January Offerings – Part VI: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of III: Joyce Cambron

In the words of one writer, “Joyce Cambron states that her figurative paintings are about ‘things I can’t easily talk about – isolation and intimacy. They are often representations of the least public moments, those seen only by family or a lover; waking, stepping into the shower, a dirty kitchen. They both invite intimacy and cause the discomfort of intrusion.’
While interiors and the figure are the subjects that most interest her, she returns to the landscape to experiment with materials and to work more with light and space rather than representation. In these paintings, she often employs irregular surfaces such as hand made paper from India for the inspiration derived from its rustic shape and texture.”

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From the Music Archives: The Beatles

6 January 1968 – The Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour” album reaches number one on the popular music charts in the United States and remains there for eight weeks.

French Art – Part I of II: Gustave Dore

Born 6 January 1832 – Gustave Dore, a painter, engraver, illustrator, and sculptor.

Below – “Enigma”; “Little Red Riding Hood in Bed with the Wolf”; “Naiads of the Sea”; from “The Raven”; “Entertainers”; “Lucifer,” from “Paradise Lost”; “Andromeda”; “Don Quixote”; from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”
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“Stories distribute the suffering so that it can be borne.” – Edgar Lawrence “E. L.” Doctorow, American writer and author of “Ragtime” (which won the 1975 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction), who was born 6 January 1931.

Some quotes from the work of E. L. Doctorow:

“Because like all whores you value property. You are creature of capitalism, the ethics of which are so totally corrupt and hypocritical that your beauty is no more than the beauty of gold, which is to say false and cold and useless.”
“The difference between Socrates and Jesus is that no one had ever been put to death in Socrates’ name. And that is because Socrates’ ideas were never made law. Law, in whatever name, protects privilege.”
“It was evident to him that the world composed and recomposed itself constantly in an endless process of dissatisfaction.”
“I am often asked the question How can the masses permit themselves to be exploited by the few. The answer is ‘By being persuaded to identify with them.’”
“We are all good friends. Friendship is what endures. Shared ideals, respect for the whole character of a human being. ”
“Satire’s nature is to be one-sided, contemptuous of ambiguity, and so unfairly selective as to find in the purity of ridicule an inarguable moral truth.”
“Someone dying asks if there is life after death. Yes, comes the answer, only not yours.”
“I watched bulls bred to cows, watched mares foal, I saw life come from the egg and the multiplicative wonders of mudholes and ponds, the jell and slime of life shimmering in gravid expectation. Everywhere I looked, life sprang from something not life, insects unfolded from sacs on the surface of still waters and were instantly on prowl for their dinner, everything that came into being knew at once what to do and did it, unastonished that it was what it was, unimpressed by where it was, the great earth heaving up bloodied newborns from every pore, every cell, bearing the variousness of itself from every conceivable substance which it contained in itself, sprouting life that flew or waved in the wind or blew from the mountains or stuck to the damp black underside of rocks, or swam or suckled or bellowed or silently separated in two.”
“I knew he was unreliable, but he was fun to be with. He was a child’s ideal companion, full of surprises and happy animal energy. He enjoyed food and drink. He liked to try new things. He brought home coconuts, papayas, mangoes, and urged them on our reluctant conservative selves. On Sundays he liked to discover new places, take us on endless bus or trolley rides to some new park or beach he knew about. He always counseled daring, in whatever situation, the courage to test the unknown, an instruction that was thematically in opposition to my mother’s.”
Grandmamma had been the last connection to our past. I had understood her as some referent moral authority to whom we paid no heed, but by whose judgments we measured our waywardness.”
“You’re nothing more than a clever prostitute. You accepted the conditions in which you found yourself and you triumphed.”
“And so the ordinary unendurable torments we all experienced were indeed exceptional in the way they were absorbed in each heart.”
“What we call fiction is the ancient way of knowing, the total discourse that antedates all the special vocabularies… Fiction is democratic, it reasserts the authority of the single mind to make and remake the world.”

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French Art – Part II of II: David Graux

Here is one writer describing the artistry of French painter David Graux: “David Graux was born in Besançon in 1970, where he still lives and works. His highly inquiring mind tried all means of expression and all techniques in order to establish his very personal style. His favourite theme is the naked woman in all her glory. This woman rises on a richly worked and abstract background, which involves paying with material and complicated graphics. She stands out against it thanks to the perfection of her delicate lines and to her softness. The Background and the woman are both full of mystery and both loaded with the recurrent secret of oriental calligraphy, which one would like to be able to decipher.”
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“To criticize a person for their race is manifestly irrational and ridiculous, but to criticize their religion, that is a right. That is a freedom.” – Rowan Atkinson, English actor, comedian, and screenwriter who is best known for his work on the sitcoms “Mr. Bean” and “Blackadder.”

The collaboration of two comic geniuses:

Korean painter Eugenie Lee (born 1974) lives and works in Sydney.
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6 January 1958 – The Bollingen Prize in Poetry is awarded to E. E. Cummings.

