American Art – Part I of V: Rita Natarova
In the words of one writer, “Born in Nigeria, West Africa, Irish painter Ken Hamilton returned to Ireland at the age of eleven where he eventually went to Art College in Belfast. Rejecting the trends of so-called contemporary art, he has sought to restore some of the ancient values of painting now discarded by so many.
His paintings do not openly deal with the angst of the artist’s own soul or with the ‘human condition’ but rather seem to be a celebration of the visual pleasures of the world in which we live. By pointing towards these pleasures he is also reminding us of their fleeting nature, not to create in us a sense of despair but so that we may savour the moment and enrich our lives by taking our time and drawing our attention to them.”
“I hardly know so true a mark of a little mind as the servile imitation of others.” – Fulke Greville, Elizabethan poet, dramatist, and statesman, who was born on 3 October 1554, making a point that has no bearing whatsoever on contemporary life in the United States.
American Art – Part II of V: Barry X Ball
“What I am after is the first impression—I want to show all one sees on first entering the room—what my eye takes in at first glance.” – Pierre Bonnard, French printmaker and Post-Impressionist painter, who was born on 3 October 1857.
“Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.” – Gore Vidal, American writer known for his novels, essays, political commentary, screenplays, Broadway plays, wit, and eloquent skepticism, who was born on 3 October 1925.
Some quotes from Gore Vidal:
“The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity – much less dissent.”
“The genius of our ruling class is that it has kept a majority of the people from ever questioning the inequity of a system where most people drudge along, paying heavy taxes for which they get nothing in return.”
“Any American who is prepared to run for president should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so.”
“By the time a man gets to be presidential material, he’s been bought ten times over.”
“Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.”
“As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.”
“Our form of democracy is bribery, on the highest scale.”
“Never have children, only grandchildren.”
“Think of the earth as a living organism that is being attacked by billions of bacteria whose numbers double every forty years. Either the host dies, or the virus dies, or both die.”
“The four most beautiful words in our common language: ‘I told you so.’”
“There is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise.”
“Today’s public figures can no longer write their own speeches or books, and there is some evidence that they can’t read them either.”
“There is no such thing as a homosexual or a heterosexual person. There are only homo- or heterosexual acts. Most people are a mixture of impulses if not practices.”
“As the age of television progresses the Reagans will be the rule, not the exception. To be perfect for television is all a President has to be these days.”
“The theater needs continual reminders that there is nothing more debasing than the work of those who do well what is not worth doing at all.”
“Now you have people in Washington who have no interest in the country at all. They’re interested in their companies, their corporations grabbing Caspian oil.”
“Until the rise of American advertising, it never occurred to anyone anywhere in the world that the teenager was a captive in a hostile world of adults.”
“There is something about a bureaucrat that does not like a poem.”
“To a man, ornithologists are tall, slender, and bearded so that they can stand motionless for hours, imitating kindly trees, as they watch for birds.”
“The more money an American accumulates, the less interesting he becomes.”
American Art – Part III of V: Millard Owen Sheets
Millard Owen Sheets (1907-1989) was a representative of
the California School of Painting.
British Art – Part I of II: Ann Goodfellow
Artist Statement: “The primary concerns within my practice are describing aspects of the figure through a combination of the drawing process and ceramic sculpture. Life drawing has always held a fascination for me and in particular the eventual emergence of the figure from a network of marks made on paper. Through a contemporary approach to the figurative form and transferring these qualities to the ceramic surfaces, the figures are provided with a similar energy and life.”
“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.” – James Herriot (pen name of Alfred Wight), a British veterinary surgeon, writer, and author of the edifying and delightful “All Creatures Great and Small,” who was born 3 October 1916
Some quotes from the work of James Herriot:
“At times it seemed unfair that I should be paid for my work; for driving out in the early morning with the fields glittering under the first pale sunshine and the wisps of mist still hanging on the high tops.”
“I have felt cats rubbing their faces against mine and touching my cheek with claws carefully sheathed. These things, to me, are expressions of love.”
