American Art – Part I of IV: Kendric Tonn
Artist Statement: “I have always held drawing in a kind of reverence, both as an art form in its own right and as a foundational skill for other arts. When I was trained in the classical tradition of oil painting, it was a touchstone and constant companion–first throughout several years worth of studies in charcoal and pencil, and finally, when my teachers allowed me to begin painting, a question that accompanied each brushstroke: ‘Does this paint I’m putting down improve the drawing in my picture?’
Even now, out of the painting academy and working on my own, I find myself frequently returning to the pure drawing I was taught as a neophyte painter. With these studies of the figure in pencil or portraits in charcoal, I have the chance to concentrate on questions of line, shape, and value–in other words, drawing, the hard skeleton that will give structure to a painting or teach one to produce a subtly-varied line that expresses form with elegance and economy.”
“No pleasure is worth giving up for the sake of two extra years in a geriatric home in Weston-super-Mare.” – Kingsley Amis, English novelist, poet, critic, teacher, and author of “Lucky Jim,” who died 22 October 1995.
Some quotes from the work of Kingsley Amis:
“Consciousness was upon him before he could get out of the way.”
“The rewards for being sane may not be very many, but knowing what’s funny is one of them.”
“One of the great benefits of organised religion is that you can be forgiven your sins, which must be a wonderful thing. . .I mean, I carry my sins around with me; there’s nobody there to forgive them.”
“Death has this much to be said for it:
You don’t have to get out of bed for it.
Wherever you happen to be
They bring it to you—free.”
“Only a world without love strikes me as instantly and decisively more terrible than one without music.”
“Laziness has become the chief characteristic of journalism, displacing incompetence. ”
“He was of the faith chiefly in the sense that the church he currently did not attend was Catholic.”
“Never despise a drink because it is easy to make and/or uses commercial mixes. Unquestioning devotion to authenticity is, in any department of life, a mark of the naive – or worse.”
“It is natural and harmless in English to use a preposition to end a sentence with.”
“It is no wonder that people are so horrible when they start their life as children.”
“A dusty thudding in his head made the scene before him beat like a pulse. His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum. During the night, too, he’d somehow been on a cross-country run and then been expertly beaten up by secret police. He felt bad.”
“It’s never pleasant to have one’s unquestioning beliefs put in their historical context, as I know from experience, I can assure you.”
American Art – Part II of IV: Barnaby Whitfield
In the words of one critic, “Whitfield’s works are at once hopelessly romantic and urgently contemporary. His work simultaneously pulls inspiration from Rococo era portraiture and contemporary fashion advertising. He seamlessly weaves cleverly appropriated Old-Master quotations with images sifted spontaneously from Internet sources. The result is works loaded with inside jokes that belong to our twenty-first century psyche. Whitfield’s characters are rendered in gorgeously soft and dreamy pastel, their bodies glowing with eerie internal light, but perversely marred with sickly hues that allude to bruising, rotting, sweltering flesh. Something menacing seems to have a grip on these pastel beauties and the narrative clues are compellingly composed to allow the viewer partial access but ultimate suspense. The indecipherability of Whitfield’s highly personal symbolism begins to breakdown as clues to the artist’s appropriations surface, illuminating the development of his personal artistic vocabulary.”
Australian Art – Anwen Keeling
In the words of one writer, “Keeling’s beguiling, realist paintings capture suspended moments in fictional lives with a reverence for drama, suspense and elegance. Like film stills from an Alfred Hitchcock thriller, Keeling’s isolated female figures are placed in a series of interiors where the space is either suffused with subtle, refracted light or illuminated by the harsh glare of an electric bulb. A film noir ambience is achieved with chiaroscuro effects and deep shadows which suggest an emotional and psychological undercurrent to the work. Yet the viewer is left to create their own narrative.”
“Genius is the ability to renew one’s emotions in daily experience.” – Paul Cezanne, French Post-Impressionist painter, who died 22 October 1906.
“It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when they have lost their way.” – Rollo May, American existentialist and humanistic psychologist and author of “Love and Will,” who died 22 October 1994.
Some quotes from the work of Rollo May:
“Many people suffer from the fear of finding oneself alone, and so they don’t find themselves at all.”
