May Offerings – Part XXVIII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of VIII: Lianna Bennett

Welsh-born American painter Lianna Bennett (born 1948, immigrated with her family to California in 1954) lives and works in the Puget Sound area.
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The paintings of Armenian artist Meruzhan Khachatryan (born 1980) are found in private collections around the world.
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“Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.” – Noah Webster, American lexicographer, textbook pioneer, English-language spelling reformer, political writer, editor, and author, who died 28 May 1843.

Some quotes from the work of Noah Webster:

“The heart should be cultivated with more assiduity than the head.”
“In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate – look to his character.”
“There iz no alternativ. Every possible reezon that could ever be offered for altering the spelling of wurds, stil exists in full force; and if a gradual reform should not be made in our language, it wil proov that we are less under the influence of reezon than our ancestors.”
“A pure democracy is generally a very bad government. It is often the most tyrannical government on earth; for a multitude is often rash, and will not hear reason.”
“Every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country.”

Italian sculptor Giuseppe Bergomi (born 1953) completed his M.A. at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brera.

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Greek painter and illustrator Odysseus Yakoumakis (born 1956) lives and works in Athens.
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“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” – Sir John Lubbock, English naturalist, archaeologist, banker, and Member of Parliament, who died 28 May 1913.

Some quotes from Sir John Lubbock:

“A wise system of education will at last teach us how little man yet knows, how much he has still to learn.”
“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.”
“If we are ever in doubt about what to do, it is a good rule to ask ourselves what we shall wish on the morrow that we had done.”
“The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn.”

Ukrainian painter Vladimir Podlevskiy (born 1960) lives and works in Kiev.
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Here is the Artist Statement of Australian painter Tricia Migdoll: “Growing up with the National Gallery of Victoria at my doorstep, I could not help but be enchanted by the arts.
Primarily self taught, I began painting in 2002, inspired by the great masters of art and seeking to wed the contemporary with the traditional.
I paint anything that moves me, reflecting my love of natural beauty, spirituality, and humanity.
I lose myself in the process of painting and feel at times an instrument expressing the highest of emotions. My passion is to share this deep connection to Love with the viewer.”
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“The chief danger in life is that you may take too many precautions.” – Alfred Adler, Austrian physician, psychotherapist, and founder of the school of individual psychology, who died 28 May 1937.

Some quotes from the work of Alfred Adler:

“It is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.”
“Follow your heart but take your brain with you.”
“A lie would have no sense unless the truth were felt as dangerous.”
“It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.”
“To be a human being means to possess a feeling of inferiority which constantly presses towards its own conquest. The greater the feeling of inferiority that has been experienced, the more powerful is the urge for conquest and the more violent the emotional agitation.”
Adler used to say this to his melancholia patients:
“You can be cured in fourteen days if you follow this prescription: Try to think every day how you can please someone.”
“A simple rule in dealing with those who are hard to get along with is to remember that this person is striving to assert his superiority; and you must deal with him from that point of view.”

In the words of one writer, “Born in 1981, Prakash Pore is from a small town from Maharastra, India, where he has experienced different stages in his life. He mainly paints village life; his subjects are simple and easy to understand which satisfies him the most. His paintings are beautiful and full of life.” In his words,
“Through my works, I have depicted human beings and their emotions in the most simplistic ways.”
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Malaysian painter Liew Choong Ching (born 1973) studied fine art at Kuala Lumpur College of Art.
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Nobel Laureate: Patrick White

“If I have not lost my mind I can sometimes hear it preparing to defect.” – Patrick White, English-born Australian writer and recipient of the 1973 Nobel Prize in Literature “for an epic and psychological narrative art which has introduced a new continent into literature,” who was born 28 May 1912.

A few quotes from the work of Nobel Laureate Patrick White:

“Life is full of alternatives but no choice.”
“I would like to believe in the myth that we grow wiser with age. In a sense my disbelief is wisdom. Those of a middle generation, if charitable or sentimental, subscribe to the wisdom myth, while the callous see us as dispensable objects, like broken furniture or dead flowers. For the young we scarcely exist unless we are unavoidable members of the same family, farting, slobbering, perpetually mislaying teeth and bifocals.”
“I am compelled into this country.”