“And the peace which I always found in the silence and emptiness of the moors filled me utterly”
“I think it was the beginning of Mrs. Bond’s unquestioning faith in me when she saw me quickly enveloping the cat till all you could see of him was a small black and white head protruding from an immovable cocoon of cloth. He and i were now facing each other, more or less eyeball to eyeball, and George couldn’t do a thing about it. As i say, I rather pride myself on this little expertise, and even today my veterinary colleagues have been known to remark, “Old Herriot may be limited in many respects, but by God he can wrap a cat.”
“And there was that letter from the Bramleys—that really made me feel good. You don’t find people like the Bramleys now; radio, television and the motorcar have carried the outside world into the most isolated places so that the simple people you used to meet on the lonely farms are rapidly becoming like people anywhere else. There are still a few left, of course—old folk who cling to the ways of their fathers and when I come across any of them I like to make some excuse to sit down and talk with them and listen to the old Yorkshire words and expressions which have almost disappeared.”
“I love writing about my job because I loved it, and it was a particularly interesting one when I was a young man. It was like holidays with pay to me.”
British Art – Part II of II – Suzie Zamit
Artist Statement: “The beauty of the human form is a constant inspiration – I find the expressive, malleable properties of terracotta make it the perfect medium … There is something immensely satisfying, addictive and ancient in taking a lump of clay and ‘breathing life’ into it.”
3 October 1957 – California State Superior Court Judge Clayton Horn rules that Allen Ginsberg’s book “Howl and Other Poems” is not obscene and that it is, in fact, of “redeeming social importance.” On 3 June Shig Murao, the manager at City Lights Bookstore, had been arrested and jailed for selling “Howl and Other Poems” to an undercover San Francisco police officer, and City Lights Publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti was subsequently booked for publishing the book.
“Howl and Other Poems” contains many lyrical gems, including “Howl,” “Sunflower Sutra,” and the poem I have posted below – “A Supermarket in California.” This is an apt choice, since Walt Whitman was one of Ginsberg’s literary heroes and exerted a considerable influence on his art.
“A Supermarket in California”
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for
I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache
self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went
into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families
shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the
avocados, babies in the tomatoes!–and you, Garcia Lorca, what
were you doing down by the watermelons?
I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber,
poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the
pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel?
I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans
following you, and followed in my imagination by the store
We strode down the open corridors together in our
solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen
delicacy, and never passing the cashier.
Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in
an hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the
supermarket and feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The
trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we’ll both be
Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love
past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher,
what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and
you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat
disappear on the black waters of Lethe?
American Art – Part IV of V: Edward S. Curtis
In the words of one art historian, “Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868-1952) became one of America’s finest photographers and ethnologists. When the Curtis family moved to Port Orchard, Washington in 1887, Edward’s gift for photography led him to an investigation of the Indians living on the Seattle waterfront. His portrait of Chief Seattle’s daughter, Princess Angeline, won Curtis the highest award in a photographic contest. Having become well known for his work-with the Indians, Curtis participated in the 1899 Harriman expedition to Alaska as one of two official photographers. He then accompanied George Bird Grinell, editor of ‘Forest and Stream,’ on a trip to northern Montana. There they witnessed the deeply sacred Sundance of the Piegan and Blackfoot tribes. Travelling on horseback, with their packhorses trailing behind, they emerged from the mountains to view the valley floor massed with over a thousand teepees – an awesome sight to Curtis and one that transformed his life. Everything fell into place at that moment: it was clear to him that he was to record, with pen and camera, the life of the North American Indian.”
By Mary Jo Salter
My husband has a crush on Myrna Loy,
and likes to rent her movies, for a treat.
It makes some evenings harder to enjoy.
The list of actresses who might employ
him as their slave is too long to repeat.
(My husband has a crush on Myrna Loy,
Carole Lombard, Paulette Goddard, coy
Jean Arthur with that voice as dry as wheat …)
It makes some evenings harder to enjoy.
Does he confess all this just to annoy
a loyal spouse? I know I can’t compete.
My husband has a crush on Myrna Loy.
And can’t a woman have her dreamboats? Boy,
I wouldn’t say my life is incomplete,
but some evening I could certainly enjoy
American Art – Part V of V: Tracey Harris
In the words of one writer, “Tracey Harris grew up in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma then received scholarship to study at the Kansas City Art Institute. After completing her Bachelor’s degree, she moved to London, England to study painting where she received her Master’s degree in the visual arts. She has taught Art History, Drawing and has work in the collections of several national collectors.