“Hate is not the opposite of love; apathy is.”
“The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it’s conformity.”
“Technology is the knack of so arranging the world that we do not experience it.”
“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.”
“Finding the center of strength within ourselves is in the long run the best contribution we can make to our fellow men. … One person with indigenous inner strength exercises a great calming effect on panic among people around him. This is what our society needs — not new ideas and inventions; important as these are, and not geniuses and supermen, but persons who can ‘be,’ that is, persons who have a center of strength within themselves.”
“Every human being must have a point at which he stands against the culture, where he says, this is me and the damned world can go to hell.”
“A myth is a way of making sense in a senseless world. Myths are narrative patterns that give significance to our existence.”
“Recall how often in human history the saint and the rebel have be the same person.”
“It is interesting to note how many of the great scientific discoveries begin as myths.”
“Artistic symbols and myths speak out of the primordial, preconscious realm of the mind which is powerful and chaotic. Both symbol and myth are ways of bringing order and form into this chaos.”
“Good art wounds as well as delights. It must, because our defenses against the truth are wound so tightly around us. But as art chips away at our defenses, it also opens us to healing potentialities that transcend intellectual games and ego-preserving strategies.”
“Dogmatism of all kinds–scientific, economic, moral, as well as political–are threatened by the creative freedom of the artist. This is necessarily and inevitably so. We cannot escape our anxiety over the fact that the artists together with creative persons of all sorts, are the possible destroyer of our nicely ordered systems. ”
“Mass communication–wonder as it may be technologically and something to be appreciated and valued–presents us wit a serious danger, the danger of conformism, due to the fact that we all view the same things at the same time in all the cities of the country. ”
“What if imagination and art are not frosting at all, but the fountainhead of human experience?”
“There can be no stronger proof of the impoverishment of our contemporary culture than the popular – though profoundly mistaken – definition of myth as falsehood.”
“One central need in life is to fulfill its own potential.”
“It is dangerous to know, but it is more dangerous not to know.”
“If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.”
“What genuine painters do is to reveal the underlying psychological and spiritual conditions of their relationship to their world; thus in the works of a great painter we have a reflection of the emotional and spiritual condition of human beings in that period of history. If you wish to understand the psychological and spiritual temper of any historical period, you can do no better than to look long and searchingly at its art. For in the art the underlying spiritual meaning of the period is expressed directly in symbols. This is not because artists are didactic or set out to teach or to make propaganda; to the extent that they do, their power of expression is broken; their direct relations to the inarticulate, or, if you will, ‘unconscious’ levels of the culture is destroyed. They have the power to reveal the underlying meaning of any period precisely because the essence of art is the powerful and alive encounter between the artist and his or her world.” “But there comes a point (and this is the challenge facing modern technological Western man) when the cult of technique destroys feeling, undermines passion, and blots out individual identity. The technologically efficient lover…has lost the power to be carried away; he knows only too well what he is doing. At this point, technology diminishes consciousness and demolishes eros. Tools are no longer an enlargement of consciousness but a substitute for it and, indeed, tend to repress and truncate it.”
Died 22 October 1972 – Kurt Edzard, a German sculptor.
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Swedish painter Patrik Andine (born 1968): “During several years working with drawing and painting Patrik Andiné has never denied that his main interest lies in depicting and constructing realistic pictures.
The different themes in his paintings are many. The pictures sometimes have so many narrative qualities that they almost seem collected from stills out of fiction films.
His specific hues and his distinctive environments suggest influences from early animated fiction films and at the same time he hesitates at being compared to surrealistic art or psychoanalyzing concepts.
In Patrik Andiné’s work the unspoken is the significant.”
“Judge: ‘Do you swear?’
Curly: ‘No! But I know all the woids!’” – Jerome Lester Horwitz, better known by his stage name Curly Howard, American comic actor and member of the Three Stooges, who was born 22 October 1903.
Born 22 October 1865 – Kristjan Raud, an Estonian painter.