Here is the Artist Statement of English sculptor Suzie Zamit: “The beauty of the human form is a constant inspiration – I find the expressive, malleable properties of terracotta make it the perfect medium … There is something immensely satisfying, addictive and ancient in taking a lump of clay and ‘breathing life’ into it.”
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Here is the Artist Statement of Irish painter Eleanor Mccaughey: “”While there is no one overriding theme in my work, common thematic elements include the ambiguity of violence in film, the aggressive nature of globalisation and its effects.
My work is an ongoing investigation into the dialogue between film and painting with a focus primarily on scenes of violence. Intentionally isolating the representational image from its context I use painting as a means to create new environments and narratives.
Recently I have been exploring the possibilities of painting and its structures. Deconstructing form and colour from the canvas, looking at new methods of presentation and reconstruction of the medium and its functions.”
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Born 28 May 1140 – Xin Qiji, a Chinese poet, military leader, and statesman during the Southern Song dynasty.

“The Last Night of the Spring Festival”

In east wind darkness
fireworks blossom
like a thousand trees,
Then scatter down as star-like rain.
Fragrance from a
Stallion-drawn carriage
fills the road,
Notes from a Phoenix flute
hover in the air.
The moon
a jade wine cup
spins,
As for one night
lanterns dance in the breeze.
Her soft moth eyebrows
like snowflakes
on golden earrings,
She chatters happily
I sense her light perfume.
In this crowd
I’ve searched for her
a hundred times,
Then suddenly
I wheel around
and here she is!
In this very spot
where lanterns fade.

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American Art – Part II of VIII: Alexander Mihaylovich

Here is one writer describing the artistry of painter Alexander Mihaylovich (born 1958): “For Alexander Mihaylovich history exists as a vertical continuum rather than a linear plane. From his early interest in outer space to his first exposure to the careless unearthing of Roman artifacts outside of the National Museum of Belgrade, Mihaylovich has immersed himself in the study of the vertical strata of time. Reaching into a classical past, he has built a collection of potsherds and sculpture fragments from Greek and Roman antiquity – currently with over 2,500 objects – that inspire the subject matter of his paintings. Often appearing in partially obscured form or as blacked out silhouettes, these images, based on his collection, are intended as a stand-in for extinct cultures, which for Mihaylovich represent a part of our collective present.”
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American Art – Part III of VIII: Gary Ruddell

Artist Statement: “Growing up in Northern California, I spent all my time drawing and painting. Bay Area figurative painting made a major impact on my work, heightening my attraction to surface and materials, as well as the sensuality of objects, and ultimately leading me to paint things that interested me because of their genuineness.
For me, the act of painting is a way of knowing a process, of seeing. I like to think of my paintings as stills in a film, suspended moments, a private glimpse into the human condition. I paint figures as I see myself interacting with objects, almost as if it is a play in progress. I find more soul in the human condition, not from a sentimentalized point of view, but in a daily reality. What I am after are images of man’s relationship to his environment and his system of life in a ritualized role.”
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“If you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, you are looking the wrong way.” – Barry Commoner, American biologist, college professor, U.S. Director of the Center of the Biology of Natural Systems, editor of “Science illustrated” magazine, and eco-socialist, who was born on 28 May 1917.

One of Commoner’s lasting legacies is the four rules of ecology, which he elaborated in “The Closing Circle: Nature, Man & Technology”:

1. Everything is Connected to Everything Else. There is one ecosphere for all living organisms and what affects one, affects all.
2. Everything Must Go Somewhere. There is no “waste” in nature and there is no “away” to which things can be thrown.
3. Nature Knows Best. Humankind has fashioned technology to improve upon nature, but such change in a natural system is, says Commoner, “likely to be detrimental to that system.”
4. There Is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch. Exploitation of nature will inevitably involve the conversion of resources from useful to useless forms.

Some quotes from the work of Barry Commoner:

“As the earth spins through space, a view from above the North Pole would encompass most of the wealth of the world – most of its food, productive machines, doctors, engineers and teachers. A view from the opposite pole would encompass most of the world’s poor.”
“By adopting the control strategy, the nation’s environmental program has created a built-in antagonism between environmental quality and economic growth.”
“In every case, the environmental hazards were made known only by independent scientists, who were often bitterly opposed by the corporations responsible for the hazards.”
“It reflects a prevailing myth that production technology is no more amenable to human judgment or social interests than the laws of thermodynamics, atomic structure or biological inheritance.”
“What is new is that environmentalism intensely illuminates the need to confront the corporate domain at its most powerful and guarded point – the exclusive right to govern the systems of production.”
“The methods that EPA introduced after 1970 to reduce air-pollutant emissions worked for a while, but over time have become progressively less effective.”
“The environmental crisis arises from a fundamental fault: our systems of production – in industry, agriculture, energy and transportation – essential as they are, make people sick and die.”
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American Art – Part IV of VIII: Katherine Stone

In the words of one critic, “Katherine Stone’s approach to art is traditional with an emphasis on technique and fine craftsmanship. In the past year she has won First Place and People’s Choice in the biannual Portrait Society of Canada Portrait Competition, received a Certificate of Excellence from the Portrait Society of America, and has placed in half a dozen international art competitions including the prestigious ARC International Salon.”
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American Art – Part V of VIII: Zhaoming Wu

