American Art – Part I of III: Mimi Jensen
In the words of one writer, “In her still life work, Mimi Jensen presents an often playful mix of everyday objects. With a photographer’s eye for composition, she chooses things that intrigue or please or even annoy her.
Jensen then carefully arranges the sometimes quirky ensemble, which she paints life-size from an orthographic perspective. She hopes the viewer will notice each element’s texture and color and shape, and examine the interplay of the whole. The allure of the still life revived in 2003, when an invigorating workshop experience inspired her to paint in a realistic style she’d never before considered.”
Australian Art – Part I of III: Zai Kuang
From the American History Archives: “The Star-Spangled Banner”
3 March 1931 – President Hoover signs the congressional resolution making the “The Star-Spangled Banner” the national anthem of the United States.
Australian Art – Part II of III: Ernesto Arrisueno
In the words of one writer, “Ernesto Arrisueño was born in Lima, Peru in 1957, a time when migration to Australia was almost exclusively from Britain and Europe. In the past decade however, Australian life has been enriched by migration from many South American countries. Arrisueño studied art in Lima before completing a Bachelor of Architecture degree at Ricardo Palma University.”
Australian Art – Part III of III: Graeme Balchin
Artist Statement: “We live in a time where technology has advanced to the point we no longer need a camera to make a great image. For the commercial world, technology is the future, for it has embraced the new mediums with open arms. With this in mind, I am constantly amazed with the amount of artists who still use traditional mediums and methods simply because they wish too. I am one of those people, who has a compelling desire that borders on an insane obsession, to paint and draw. Painting has been and still is a successful way of recording history, but I feel it is also an integral part of human endeavor; the need to achieve excellence in creation.”
“You can’t walk alone. Many have given the illusion, but none have really walked alone. Man is not made that way. Each man is bedded in his people, their history, their culture, and their values.” – Peter Abrahams, South African novelist, journalist, political commentator, and author of “Mine Boy,” who was born 3 March 1919.
Some quotes from the work of Peter Abrahams:
“With Shakespeare and poetry, a new world was born. New dreams, new desires, a self consciousness was born. I desired to know to know myself in terms of the new standards set by these books.”
“Many have changed so much that they have lost the magic of the dream that carried them on their own bootstraps.”
“To get where you want to go you can’t only do what you like.”
Here is the Artist Statement of New Zealand painter Callum Arnold (born 1973):
“My new work is primarily concerned with geographic experience and the transpositions of media upon that knowledge. The understanding of the visual world through photography, film and T.V. has given the viewer an experience mediated through technology.
The inherent spiritual nature of the land has become diffused through the context of new media and associations are made from its own visual history. The act of looking for dramatic panoramic landscapes in dislocated spaces is limited to viewing from roads and the visual memory contained within sequential photographic records.
Using multiple images within the borders of a single work the visual experience is reconstructed through the process of drawing and digital media which create new surreal environments. Through the act of painting the visual image is no longer an accurate rendering of the actual world but a collaboration of processes.”
From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Carlos Montoya
Died 3 March 1993 – Carlos Montoya, a Spanish guitarist and a founder of the modern-day popular Flamenco style of music.
“Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion.” – Arthur Koestler, Hungarian-British writer, journalist, and author of “Darkness at Noon,” who died 1 March 1983.
Some quotes from the work of Arthur Koestler:
“The principal mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers.”
“I think most historians would agree that the part played by impulses of selfish, individual aggression in the holocausts of history was small; first and foremost, the slaughter was meant as an offering to the gods, to king and country, or the future happiness of mankind. The crimes of a Caligula shrink to insignificance compared to the havoc wrought by Torquemada. The number of victims of robbers, highwaymen, rapists, gangsters and other criminals at any period of history is negligible compared to the massive numbers of those cheerfully slain in the name of the true religion, just policy or correct ideology. Heretics were tortured and burnt not in anger but in sorrow, for the good of their immortal souls. Tribal warfare was waged in the purported interest of the tribe, not of the individual. Wars of religion were fought to decide some fine point in theology or semantics. Wars of succession dynastic wars, national wars, civil wars, were fought to decide issues equally remote from the personal self-interest of the combatants.
Let me repeat: the crimes of violence committed for selfish, personal motives are historically insignificant compared to those committed ad majorem gloriam Dei, out of a self-sacrificing devotion to a flag, a leader, a religious faith or a political conviction. Man has always been prepared not only to kill but also to die for good, bad or completely futile causes. And what can be a more valid proof of the reality of the self-transcending urge than this readiness to die for an ideal?”
“Creative activity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.”
“Satan, on the contrary, is thin, ascetic and a fanatical devotee of logic. He reads Machiavelli, Ignatius of Loyola, Marx and Hegel; he is cold and unmerciful to mankind, out of a kind of mathematical mercifulness. He is damned always to do that which is most repugnant to him: to become a slaughterer, in order to abolish slaughtering, to sacrifice lambs so that no more lambs may be slaughtered, to whip people with knouts so that they may learn not to let themselves be whipped, to strip himself of every scruple in the name of a higher scrupulousness, and to challenge the hatred of mankind because of his love for it–an abstract and geometric love.”
“Creativity is the defeat of habit by originality.”
“The ‘gallows’ are not only a symbol of death, but also a symbol of cruelty, terror and irreverence for life; the common denominator of primitive savagery, medieval fanaticism and modern totalitarianism.”
“History had a slow pulse; man counted in years, history in generations”
“I went to Communism as one goes to a spring of fresh water, and I left Communism as one clambers out of a poisoned river strewn with the wreckage of flooded cities and the corpses of the drowned.”
