American Art – Part I of II: David Salle
Here is one critic describing the artistry of David Salle (born 1952): “(He) is an American painter who helped define postmodern sensibility by combining figuration with a varied pictorial language of multi-imagery… His paintings comprise what appear to be randomly juxtaposed images, or images painted on top of each other with deliberately ham-fisted paint handling.”
David Salle lives and works in Brooklyn.
“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” – Thomas Jefferson, American Founding Father, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and the third President of the United States (1801-1809), who was born 13 April 1743.
Some quotes from Thomas Jefferson:
“When a man has cast his longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct.”
“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.”
“And the day will come, when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His Father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva, in the brain of Jupiter.”
“When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.”
“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”
“When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.”
“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”
“Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.”
“In every country and every age, the priest had been hostile to Liberty.”
“Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.”
“Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”
“Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a Censor – over each other.”
“Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.”
“It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God.”
“I am an Epicurean. I consider the genuine (not the imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing everything rational in moral philosophy which Greek and Roman leave to us.”
French Art – Part I of III: Jean-Yves Madec
13 April 1668 – John Dryden (born 1631) becomes the first Poet Laureate of England.
“Happy the Man”
Happy the man, and happy he alone,
He who can call today his own:
He who, secure within, can say,
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.
Be fair or foul or rain or shine,
The joys I have possessed, in spite of fate, are mine.
Not Heaven itself upon the past has power,
But what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.
French Art – Part II of III: Agnes Baillon
Here is one critic describing the artistry of sculptor Agnes Baillon (born 1963): “Nothing seems to happen in Agnès Baillon’s sculptures. No drama, no narrative frame, and no action. When she was a painter she painted swimmers whose heads were not only out of the water but also absent from the canvas. Her first sculptures, exhibited next to her paintings, were in fact the missing heads – but before long, they had acquired a life of their own, a placid autonomy out of time and action, an inactive autonomy of sorts. Lack of action and even more so lack of explicit subject has always been a problem in the field of sculpture. Rodin’s sculpture The Age of Bronze, had in its day confused both the public and the critics precisely for this reason: no one knew what it really represented. No tangible clues here as to the identity of the subjects of Agnès Baillon’s sculptures and their gender is only hinted at. There is no way of knowing whether the hats they are wearing are swimming or Phrygian caps and there is certainly nothing in their clothing (when they do wear some) which could allow us to guess the context to which these figures belong, and much less the era from which they seem to have been taken out of like a dream.”
From the Music Archives: The Beatles
13 April 1965 – The Beatles record “Help.”
French Art – Part III of III: Yannick Germain
“A sign is enough to live by,
A shape we make in air;
A long line of time we follow.
Does it lead us anywhere?” – Maxwell Henley Harris, Australian poet, critic, columnist, commentator, publisher, and bookseller, who was born 13 April 1921.
“Bud in Perspex”
The bud in perspex by my bed
Every time I move my head
Turns a deeper shade of red.
The Mogadon that brings me rest
Put me to a nightly test,
Dreams that sort out bad and best,
A nightly mugging of the mind
Extortions of a brutal kind,
Forces unevenly aligned.
A chemical brings to the light
Facts that come alive at night.
Proving I do wrong to right.
Polish Art – Part I of II: Ula Pagowska
“It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming of themselves like grass.” – Eudora Welty, American writer and recipient of the 1973 Pulitzer Prize (for “The Optimist’s Daughter”), who was born 13 April 1909.
Some quotes from Eudora Welty:
“The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order the continuous thread of revelation.”
“A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.”
“Greater than scene is situation. Greater than situation is implication. Greater than all of these is a single, entire human being, who will never be confined in any frame.”
“A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.”
“Never think you’ve seen the last of anything.”
“The excursion is the same when you go looking for your sorrow as when you go looking for your joy.”
“Through travel I first became aware of the outside world; it was through travel that I found my own introspective way into becoming a part of it.”
Polish Art – Part II of II: Justyna Kisielewicz
13 April 1933 – Douglas Hamilton, 14th Duke of Hamilton, makes the first flight over Mount Everest.
Above – Douglas Hamilton.
Here is one critic describing the accomplishments of Scottish painter Catriona Millar: “Catriona is now recognised as one of Scotland’s foremost figurative painters. She has exhibited across the UK and her paintings are collected throughout Europe, the Far East and America. She has won the respect and acclaim of collectors, critics and leading galleries while her stunning works continue to enjoy a special place amongst the contemporary art buying public.”
From the Movie Archives: Ron Perlman
“I’ll walk through fire to do what I do because the movie business, when it’s right, is the coolest art form ever invented.” – Ron Perlman, American television, film, and voice actor, who was born 13 April 1950.
“The essence of Orkney’s magic is silence, loneliness and the deep marvelous rhythms of sea and land, darkness and light.” – George Mackay Brown, Scottish poet, author, and dramatist, who died 13 April 1996.
Monday I found a boot –
Rust and salt leather.
I gave it back to the sea, to dance in.
Tuesday a spar of timber worth thirty bob.
It will be a chair, a coffin, a bed.
Wednesday a half can of Swedish spirits.
I tilted my head.
The shore was cold with mermaids and angels.
