September Offerings – Part XXVI: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: Marilyn Minter

In the words of one critic, “Marilyn Minter has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2005, the Center for Contemporary Art, Cincinnati, Les Rencontres d’Arles Festival in 2007, France, OH in 2009, La Conservera, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Ceutí/Murcia, Spain in 2009, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH in 2010 and the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, Germany in 2011.”
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“One of the greatest joys known to man is to take a flight into ignorance in search of knowledge.” – Robert Staughton Lynd, American sociologist, professor, and, with his wife Helen, the co-author of the groundbreaking “Middletown” studies of Muncie, Indiana, who was born 26 September 1892.

Some quotes from Robert Staughton Lynd:

“Most of us can remember a time when a birthday – especially if it was one’s own – brightened the world as if a second sun has risen.”
“Knowledge is power only if man knows what facts not to bother with.”
“Most of us believe in trying to make other people happy only if they can be happy in ways which we approve.”
“I sometimes suspect that half our difficulties are imaginary and that if we kept quiet about them they would disappear.”
“Most remarks that are worth making are commonplace remarks. The things that makes them worth saying is that we really mean them.”
“It is a glorious thing to be indifferent to suffering, but only to one’s own suffering.”
“Every man of genius is considerably helped by being dead.”
“Almost any game with any ball is a good game.”
“Cut quarrels out of literature, and you will have very little history or drama or fiction or epic poetry left.”

Above – Robert Staughton Lynd and his wife Helen.
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British Art – Part I of II: Manfred Hennessy

Artist Statement: Primarily self-taught as an artist, I successfully exhibited work in various galleries and art shows before following a very different professional career in the health care industry. Throughout that time I continued to develop my artistic skills with a view to eventually returning full-time to my first love: quality artwork with a strong sense of narrative, mystery and occasional dark whimsy(!).”
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“This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.” – From “The Hollow Men,” by T. S. Eliot, American/British poet, essayist, literary and social critic, playwright, and recipient of the 1948 Nobel Prize in Literature “for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry,” who was born 26 September 1888.

British Art – Part II of II: Kevin Hendley

In the words of one writer, “Kevin Hendley was born near Sheffield, son of a miner and came to painting after 10 years as a Master Butcher. He achieved a Degree in Fine Art at St Martin’s College of Art, London in 1993 and after being spotted at his end of year show, was instantly given the post of Artist-In-Residence at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.”
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“None are so fallible as those who are sure they’re right.” – William Strunk, Jr., American writer, educator, and author of “The Elements of Style,” who died 26 September 1946. Of this wonderful book, one historian has stated, “After revision and enlargement by his former student E. B. White, it became a highly influential guide to English usage during the late 20th century, commonly called Strunk & White.”

Some quotes from the work of William Strunk, Jr.:

“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all sentences short or avoid all detail and treat subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.”
“Instead of announcing what you are about to tell is interesting, make it so.”
“If you use a colloquialism or a slang word or phrase, simply use it; do not draw attention to it by enclosing it in quotation marks. To do so is to put on airs, as though you were inviting the reader to join you in a select society of those who know better.”
“Rich, ornate prose is hard to digest, generally unwholesome, and sometimes nauseating.”
“It is an old observation that the best writers sometimes disregard the rules of rhetoric. When they do so, however, the reader will usually find in the sentence some compensating merit, attained at the cost of the violation. Unless he is certain of doing as well, he will probably do best to follow the rules. After he has learned, by their guidance, to write plain English adequate for everyday uses, let him look, for the secrets of style, to the study of the masters of literature.”
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American art – Part II of IV: Darthea Cross