“Some of the greatest discoveries…consist mainly in the clearing away of psychological roadblocks which obstruct the approach to reality; which is why, post factum they appear so obvious.”
“Our Press and our schools cultivate Chauvinism, militarism, dogmatism, conformism and ignorance. The arbitrary power of the Government is unlimited, and unexampled in history; freedom of the Press, of opinion and of movement are as thoroughly exterminated as though the proclamation of the Rights of Man had never been. We have built up the most gigantic police apparatus, with informers made a national institution, and the most refined scientific system of political and mental torture. We whip the groaning masses of the country towards a theoretical future happiness, which only we can.”
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Russian painter Volodia Popov (1961): “Volodia Popov is an artist for whom there are no stylistic borders. The horizons of his creativity are opened widely to meet the seven winds. At any time filled with salty energy sails can transfer the clipper of his inexhaustible imagination to unfamiliar mysterious coast of new terra incognita.”
Canadian Art – Part I of II: Gaetane Dion
From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Buffalo Springfield
3 March 1966 – The American-Canadian rock band Buffalo Springfield forms.
In the words of one writer, the group’s song “For What It’s Worth” “became a political anthem for the turbulent late 1960s.”
Canadian Art – Part II of II: William Kurelek
Born 3 March 1927 – William Kurelek, a Canadian artist and writer.
Below – “Excitement of First Heavy Snow”; “Down in the Valley”; Huskies Howling to Be Free”; “Vintage.”; untitled (Child with Feed in Winter); “How Often At Night”; “In the Autumn of Life”; “Cold Dawn In Saskatchewan.”
“Old stories often turn out to be true.” – Arthur Machen, Welsh writer and mystic known for his influential supernatural, fantasy, and horror fiction, who was born 3 March 1863.
Stephen King praised Machen’s novella “The Great God Pan” as “Maybe the best (horror story) in the English language.” I recommend reading it when you are home alone “on a dark and stormy night.”
Some quotes from the work of Arthur Machen:
“I dream in fire but work in clay.”
“There are sacraments of evil as well as of good about us, and we live and move to my belief in an unknown world, a place where there are caves and shadows and dwellers in twilight. It is possible that man may sometimes return on the track of evolution, and it is my belief that an awful lore is not yet dead.”
“And there were other rocks that were like animals, creeping, horrible animals, putting out their tongues, and others were like words I could not say, and others like dead people lying on the grass. I went on among them, though they frightened me, and my heart was full of wicked song they put into it; and I wanted to make faces and twist myself about the way they did, and I went on and on a long way till at last I liked the rocks and they didn’t frighten me any more”
“There are strange things lost and forgotten in obscure corners of the newspaper.”
“We lead two lives, and the half of our soul is madness, and half heaven is lit by a black sun. I say I am a man, is the other that hides in me?”
“But he recognized that the illusions of the child only differed from those of the man in that they were more picturesque; belief in fairies and belief in the Stock Exchange as bestowers of happiness were equally vain, but the latter form of faith was ugly as well as inept.”
“For there upon a bed of soft wool lay the most splendid jewel, a jewel such as Dyson had never dreamed of, and within it shone the blue of far skies, and the green of the sea by the shore, and the red of the ruby, and deep violet rays, and in the middle of all it seemed aflame as if a fountain of fire rose up, and fell, and rose again with sparks like stars for drops.”
“Every branch of human knowledge, if traced up to its source and final principles, vanishes into mystery.”
“And let me tell you this: our higher senses are blunted. We are so drenched with material sin, that we should probably fail to recognize real wickedness if we encountered it”
“It appears to me that it [sin] is simply an attempt to penetrate into another and higher sphere in a forbidden manner. You can understand why it is so rare. They are few, indeed, who wish to penetrate into higher spheres, higher or lower, in ways allowed or forbidden. Men, in the mass, are amply content with life as they find it. Therefore there are few saints, and sinners (in the proper sense) are fewer still, and men of genius, who partake sometimes of each character, are rare also. Yes, on the whole, it is, perhaps, harder to be a great sinner than a great saint.”
“By what seemed then and still seems a chance, the suggestion of a moment’s idle thought followed up upon familiar lines and paths that I had tracked a hundred times already, the great truth burst upon me, and I saw, mapped out in lines of light, a whole world, a sphere unknown; continents and islands, and great oceans in which no ship has sailed (to my belief) since a Man first lifted up his eyes and beheld the sun, and the stars of heaven, and the quiet earth beneath.”
“We have just begun to navigate a strange region; we must expect to encounter strange adventures, strange perils.”
American Art – Part II of III: Beatrice Wood
Born 3 March 1993 – Beatrice Wood, an American studio potter and artist.
Below – “Seven Figures Standing on a Slab Base”; “Turquoise White Cat Plate with Leaves”; Glazed Pottery Vase; Untitled (Two Women) – earthenware with glazes; “Evening at the Arensbergs”; “A Nickellette, or Unsophisticated Mary.”
A Poem for Today
“The Truth the Dead Know,”
By Anne Sexton
For my mother, born March 1902, died March 1959 and my father, born February 1900, died June 1959
Gone, I say and walk from church,
refusing the stiff procession to the grave,
letting the dead ride alone in the hearse.
It is June. I am tired of being brave.
We drive to the Cape. I cultivate
myself where the sun gutters from the sky,
where the sea swings in like an iron gate
and we touch. In another country people die.
My darling, the wind falls in like stones
from the whitehearted water and when we touch
we enter touch entirely. No one’s alone.
Men kill for this, or for as much.
American Art – Part III of III: Aleah Chapin