March Offerings – Part XXIV: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of III: Marne Adler

Here is one critic describing the artistry of American painter Marne Adler: “Marne Adler presents images of great beauty and power. Her highly textured, sculptural work is full of depth and nuance. When describing her work, one reviewer coined the term ‘Magical Realism,’ and she has since been associated with this genre.
Marne has always been intrigued by mankind`s search for meaning; even as an adolescent she studied the religions and philosophies of the world. Born in New York City, she began her career as an art teacher. But soon Marne became truly committed to this exploration and spent the next few years traveling throughout the world, learning cultural myths, scriptural allegories, mystic rituals and meditation.
She draws on these experiences when creating her work. Influenced by Master Symbolists such as Redon and Moreau, her images are infused with a visual language of the soul.”
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From the Music Archives: Johann Sebastian Bach

24 March 1721 – Johann Sebastian Bach dedicates six concertos to Christian Ludwig, margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt, now commonly called the Brandenburg concertos.

British Art – Part I of II: Valentine Cameron Prinsep

Valentine Cameron Prinsep (1838-1904) was a British painter of the Pre-Raphaelite school.

Below – “At the Golden Gate”; “The Queen Was in the Parlour”; “My Lady Betty”;
“The Goose Girl”; “Cinderella”; “Lisa”; “Queen Victoria.”
(c) Manchester City Galleries; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
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(c) Walker Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) Manchester City Galleries; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) National Trust, Blickling Hall; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) Guernsey Museums and Galleries; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
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“The true secret of happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.” – William Morris, English writer, artist,
Socialist, and textile designer, who was born 24 March 1834.

In the words of one historian, “As an author, illustrator and medievalist, (Morris) helped to establish the modern fantasy genre, and was a direct influence on postwar authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien. He was also a major contributor to reviving traditional textile arts and methods of production.”

Some quotes from the work of William Morris:

“If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
“I do not want art for a few; any more than education for a few; or freedom for a few.”
“A good way to rid one’s self of a sense of discomfort is to do something. That uneasy, dissatisfied feeling is actual force vibrating out of order; it may be turned to practical account by giving proper expression to its creative character.”
“History has remembered the kings and warriors, because they destroyed; art has remembered the people, because they created.”
“Not on one strand are all life’s jewels strung.”
“Apart from the desire to produce beautiful things, the leading passion of my life has been and is hatred of modern civilization.”
“With the arrogance of youth, I determined to do no less than to transform the world with Beauty. If I have succeeded in some small way, if only in one small corner of the world, amongst the men and women I love, then I shall count myself blessed, and blessed, and blessed, and the work goes on.”
“Nothing should be made by man’s labour which is not worth making, or which must be made by labour degrading to the makers.”
“We are only the trustees for those who come after us.”
“It is the childlike part of us that produces works of the imagination. When we were children time passed so slow with us that we seemed to have time for everything.”
“I pondered all these things, and how men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name.”
“Do not be deceived by the outside appearance of order in our plutocratic society. It fares with it as it does with the older norms of war, that there is an outside look of quite wonderful order about it; how neat and comforting the steady march of the regiment; how quiet and respectable the sergeants look; how clean the polished cannon … the looks of adjutant and sergeant as innocent-looking as may be, nay, the very orders for destruction and plunder are given with a quiet precision which seems the very token of a good conscience; this is the mask that lies before the ruined cornfield and the burning cottage, and mangled bodies, the untimely death of worthy men, the desolated home.”

Above – William Morris.
Below – Five of William Morris’s textile designs: “Peacock and Dragon”; “Windrush”; “Strawberry Thief”; “Wey”; “Sunflowers.”
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British Art – Part II of II: Craig Davison

Here is the Artist Statement of British sculptor and painter Craig Davison: “Originally from Sheffield, I started my career in art in Birmingham, as a cartoonist . I then made a move into animation within the computer games industry before becoming a freelance sculptor.
After living in North Wales for eight years, I relocated to County Durham, where I took up painting in 2008.
Feel free to look at my work, and whilst I hope you find something you like, it’s quite all right if you don’t…”

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“The very purpose of a knight is to fight on behalf of a lady.” – Thomas Malory, English writer and author/compiler of “Le Morte d’Arthur,” who died 14 March 1471.