Artist Statement: “In my paintings, I constantly seek to portray the quiet, often unexpected, moments of insightful reflection we all experience from time to time — intimate moments of personal confrontation triggered by a response or reaction to our environment.
While such moments are deeply personal, and most often happen when we are alone, the resulting insights also reflect enduring, universal human themes. In such moments we come to understand our moral, ethical, emotional, and psychological struggles.
Sometimes a reflective moment is fleeting, yielding a sudden insight, and sometimes it unfolds slowly over a long period of meditative solitude. But it almost always takes place in stillness.
Each of my paintings is an exploration of the stillness of such a moment, both within and without.
For the chair series, the chair serves as a metaphor for the commonality of our emotional experiences. The chair is one of the most familiar, universally recognizable objects in daily life. Chairs help define the spaces we live in. The protocol of our society is reflected in the way we handle them. They serve as indicators of social standing.
But we also relate to chairs in very personal ways. Over time, through continuous wear and tear, chairs come to reflect the personalities of the people who use them. They carry the residue of long-term family relationships. They offer clues as to the quality of the lives we lead. Because of this, my interest in chairs as the subjects of my paintings tends toward antiques and very well worn chairs. I try to present the chair in all the richness of its history of use.
We work in chairs. We think in them, eat in them, talk in them, laugh and cry in them, and enjoy a variety of distractions in them. But perhaps most importantly, chairs also define places of quiet reflection and realization, where we make our confrontations with self, and where we experience insight and the resulting peace of mind. In addition to serving as the focus for so many of the activities of daily living, chairs serve as vehicles of reflection, restfulness, and meditation.
Another vehicle for reflection, and meditation, for me, are the interiors of old houses. By eliminating the various objects in a room, the ‘stuff,’ the clutter we fill our minds and our places of habitat with, I focus on the quiet, seemingly empty place.
By paring down the elements of my paintings to combinations of chair, human figure, walls and floor, and light and color, I try to depict scenes that are simplified but not sterilized. In each painting I strive to issue an invitation to viewers top participate in the solitude of the scene while finding their own meaning — a meaning that will inevitably reflect the intersection of the deeply personal and the profoundly universal aspects of human experience in their own lives.”
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“The tea ceremony requires years of training and practice … yet the whole of this art, as to its detail, signifies no more than the making and serving of a cup of tea. The supremely important matter is that the act be performed in the most perfect, most polite, most graceful, most charming manner possible.” – Patrick Lafcadio Hearn, known also by the Japanese name Koizumi Yakumo, Greek-born American writer, who died 26 September 1908.

In the words of one historian, “(Hearn is) best known for his books about Japan, especially his collections of Japanese legends and ghost stories, such as ‘Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things.’ In the United States, Hearn is also known for his writings about the city of New Orleans based on his ten-year stay in that city.”

Some quotes from the work of Lafcadio Hearn:

“There is scarcely any great author in European literature, old or new, who has not distinguished himself in his treatment of the supernatural. In English literature, I believe there is no exception from the time of the Anglo-Saxon poets to Shakespeare, and from Shakespeare to our own day. And this introduces us to the consideration of a general and remarkable fact, a fact that I do not remember to have seen in any books, but which is of very great philosophical importance: there is something ghostly in all great art, whether of literature, music, sculpture, or architecture. It touches something within us that relates to infinity.”
“We owe more to our illusions than to our knowledge.”
“It may remain for us to learn,… that our task is only beginning; and that there will never be given to us even the ghost of any help, save the help of unutterable unthinkable Time. We may have to learn that the infinite whirl of death and birth, out of which we cannot escape, is of our own creation, of our own seeking;–that the forces integrating worlds are the errors of the Past;–that the eternal sorrow is but the eternal hunger of insatiable desire;–and that the burnt-out suns are rekindled only by the inextinguishable passions of vanished lives.”
“The Shadow-maker shapes forever.”
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Here is one critic describing the artistry of Austrian sculptor Mario Dilitz (born 1973): “The ability to give expression to the human form, to transmit and translate its language is an ability, which the sculptor Mario Dilitz definitely has.
He combines traditional sculptural knowledge and technical skills with contemporary issues and thereby manages to create sculptures of great intensity and appeal.
His work does polarize. There is a contrast between the aesthetic beauty of his sculptures and the content of the issues, where a profound confrontation with the vagaries of human existence takes place.
On the one hand Mario Dilitz manifests the contradictions occurring in human nature, on the other hand he knows to unite them in his work.
Even his choice of material reveals these contradictions. His sculptures, most of them life-sized, are created out of high quality laminated wood. After a process of destruction and then construction the wood has reached a new form of stability, which wouldn’t have been possible in its natural condition. This process is made visible by the joints of glue in the laminated wood. Mario Dilitz chooses red glue thereby signing his creations unmistakably.”
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Mario Dilitz sculptures
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Born 26 September 1774 – John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, including the northern counties of present day West Virginia.
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Here is one critic describing the artistry of Canadian painter Dominique Fortin (born 1974): “Dominique’s work is centered towards human characters. Her painting, sometimes naive, sometimes more abstract, is «a sort of study of the human soul in a contemporary style, but full of the emotions of romanticism.» It once depicted reality, but today, it has something of the exoticism of fairy-like dreams, where the characters are actors but also the catalysts of emotion.”
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“We must welcome the future, remembering that soon it will be the past; and we must respect the past, remembering that it was once all that was humanly possible.” – George Santayana, Spanish-born American philosopher, essayist, poet, novelist, and author of “The Sense of Beauty,” who died 26 September 1952.

