August Offerings – Part XI: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: Jackson Pollock

“Every good artist paints what he is.” – Jackson Pollock, influential American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement, who died 11 August 1956.

Below – “No. 5, 1948”; “Number 1A, 1948”; “Convergence, 1952”; “Blue, circa 1943 (Moby Dick)”; “Number I, 1950 (Lavender Mist)”; “Easter and the Totem, 1953”; “Lucifer, 1947”; “Number 11, 1956 (Blue Poles).”
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“Nothing wilts faster than laurels that have been rested on.” – Carl Rowan, American journalist, author, and government official, who was born 11 August 1925.

A few quotes from the work of Carl Rowan:

“The library is the temple of learning, and learning has liberated more people than all the wars in history”
“It is often easier to become outraged by injustice half a world away than by oppression and discrimination half a block from home.”
“A minority group has ‘arrived’ only when it has the right to produce some fools and scoundrels without the entire group paying for it.”

From the British Movie Archives – Part I of III: “A Hard Day’s Night”

11 August 1964 – The Beatles’ movie “A Hard Day’s Night opens in New York City.

Italian painter Gianni Gueggia lives and works in Castrezzato.
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From the British Movie Archives – Part II of III: “Help”

11 August 1965 – The Beatles’ movie “Help” opens in New York City.

Here is the Artist Statement of Russian painter Natasha Villone:
“Before moving to Seattle, U.S.A. in 2001, I studied painting, theater design and fine art in Orel, Russia, a small city south of Moscow. Many years I spent working in a factory painting flowers on samovars (Russian tea pots) and painting popular Russian folk art Zhostovo trays. Now my favorite things to paint are plates. They’re small, don’t take up too much space, and are easy to hang on a wall. They make a sunny, warm patch on your wall.
The longer I stay in Seattle thinking about subjects to paint, the more ideas I have in my memory from the past, in Russia. God never makes mistakes taking us through times, places, people we meet…situations, even magazines I used to see when I was a child. I recall scenes of villages, where I spent most of my school vacations with my grandma. I helped her take care of the cow and sheep, geese and chickens. Feeding them was my favorite work. Each season in Russia brings different scenes… Summer with beautiful sunsets and smells of fresh hay. Winter with ultramarine hills of snow.
All these memories left inspiration inside me—especially from the past century, when we were not fully equipped with modern amenities, and had just a simple life, full of flavor. It is true that we have to leave the past, but we have to take our best from the past into the future.”

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British Cinema – Part III of III: Peter Cushing

“I didn’t set out to make this kind of picture. It just came my way. But its been going on for me for 16 years now and its wonderful for an actor to work consistently. There seems to be an insatiable audience for this type of film.” – Peter Cushing, English actor best known for his many appearances in Hammer Films, who died 11 August 1994.

Peter Cushing portrayed many memorable movie characters, including Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, but his greatest performance is inarguably his role as British scientist John Rollason in “The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas” (1957), a slightly-less-than-Shakespearean drama co-starring American actor Forrest Tucker (who portrays the unscrupulous entrepreneur Tom Friend), directed by Hal Guest.

Above – Peter Cushing.
Below – Cushing and Forrest Tucker in “Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas”; a poster for the film.
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British Art – Part I of II: Sherree Valentine Daines

In the words of one critic, “Sherree Valentine Daines is quite simply the face of Modern British Impressionism. Technically brilliant, stylistically virtuosic and endlessely vigilant, she creates masterly evocations of some of the most beautiful elements of British life. The authenticity and accuracy of her observation is softened by her impressionistic approach, her subtle hand blending each detail into a creation of captivating elegance.”
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“Either you deal with what is the reality, or you can be sure that the reality is going to deal with you.” – Alex Haley, an American writer best known as the author of “Roots: The Saga of an American Family,” which won a special Pulitzer Prize in 1977, who was born 11 August 1921.

