American Art – Part I of III: Kimberley Leutwyler
Artist Statement: “I create large scale figure paintings of LGBTQ-identified women, most recently focusing on those who have impacted my life in some way. My work toys with the concept of glorification vs. objectification vs. modification. I incorporate various facets of nature in to my work in order to comment on the mutability of life, gender and beauty. I have come to focus on painting as a medium because of its primarily masculine history in the western art canon.
I am dedicated to my studio practice and intend to continue making art throughout the course of my life, no matter what path my career may take. In the future, I see my artwork marking a sexually fluid presence and stimulating dialogue in both the feminist and mainstream art worlds.”
“A piano store looks like a funeral parlor for music.” – Ramon Gomez de la Serna, a Spanish writer and dramatist, who was born 3 July 1888.
In the words of one critic, “Ramón Gómez de la Serna was especially known for ‘Greguerias’ – a short form of poetry that roughly corresponds to the one-liner in comedy. The Gregueria is especially able to grant a new and often humorous perspective.”
Some of Ramon Gomez de la Serna’s Greguerias:
“Garlic practically drops onto amateur chefs.”
“How strange life is! Always, the brush is left, but the glue is gone.”
“To prepare a bath carefully is like brewing good tea.”
“The violin bow sews, like needle and thread, notes and souls, souls and notes.”
“The spine is the cane we swallow at birth.”
“‘Ditto’ is a good pseudonym for plagiarism.”
“That unique, passionate fruit, the pomegranate, holds life ajar so we can see it.”
“The train seems like the firecracker of the landscape.”
“The moon of the skyscrapers is not the same as the moon of the horizon.”
“Photographs plant us in the most unnatural poses, while pretending that they are the most natural.”
“Plumes of grain tickle the wind.”
“The moon is a little mirror in which the nearby playful and impertinent sun reflects as he peeps over the balcony.”
“The spade is the ultimate friend of man: at first in the sandbox, at last in the grave.”
“Haikus are poetic telegrams.”
“An orator is a wind instrument that one plays solo.”
“Dogs anxiously search for a dream they had in a past life.”
“The moon is the bank of ruined metaphors.”
“The moon is the eye of an ox on the boat of the night.”
“The accordion juices musical lemons.”
“Nostalgia: neuralgia of the memories.”
“The edges of the fog are rags.”
From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Brian Jones
“We just sort of provided the right thing at the right time. We came along with a very raw sort of music where everything was rather sweet.” – Brian Jones, English musician and the founder and original bandleader of the Rolling Stones, who died 3 July 1969.
Here is a comment on Jones by original Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman: “He formed the band. He chose the members. He named the band. He chose the music we played. He got us gigs. … Very influential, very important, and then slowly lost it – highly intelligent – and just kind of wasted it and blew it all away.”
Here is one critic describing the backbround of Dutch painter Inge Koetzier Van Hooff: “Having lived in Groet (Bergen, Holland) on the Dutch coast – famous for its bright light as even Picasso came to paint here\ – Inge exchanged Holland for a nomadic life in a camper van with her husband and their three children.
Her travels have provided the perfect background for the expression of her twin passions, people & art. Inge studied at the Utrecht Art School and she studied Cultural Anthropology at the Amsterdam University. Travelling around she is always training the eye, observing, and concentrating on people in their various environments.
Inge sees something remarkable in everyone. She knows how to show the characteristics of a person by painting just the necessary essential elements and letting the model, the hands and feet, posture, or movement of the body speak for itself.”
From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Jim Morrison
“I am interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos, especially activity that seems to have no meaning.” – Jim Morrison, American singer-songwriter, poet, and lead singer of The Doors, who died 3 July 1971.
“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.” – Tom Stoppard, Czech-born British playwright and author of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” who was born 3 July 1937.
Some quotes from the work of Tom Stoppard:
“Because children grow up, we think a child’s purpose is to grow up. But a child’s purpose is to be a child. Nature doesn’t disdain what lives only for a day. It pours the whole of itself into the each moment. We don’t value the lily less for not being made of flint and built to last. Life’s bounty is in its flow, later is too late. Where is the song when it’s been sung? The dance when it’s been danced? It’s only we humans who want to own the future, too. We persuade ourselves that the universe is modestly employed in unfolding our destination. We note the haphazard chaos of history by the day, by the hour, but there is something wrong with the picture. Where is the unity, the meaning, of nature’s highest creation? Surely those millions of little streams of accident and willfulness have their correction in the vast underground river which, without a doubt, is carrying us to the place where we’re expected! But there is no such place, that’s why it’s called utopia. The death of a child has no more meaning than the death of armies, of nations. Was the child happy while he lived? That is a proper question, the only question. If we can’t arrange our own happiness, it’s a conceit beyond vulgarity to arrange the happiness of those who come after us.”
“Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.”
“It is a defect of God’s humor that he directs our hearts everywhere but to those who have a right to them.”
“I mean, if Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at twenty-two, the history of music would have been very different. As would the history of aviation, of course.”
“Life is a gamble, at terrible odds. If it were a bet you wouldn’t take it.”
“Whatever became of the moment when one first knew about death? There must have been one, a moment, in childhood, when it first occurred to you that you don’t go on forever. It must have been shattering, stamped into one’s memory. And yet I can’t remember it. It never occurred to me at all. We must be born with an intuition of mortality. Before we know the word for it, before we know that there are words, out we come, bloodied and squalling…with the knowledge that for all the points of the compass, there’s only one direction and time is its only measure.”
In the words of one critic, “Oswaldo Guayasamín (1919 -1999), an Ecuadorian master painter and sculptor, was born in Quito July 6th, 1919 to a native father and Mestiza mother. His family was poor and his father worked as a carpenter for most of his life. He was the first child of ten children in his family. From a young age he showed a love of art and enjoyed drawing caricatures of his teachers and the children with whom he played.
Guayasamin attended the School of Fine Arts in Quito as a painter and sculptor. While there, Guayasamin’s best friend died during a demonstration in Quito. This devastating incident helped form his vision about the people with whom he lived and the society in which he lived.”
Died 3 July 1974 – John Crowe Ransom, an American poet and teacher.
“Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter”
There was such speed in her little body,
And such lightness in her footfall,
It is no wonder her brown study
Astonishes us all.
Her wars were bruited in our high window.
We looked among orchard trees and beyond
Where she took arms against her shadow,
Or harried unto the pond
The lazy geese, like a snow cloud
Dripping their snow on the green grass,
Tricking and stopping, sleepy and proud,
Who cried in goose, Alas,
For the tireless heart within the little
Lady with rod that made them rise
From their noon apple-dreams and scuttle
Goose-fashion under the skies!
But now go the bells, and we are ready,
In one house we are sternly stopped
To say we are vexed at her brown study,
Lying so primly propped.
British Art – Part I of III: William Mills
From the American Old West: The James-Younger Gang
3 July 1871 – Four members of the James-Younger gang rob a bank in Cordyon, Iowa, escaping with between $6,000 and $10,000. In the words of one historian, “The four men were Jesse and Frank James, Cole Younger, and newcomer Clell Miller, a former Bloody Bill guerrilla and trusted friend of the James and Younger brothers. The four rode up to the Ocobock Brothers’ Bank. All four robbers entered the bank and left their horses tied up outside. Once inside, they found only the cashier in the building. All four robbers drew their pistols and aimed them at the cashier. One of the robbers handed the cashier a wheat sack. The cashier was ordered to put all the money in the bank into the sack. The cashier did as he was told. After they had their money, the robbers bound and gagged the cashier. The four robbers went outside and mounted their horses. The rode down the street to the local church. Jesse James yelled to the congregation that he and his friends had just robbed the Ocobock Brothers’ Bank. Most of the congregation thought they were goofing around. The four robbers then left the town. A while later, someone entered the bank and found the cashier. He was untied. After this, for the first of many times, the Pinkerton Detective Agency was hired to capture the gang.
British Art – Part II of III: Diarmuid Kelley
In the words of one writer, “Born in Stirling in 1972, Diarmuid Kelley grew up in the north of England. He studied Fine Art at Newcastle University, graduating in 1995. He was the youngest artist ever to win the prestigious Nat West Art Prize at the age of 23, in the same year, he graduated from Newcastle. He went on to study for a Masters degree at Chelsea College of Art and Design.”