Thursday I got nothing, seaweed,
A whale bone,
Wet feet and a loud cough.
Friday I held a seaman’s skull,
Sand spilling from it
The way time is told on kirkyard stones.
Saturday a barrel of sodden oranges.
A Spanish ship
Was wrecked last month at The Kame.
Here is the Artist Statement of Serbian painter Nadja Jovanovic: “The subject matter of my work is based on exploring aspects of existence. The presence of the individual in a moment and time, and self-projection of realty. I am interested in transformational characters of mental image. Epicenter of my work is the person, isolated from society framed in constant questioning of reality, in constant dualism of conscious and unconscious, closed in personal perception. I’m interested in the process itself, of creating an illusion. Pictures are for me the manifestation of that illusion.”
Nadja Jovanovic lives and works in Zagreb, Croatia.
Nobel Laureate: Seamus Heaney
“I have begun to think of life as a series of ripples widening out from an original center.” – Seamus Heaney, Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer, and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past,” who was born 13 April 1939.
There we were in the vaulted tunnel running,
You in your going-away coat speeding ahead And me, me then like a fleet god gaining Upon you before you turned to a reed
Or some new white flower japped with crimson As the coat flapped wild and button after button Sprang off and fell in a trail Between the Underground and the Albert Hall.
Honeymooning, moonlighting, late for the Proms, Our echoes die in that corridor and now I come as Hansel came on the moonlit stones Retracing the path back, lifting the buttons
To end up in a draughty lamplit station
After the trains have gone, the wet track
Bared and tensed as I am, all attention
For your step following and damned if I look back.
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Belgian painter Tony de Wolf (born 1961): “The beauty of his carefully chosen ceramics, glass and fruit reflect a mood of peace and harmony and take the concept of still life painting into another category of art, more appropriate for the 21st century.”
The American Old West – Part I of II
13 April 1860 – The first Pony Express courier reaches Sacramento.
Above – The Pony Express Stables and Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri, the eastern terminus of the route.
Below – The B.F. Hastings Building in Sacramento, California, western terminus of the Pony Express; Illustrated Map of the Pony Express Route in 1860, by William Henry Jackson.
Above – Illustrated Map of the Pony Express Route in 1860, by William Henry Jackson.
Below – The Pony Express Stables and Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri, the eastern terminus of the route; the B.F. Hastings Building in Sacramento, California, western terminus of the Pony Express.
The American Old West – Part II of II
Born 13 April 1866 – Robert LeRoy Parker, better known as Butch Cassidy, an American train robber, bank robber, and leader of the Wild Bunch Gang, the most successful train-robbing gang in American history.
“I am not interested in art, I am interested in life. When you are interested in life, more than you are in painting, then your paintings can come to life.” – John “Jack” Chambers, Canadian painter and filmmaker, who died 13 April 1978.
A Poem for Today
“ABC Plus E: Cosmic Aloneness Is the Bride of Existence,”
By Mary Jo Bang
A pack of young flirts was patrolling the party,
They were cultural outsiders, consumed with … what?
Their own notion of beauty as reflected in the shine-more mirror
Of a man’s pants? Or nothing
But midnight and no one is counting.
They were practitioners, they admitted to the barman,
Of psychological materialism, explaining they had read both
Sartre and Beauvoir and believed in the cerebellum,
The thalamus and the lower brain and that between
The lower and the upper parts there must be room for them,
Nant [ nothingness ] aside.
Indeed, the evening was a spectacular bacchanalia,
The girls lugging their blind-drunk partners around the floor.
One sitting it out with a volume of The Collected Camus.
That one was “imperious” (the word is Beauvoir’s)
“The club was plunged into almost total darkness,
With violinists wandering about
‘Playing soulful Russian music’ into the guests’ ears.”
“‘If only it were possible to tell the truth,’
Exclaimed Camus at one point.”
There was vodka and champagne, both in quantities
Extremely beautiful and nice for getting tight. And dancing
Cheek to cheek, between the exchange of furtive kisses
And giggles every time one of the chaps said, “Don’t
Leave me, I love you, I’ll always love you.”
Which they took as irrefutable evidence
Of a general greed for human warmth,
I.e., for touch, even among the agonized
Post-adolescent dreamers who morphed on the dance floor
That night into naughty boys, echoing the girls’ questions
Of “how shall we live,” “what shall we do,”
Words without end, without weight.
American Art – Part II of II: Eric Bailey
Here is one critic describing the artistry of painter Eric Bailey: “Having many sources of fascination from an early age, the heart of artist Eric Bailey’s practice is in the influence he draws from his surroundings. From the coastal settings of Big Sur and Santa Cruz, Ca to the streets of San Francisco, Bailey finds artistic inspiration in the natural meets modern. This comes through in his classical style oil paintings that fuse glamour with nature and turn a contradictive eye on the traditional thought of luxury. Bailey currently resides in San Francisco, Ca where he intends to take his concept of naturalism versus materialism even further. Intermingling the two-standout energies of Northern and Southern California, Bailey plans to give life to the final product. When executed the collection will be a facetious concoction of the organic beauty of unrefined settings meshed with the polished refinement of extravagance.”