“O sweet spontaneous”

O sweet spontaneous
earth how often have
the
doting

fingers of
prurient philosophers pinched
and
poked

thee
, has the naughty thumb
of science prodded
thy

beauty, how
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
squeezing and

buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
gods
(but
true

to the incomparable
couch of death thy
rhythmic
lover

thou answerest

them only with

spring)

Above – E. E. Cummings: sketched self-portrait, circa 1920.
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British Art – Part I of III: Shirley Trevina

Artist Statement: “I was born in Brixton, London. My mother and her mother were both dancers and singers. My father worked in the making of fantastic films and television. My background as a child was full of theatre, circus and, most exciting of all, cinema. All that colour on a big screen has to have influenced my colourful compositions.
One day, after many years working in local government, I was given a box of watercolour paints and discovered that painting was what I was meant to do all along.
I enjoy working with watercolours and mixed media, my subject matter mainly still life, but I have been known to branch out into abstract landscape, monoprinting and pen and ink work.
I have a sort of love-hate relationship with painting. I would rather do anything than start a painting: clean the oven, make lists or even do the ironing. But once I’m in the studio and the first marks are on the white paper, I go into a world of my own, oblivious of everything except colour and form. I find my creativity so hard to start up and even harder to walk away from.”

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“Everyone in California is from somewhere else.” – Wright Morris, American essayist, novelist, photographer, and author of “Plains Song: For Female Voices,” who was born 6 January 1910.

A few quotes from the work of Wright Morris:

“There’s little to see, but things leave an impression. It’s a matter of time and repetition. As something old wears thin or out, something new wears in. The handle on the pump, the crank on the churn, the dipper floating in the bucket, the latch on the screen, the door on the privy, the fender on the stove, the knees of the pants and the seat of the chair, the handle of the brush and the lid to the pot exist in time but outside taste; they wear in more than they wear out. It can’t be helped. It’s neither good nor bad. It’s the nature of life.”
“The imagination made us human, but being human, becoming more human, is a greater burden than we imagined. We have no choice but to imagine ourselves more human than we are.”
“As the style of Faulkner grew out of his rage–out of the impotence of his rage–the style of Hemingway grew out of the depth and nuance of his disenchantment.”

Above – Self-Portrait, Home Place.”
Below – Wright Morris’s wonderful book; “Panama”; “Drawer with Silverware”; Barbershop, Weeping Water, Nebraska, 1947”; “Clothing on Hooks”; “Rocker, Home Place.”
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British Art – Part II of III: Mitch Griffiths

In the word of one critic, British artist Mitch Griffiths (born 1971)
“uses a traditional, almost forgotten style of painting, inspired by the light and composition of Old Master paintings, but he uses this style to depict the issues concerning 21st-century British society. His main subject is the transient and throwaway nature of contemporary culture, which is held in stark contrast to the permanence and indelibility of oil paint on canvas.”
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A Poem for Today

“Palais d’Hiver” (“Winter Palace”),
By Justine Nicholas

Wind:

dry whispers

in a house

where I

no longer

live.
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American Art – Part II of III: Francesco Scavullo

Died 6 January 2004 – Francesco Scavullo, an American fashion photographer known for his celebrity portraits.

Below (left to right) – “Janis Joplin”; “Glenn Close”; “Mick Jagger”; “Oprah Winfrey”; “Barbara Streisand”; “Sting.”

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A Second Poem for Today

“A January Dandelion,”
By George Marion McClellan

All Nashville is a chill. And everywhere
Like desert sand, when the winds blow,
There is each moment sifted through the air,
A powdered blast of January snow.
O! thoughtless Dandelion, to be misled
By a few warm days to leave thy natural bed,
Was folly growth and blooming over soon.
And yet, thou blasted yellow-coated gem,
Full many a heart has but a common boon
With thee, now freezing on thy slender stem.
When the heart has bloomed by the touch of love’s warm breath
Then left and chilling snow is sifted in,
It still may beat but there is blast and death
To all that blooming life that might have been.
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British Art – Part III of III: Linda Sutton

Linda Sutton (born 1947) studied at Winchester School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London.

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A Third Poem for Today

“The Woman at the Washington Zoo.”
By Randall Jarrell

The saris go by me from the embassies.

Cloth from the moon. Cloth from another planet.
They look back at the leopard like the leopard.

And I….
this print of mine, that has kept its color
Alive through so many cleanings; this dull null
Navy I wear to work, and wear from work, and so
To my bed, so to my grave, with no
Complaints, no comment: neither from my chief,
The Deputy Chief Assistant, nor his chief—
Only I complain…. this serviceable
Body that no sunlight dyes, no hand suffuses
But, dome-shadowed, withering among columns,
Wavy beneath fountains—small, far-off, shining
In the eyes of animals, these beings trapped
As I am trapped but not, themselves, the trap,
Aging, but without knowledge of their age,
Kept safe here, knowing not of death, for death—
Oh, bars of my own body, open, open!

The world goes by my cage and never sees me.
And there come not to me, as come to these,
The wild beasts, sparrows pecking the llamas’ grain,
Pigeons settling on the bears’ bread, buzzards
Tearing the meat the flies have clouded….
Vulture,
When you come for the white rat that the foxes left,
Take off the red helmet of your head, the black
Wings that have shadowed me, and step to me as man:
The wild brother at whose feet the white wolves fawn,
To whose hand of power the great lioness
Stalks, purring….
You know what I was,
You see what I am: change me, change me!

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American Art – Part III of III: Kenney Mencher

Kenney Mencher received an MFA in Painting from the University of Cincinnati in 1995.
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