Some quotes from Thomas Malory:

“Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil, is rightwise king born of all England. Then the people marvelled, and told it to the Archbishop. I command, said the Archbishop, that ye keep you within your church and pray unto God still, that no man touch the sword till the high mass be all done. So when all masses were done all the lords went to behold the stone and the sword. And when they saw the scripture some assayed, such as would have been king. But none might stir the sword nor move it. He is not here, said the Archbishop, that shall achieve the sword, but doubt not God will make him known.”
“Now, said Sir Ector to Arthur, I understand ye must be king of this land. Wherefore I, said Arthur, and for what cause? Sir, said Ector, for God will have it so; for there should never man have drawn out this sword, but he that shall be rightwise king of this land”
“In the midst of the lake Arthur was ware of an arm clothed in white samite, that held a fair sword in that hand.”
“The sweetness of love is short-lived, but the pain endures.”
“Ah Gawaine, Gawaine, ye have betrayed me; for never shall my court be amended by you, but ye will never be sorry for me as I am for you.”
“For I have promised to do the battle to the uttermost, by faith of my body, while me lasteth the life, and therefore I had liefer to die with honour than to live with shame ; and if it were possible for me to die an hundred times, I had liefer to die oft than yield me to thee; for though I lack weapon, I shall lack no worship, and if thou slay me weaponless that shall be thy shame.”
“They both laughed and drank to each other; they had never tasted sweeter liquor in all their lives. And in that moment they fell so deeply in love that their hearts would never be divided. So the destiny of Tristram and Isolde was ordained.”
“Enough Is as Good as a feast.”
“And thus it passed on from Candlemass until after Easter, that the month of May was come, when every lusty heart beginneth to blossom, and to bring forth fruit; for like as herbs and trees bring forth fruit and flourish in May, in like wise every lusty heart that is in any manner a lover, springeth and flourisheth in lusty deeds. For it giveth unto all lovers courage, that lusty month of May, in something to constrain him to some manner of thing more in that month than in any other month, for divers causes. For then all herbs and trees renew a man and woman, and likewise lovers call again to their mind old gentleness and old service, and many kind deeds that were forgotten by negligence. For like as winter rasure doth alway arase and deface green summer, so fareth it by unstable love in man and woman. For in many persons there is no stability; for we may see all day, for a little blast of winter’s rasure, anon we shall deface and lay apart true love for little or nought, that cost much thing; this is no wisdom nor stability, but it is feebleness of nature and great disworship, whosomever useth this. Therefore, like as May month flowereth and flourisheth in many gardens, so in like wise let every man of worship flourish his heart in this world, first unto God, and next unto the joy of them that he promised his faith unto; for there was never worshipful man or worshipful woman, but they loved one better than another; and worship in arms may never be foiled, but first reserve the honour to God, and secondly the quarrel must come of thy lady: and such love I call virtuous love.
But nowadays men can not love seven night but they must have all their desires: that love may not endure by reason; for where they be soon accorded and hasty heat, soon it cooleth. Right so fareth love nowadays, soon hot soon cold: this is no stability. But the old love was not so; men and women could love together seven years, and no licours lusts were between them, and then was love, truth, and faithfulness: and lo, in like wise was used love in King Arthur’s days. Wherefore I liken love nowadays unto summer and winter; for like as the one is hot and the other cold, so fareth love nowadays; therefore all ye that be lovers call unto your remembrance the month of May, like as did Queen Guenever, for whom I make here a little mention, that while she lived she was a true lover, and therefore she had a good end.”
“Yet some men say in many parts of England that King Arthur is not dead, but had by the will of our Lord Jesu into another place; and men say that he shall come again, and he shall win the holy cross.”

Above – The Great Book.
Below – “How Sir Bedivere Cast the Sword Excalibur into the Water” – an Aubrey Beardsley illustration for “Le Morte d’Arthur”; “Arthur’s Tomb: The Last Meeting of Launcelot and Guinevere,” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti; “The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon,” by Edward Burne-Jones.
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American Art – Part II of III: Jim Marshall

Died 24 March 2010 – Jim Marshall, a photographer noted for his work with rock stars. He was the chief photographer at Woodstock, and he worked backstage at the Beatles’ final concert in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park.
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The Beatles © Jim Marshall Photography LLC
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“The wonders of the Grand Canyon cannot be adequately represented in symbols of speech, nor by speech itself. The resources of the graphic art are taxed beyond their powers in attempting to portray its features. Language and illustration combined must fail.” – John Wesley Powell,
American soldier, geologist, ethnologist, professor, director of major scientific and cultural institutions, explorer of the American West, and leader of the 1869 Powell Geographic Expedition, a three-month river trip down the Green and Colorado rivers, including the first known passage through the Grand Canyon, who was born 24 March 1834.

