American Art – Part I of III: Franz Jozef Kline
Died 13 May 1962 – Franz Jozef Kline, an American abstract expressionist painter.
From the Music Archives – Part I of IV: Mary Wells
Born 13 May 1943 – Mary Wells, an American singer who helped define the Motown sound.
American Art – Part II of III: Terry Rodgers
Artist Statement: ”In my work, I attempt to reflect my sense of the times we are living in, and both how richly interesting they are and how difficult it is for most of us to navigate their uncharted waters. There is a great push and pull, the lure and the repulsion, the fiction and the real, the known and the unknown. And we live in this swirl of delicate gestures, driving desires, fantasy, economic complexity and interdependence, hierarchical separations, isolation and hope. I am trying to render some notion of this rich fabric.
Each of my inventions is replete with specifics—body parts, expressions, psychologies, ironies, vectors, conflicting historical periods, styles, memories of others’ paintings, metaphors and meta-experiences.
This profusion of luxurious details and a complex pictorial architecture in combination with frustrated and sublimated desires makes for a curious, static combustion in my work. They are a kaleidoscope of western culture’s dream-world, seen through the body, colliding with loneliness and yet suffused with an infinitely regenerative power. The images may look real. But, of course, they aren’t—neither are the constructions that inhabit our minds nor the language with which we interpret our world.
One of the things I’m trying to get at is the pure complexity of our world. One aspect of this complexity is the super-mediated nature of our experience. Another focus in my work, is that in the midst of all the complexity, there is incredible isolation, longing and hope.”
From the Music Archives – Part II of IV: Stevie Wonder
Born 13 May 1950 – Stevie Wonder, born Stevland Hardaway Morris, an American musician, singer-songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist.
Italian painter Carmelo Blandino was born in Germany (in 1966) and grew up in Montreal. He studied art and design at the local colleges and began a successful career as a freelance illustrator, working with architects, designers, and advertising agencies. In 2002 Blandino shifted his focus to painting, and his work is frequently praised for its immediacy and vibrant colors, though one critic has suggested that it can sometimes be “introspective and moody.”
From the Music Archives – Part III of IV: The Rolling Stones
13 May 1965 – The Rolling Stones record “Satisfaction.”
British Art – Part I of III: Peter Henry Emerson
Born 13 May 1856 – Peter Henry Emerson, a British writer and photographer who was one of the first individuals to promote photographs as an art form. According to one critic, Emerson “is known for taking photographs that displayed natural settings and for his disputes with the photographic establishment about the purpose and meaning of photography.”
From the Music Archives – Part IV of IV: The Rolling Stones
13 May 1966 – The Rolling Stones release “Paint It Black.”
British Art – Part II of III: Frank McNab
Artist Statement: “I live and work in Scotland and am considered by many who have the misfortune to know me personally as a bad-tempered intolerant grumpy old bastard. This is how I appear, but it hides a belief in me that people are generally good, the world is a wonderful place, and we are all exceptionally fortunate to be in it. It is my delusion and I still have it, but you wouldn’t know it if you met me…
Thanks for taking the time to look at my paintings. The pictures are a combination of how I see the world and how I want to see the world. I am aware that I have to sometimes use ‘deliberate delusion’ in order to see the way I do. This is the same process we all use when we believe we are ‘in love’ – we see what we want to see.”
13 May 1648 – The construction of the Red Fort in Delhi, India is completed. This imposing structure was the palace of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, who also ordered the building of the lovely Taj Mahal.
British Art – Part III of III: Antony Gormley
In the words of one critic, English sculptor Antony Gormley (born 1950) “has made sculpture that explores the relation of the human body to space at large.”
Pulitzer Prize: Willa Cather
13 May 1923 – The Pulitzer Prize is awarded to Willa Cather for “One of Ours.”
“Life was so short that it meant nothing at all unless it were continually reinforced by something that endured; unless the shadows of individual existence came and went against a background that held together.” – From “One of Ours”
Greek Art – Part I of II: D. Andreadakis
Greek Art – Part II of II: Odysseas Oikonomou
Here is the Artist Statement of German-born artist Kathrin Longhurst (born 1971): “My art is about desire, the desire to show how every woman can be transformed by letting her inner being shine through. By removing, the mask of self-doubt and changing a world that says women must conform to unrealistic images that are portrayed on countless glossy women’s magazines.
My desire is to show through an ultra feminine style how women can see themselves if they choose. This idea stands in complete opposition to the proletarian and rather masculine art of East Germany where I grew up. This has become a visual response to my early life experience: like a gesture of artistic liberation. My paintings aim to fulfill a quest for beauty and luxury, which I was denied when growing up in Eastern Europe.”
Kathrin Longhurst lives and works on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia.
