American Art – Part I of V: Thomas Wilmer Dewing
Thomas Wilmer Dewing (1851-1938) was trained in Paris, and he was noted for his figure paintings of aristocratic women.
According to one critic, Canadian artist “Adrian Baker has been painting and exhibiting her work in galleries since 1980, as well as working as a portraitist, muralist and art teacher. Adrian’s work has been exhibited across Ontario and internationally, in group shows as well as solo exhibitions.”
“Faith in the possibilities of continued and rigorous inquiry does not limit access to truth to any channel or scheme of things. It does not first say that truth is universal and then add there is but one road to it.” – John Dewey, American philosopher, psychologist, educational reformer, and author of “Democracy and Education” and “Experience and Nature,” who was born 20 October 1859.
Some quotes from the work of John Dewey:
“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”
“We only think when confronted with a problem.”
“Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of imagination. ”
“Men have gone on to build up vast intellectual schemes, philosophies, and theologies, to prove that ideals are not real as ideals but as antecedently existing actualities. They have failed to see that in converting moral realities into matters of intellectual assent they have evinced lack of moral faith. Faith that something should be in existence as far as lies in our power is changed into the intellectual belief that it is already in existence. When physical existence does not bear out the assertion, the physical is subtly changed into the metaphysical. In this way, moral faith has been inextricably tied up with intellectual beliefs about the supernatural.”
“Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.”
“The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.”
“Hunger not to have, but to be.”
“We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.”
“The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alteration of old beliefs. ”
“To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness.”
“Conflict is the gadfly of thought. It stirs us to observation and memory. It instigates invention. It shocks us out of sheep-like passivity, and sets us at noting and contriving…conflict is a sine qua non of reflection and ingenuity.”
“Art is the most effective mode of communications that exists.”
“The only freedom that is of enduring importance is the freedom of intelligence, that is to say, freedom of observation and of judgment, exercised in behalf of purposes that are intrinsically worth while. The commonest mistake made about freedom is, I think, to identify it with freedom of movement, or, with the external or physical side of activity.”
“Every one has experienced how learning an appropriate name for what was dim and vague cleared up and crystallized the whole matter. Some meaning seems distinct almost within reach, but is elusive; it refuses to condense into definite form; the attaching of a word somehow (just how, it is almost impossible to say) puts limits around the meaning, draws it out from the void, makes it stand out as an entity on its own account.”
“The only way to abolish war is to make peace seem heroic.”
“We always live at the time we live and not at some other time, and only by extracting at each present time the full meaning of each present experience are we prepared for doing the same thing in the future.”
“Like the soil, mind is fertilized while it lies fallow, until a new burst of bloom ensues.”
“Anyone who has begun to think places some portion of the world in jeopardy.”
“Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.”
“The most important attitude that can be formed is that of desire to go on learning.”
“Forty years spent in wandering in a wilderness like that of the present is not a sad fate–unless one attempts to make himself believe that the wilderness is after all itself the promised land.”
“The ultimate function of literature is to appreciate the world, sometimes indignantly, sometimes sorrowfully, but best of all to praise when it is luckily possible.”
“The goal of education is to enable individuals to continue their education.”
“The deepest urge in human nature is the desire to be important.”
“I feel the gods are pretty dead, though I suppose I ought to know that, to be somewhat more philosophical in the matter, if atheism means simply not being a theist, then of course I’m an atheist.”
American Art – Part II of V: Mihail Aleksandrov
Russian-American painter Mihail Aleksandrov was born in Vilnius, Lithuania in 1949 and immigrated to the United States in 1980. In the words of one critic, “His paintings pulsate with a vibrant spiritual energy. He never forgets his Russian roots, which shape the mystical framework of his paintings. Aleksandrov’s disdain for trendy art has taken him to the past for inspiration. He believes that art cannot be created out of a vacuum, but instead is the progression of a long heritage. Ancient icons, the Renaissance concept of art and beauty and the Russian Avante Garde movement influence his work. He merges geometric forms and the human body into symbolic configurations of squares, circles and triangles.”
