the Pop Art movement, as well as hyperrealism.”
Below – “Woman Eating”; “Tourists II”; “Sunbather with Black Bikini”; “Man on Mower.”
“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.” – Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet and recipient of the 1971 Nobel Prize for Literature “for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent’s destiny and dreams,” who died 23 September 1973.
Pablo Neruda published “Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair “ in 1924, when he was nineteen years old, and it established his reputation as a major poet.
“Love Poem XX”
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
Write, for example, ‘The night is starry
and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.’
The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.
Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.
She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.
To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.
What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.
This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.
My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.
The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.
I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.
Another’s. She will be another’s. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.
I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.
Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.
Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.
In the words of one writer, “Born in northeastern Vermont in 1977, Hollis Dunlap is a painter living on the east coast of Connecticut in the USA. He paints modern paintings with a strong influence of old masters from Caravaggio to Vermeer. The color choices, brushwork, and compositions reflect the influences of various painters, from representational to more abstract in terms of composition and varying applications of paint.
Mr. Dunlap has a great appreciation for highly realist painting and sculpture, as well as a love of the open-air landscape painting. He enjoys the challenge of accurate drawing, as well as the beautiful transparent qualities of oil paint and spontaneous brushwork. He has been influenced by many different painters and techniques, and the qualities of color, drawing, and surface in his paintings reflect artists from Velasquez, to Edward Hopper, to Diebenkorn. Paint application is extremely important, and subtlety of color harmony is studied with careful attention to detail. In addition, the painting process and revisions add to the tactile qualities of the work, creating a painting surface with contrasting areas of thick and thinly applied paint.”
A Poem for Today
By Kenneth Rexroth
A thing unknown for years,
Rain falls heavily in June,
On the ripe cherries, and on
The half cut hay.
Above the glittering
Grey water of the inlet,
In the driving, light filled mist,
A blue heron
Catches mice in the green
And copper and citron swathes.
I walk on the rainy hills.
It is enough.
In order to give readers a fuller appreciation of the mood that Rexroth has created in his poem, I have placed below the opening lines of the original “Hojoki,” translated as “The Ten Foot Square Hut.” Written in 1212 by Japanese Buddhist monk Kamo no Chomei, it captures the essence of “mujo,” or the transience of things.
“The current of the flowing river does not cease, and yet the water is not the same water as before. The foam that floats on stagnant pools, now vanishing, now forming, never stays the same for long. So, too, it is with the people and dwellings of the world.”
American Art – Part VI of VI: Johnathan Harris
Artist Biography: “Johnathan Harris was born in a small town in Northwest Arkansas. Very early in his life he discovered his passion for art. After visiting New Mexico at a young age, the beauty and charm of the Southwest landscape captivated him and soon became the subject matter for his paintings. Capturing the Vibrancy of the Southwest became the driving force behind his work. He is a self-taught artist who has been painting professionally (full-time) since 2004. He earned a Marketing Degree from the University of Arkansas in 2000. He always knew he was going to be an artist, but he chose to pursue a marketing degree rather than an art degree in order to better market and promote his art. Harris moved to Santa Fe, NM in 2001 to paint and pursue his goal of being a full-time artist. He has lived in New Mexico, Colorado and currently resides in northwest Arkansas.”