In the words of one writer, “Zhaoming Wu (born 1955) is a Chinese-born painter. Wu grew up in Guangzhou City, China. and he received his BFA from Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts and his MFA from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California.
Both an artist and a teacher, Wu served as a professor of painting at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. He currently teaches painting at the Academy of Art University.”
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From the American History Archives: The Sierra Club

28 May 1892 – The Sierra Club forms in San Francisco with 182 charter members who elect John Muir as the first President of the organization. In the words of one historian, “In its first conservation campaign, Club leads effort to defeat a proposed reduction in the boundaries of Yosemite National Park.”

Below – Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir on Glacier Point, Yosemite Valley, California, in 1903; John Muir with a Sierra Club Outing on the trail to Hetch Hetchy in 1909. When plans were being discussed to create a reservoir in the Valley, Muir protested: “Dam Hetch Hetchy! As well dam for water-tanks the people’s cathedrals and churches, for no holier temple has ever been consecrated by the heart of man.” Nonetheless, Hetch Hetchy was destroyed when the Tuolumne River was dammed and the Valley inundated in 1923. In 1987, Secretary of the interior Donald Hodel proposed restoring Hetch Hetchy Valley, but self-serving politicians have to date blocked the realization of his plan. According to Donald Worster, one of Muir’s biographers, John Muir believed his mission was “…saving the American soul from total surrender to materialism,” and so every assault we permit on our National Parks and Forests represents, in Muir’s enlightened view, an acquiescence in our own inner diminishment.

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American Art – Part VI of VIII: David M. Lenz

Artist Statement:

Urban Scenes: “Deep in the heart of every large city in America, there is a central city. It is a place very different from the areas that surround it. The property values, income levels, and educational opportunities are low. Crime rates, however, are higher, much higher. Murder, sexual assaults, and armed robbery all happen much too often. Often if people can, they move out. Even when driving through, people lock their doors and worry about what might happen to them. But for the children of the central city, this is their home. Their bed, toys, and yard are in the central city. This is were they lay down to sleep each night. No wonder these children often don’t reach their full potential. It’s no wonder alcohol and drug addiction are so common, when life seems so hopeless, and the road to a better life seems so steep and so long. Through a series of paintings about these social issues, I hope to shine a light on the children growing up in these very difficult places. There is hope. There are people down in the trenches working tirelessly each day to make our cities a better place. The kids of the central city are the innocent bystanders of our society – bright, eager to learn, and ready to lift themselves up – if only they had half a chance.
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Rural scenes: “Sometimes it is easy to make the mistake of thinking our food comes from the grocery store. When in fact it come from the farm. And it comes from farmers. And they work mighty long hours, often for very little pay, to produce the food we need to live. Erv and Mercedes Wagner of Sauk County, Wisconsin are two of these farmers. With their age and old ways of doing things, they are a direct connection to our farming past. The transition from horse to diesel power, from kerosene to electric lights, from isolation to the telephone and television, all happened within their lifetimes. Still with this change, there remains a certain cultural isolation in rural life. They have to make do; sometimes rely on neighbors; live close to the earth, and at the mercy of the weather. Even now in 2004, they have running water only in their kitchen sink. So like generations before them, they make mad dashes across the yard to the outhouse, even in the dead of the night, even in the bone-cracking cold. All the while, an unforgiving landscape looms outside their door. A landscape of sublime beauty and magnificent scale. What a pleasure it has been to know Erv and Mercedes Wagner, and to paint a series of pictures about their lives.”
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American Art – Part VII of VIII: Jon Redmond

Jon Redman earned a BFA from West Chester University in Pennsylvania, a 4-Year Certificate from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and an MFA from the University of Delaware, Newark.
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A Poem for Today

“Exit Row,”
By Rae Armantrout

You will buy your life
as a series

of “experiences”

to which you
will belong.

Have a good flight.

Do you believe
in reproduction?

Do you think this
upland of clouds,

white buttes cut
by shadow canyons,

shapely and boundless

as the body
you were promised,

will reappear
after you’re gone?

Boarding all zones at this time
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American Art – Part VIII of VIII: Tuan Nguyen

Artist Statement: “My sincere hope is that my art will successfully stimulate others to see the beauty of this world and to accept its balance. Balance is central to existence and is a basic human need; to lead a balanced life is to find its center.
Art is vital for me. It is almost a religion. It means to believe in people, in life, in love. It is a response to what is beautiful and simple. As an artist I do what I do for no other purpose than to express my feelings.”

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