Some quotes from the work of Alex Haley:

“In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.”
“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage- to know who we are and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness.”
“Through this flesh, which is us, we are you, and you are us!”
“Anytime you see a turtle up on top of a fence post, you know he had some help.”
“In my writing, as much as I could, I tried to find the good, and praise it.”
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British Art – Part II of II: Pierre Williams

In the words of one writer, “Pierre Williams was born in 1962. He completed his foundation at Hereford College of Art and Design in 1998; where he was awarded the Brian Hatton Award. He then went on to study ceramics at the University of Wales in Cardiff (UWIC), graduating in 2001 and also exhibiting at the New Designers Show in Islington later that year. Pierre then returned to Hereford College of Art and Design as a tutor between 2002 and 2004, exhibiting at the Hereford Contemporary Craft Fair (winning the new exhibitor award in 2003 and the Booker Arts Prize 2004). He then worked as a part time tutor at Hereford College for the Blind between 2005 and 2008, and has continued to exhibit locally during h-Art, and in other regional galleries. He has been exhibiting with the GreenStage since Christmas 2008, and we represented Pierre at both the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea and Bristol with considerable success.”
Pierre Williams _ ceramic artist

Pierre Williams _ ceramic artist

Pierre Williams _ ceramic artist

Pierre Williams _ ceramic artist

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Pierre Williams _ ceramic artist

Pierre Williams _ ceramic artist

Pierre Williams _ ceramic artist

From the American History Archives: Alcatraz

11 August 1934 – The first federal prisoners arrive at Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. In the words of one historian, “A group of federal prisoners classified as ‘most dangerous’ arrives at Alcatraz Island, a 22-acre rocky outcrop situated 1.5 miles offshore in San Francisco Bay. The convicts–the first civilian prisoners to be housed in the new high-security penitentiary–joined a few dozen military prisoners left over from the island’s days as a U.S. military prison.”

Below – “The Rock” – Alcatraz Island and its military prison in San Francisco Bay, circa 1934; Alcatraz Island today.
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Here is the Artist Statement of Ukrainian painter Anton Yakutovych: “I have been doing etching, lithography and painting since my earliest childhood. These disciplines complement each other, since the graphic arts bring rigour to one’s work and painting a sense of freedom.
I come from a country in the former USSR where classical techniques are still taught in schools and I grew up in a family of artists. I studied in circles where I was kept informed about the social and cultural changes in the world. I have a very pronounced taste for films, rock music and literature. I am naturally part of this post-modern age we live in where popular art, drawing nourishment from high art, has become exceedingly sophisticated.
For each new painting, my point of departure is a series of questions that were left unresolved when I completed the previous one. This first state is one of confusion, a strange impression of having lost the thread. Several pages covered in sketches that contain no real leads and are generally of no use.
Then finally the right rough sketch, the right idea emerges and the thread is restored. Then comes the work on the canvas, followed by a sort of frenzy. Tones, technique and information intermingle.
Eagerness gives way to reason, to restraint, to a long series of coming and goings between doing and looking, until a balance is reached. Once all the elements are in place, an accent, a distinctive characteristic still needs to be found, a surprise that will render the work unique and complete.
My characters exist less for their human properties than for their sculptural quality. The attitudes they adopt in my works are at the service of the composition and the rhythm. The foreground of sculptures in action creates a break in the accumulation of information. Constructing a completely realistic or fantastic scene is of less importance to me than revealing a subtle arrangement of the zones and the planes.
I take the mechanisms of reality as my inspiration and, although I do not reproduce all their workings, they form the basis of my imaginary world. At first sight, what strikes the eye is a series of objects set in a subtle fantasy scene, but if one looks more closely at the work, for example by isolating one particular detail from the rest of the painting, one’s eye will be guided from these familiar objects through a variety of plastic experiences.
The small story the painting tells, the viewer’s identification with it, the role-play, all of these fade into variations on the theme, a sweet obsession of mine. This theme unfolds throughout the exhibition like a collection of scenes in which fragmented harmony, controlled disorder and childhood memories blend and blur into each other to create a multitude of references and interpretations.”
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“My little old dog – a heart-beat at my feet” – Edith Wharton, American novelist, short story writer, and recipient of the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for Literature (for “The Age of Innocence”), who died 11 August 1937.