Above – John Wesley Powell.
Below – A drawing of Powell navigating the Colorado River; the Grand Canyon.

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German artist Bernd Schwering (born 1945) studied painting at the College of Fine Arts in Hamburg.
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“I am awaiting
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder.” – Lawrence Ferlinghetti, American poet, painter, social activist, translator, co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, and author of “A Coney Island of the Mind,” who was born 24 March 1919.

“Constantly Risking Absurdity (#15)”

Constantly risking absurdity
and death
whenever he performs
above the heads
of his audience
the poet like an acrobat
climbs on rime
to a high wire of his own making
and balancing on eyebeams
above a sea of faces
paces his way
to the other side of day
performing entrechats
and sleight-of-foot tricks
and other high theatrics
and all without mistaking
any thing
for what it may not be

For he’s the super realist
who must perforce perceive
taut truth
before the taking of each stance or step
in his supposed advance
toward that still higher perch
where Beauty stands and waits
with gravity
to start her death-defying leap

And he
a little charleychaplin man
who may or may not catch
her fair eternal form
spreadeagled in the empty air
of existence

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The paintings of Belarusian artist Oleg Nazarenko (born 1961) have been exhibited throughout Europe and South America.

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“The greatest escape I ever made was when I left Appleton, Wisconsin.” – Harry Houdini (born Erik Weisz), Hungarian-American illusionist, stunt performer, and escape artist, who was born 24 March 1874.

In the words of one historian, “In the 1920s Houdini turned his energies toward debunking psychics and mediums, a pursuit that inspired and was followed by latter-day stage magicians.[49] Houdini’s training in magic allowed him to expose frauds who had successfully fooled many scientists and academics. He was a member of a ‘Scientific American’ committee that offered a cash prize to any medium who could successfully demonstrate supernatural abilities. None was able to do so, and the prize was never collected. The first to be tested was medium George Valentine of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. As his fame as a ‘ghostbuster’ grew, Houdini took to attending séances in disguise, accompanied by a reporter and police officer. Possibly the most famous medium whom he debunked was Mina Crandon, also known as ‘Margery.’
Houdini chronicled his debunking exploits in his book, ‘A Magician Among the Spirits,’ co-authored with C. M. Eddy, Jr. These activities cost Houdini the friendship of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle, a firm believer in Spiritualism during his later years, refused to believe any of Houdini’s exposés. Doyle came to believe that Houdini was a powerful spiritualist medium, and had performed many of his stunts by means of paranormal abilities and was using these abilities to block those of other mediums that he was ‘debunking.’ This disagreement led to the two men becoming public antagonists and led Sir Arthur to view Houdini as a dangerous enemy.”

The worthy tradition of debunking psychic claims is carried on today by many champions of sanity, including James Randi, author of “Flim-Flam!,” and Michael Shermer, author of “Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time.”

Here is one critic describing the artistry of Russian painter Stanislav Plutenko (born 1961): “(He) plays on color contrasts, his painting is very vigorous, illustrative and imbued through by sarcasm on the reality. In spite of the fact that the characters of his pictures are fattened and absolutely earthly ones, they are always astir – running, fluttering and flying somewhere. Having awkward bodies and unprepossessing faces they feel themselves angels and we are sympathetic towards them with their naivete. With an identical acuteness he presents images of the people and visual psychological surroundings. In each genre stage with elements of grotesque style we can find the small history of life with symbolical underlying theme.”
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“Every breath is a sacrament, an affirmation of our connection with all other living things, a renewal of our link with our ancestors and a contribution to generations yet to come. Our breath is a part of life’s breath, the ocean of air that envelopes the earth.” – David Suzuki, Canadian academic, science broadcaster, environmental activist, and author of “The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature” and “The Legacy: An Elder’s Vision for Our Sustainable Future,” who was born 24 March 1936.

Suzuki co-founded the David Suzuki Foundation in 1990, to work “to find ways for society to live in balance with the natural world that does sustain us.”

