American Art – Part I of III: Binh Danh
Here is one critic describing the background and artistry of Vietnamese-American artist Binh Danh: “Binh Danh received his MFA from Stanford University in 2004 and has emerged as an artist of national importance with work that investigates his Vietnamese heritage and our collective memory of war, both in Viet Nam and Cambodia—work that, in his own words, deals with ‘mortality, memory, history, landscape, justice, evidence, and spirituality.’ His technique incorporates his invention of the chlorophyll printing process, in which photographic images appear embedded in leaves through the action of photosynthesis.”
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs, American entrepreneur, who was born 24 February 1955.
In the words of one writer, “Richard Clark was born 1966 in the village of Crawcrook (England) in the North East. Growing up he was surround by the art of his Grandfather Tom Clark (clockmaker/painter) and father Richard Clark (Commercial and industrial artist/painter). He was apprenticed to his father and works in oils on panel or canvas usually painting direct. His studio is inside and heavenly.”
“If there is technological advance without social advance, there is, almost automatically, an increase in human misery.” – Michael Harrington, American writer, political activist, democratic socialist, professor of political science, initiator of the Democratic Socialists of America, and author of “The Other America: Poverty in the United States,” who was born 24 February 1928.
Some quotes from the work of Michael Harrington:
“Clothes make the poor invisible. America has the best-dressed poverty the world has ever known.”
“Life is lived in common, but not in community.”
“People who are much too sensitive to demand of cripples that they run races ask of the poor that they get up and act just like everyone else in the society.”
“That the poor are invisible is one of the most important things about them. They are not simply neglected and forgotten as in the old rhetoric of reform; what is much worse, they are not seen.”
Russian Art – Part I of II: Natasha Villone
Here is the Artist Statement of Russian painter Natasha Villone: ”Before moving to Seattle, U.S.A in 2001, I studied painting, theater design and fine art in Orel, Russia, a small city south of Moscow. Many years I spent working in a factory painting flowers on samovars (Russian tea pots) and painting popular Russian folk art Zhostovo trays. Now my favorite things to paint are plates. They’re small, don’t take up too much space, and are easy to hang on a wall. They make a sunny, warm patch on your wall.
It’s strange, but my basic knowledge of how to paint came not from my art college, but from time spent painting Zhostovo trays. My old master always taught me three rules: outrageous colors, form and persective. Thank you, Victor Arsentivich. You did render your ideas in me.”
From the Dusty Back Room of the Music Archives – Part I of II: The Stone Poneys
Recorded by the Stone Poneys in 1967, “Different Drum” was written in 1965 by Mike Nesmith (of The Monkees fame). The female vocalist is vaguely familiar.
Russian Art – Part II of II: Nina Ryzhikova
From the Dusty Back Room of the Music Archives – Part II of II: Smith
Smith’s remake of “Baby It’s You” did better on popular music charts than the original hit by The Shirelles. Also, this version of the song was featured in Quentin Tarantino’s film “Death Proof.”
Here is the Artist Statement of Chinese painter Victor Wang: “My path through life has been adventurous, exciting, and dream-like. My experience of settling into America in search of better opportunities has been both challenging and inspiring. I use the human face as a vehicle to paint human experiences – worry and wonder, sadness and pleasure – which reflect the emotional stage directly tied to my immigration experiences.
I grew up amongst the sunflower fields in northern China. In my childhood years, I played under the bright, yellow sunflowers with my brothers everyday. China’s Cultural Revolution played an important part in my life. During that time, sunflowers were used as political allegories to depict how citizens of China should follow Mao who represented the sun, since sunflowers follow the sun’s movements. People eventually inferred the deception that this symbol masked. After graduating from high school, I was sent to a labor camp in the country for ‘reeducation’ during China’s Cultural Revolution. There, I was subject to grueling farm work. Often, I worked in corn and sunflower fields from sunrise to sunset. Thus, for me, sunflowers evoke both personal joy and sadness. Therefore, to deliver my complex feelings, I use sunflowers as a metaphor to connote my background and emotional stage.