Some quotes from the work of Edith Wharton:

“Set wide the window. Let me drink the day.”
“An unalterable and unquestioned law of the musical world required that the German text of French operas sung by Swedish artists should be translated into Italian for the clearer understanding of English-speaking audiences.”
“Life is always either a tightrope or a feather bed. Give me the tightrope.”
“If only we’d stop trying to be happy, we could have a pretty good time.”
“There are two ways of spreading light: to be
The candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
“The real loneliness is living among all these kind people who only ask one to pretend!”
“I don’t know if I should care for a man who made life easy; I should want someone who made it interesting.”
“In reality they all lived in a kind of hieroglyphic world, where the real thing was never said or done or even thought, but only represented by a set of arbitrary signs.”
“The real marriage of true minds is for any two people to possess a sense of humor or irony pitched in exactly the same key, so that their joint glances on any subject cross like interarching searchlights.”
“A classic is classic not because it conforms to certain structural rules, or fits certain definitions (of which its author had quite probably never heard). It is classic because of a certain eternal and irrepressible freshness.”
“It was easy enough to despise the world, but decidedly difficult to find any other habitable region.”

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American Art– Part II of IV: Ian Ingram

Artist Ian Ingram (born 1977) lives and works in Pittsburgh.

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“A fact never went into partnership with a miracle. Truth scorns the assistance of wonders. A fact will fit every other fact in the universe, and that is how you can tell whether it is or is not a fact. A lie will not fit anything except another lie.” – Robert G. Ingersoll, American political leader, orator, and freethinker known for his spirited defense of agnosticism, who was born on 11 August 1833.

Robert Ingersoll recognized the danger that hegemonic theocrats pose to our Republic, and he criticized them forcefully and eloquently: “I will not attack your doctrines nor your creeds if they accord liberty to me. If they hold thought to be dangerous – if they aver that doubt is a crime, then I attack them one and all, because they enslave the minds of men.”

American Art – Part III of IV: Kate Church

In the words of one critic, “Kate Church is an artist of delicacy and detail, and her work mirrors the varied experiences of life in her offbeat quirky method of recognition. Details embroidered with movement and grace, her figures speak of curiosity, delight, tenderness and humor… expressions of some of the exquisitely charming characteristics of life. The pieces she builds somehow defy conventional interpretation. They are not dolls, nor are they formal sculptures. Kate refers to her work as ‘sculptural puppetry,’ combining the line and form of sculpture with the playful anima of puppetry.
Each piece is meant to become an artful muse for those who collect them.”

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A Poem for Today

“To the House,”
By Robinson Jeffers

I am heaping the bones of the old mother
To build us a hold against the host of the air;
Granite the blood-heat of her youth
Held molten in hot darkness against the heart
Hardened to temper under the feet
Of the ocean cavalry that are maned with snow
And march from the remotest west.
This is the primitive rock, here in the wet
Quarry under the shadow of waves
Whose hollows mouthed the dawn; little house each stone
Baptized from that abysmal font
The sea and the secret earth gave bonds to affirm you.

Above – Robinson Jeffers seated in Hawk Tower.
Below – Tor House and Hawk Tower, built by Robinson Jeffers from boulders hauled up from the beaches below.

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American Art – Part IV of IV: Galen Rowell

“I almost never set out to photograph a landscape, nor do I think of my camera as a means of recording a mountain or an animal unless I absolutely need a ‘record shot.’ My first thought is always of light.” – Galen Rowell, American climber, author, and wilderness photographer, who died 11 August 2002.

Below – “Arch in the Alabama Hills Beneath Mount Whitney, Owens Valley”; “Moonrise at Sunset, Wheeler Crest, Eastern Sierra”; “Wild Iris at Dawn, Bishop, California”; “Fall Reflections in North Lake”; “Sunrise on the Eastern Sierra over Owens Valley Ranchland”; “Clearing Storm Over El Capitan, Yosemite.”
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