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

American Art – Part I of IV: Natasha Zupan

Artist Statement: “My work is about a universe where time and emotions intersect. I grew up in Europe and in the US, so have a dual perspective with regards to tradition in painting and aesthetics. My work is about duality and is informed by a cross-cultural exposure. The method, which predominates my work, is collage. It is not only the use of different materials, but also of different representational techniques. By de-contextualizing the language of representation, i.e. drawing, painting, color theory, and perspective etc., I reformulate to create a new space. My work is about this process of blurring boundaries and the dialectic between experimentation and tradition. I combine images from old masters, alchemical prints, contemporary artists, and bits from magazines and newspapers to create overlapping, intersecting worlds of transparencies and transformation. Collage allows emotions to converge with the material. I play with the juxtaposition of the past and present in an atmosphere of no time.
The work is informed by romance, desire, disillusion, torment, ecstasy, dream and myth. My best works are erotic displays of mental confusion particularly concerning relationships.”
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“There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing.” – Robert Burns, Scottish poet and lyricist widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland, who was born 25 January 1759.

“To A Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough”

Wee, sleekit, cow’rin’, timorous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an chase thee
Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

I’m truly sorry man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow mortal!

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? Poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave
‘S a sma’ request
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
And never miss ‘t!

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa’s the win’s are strewin’!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin’,
Baith snell and keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare and waste,
An’ weary winter comin’ fast,
An cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! The cruel coulter passed
Out-through thy cell.

That wee-bit heap o’ leaves and stibble
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turned out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald
To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreach cauld

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft a-gley,
And lea’s us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promised joy.

Still thou art blest compared wi’ me!
The present only touchect thee:
But och! I backward cast my e’e
On prospects drear!
An’ forward though I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!
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In the words of one writer, “Kate Leiper is an artist and illustrator based in Edinburgh. Her work has been exhibited in galleries from London to the north of Scotland. She has been commissioned for projects by the Scottish Storytelling Centre and the Royal Lyceum Theatre. Inspired by Scottish folklore, tales from the far East, Shakespeare, and even the lyrics of Noel Coward, her animal drawings, rich in emotion as they are in detail, celebrate stories and bring narrative to life.”
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“Books are the mirrors of the soul.” – Virginia Woolf, English writer and author of “To the Lighthouse,” who was born 25 January 1882.

Some quotes from the work of Virginia Woolf:

“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.”
“On the outskirts of every agony sits some observant fellow who points.”
“I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.”
“When you consider things like the stars, our affairs don’t seem to matter very much, do they?”
“The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.”
“No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.”
“Nothing thicker than a knife’s blade separates happiness from melancholy.”
“I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.”
“Second hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.”
“All extremes of feeling are allied with madness.”
“I am rooted, but I flow.”
“Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others.”

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“What I am seeking is not the real and not the unreal but rather the unconscious, the mystery of the instinctive in the human race.” – Amedeo Modigliani, Italian painter and sculptor, who died 24 January 1920.

Below (left to right) – “Nude Sitting on a Divan”; “Gypsy Woman with Baby”; “Woman with a Necklace”; “Reclining Nude”; “Anna Zborowska”; “Alice.”
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From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Etta James

Born 25 January 1938 – Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins), an American singer-songwriter whose style spanned a variety of musical genres, including blues, R&B, soul, rock and roll, jazz, and gospel.

Here is the Artist Statement of Indian painter Chinmaya Panda (born 1989): “I am a young, self-taught artist (or rather, in the process of becoming one, as I am still learning the finer aspects of artistry) from India. Since childhood, I have a keen interest in painting, especially watercolors. During school days, I managed to win four gold medals and one silver medal as well as many others. Though trained as a chemical engineer, my born urge made me take up painting with zest once again. I like to portray my subjects as they are. Speaking of subjects, I prefer my subjects to be different, far removed from the daily monotonous regularity of life. Being an Indian, I am a bit more inclined to portray the spectacle, the wonder that is my country, my land, on my paper as much as possible. I consider myself as a beginner, a newbie, a student. And as being a student, curiosity comes naturally to me, and it is this curiosity that drives me, motivates me to paint, to put my ideas, my perspective of the world around me into the paper.”
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From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Creedence Clearwater Revival

25 January 1969 – Creedence Clearwater Revival releases the “Bayou Country” album.

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of Belarusian painter Andrei Buryak: “Andrei Buryak’s art is a present-day example of the balance of individuality, traditions and creativity. The immanent feature of his paintings is an inward readiness for expression. His works of art give free play to viewer’s imagination and are saturated with underlying messages. Naïve stardust, sentimentality and meditative concentration on intriguing interconnections within ordinary objects, incompleteness and detachment run through his painting.”
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From the American History Archives – Part I of II: Shays’ Rebellion

25 January 1787 – Shays’ Rebellion suffers a setback when debt-ridden farmers, led by Captain Daniel Shays (a veteran of the American Revolutionary War), fail to capture an arsenal at Springfield, Massachusetts.