My incorporation of collages of figures from China’s Tang Dynasty represents my Chinese heritage and is a constant reminder of where I came from. The texture and earthiness on the canvas’s surface are inspired by the texture of the soil on the farm where I worked in China.
Although I often gain great pleasure from the process of painting, it is most important to unfold expressively those feelings within myself.”
From the American History Archives – Part I of II: The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek
24 February 1831 – The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, the first removal treaty in accordance with the Indian Removal Act, is proclaimed. The Choctaws in Mississippi cede land east of the river in exchange for payment and land in the West.
From the American History Archives – Part II of II: “Shawnee Sun”
“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” – Rosalio de Castro, Galician Romanticist and poet, who was born 24 February 1837.
I have posted about Rosalio de Castro on two previous occasions, but her passionate, beautifully crafted poetry deserves repeated readings.
“The Atmosphere Is Incandescent”
The atmosphere is incandescent;
The fox explores an empty road;
Sick grow the waters
That sparkled in the clear arroyo,
Unfluttered stands the pine
Waiting for fickle winds to blow.
A majesty of silence
Overpowers the meadow;
Only the hum of an insect troubles
The spreading, dripping forest shadow,
Relentless and monotonous
As muffled rattle in a dying throat.
In such a summer the hour of midday
Could as well go
By the name of night, to struggle-weary
Man who has never known
Greater vexation from the vast cares
Of the soul, or from matter’s majestic force.
Would it were winter again! The nights! The cold!
O those old loves of ours so long ago!
Come back to make this fevered blood run fresh,
Bring back your sharp severities and snows
To these intolerable summer sorrows…
Sorrows!…While vine and corn stand thick and gold!
The cold, the heat; the autumn or the spring;
Where, where has delight set up its home?
Beautiful are all seasons to the man
Who shelters happiness within his soul;
But the deserted, orphaned spirit feels
No season smile upon its luckless door.
“Cold Months of Winter”
Cold months of winter
That I love with all my love;
Months of rivers that run full
And the sweet love of home.
Months of wild storms,
Image of the pain
That besets the young
And severs lives in bloom.
Come, after the autumn
That makes the leaves fall,
And let me sleep among them
The slumber of dissolution.
And when the lovely sun
Of April returns smiling
Let it shine upon my repose,
No longer upon my suffering.
Here is part of the Artist Statement of American painter Fred Wessel: “A two week trip that I took to Italy in 1984, had a profound and prolonged influence on my work. At that time I was involved in making a series of aquarium images. I went to Italy to view the art of the Renaissance, for it is my belief that all visual artists, especially realists, should experience and study this work firsthand. I could not have predicted the dramatic impact, both direct and indirect, that this journey of discovery would have on my ensuing work. I believe that in our search for novelty in post-modernist art making, we often lose touch with certain basics: beauty, grace, harmony and visual poetry are nowadays rarely considered important criteria in evaluating contemporary works of art.”
A Poem for Today
By Louise Imogen Guiney
Open, Time, and let him pass
Shortly where his feet would be!
Like a leaf at Michaelmas
Swooning from the tree,
Ere its hour the manly mind
Trembles in a sure decrease,
Nor the body now can find
Any hold on peace.
Take him, weak and overworn;
Fold about his dying dream
Boyhood, and the April morn,
And the rolling stream:
Weather on a sunny ridge,
Showery weather, far from here;
Under some deep-ivied bridge,
Water rushing clear:
Water quick to cross and part,
(Golden light on silver sound),
Weather that was next his heart
All the world around!
Soon upon his vision break
These, in their remembered blue;
He shall toil no more, but wake
Young, in air he knew.
American Art – Part III of III: Winslow Homer
Born 24 February 1836 – Winslow Homer, a landscape painter and printmaker best known for his marine subjects.
Below – “Long Branch, New Jersey”; “Artists Sketching in the White Mountains”; “Breezing Up (A Fair Wind)”; “Cloud Shadows”; “The Fog Warning”; “The Gulf Stream”; “Northeaster”; “Sunlight on the Coast”; “The Fisher Girl”; “Song of the Lark”; “Warm Afternoon (Shepherdess)”; “The Blue Boy”; “The Hudson River.”