British Art – Part III of III: Gerard M. Burns
Here is the Artist Statement of Scottish painter Gerard M. Burns: “I believe that there is a thirst out there for an art that people can relate to. They are tired of being embarrassed by feeling they don’t understand art. The fact is that most people do have an intuitive feel for what is “good and bad” in art. The problem is that most of what is now called contemporary art is so self indulgent and trivial that it is of no consequence to anyone other than to the artist who created it. In my work, I think people see something which they can relate to – instantly. Only then, once the viewer’s imagination has been captured, is there any hope that one can convey or communicate any underlying theme or message.”
From the American History Archives – Part I of II: Little Crow
3 July 1863 – Little Crow (whose name Taoyateduta actually means “His Red Nation”), a Santee Sioux Chief, is shot and killed by a settler. In the words of one historian, “Little Crow is notable for his role in the negotiation of the Treaties of Traverse des Sioux and Mendota of 1851, in which he agreed to the movement of his band of the Dakota to a reservation near the Minnesota River in exchange for goods and certain other rights. However, the government reneged on its promises to provide food and annuities to the tribe, and Little Crow was forced to support the decision of a Dakota war council in 1862 to pursue war to drive out the whites from Minnesota. Little Crow participated in the Dakota War of 1862, but retreated in September 1862 before the war’s conclusion in December 1862.”
Here is one critic describing the artistry of sculptor Kylo Yu Chua: “A modernist abstract sculptor from the Philippines, Chua was born into a Chinese family in Richmond, British Columbia in 1988- a year considered within Chinese circles to belong to the Dragon zodiac. The interplay of Chinese traditions and western influences in the Philippines cultivated an aesthetic hybridity in Kylo Chua’s cast sculptures during his college years. In 2006, while studying at the Ateneo de Manila University under a Bachelor of Fine Arts Program, Chua began creating elegant pieces that resembled a continuous flow of liquid white. There exists a purity and sensuality in his artistry that permeates the visual appreciation of his patrons.”
From the American History Archives – Part II of II: The Gettysburg Reunion
3 July 1913 – The Gettysburg Reunion, an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, takes place on 29 June – 4 July 1913 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. On 3 July, Confederate veterans reenacted Pickett’s Charge, and upon reaching the point of their highest advance on Cemetery Ridge, they were greeted with handshakes by a group of Union survivors of the battle. In the words of President Woodrow Wilson, “We have found one another again as brothers and comrades in arms, enemies no longer, generous friends rather, our battles long past, the quarrel forgotten—except that we shall not forget the splendid valor.”
American Art – Part II of III: Tor Lundvall
Artist Statement: “My paintings are centered around three basic elements – the landscape, memory and imagination. I usually start a painting from some event in nature. Once a basic surface is established, my creative instincts kick in and a new direction is taken. Nothing is ever planned in advance. Once the paint hits the canvas, figures and landscapes are gradually pulled out of the crude mess until there is finally a sense of resolution. I never paint from photographs which I consider to be a pointless and obvious method.”
A Poem for Today
“A Blessing for Wedding,”
By Jane Hirshfield
Today when persimmons ripen
Today when fox-kits come out of their den into snow
Today when the spotted egg releases its wren song
Today when the maple sets down its red leaves
Today when windows keep their promise to open
Today when fire keeps its promise to warm
Today when someone you love has died
or someone you never met has died
Today when someone you love has been born
or someone you will not meet has been born
Today when rain leaps to the waiting of roots in their dryness
Today when starlight bends to the roofs of the hungry and tired
Today when someone sits long inside his last sorrow
Today when someone steps into the heat of her first embrace
Today, let this light bless you
With these friends let it bless you
With snow-scent and lavender bless you
Let the vow of this day keep itself wildly and wholly
Spoken and silent, surprise you inside your ears
Sleeping and waking, unfold itself inside your eyes
Let its fierceness and tenderness hold you
Let its vastness be undisguised in all your days
American Art – Part III of III: Vassia Alaykova
Artist Statement: “I try to find a correlation between the present day and history, between reality and imagination, simplicity and complexity, order and chaos, science and art. On the canvas inside of the story, geometric shapes dance with organic ones creating a chaotic harmony. Simplicity turns complex on the other hand complexity morphs into an infinite simplicity thus reaching an ultimate sophistication. Creativity is the process of discovering and connecting to the dark side of one’s spirit, where there is a constant struggle to find the light hidden behind the idea of life. Life as a metaphor for happiness. One can only express the complexity and deepness of human emotions and feelings through color, that’s why I use a lot of it. Color is like music, like poetry, it get’s into your soul, washing away the monotony of every day life.”