In the words of one writer, “Ilona Romule is a studio artist from Riga, Latvia. She received her Masters of Fine Arts Degree from the Latvian Art Academy. Ilona has international recognition with her self-made plaster model moulds and slip cast porcelain sculptures. Ilona is known for her use of ironic and erotic imagery both in the form of her fine porcelain pieces and also in the surface decoration with the china paints. In ceramics Ilona is interested in the opportunity of three-dimensional expression, using the scope of graphics and painting. Traditionally she works with porcelain. Ilona supplements her sculptural works with fine painting in overglaze technique, thus developing plastically expressive compositions, participated by human, animal and peculiar hybrid figures. In the motives chosen by the artist, figures settle in form and material in the game of symbols and character situations.”
From the Music Archives: Pablo Casals
“The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.” – Pablo Casals, Catalan cellist and conductor, who died 22 October 1973.
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Romanian painter Mircea Suciu (born 1978): “Using images culled from 1940’s and 1950’s American advertisements, Mircea Suciu isolates figures, strips away backgrounds and reduces the bold palette of the original Ads to seductive monochromes. In these paintings men and women are presented looking into boxes and windows. Often their backs are turned or their heads are hidden emphasizing the sense of alienation. The paintings explore questions of identity and isolation. The beautifully painted works on canvas inspire a sense of awe and wonder. That a Romanian artist would begin with images from American advertisements, then strip away anything that identifies them as American, is what gives these works their raison d’etre. The images speak subtly about cultures and borders, about what some have and what others may want.”
Nobel Laureates – Part I of II: Joseph Brodsky
22 October 1987 – The 1987 Nobel Prize for Literature is awarded to Russian writer Joseph Brodsky “for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity.”
I wish you were here, dear, I wish you were here.
I wish you sat on the sofa
and I sat near.
the handkerchief could be yours,
the tear could be mine, chin-bound.
Though it could be, of course,
the other way around.
I wish you were here, dear,
I wish you were here.
I wish we were in my car,
and you’d shift the gear.
we’d find ourselves elsewhere,
on an unknown shore.
Or else we’d repair
To where we’ve been before.
I wish you were here, dear,
I wish you were here.
I wish I knew no astronomy
when stars appear,
when the moon skims the water
that sighs and shifts in its slumber.
I wish it were still a quarter
to dial your number.
I wish you were here, dear,
in this hemisphere,
as I sit on the porch
sipping a beer. I
t’s evening, the sun is setting;
boys shout and gulls are crying.
What’s the point of forgetting
If it’s followed by dying?
“1 January 1965”
The Wise Men will unlearn your name.
Above your head no star will flame.
One weary sound will be the same—
the hoarse roar of the gale.
The shadows fall from your tired eyes
as your lone bedside candle dies,
for here the calendar breeds nights
till stores of candles fail.
What prompts this melancholy key?
A long familiar melody.
It sounds again. So let it be.
Let it sound from this night.
Let it sound in my hour of death—
as gratefulness of eyes and lips
for that which sometimes makes us lift
our gaze to the far sky.
You glare in silence at the wall.
Your stocking gapes: no gifts at all.
It’s clear that you are now too old
to trust in good Saint Nick;
that it’s too late for miracles.
—But suddenly, lifting your eyes
to heaven’s light, you realize:
your life is a sheer gift.
Mexican visual artist Jean Picazo was born in Paris, France in 1975.
Artist Statement: “As an artist I am driven by the need to create beauty, emotion and thought-provoking art pieces in form and content, that connect with both art connoisseurs and common people, combining the aesthetics of the present world with those of the old masters.”
Nobel Laureates – Part II of II: Doris Lessing
“Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.” – Doris Lessing, British novelist, poet, playwright, biographer, short story writer, author of “The Golden Notebook,” and recipient of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature, who was born 22 October 1919.
The Swedish Academy described Lessing as “that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny.”
Some quotes from the work of Doris Lessing:
“Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: ‘You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgments. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being molded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.’”
“There is no doubt fiction makes a better job of the truth.”
“There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag-and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty – and vise versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time for you. ”
“That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you’ve understood all your life, but in a new way.”
“A public library is the most democratic thing in the world. What can be found there has undone dictators and tyrants: demagogues can persecute writers and tell them what to write as much as they like, but they cannot vanish what has been written in the past, though they try often enough…People who love literature have at least part of their minds immune from indoctrination. If you read, you can learn to think for yourself.”
