American Art – Part I of III: Mara Light
Here is how one critic describes the artistry of painter Mara Light (born 1970):“The central theme of her original artwork is the expression of the figure with a focus on the female form using light to reveal the mood she wants to convey. Over the past several years, Mara has developed a body of work that is both deeply moving and evocative of the emotional qualities and beauty of each subject. Within this genre, Mara is constantly evolving and dedicated to creating paintings that remain fresh and speak to the viewer on many levels.”
“The United States have adventured upon a great and noble experiment, which is believed to have been hazarded in the absence of all previous precedent—that of total separation of Church and State. No religious establishment by law exists among us. The conscience is left free from all restraint and each is permitted to worship his Maker after his own judgement. The offices of the Government are open alike to all. No tithes are levied to support an established Hierarchy, nor is the fallible judgement of man set up as the sure and infallible creed of faith. The Mahommedan, if he will to come among us would have the privilege guaranteed to him by the constitution to worship according to the Koran; and the East Indian might erect a shrine to Brahma if it so pleased him. Such is the spirit of toleration inculcated by our political Institutions…. The Hebrew persecuted and down trodden in other regions takes up his abode among us with none to make him afraid…. and the Aegis of the Government is over him to defend and protect him. Such is the great experiment which we have tried, and such are the happy fruits which have resulted from it; our system of free government would be imperfect without it.” – John Tyler, tenth President of the United States (1841-1845), who died 18 January 1862.
Here is one writer describing the background of Czech-Slovakian artist Bozena Augustinova (1939-2005): “She was Painter, illustrator and graphic designer but mainly she was creator of highly non-woven tapestries. She is responsible for a technique of needling wool fleece which allows her to paint with a textile fiber.”
From the Music Archives: The Beatles
18 January 1964 – The Beatles first appear on American popular music charts with “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (at number 35).
Here is one critic describing the work of Iris van Dongen (born 1975): “By no means does the work of Iris van Dongen steer clear of gloomy romanticism. In recent years she has been producing drawings several meters in height, these having a certain inescapable quality due to their size alone. Though Van Dongen’s work comes about mainly in an intuitive manner, the theme ‘human tormented by demons’ seems to keep cropping up. For that reason it often has a melancholic or malicious undertone.
The women depicted have a far-away look, because Van Dongen sees them as something abstract, as though they are figures from mythology.”
American Comedic Genius – Part I of II: Oliver Hardy
“The world is full of Laurel and Hardys. I saw them all the time as a boy at my mother’s hotel. There’s always the dumb, dumb guy, who never has anything bad happen to him, and the smart guy who’s even dumber than the dumb guy, only he doesn’t know it.” – Oliver Hardy, American actor famous as one half of the Laurel and Hardy comedy team, who was born 18 January 1892.
Below – “The Music Box,” which won the first Academy Award for Live Action Short Film (Comedy) in 1932.
Here is the Artist Statement of Japanese ceramicist Masayo Odahashi: “I often find many matters of interest in daily life and collect them in my mind. They are various – for example, colors, forms, something old, and experiences or memories that we all share but don’t show up so clearly. I pick some of them up and compose, and finally create a form.
To create works means self-understanding for me.
I also see my creations as a way to share my worldview and they are a way to communicate without and beyond the words.”
American Comedic Genius – Part II of II: Curly Howard
“Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk!” – Jerome “Curly” Howard, American actor and member of The Three Stooges, who died 18 January 1952.
“Humor is like violence. They both come to you unexpectedly, and the more unpredictable they both are, the better it gets.” – Takeshi Kitano, Japanese film director, actor, singer, comedian, film editor, author, poet, painter, and video game designer, who was born 18 January 1947.
I recommend the following movies to anyone unacquainted with the work of Takeshi Kitano (He is the director of and principal actor in all of them.): “Sonatine,” “Hana-bi” (“Fireworks”), “Kikujiro,” and “Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman.”
“Walking is a virtue, tourism is a deadly sin.” – Bruce Chatwin, English novelist, travel writer, and author of “In Patagonia,” who died 18 January 1989.
