American Art – Part I of II: Daniel F. Gerhartz
In the words of one critic, “Born in 1965 in Kewaskum, Wisconsin, where he now lives with his wife Jennifer, and their young children, Dan’s interest in art emerged as a teenager. Studies at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Illinois and his voracious appetite for museums and the modern masters such as John Singer Sargent, Alphonse Mucha, Nicolai Fechin, Joaquin Sorolla, Carl von Marr as well as a host of other French and American impressionists have inspired him.
Dan has a particular interest and appreciation for modern Russian art and the sumptuous canvases of the painters Nicolai Fechin, Isaac Levitan and Ilya Repin. As Dan says, their paintings are ‘completely loose yet deliberate and faithful, not at all flashy.’
Indeed, the powerful and evocative beauty of Gerhartz’s paintings is also due in large measure to looseness, honesty and faithfulness of his style. Dan’s paintings embrace a range of subjects, most prominently the female figure in either a pastoral setting or an intimate interior. He is at his best with subjects from everyday life, genre subjects, sacred-idyllic landscapes or figures in quiet repose, meditation or contemplative isolation.”
Here is the Artist Statement of Polish painter Andrzej Pietal:
“Every time I start to create a new painting, I reach inside myself. I call it a translation of my dream, although my works do not reflect my imaginings. They are rather like visualizations ruled by a similar philosophy- a Philosophy of dreams.
People and objects on my canvases, are not strictly real. They come into being from my emotions. Everything is ambiguous, not entirely clear, exactly like in a dream.
Color is especially important in my paintings. I search for vibrant colors to give my Art a decorative look, and sense of magical excitement.”
“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” – Fannie Lou Hamer, American voting rights activist and civil rights leader, who was born 6 October 1917.
Two quotes from the work of Fannie Lou Hamer:
“With the people, for the people, by the people. I crack up when I hear it; I say, with the handful, for the handful, by the handful, cause that’s what really happens.”
“Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”
Here is one critic describing the artistry of French sculptor Nella Buscot: “The terracota sculptures are polished or given a patina with pigments. The earth stays her prefered material because of its living nature.”
British Art – Part I of II: Richard Whincop
Artist Statement: “’A work of art encapsulates human experience from the time it was created. Seen in the flesh it can have an immediacy that stirs something in us, as though a frozen moment from a time perhaps very different to our own has come unexpectedly to life. As an artist with a background in Art History, I have spent many hours in Art Museums, and find the people who visit them and the places themselves just as interesting as the works of art they house. An Art Museum brings together works of art from very different times and places, and is visited by an extraordinarily diverse range of people. This can make for some interesting combinations.
As they wander through the environment of an art museum, with its grandiose architecture and dramatic lighting, spectators can inadvertently become part of an almost theatrical scene, where the works of art imply an unspoken a commentary or even become players in a dramatic tableau. A person can stand in front of a painting that seems like the doorway into another world; a sculpted figure can seem to yearn for the life that those who view it take for granted. The boundary between art and reality can seem to break down, with artworks seeming to interact with gallery visitors, and both appearing to be equally alive.
In paintings, the picture frame marks the symbolic boundary between everyday reality and the imaginary pictorial realm. In a painting of a painting, that boundary can be violated; and when that happens our senses can begin to get confused about what is real and what isn’t. Breaking the unwritten rule that separates art and reality can result in images that disturb our sense of normality: they look real but simply do not make sense. This can make us question some of the conventions governing the way that art is presented and viewed, and reconsider our most basic assumptions about its limitations in space and time.
Art has an extraordinary capacity to stimulate the human imagination; and looked at with fresh eyes, traditional art forms can take on a striking contemporary relevance, and present us with new and exciting creative possibilities. Yet some contemporary artists isolate themselves from this rich artistic legacy, without which their work would not have existed in the first place. The pursuit of originality at all costs and the thirst for sensationalism has led to the belief that traditional art forms are outmoded and lack a contemporary edge. Yet there is no reason why traditional forms cannot be used in a contemporary way; bringing together old and new can have interesting results.”