“Very few people really care about freedom, about liberty, about the truth, very few. Very few people have guts, the kind of guts on which a real democracy has to depend. Without people with that sort of guts a free society dies or cannot be born.”
“As you get older, you don’t get wiser. You get irritable.”
“Do you know what people really want? Everyone, I mean. Everybody in the world is thinking: I wish there was just one other person I could really talk to, who could really understand me, who’d be kind to me. That’s what people really want, if they’re telling the truth.”
“Sometimes I dislike women, I dislike us all, because of our capacity for not-thinking when it suits us; we choose not to think when we are reaching out for happiness.”
“I am sure everyone has had the experience of reading a book and finding it vibrating with aliveness, with color and immediacy. And then, perhaps some weeks later, reading it again and finding it flat and empty. Well, the book hasn’t changed: you have.”
“In university they don’t tell you that the greater part of the law is learning to tolerate fools.”
“For she was of that generation who, having found nothing in religion, had formed themselves through literature.”
“Laughter is by definition healthy.”
“Novels give you the matrix of emotions, give you the flavor of a time in a way formal history cannot.”
“Art is the Mirror of our betrayed ideals.”
“We are all creatures of the stars.”
American Art – Part III of IV: Cyn McCurry
In the words of one writer, “Cyn works intuitively. She approaches her canvas without preconceptions, allowing the image to emerge and evolve spontaneously. Winding together the strands of emotion and experience into her luminous canvases.
Cyn is a completely self-educated artist, she has passionately painted and drawn from a very young age, selling her first canvases and receiving her first commissions at the age of 11. She has adopted classic techniques as her own, deftly telling the tale of a modern woman in the dialect of another time.”
Artist Statement: “Becoming a Painter seems to have happened to me without conscious intent. It was a natural, primal response to my world. Creating pictures was an act that I could not avoid, rather than an activity that I chose to pursue. Art became a compulsive obsession that I just couldn’t break. Painting sustains me like air, bread and love.
My style and technique have been a natural evolution. I have intentionally avoided formal training, immersing myself in a life long love affair with the great masters of our past. My work is intimate and personal, devoid of the much loved ‘Theory’ of our age. I attempt to produce pure spontaneous images. I honor the beauty of our emotion-saturated flesh…….I paint as I feel…… with a total disregard and disrespect for the Modern Art fashions and trends of our sadly beauty-starved age.
It is my voice. ”
A Poem for Today
By Jill McDonough
Our cabdriver tells us how Somalia is better
than here because in Islam we execute murderers.
So, fewer murders. ‘But isn’t there civil war
there now? Aren’t there a lot of murders?’
Yes, but in general it’s better. Not
now, but most of the time. He tells us about how
smart the system is, how it’s hard to bear
false witness. We nod. We’re learning a lot.
I say—once we are close to the house—I say, ‘What
about us?’ Two women, married to each other.
‘Don’t be offended,’ he says, gravely. ‘But a man
with a man, a woman with a woman: it would be
a public execution.’ We nod. A little silence along
the Southeast Corridor. Then I say, ‘Yeah,
I love my country.’ This makes him laugh; we all laugh.
‘We aren’t offended,’ says Josey. ‘We love you.’ Sometimes
I feel like we’re proselytizing, spreading the Word of Gay.
The cab is shaking with laughter, the poor man
relieved we’re not mad he sort of wants us dead.
The two of us soothing him, wanting him comfortable,
wanting him to laugh. ‘We love our country,’
we tell him. And Josey tips him. She tips him well.
American Art – Part IV of IV: Eric Bowman
In the words of one writer, “Award-winning painter Eric Bowman began his career as a commercial artist in southern California creating original oil paintings for such high profile clients as Coppertone, Nike, GTE, Hallmark, Kellogg’s, Nabisco, Southwest Airlines and the Kentucky Derby.
As a fine art painter, Eric has garnered many awards in juried competitions, showing in national & regional exhibitions in some of the country’s most prestigious galleries. His paintings are in collections around the world, including England, Australia, Canada and Mexico.
Eric Bowman is an artist member of the Oil Painters of America, a Signature Member of the American Impressionist Society and artist member of the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association. He lives with his wife and daughter in Tigard, Oregon.”