Some quotes from the work of Bruce Chatwin:
“To lose a passport was the least of one’s worries. To lose a notebook was a catastrophe.”
“As a general rule of biology, migratory species are less ‘aggressive’ than sedentary ones.
There is one obvious reason why this should be so. The migration itself, like the pilgrimage, is the hard journey: a ‘leveller’ on which the ‘fit’ survive and stragglers fall by the wayside.
The journey thus pre-empts the need for hierarchies and shows of dominance. The ‘dictators’ of the animal kingdom are those who live in an ambience of plenty. The anarchists, as always, are the ‘gentlemen of the road.’”
“I haven’t got any special religion this morning. My God is the God of Walkers. If you walk hard enough, you probably don’t need any other god.”
“I climbed a path and from the top looked up-stream towards Chile. I could see the river, glinting and sliding through the bone-white cliffs with strips of emerald cultivation either side. Away from the cliffs was the desert. There was no sound but the wind, whirring through thorns and whistling through dead grass, and no other sign of life but a hawk, and a black beetle easing over white stones.”
“Because they knew each other’s thoughts, they even quarrelled without speaking.”
“A journey is a fragment of Hell.”
“Man’s real home is not a house, but the Road, and that life itself is a journey to be walked on foot.”
“Sluggish and sedentary peoples, such as the Ancient Egyptians– with their concept of an afterlife journey through the Field of Reeds– project on to the next world the journeys they failed to make in this one.”
“I pictured a low timber house with a shingled roof, caulked against storms, with blazing log fires inside and the walls lined with all the best books, somewhere to live when the rest of the world blew up.”
“Sometimes, I overheard my aunts discussing these blighted destinies; and Aunt Ruth would hug me, as if to forestall my following in their footsteps. Yet, from the way she lingered over such words as ‘Xanadu’ or ‘Samarkand’ or the ‘wine-dark sea,’ I think she also felt the trouble of the ‘wanderer in her soul.’”
“We shall not lie on our backs at the Red Castle and watch the vultures wheeling over the valley where they killed the grandson of Genghiz. We will not read Babur’s memoirs in his garden at Istalif and see the blind man smelling his way around the rose bushes. Or sit in the Peace of Islam with the beggars of Gazar Gagh. We will not stand on the Buddha’s head at Bamiyan, upright in his niche like a whale in a dry-dock. We will not sleep in the nomad tent, or scale the Minaret of Jam. And we shall lose the tastes – the hot, coarse, bitter bread; the green tea flavoured with cardamoms; the grapes we cooled in the snow-melt; and the nuts and dried mulberries we munched for altitude sickness. Nor shall we get back the smell of the beanfields, the sweet, resinous smell of deodar wood burning, or the whiff of a snow leopard at 14,000 feet.”
“If this were so; if the desert were ‘home’; if our instincts were forged in the desert; to survive the rigours of the desert – then it is easier to understand why greener pastures pall on us; why possessions exhaust us, and why Pascal’s imaginary man found his comfortable lodgings a prison.”
“Richard Lee calculated that a Bushman child will be carried a distance of 4,900 miles before he begins to walk on his own. Since, during this rhythmic phase, he will be forever naming the contents of his territory, it is impossible he will not become a poet.”
“I never liked Jules Verne, believing that the real was always more fantastic than the fantastical.”
“When people start talking of man’s inhumanity to man it means they haven’t actually walked far enough.”
“Anything was better than to be loved for one’s things.”
“Gradually the idea for a book began to take shape. It was to be a wildly ambitious and intolerant work, a kind of ‘Anatomy of Restlessness’ that would enlarge on Pascal’s dictum about the man sitting quietly in a room. The argument, roughly, was as follows: that in becoming human, man had acquired, together with his straight legs and striding walk, a migratory ‘drive’ or instinct to walk long distances through the seasons; that this ‘drive’ was inseparable from his central nervous system; and, that, when warped in conditions of settlement, it found outlets in violence, greed, status-seeking or a mania for the new. This would explain why mobile societies such as the gypsies were egalitarian, thing-free and resistant to change; also why, to re-establish the harmony of the First State, all the great teachers – Buddha, Lao-tse, St Francis – had set the perpetual pilgrimage at the heart of their message and told their disciples, literally, to follow The Way.”