British Art – Part II of II: Jack Vettriano
According to one writer, “Born in Fife, Scotland in 1951, Jack Vettriano left school at sixteen to become a mining engineer. For his twenty-first birthday, a girlfriend gave him a set of watercolour paints and, from then on, he spent much of his spare time teaching himself to paint.
In 1989, he submitted two paintings to the Royal Scottish Academy’s annual exhibition; both were accepted and sold on the first day. The following year, an equally enthusiastic reaction greeted the three paintings, which he entered for the prestigious Summer Exhibition at London’s Royal Academy and his new life as an artist began from that point on.”
“I am half-sick of shadows,’ said The Lady of Shalott.” – Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom during much of Queen Victoria’s reign, who died on 6 October 1892.
“It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour’d of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
’Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
A Poem for Today
“To a Meadowlark,”
By Jim Harrison
For M.L. Smoker
Up on the Ft. Peck Reservation
(Assiniboine and Sioux)
just as I passed two white crosses
in the ditch I hit a fledgling meadowlark,
the slightest thunk against the car’s grille.
A mean minded God
in a mean minded machine, offering
another ghost to the void to join the two
white crosses stabbing upward in the insufferable
air. Wherever we go we do harm, forgiving
ourselves as wheels do cement for wearing
each other out. We set this house
on fire forgetting that we live within.
Driving south of Wolf Point down by Missouri
M.L. Smoker is camped with her Indians,
tipis in a circle, eating buffalo meat for breakfast,
reminding themselves what life may have been.
She says that in the evenings the wild horses
from the terra incognita to the south come
to the river to drink and just stand there
watching the Indians dance. I leave quickly,
still feeling like a bullsnake whipping through
the grass looking for something to kill.
A Second Poem for Today
“The Lamp of Life,”
By Amy Lowell
Always we are following a light,
Always the light recedes; with groping hands
We stretch toward this glory, while the lands
We journey through are hidden from our sight
Dim and mysterious, folded deep in night,
We care not, all our utmost need demands
Is but the light, the light! So still it stands
Surely our own if we exert our might.
Fool! Never can’st thou grasp this fleeting gleam,
Its glowing flame would die if it were caught,
Its value is that it doth always seem
But just a little farther on. Distraught,
But lighted ever onward, we are brought
Upon our way unknowing, in a dream.
American Art – Part II of II: Michele Collier
Artist Statement: “I discovered clay at the age of 18. I learned on a kick-wheel at Sacramento City College in Sacramento, CA under the tutelage of Dr. Beverly Pears. In those days functional work was the gold standard. Hands on clay has been a touchstone for me ever since. Throughout my careers in both commercial and fine art, clay was the one medium I could return to when I needed to restore my focus and sense of self.
After graduating from the Academy of Art College (now, University), I went into the double career of illustration and fine art painting. Like the trick rider who rides two horses roman style, I continued in this way for 15 productive years. During that time my paintings were mainly landscapes., but a need for a more intimate expression led me to figurative works.
In 2000 I moved from the rolling hills of Sonoma County to Oakland, CA and the shift to such an urban setting affected me more deeply than I could have predicted. I felt off balance and unable to paint. Once again, I returned to clay to get my bearings. This time it turned out to be a career change for me. The pots I threw soon sprouted sculptural elements and it wasn’t long before I made the shift to pure sculpture. What had been the figurative subject of my paintings now became the subject of my sculpture. Over the next year or two I learned the skills I needed for my change of medium. I was fortunate to find excellent instructors at this juncture who helped me build on my knowledge of the human form and adapt it to clay. I work with hand rolled slabs because I like the immediacy of what happens when clay is pushed, folded and torn. It keeps my work fresh and it also keeps me humble because at any time the piece could collapse.”