Below – A contemporary depiction of Daniel Shays (left) and Job Shattuck, two of the main protest leaders.
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American Art – Part II of IV: Cassie Taggart

Artist Statement: “I grew up in the house of Aaron Burr’s many mistresses. An ancient brownstone that told of the past. It was possessed of a temperamental broiler that constantly broke down forcing on many mornings to heat our bath water on the stove. It created in me a sense of existing in multiple places, times, and realities all at the same moment.
My childhood tended toward odd artistic pursuits, I carved tiny flying saucers and sewed a thousand wee pillows, each methodically ‘designed’ and given out to baffled relatives. When I was eight or so, the streets surrounding our house were closed to traffic, covered with crisp white paper, and smeared with bloody animal parts. It was a hallucinatory sight, an indelible image of the quirks of reality and it has stayed with me.
I thought it was a dream, too strange to be real.
I am fascinated by the idea of multiple truths, I want to create them, I want them to thrive in my paintings as they do in life. There is a line we straddle between dream and reality, between one truth and another.
Reality is pliable, as any criminal attorney will tell you, and for every perspective, there is a different truth.”
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From the American History Archives – Part II of II: The Battle of Seattle

25 January 1856 – The Battle of Seattle takes place between American settlers and Native Americans. This skirmish, part of the multi-year Puget Sound War or Yakima War, lasted a single day.

Below – “Battle of Seattle, 1856” – from a sketch by Clarence Hanford.
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Here is the Artist Statement of Australian painter Jason Cordero: “I, Jason Cordero, am a painter of the landscape. At present, I am concerned with the Wilderness, not so much as a place, but as a manifestation of the ethereal, a freedom from the known, the constructed. A dual identity, both empirical and subliminal, it is the Horizon – an illusion of the imagination, a portal to something other.
The Mountain and the Sea, the Lake and the River are sanctuaries, thresholds through which the transcendent can be felt. From the caress of a cloud upon the summit, to the glint of a pool upon the beach, the Other can be experienced. Intertwined and inseparable, the land pressures the sky, as the sky sculpts the land. Gathering libation offered by the sea and held by the winds, the peak is fashioned by the river, doubled by the lake and all are received by the sea. A circadian rhythm of end and beginning.
It is a sublime one craves. We can only glimpse such from our harbours, in suspense and dreaming, breathing through the gates whatever is offered. I merely provide an echo of my encounters, a shadow of my memories.”
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American Art – Part III of IV: Donelli “Dan” Dimaria

In the words of one writer, “Dan has shown in galleries across the US for the past 10 years and participated in fourteen museum shows over the past two years. Articles about his paintings have appeared in ‘American Art Collector,’ ‘American Artist,’ and ‘The Artist’s Magazine.’ In 1998, his figurative work was showcased in ‘The Best of Portrait Painting’ by North Light books. In addition, he has participated in over 70 juried and 30 invited shows across the US including Oil Painters of America, Academic Artists, International Guild of Realism, Salon International, American Artist’s Professional League, Hudson Valley Art Association, Masterworks of New Mexico, and Allied Artists receiving many awards along the way.”
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A Poem for Today

“A Partial History of My Stupidity,”
By Edward Hirsch

Traffic was heavy coming off the bridge
and I took the road to the right, the wrong one,
and got stuck in the car for hours.

Most nights I rushed out into the evening
without paying attention to the trees,
whose names I didn’t know,
or the birds, which flew heedlessly on.

I couldn’t relinquish my desires
or accept them, and so I strolled along
like a tiger that wanted to spring,
but was still afraid of the wildness within.

The iron bars seemed invisible to others,
but I carried a cage around inside me.

I cared too much what other people thought
and made remarks I shouldn’t have made.
I was silent when I should have spoken.

Forgive me, philosophers,
I read the Stoics but never understood them.

I felt that I was living the wrong life,
spiritually speaking,
while halfway around the world
thousands of people were being slaughtered,
some of them by my countrymen.

So I walked on–distracted, lost in thought–
and forgot to attend to those who suffered
far away, nearby.

Forgive me, faith, for never having any.

I did not believe in God,
who eluded me.
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A Second Poem for Today

“136 Syllable at Rocky Mountain Dharma Center,”
By Allen Ginsberg

Tail turned to red sunset on a juniper crown a lone magpie cawks.

Mad at Oryoki in the shrine-room — Thistles blossomed late afternoon.

Put on my shirt and took it off in the sun walking the path to lunch.

A dandelion seed floats above the marsh grass with the mosquitos.

At 4 A.M. the two middleaged men sleeping together holding hands.

In the half-light of dawn a few birds warble under the Pleiades.

Sky reddens behind fir trees, larks twitter, sparrows cheep cheep cheep
cheep cheep.
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A Third Poem for Today

“Prints,”
By Joseph Bruchac

Seeing photos
of ancestors
a century past

is like looking
at your own
fingerprints—

circles
and lines
you can’t
recognize

until someone else
with a stranger’s eye
looks close and says
that’s you.
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American Art – Part IV of IV: Sean Diediker

In the words of one critic, “Sean Diediker is a painter’s painter. His sweeping, faceted brushstrokes and painterly surfaces generate works that reveal the artist’s sensitivity to his medium and attention to the act of painting itself. Diediker assembles bold colors, chiascurro and a cutting-edge sense of design to create a highly original body of work that separates him from his contemporaries. His imagery captures biblical allegories, narratives and concepts and renders them contemporary. Classical iconography, in Diediker’s hands, becomes a thoroughly modern symbolic language that is fresh, visually striking, and germane to our times.”
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Singing for America: Quotes from Walt Whitman – Part I of III

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”

Above – Walt Whitman (born 1819) in 1856.
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Singing for America: Quotes from Walt Whitman – Part II of III

“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.”

Above – Walt Whitman in 1863.
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Singing for America: Quotes from Walt Whitman – Part III of III

“I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.”

Above – Walt Whitman in 1891.
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