In the words of one writer, “Basudeb Pal Majumder, born in Kolkata in the year 1970, is a 1st Class Bachelor in Visual Arts (fine arts) from Government College of Art & Craft, Kolkata . Since his childhood he has an extreme urge for innovations and a strong inclination towards the art world which gradually transformed into his passion for drawings & paintings.
Basudeb, as a part of his work and also for his wildlife photography, spends a lot of time in remote places, tribal villages & forests just to get in touch with another world. He has always been inspired by the sensuous beauty of life & living entities which provoke the visual philosophy of his canvases with images that are juxtaposed to the web of enigma illustrated by fragments of memory, visual humors & impressions of subconscious mind. ‘Living in a busy metro city, I always play a game of hiding in the inexplicable; find myself in the unknown, lost in canvas,’ says Basudeb.”
American Art – Part II of III: Shaun Berke
A Poem for Today
“The Darker Sooner,”
By Catherine Wing
Then came the darker sooner,
came the later lower.
We were no longer a sweeter-here
happily-ever-after. We were after ever.
We were farther and further.
More was the word we used for harder.
Lost was our standard-bearer.
Our gods were fallen faster,
and fallen larger.
The day was duller, duller
was disaster. Our charge was error.
Instead of leader we had louder,
instead of lover, never. And over this river
broke the winter’s black weather.
American Art – Part III of III: Andrew Young
Artist statement: “We are lost in our self-indulgent primal behavior, forgoing the morals and values our parents have instilled in us. In these images we reflect on our own experiences of these dark visceral moments and places. Our juvenility is found when we disregard our age and act on impulses, often finding ourselves demonstrating irreverent, self-gratifying exploits.
Spontaneous in some parts and carefully designed in others; my explorative compositions are the backbone to the figurative rendering. The result is sporadic abstraction paired with hyper-realism. My technical focus is to illuminate subjects with areas of saturated clarity, while obscuring them with textures of the known and discovered. The work blends the authentic with the abstract in order to form a relationship between the figure and the intangible — between order and chaos.”
The Great Escape: Quotes from “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” – Part I of IV
“It’s lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky, up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made, or only just happened- Jim he allowed they was made, but I allowed they happened; I judged it would have took too long to make so many.”
The Great Escape: Quotes from “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” – Part II of IV
“Pretty soon it darkened up, and begun to thunder and lighten; so the birds was right about it. Directly it begun to rain, and it rained like all fury, too, and I never see the wind blow so. It was one of these regular summer storms. It would get so dark that it looked all blue-black outside, and lovely; and the rain would thrash along by so thick that the trees off a little ways looked dim and spider-webby; and here would come a blast of wind that would bend the trees down and turn up the pale underside of the leaves; and then a perfect ripper of a gust would follow along and set the branches to tossing their arms as if they was just wild; and next, when it was just about the bluest and blackest—FST! it was as bright as glory, and you’d have a little glimpse of tree-tops a-plunging about away off yonder in the storm, hundreds of yards further than you could see before; dark as sin again in a second, and now you’d hear the thunder let go with an awful crash, and then go rumbling, grumbling, tumbling, down the sky towards the under side of the world, like rolling empty barrels down stairs—where it’s long stairs and they bounce a good deal, you know.”
The Great Escape: Quotes from “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” – Part III of IV
“The sun was up so high when I waked, that I judged it was after eight o’clock. I laid there in the grass and the cool shade, thinking about things and feeling rested and ruther comfortable and satisfied. I could see the sun out at one or two holes, but mostly it was big trees all about, and gloomy in there amongst them. There was freckled places on the ground where the light sifted down through the leaves, and the freckled places swapped about a little, showing there was a little breeze up there. A couple of squirrels set on a limb and jabbered at me very friendly.”
The Great Escape: Quotes from “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” – Part IV of IV