Poet to Poet: Amy Lowell to Li Tai-Po
Yesterday was the anniversary of American poet Amy Lowell’s death, and while many people are acquainted with her poetry, not as many know that Lowell was also a promoter of historical poets. For example, in the words of one historian, “her book ‘Fir-Flower Tablets’ was a poetical reworking of literal translations of works of ancient Chinese poets, notably Li Tai-po (701-762).” Li Tai-po is more commonly known by the name Li Po or Li Bai in the West, and he was one of the greatest poets during the Tang Dynasty, known as the “Golden Age of China.” In the words of one literary critic, “(his) poems were models for celebrating the pleasures of friendship, the depth of nature, solitude, and the joys of drinking wine.”
Here is Lowell’s statement of purpose in the Introduction to “Fir-Flower Tablets”: “LET me state at the outset that I know no Chinese. My duty in Mrs. Ayscough’s and my joint collaboration has been to turn her literal translations into poems as near to the spirit of the originals as it was in my power to do. It has been a long and arduous task, but one which has amply repaid every hour spent upon it. To be suddenly introduced to a new and magnificent literature, not through the medium of the usual more or less accurate translation, but directly, as one might burrow it out for one’s self with the aid of a dictionary, is an exciting and inspiriting thing. The method we adopted made this possible, as I shall attempt to show. The study of Chinese is so difficult that it is a life-work in itself, so is the study of poetry. A sinologue has not time to learn how to write poetry; a poet has no time to learn how to read Chinese. Since neither of us pretended to any knowledge of the other’s craft, our association has been a continually augmenting pleasure.”
Three of Amy Lowell’s transliterations of poems by Li Tai-Po:
“Looking at the Moon After Rain”
The heavy clouds are broken and blowing,
And once more I can see the wide common stretching beyond the four sides of the city.
Open the door. Half of the moon-toad is already up, 17
The glimmer of it is like smooth hoar-frost spreading over ten thousand li. 18
The river is a flat, shining chain.
The moon, rising, is a white eye to the hills;
After it has risen, it is the bright heart of the sea.
Because I love it – so – round as a fan,
I hum songs until the dawn.
“On Hearing the Buddhist Priest of Shu Play His Table-Lute”
The Priest of the Province of Shu, carrying his table-lute in a cover of green, shot silk,
Comes down the Western slope of the peak of Mount Omei.
He moves his hands for me, striking the lute.
It is like listening to the waters in ten thousand ravines, and the wind in ten thousand pine-trees.
The traveller’s heart is washed clean as in flowing water.
The echoes of the overtones join with the evening bell.
I am not conscious of the sunset behind the jade-grey hill,
Nor how many and dark are the Autumn clouds.
“Descending the Extreme South Mountain; Passing the House of Ssu, Lover of Hills; Spending the Night in the Preparation of Wine”
We come down the green-grey jade hill,
The mountain moon accompanies us home.
We turn and look back up the path:
Green, green, the sky; the horizontal, kingfisher-green line of the hills is fading.
Holding each other’s hands, we reach the house in the fields.
Little boys thrown open the gate of thorn branches,
The quiet path winds among dark bamboos,
Creepers, bright with new green, brush our garments.
Our words are happy, rest is in them.
Of an excellent flavour, the wine! We scatter the dregs of it contentedly.
We sing songs for a long time; we chant them to the wind in the pine-trees.
By the time the songs are finished, the stars in Heaven’s River are few.
I am tipsy. My friend is continuously merry.
In fact, we are so exhilarated that we both forget this complicated machine, the world.
“Drinking Alone in the Moonlight”
IF Heaven did not love wine,
There would be no Wine Star in Heaven,
If Earth did not love wine,
There should be no Wine Springs on Earth.
Why then be ashamed before Heaven to love wine?
I have heard that clear wine is like the Sages;
Again it is said that thick wine is like the Virtuous Worthies.
Wherefore it appears that we have swallowed both Sages and Worthies.
Why should we strive to be Gods and Immortals?
Three cups, and one can perfectly understand the Great Tao;
A gallon, and one is in accord with all nature.
Only those in the midst of it can fully comprehend the joys of wine;
I do not proclaim them to the sober.
Below – Laing K’ai (1140-1210): “Li Bai on a Stroll”; Amy Lowell in her garden.
By T.R. Hummer
Along a derelict railroad, abandoned machinery takes
its last tour of duty toward rust. Another town is stalling.
Another house smolders with rot while a television rages.
Crows patrol banked cinders beside a landfill with a sign:
No Dumping. We were Jews in Austria. No, we spoke German
in Czechoslovakia—by order of the Alliance, we filed
Into a railroad car and died. No, we were black in Arkansas.
Here is a filthy contraption, like a grim lawn mower
With flanged iron wheels, Pandrol Jackson in blue paint
on its rotted housing: a rail grinder, used to polish steel
To brilliance, forgotten here as after the Rapture. And the carcass
of a boxcar warps just down the track, groaning with a cargo of bones.
American Art – Part III of III: Benjamin Anderson