Some quotes from the work of George Santayana:

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
“To knock a thing down, especially if it is cocked at an arrogant angle, is a deep delight to the blood.”
“History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren’t there.”
“A string of excited, fugitive, miscellaneous pleasures is not happiness; happiness resides in imaginative reflection and judgment, when the picture of one’s life, or of human life, as it truly has been or is, satisfies the will, and is gladly accepted.”
“A child educated only at school is an uneducated child.”
“Wisdom comes by disillusionment.”
“To me, it seems a dreadful indignity to have a soul controlled by geography.”
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American Art – Part III of IV: Jack Richard Smith

American painter Jack Richard Smith (born 1950) studied art at Interlochen Arts Academy, Columbus College of Art, Insitituto Allende at San Miquel de Allende, and Thomas Jefferson College.
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“I picture my epitaph: ‘Here lies Paul Newman, who died a failure because his eyes turned brown.'” – Paul Newman, American actor, director, entrepreneur, professional racing driver, and philanthropist, who died 26 September 2008.

Here is one critic describing the background and artistry of painter Z. Z. Wei: “Z. Z. Wei was born in 1957 in Beijing, China. He started painting during the years of Culture Revolution. Art was his sanctuary from all the turmoil in his childhood and soon became his lifelong pursuit. He graduated from The Central Institute of Arts and Design (now The Academy of Arts and Design of Tsinghua University) in 1984. By the age of 30, he had two exhibitions at China National Museum of Fine Arts.
In 1989, Z.Z. was invited by the Washington State Centennial Commission to participate in the Pacific Rim Cultural Connection Project and to be a resident artist at Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle, Washington. This led to another residency in 1991 at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. The following year, he was honored with the Western States Arts Federation (WEST AF)/NEA Regional Fellowship for Visual Artists. Then, in 1993, Z.Z. had an exhibit at the Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA.
Upon his first arrival to the Northwest, Z.Z. Wei could not believe the beauty spread before him. His first experiences in the Pacific Northwest were visual revelations. He embarked on an artistic odyssey in a quest to paint powerful images of rural America. He found the strong and unique landscapes in this region, and the spirit which moved through them, mirrored his inner passions and the art ideas he sought. This explosion of awareness coupled with hi s own memories of home have created a visual text in his work that is an intoxicating sensation of the past and present.
The melancholy meandering through the back roads of the Northwest countryside has set a strong tone for collectors throughout the international art market. A misty street, a rolling wheat field, a falling leaf, shadows dancing across the side of a barn, and an old car on a lonely road are all images conveyed by Z.Z. with such vigor and vitality that the spiritual nature of their simplicity come to the fore.”
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A Poem for Today

“The peace of wild things,”
By Wendell Berry

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief.
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light.
For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

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American Art – Part IV of IV: Daniel Bilodeau

Daniel Bildeau is a graduate of the Ringling College of Art and Design. He lives and works in New York City.
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