“Fear is the parent of cruelty.” – James A. Froude, English historian, novelist, biographer, editor, and author of the magisterial “History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Death of Elizabeth” (in 12 volumes), who died 20 October 1894.
Some quotes from the work of James A. Froude:
“The essence of greatness is neglect of the self.”
“Instruction does not prevent wasted time or mistakes; and mistakes themselves are often the best teachers of all.”
“A person possessed with an idea cannot be reasoned with.”
“Age does not make us childish, as some say; it finds us true children.”
“As we advance in life, we learn the limits of our abilities.”
“Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.”
“Human improvement is from within outward.”
“Philosophy goes no further than probabilities, and in every assertion keeps a doubt in reserve.”
“The endurance of the inequalities of life by the poor is the marvel of human society.”
“The first duty of an historian is to be on guard against his own sympathies.”
“We enter the world alone, we leave the world alone.”
“You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.”
“Science rests on reason and experiment, and can meet an opponent with calmness; but a belief is always sensitive.”
Here is one writer describing the tradition that informs the artistry of Chinese painter Zou Chuan An: “Chinese painting is one of the oldest continuous artistic traditions in the world. Traditional painting involves essentially the same techniques as calligraphy and is done with a brush dipped in black or colored ink; oils are not used. As with calligraphy, the most popular materials on which paintings are made of are paper and silk. The finished work is then mounted on scrolls, which can be hung or rolled up.”
“Hail, Hail, Freedonia, land of /Users/neralich/Desktop/aMont1.jpgthe brave and free.” – Margaret Dumont, American comedic actress, who was born 20 October 1882, portraying Mrs. Gloria Teasdale in the movie “Duck Soup.”
Dumont is best remembered as the comic foil to Groucho Marx, who called her “practically the fifth Marx brother.”
Here is one critic describing the artistry of South African painter Kathy Montgomery: “Trained in the Classical Realism tradition, Kathy Montgomery enjoys creating beauty from her everyday surroundings. Her predominate genre is still life and interiors, which allows her to paint from life. Her main concern when painting is the way light defines the forms in the painting.”
From the Music Archives: Tom Petty
“I’m barely prolific and incredibly lazy.” – Tom Petty, American singer, songwriter, and member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, who was born 20 October 1953.
Critic William Packer has described British artist Eric Rimmington (born 1926) as “both one of the country’s most distinguished exponents in the field of still life and one of the most particular and distinctive.”
“I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.” – Eugene Debs, American union leader, one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World, candidate of the Socialist Party of America for President of the United States, and author of “Walls & Bars: Prisons & Prison Life in the ‘Land of the Free,’” who died 20 October 1926.
Some quotes from the work of Eugene Debs:
“I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence.”
“In every age it has been the tyrant, the oppressor and the exploiter who has wrapped himself in the cloak of patriotism, or religion, or both to deceive and overawe the People.”
“Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”
“Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.”
“I may not be able to say all I think, but I am not going to say anything I do not think.”
“I would rather a thousand times be a free soul in jail than to be a sycophant and coward in the streets.”
“Be true to yourself and you cannot be a traitor to any good cause on earth.”
“Too long have the workers of the world waited for some Moses to lead them out of bondage. He has not come; he never will come. I would not lead you out if I could; for if you could be led out, you could be led back again.”
Born 20 October 1909, Died 20 October 1993 – Yasushi Sugiyama, a Japanese watercolor artist.
American Art – Part III of V: Kath Girdler Engler
In the words of one critic, “Kath Girdler Engler’s sculptures are appealing both in physical form and through her interpretation of mythical stories. They are the fragments of ancient forms combined with Engler’s own understanding of the human body. Her confidence with the overall form allows her to be playful with the details as she imbeds materials that fit the negative shapes in her sculptures. Paper pulp is an unusual medium and it’s durable nature is the perfect material to distress in imitation of age. But Engler is always able to emphasize the large contour lines that elegantly wrap around surprise materials in crevices and joints of her sculptures.”
“Poetry operates by hints and dark suggestions. It is full of secrets and hidden formulae, like a witch’s brew.” – Anthony Hecht, American poet and author of “The Hard Hours,” who died 20 October 2004.