Some quotes from the work of David Suzuki:

“We’re in a giant car heading towards a brick wall and everyone’s arguing over where they’re going to sit.”
“If we humans are good at anything, it’s thinking we’ve got a terrific idea and going for it without acknowledging the potential consequences or our own ignorance.”
“Education has failed in a very serious way to convey the most important lesson science can teach: skepticism.”
“The way we’ve set up corporations, even a majority vote of stockholders cannot demand that a corporation’s policies reflect the public good or preserve the environment for future use. That’s because profit is the one and only motive. It’s up to government and it’s up to people to protect the public interest. Corporations are simply not allowed to.”
“Our identity includes our natural world, how we move through it, how we interact with it and how it sustains us.”
“The environment is so fundamental to our continued existence that it must transcend politics and become a central value of all members of society.”
“‘Eco’ comes from the Greek word oikos, meaning home. Ecology is the study of home, while economics is the management of home. Ecologists attempt to define the conditions and principles that govern life’s ability to flourish through time and change. Societies and our constructs, like economics, must adapt to those fundamentals defined by ecology. The challenge today is to put the ‘eco’ back into economics and every aspect of our lives.”
“Virtually all of the extremely important services that nature provides are completely ignored by conventional economics. The ozone layer, for example, shields all life from DNA-damaging ultraviolet radiation.”
“Corporations easily bully governments by threatening to deprive even democratic nations of their wealth. If we try too hard to control them, they say they’ll leave and take their jobs with them.”
“A balance between sustainable ecology and sustainable human life, on the one hand, and the unfettered drive for profit, on the other, is just an oxymoron.”
“Benjamin Franklin, said: ‘Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. There is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.’”
“As we distance ourselves further from the natural world, we are increasingly surrounded by and dependent on our own inventions. We become enslaved by the constant demands of technology created to serve us.”

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Here is the Artist Statement of Australian painter Loui Jover: “Right now I like making ink drawings on adhered together sheets of vintage book paper, there is a fragility to these images that I find interesting (as if the wind may blow them away at any moment) and the hand drawn stark black lines against the intricate printed words of the book pages offer a strange fusion and depth that seems to give the images a kind of ‘meaning’ and back story, even though unconnected in a contrived way. I never pick the image for the pages or visa-versa they just collide as chance permits, any meaning they may have is purely created by the observer and their own imaginings.”

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A Poem for Today

“Casa,”
By Rigoberto Gonzalez

I am not your mother, I will not be moved
by the grief or gratitude of men
who weep like orphans at my door.
I am not a church. I do not answer
prayers but I never turn them down.

Come in and kneel or sit or stand,
the burden of your weight won’t lessen
no matter the length of your admission.
Tell me anything you want, I have to listen
but don’t expect me to respond

when you tell me you have lost your job
or that your wife has found another love
or that your children took their laughter
to another town. You feel alone and empty?
Color me surprised! I didn’t notice they were gone.

Despite the row of faces pinned like medals
to my walls, I didn’t earn them.
The scratches on the wood are not my scars.
If there’s a smell of spices in the air
blame the trickery of kitchens

or your sad addiction to the yesterdays
that never keep no matter how much you believe
they will. I am not a time capsule.
I do not value pithy things like locks
of hair and milk teeth and ticket stubs

and promise rings—mere particles
of dust I’d blow out to the street if I could
sneeze. Take your high school jersey
and your woman’s wedding dress away
from me. Sentimental hoarding bothers me.

So off with you, old couch that cries
in coins as it gets dragged out to the porch.
Farewell, cold bed that breaks its bones
in protest to eviction or foreclosure or
whatever launched this grim parade

of exits. I am not a pet. I do not feel
abandonment. Sometimes I don’t even see you
come or go or stay behind. My windows
are your eyes not mine. If you should die
inside me I’ll leave it up to you to tell

the neighbors. Shut the heaters off
I do not fear the cold. I’m not the one
who shrinks into the corner of the floor
because whatever made you think
this was a home with warmth isn’t here

to sweet-talk anymore. Don’t look at me
that way, I’m not to blame. I granted
nothing to the immigrant or exile
that I didn’t give a bordercrosser or a native
born. I am not a prize or a wish come true.

I am not a fairytale castle. Though I
used to be, in some distant land inhabited
by dreamers now extinct. Who knows
what happened there? In any case, good
riddance, grotesque fantasy and mirth.

So long, wall-to-wall disguise in vulgar
suede and chintz. Take care, you fool,
and don’t forget that I am just a house,
a structure without soul for those whose
patron saints are longing and despair.

Below – Pam Coulter: “Old House in Herndon II”
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American Art – Part III of III: Dan Witz

Here is one critic describing the artistry of painter Dan Witz (born 1957): “Since the 80’s, Dan Witz is famous for his well known participation in the Street Art Movement, he looks for night scenes, and depicts a wild and fascinating world. One the one side, his oil paintings with very fine lines draw a very quiet picture of the suburbs through the absence of soul. On the other side he shows bunches of people or animals, disshumanized, alienated, insane as if they were run by battery. Between presence and absence, his paintings always deal with the identity of human beings in modern societies.”
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