“The Dover Bitch”
A Criticism of Life: for Andrews Wanning
So there stood Matthew Arnold and this girl
With the cliffs of England crumbling away behind them,
And he said to her, ‘Try to be true to me,
And I’ll do the same for you, for things are bad
All over, etc., etc.’
Well now, I knew this girl. It’s true she had read
Sophocles in a fairly good translation
And caught that bitter allusion to the sea,
But all the time he was talking she had in mind
The notion of what his whiskers would feel like
On the back of her neck. She told me later on
That after a while she got to looking out
At the lights across the channel, and really felt sad,
Thinking of all the wine and enormous beds
And blandishments in French and the perfumes.
And then she got really angry. To have been brought
All the way down from London, and then be addressed
As a sort of mournful cosmic last resort
Is really tough on a girl, and she was pretty.
Anyway, she watched him pace the room
And finger his watch-chain and seem to sweat a bit,
And then she said one or two unprintable things.
But you mustn’t judge her by that. What I mean to say is,
She’s really all right. I still see her once in a while
And she always treats me right. We have a drink
And I give her a good time, and perhaps it’s a year
Before I see her again, but there she is,
Running to fat, but dependable as they come.
And sometimes I bring her a bottle of Nuit d’ Amour.
“It Out-Herod’s Herod. Pray You, Avoid It.”
Tonight my children hunch
Toward their Western, and are glad
As, with a Sunday punch,
The Good casts out the Bad.
And in their fairy tales
The warty giant and witch
Get sealed in doorless jails
And the match-girl strikes it rich.
I’ve made myself a drink.
The giant and witch are set
To bust out of the clink
When my children have gone to bed.
All frequencies are loud
With signals of despair;
In flash and morse they crowd
The rondure of the air.
For the wicked have grown strong,
Their numbers mock at death,
Their cow brings forth its young,
Their bull engendereth.
Their very fund of strength,
Satan, bestrides the globe;
He stalks its breadth and length
And finds out even Job.
Yet by quite other laws
My children make their case;
Half God, half Santa Claus,
But with my voice and face,
A hero comes to save
The poorman, beggarman, thief,
And make the world behave
And put an end to grief.
American Art – Part IV of V: Douglas Kingsbury
Artist Statement: “I’m an artist living/working in Washington, DC. Medium: primarily oil, plus pencil, charcoal, watercolor. Subject matter: still life, landscapes, figures and portraits. Experience:
1978 – BA in Visual Arts; 1984 – MA in Computer Animation; 1983-2001 – worked as Computer Animator; 2001-present – currently studying Painting at The Atelier Studio Program of Fine Art, Minneapolis, MN.”
A Poem for Today
“Ode to the Lemon,”
By Pablo Neruda
by the moonlight,
aroma of exasperated
steeped in fragrance,
drifted from the lemon tree,
and from its plantarium
lemons descended to the earth.
the markets glowed
with light, with
of a miracle,
from the hemispheres
of a star,
the most intense liqueur
born of the cool, fresh
of its fragrant house,
its acid, secret symmetry.
sliced a small
in the lemon,
the concealed apse, opened,
revealed acid stained glass,
So, when you hold
of a cut lemon
above your plate,
a universe of gold,
a fragrant nipple
of the earth’s breast,
a ray of light that was made fruit,
the minute fire of a planet.
A Second Poem for Today
“The Poem that Took the Place of a Mountain,”
By Wallace Stevens
There it was, word for word,
The poem that took the place of a mountain.
He breathed its oxygen,
Even when the book lay turned in the dust of his table.
It reminded him how he had needed
A place to go to in his own direction,
How he had recomposed the pines,
Shifted the rocks and picked his way among clouds,
For the outlook that would be right,
Where he would be complete in an unexplained completion:
The exact rock where his inexactnesses
Would discover, at last, the view toward which they had edged,
American Art – Part V of V: Maynard Dixon
Maynard Dixon (1875-1946) was a painter whose work focused on the American West.