American Art – Part I of II: Justin Novak
In the words of one critic, “American ceramist Justin Novak received a BFA in Communications Design (Illustration) from the Pratt Institute, New York in 1983 and an MFA in 1996 from the State University of New York (SUNY), New Paltz, where he taught from 1997-2000. He has been Assistant Professor of Ceramics at the University of Oregon, Eugene since 2000.
Novak has won several awards and grants, among them an Oregon Arts Commission Visual Arts Fellowship in 2001 and a John Michael Kohler Arts Center residency award in 2004. His raku-fired expressive figurative sculpture navigates a fine line the between the tasteful and the grotesque, while subverting the historical genre of the figurine, e.g. with his ‘disfigurine’ series, in which physical wounds such as bruises and lacerations serve as metaphors for injury to self-esteem and other psychological harm.”
“It sometimes happens, even in the best of families, that a baby is born. This is not necessarily cause for alarm. The important thing is to keep your wits about you and borrow some money.” – Elinor Smith, American aviatrix, test pilot, and parental realist, who was born on 17 August 1911.
From the Music Archives: Pearl Bailey
“What the world really needs is more love and less paperwork.” – Pearl Bailey, American actress and singer, who died on 17 August 1990.
Pearl Bailey’s rendition of “Takes Two to Tango” hit the “Billboard” magazine Best Seller chart in 1952.
Born 17 August 1939 – Matthijs Maris, a Dutch painter, etcher, and lithographer.
From the Movie Archives: “Life of Brian”
17 August 1979 – Monty Python’s religious satire “Life of Brian” premieres in Great Britain and the United States.
According to one writer, “Saira Keltaeva was born on 16 May 1961 in Uzbekistan. She currently lives and works in Tashkent. Beautiful and colorful female Asians look more like fairies in the artist’s oil paintings.”
“Ignorant people in preppy clothes are more dangerous to America than oil embargoes.” – Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul, Trinidad-born British writer, novelist, author of “A Bend in the River,” and recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Literature “”for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories,” who was born 17 August 1932.
Some quotes from the work of V. S. Naipaul:
“The only lies for which we are truly punished are those we tell ourselves.”
“Most people are not really free. They are confined by the niche in the world that they carve out for themselves. They limit themselves to fewer possibilities by the narrowness of their vision.”
“After all, we make ourselves according to the ideas we have of our possibilities.”
“Like many isolated people, they were wrapped up in themselves and not too interested in the world outside.”
“Non-fiction can distort; facts can be realigned. But fiction never lies.”
“And it was strange, I thought, that sorrow lasts and can make a man look forward to death, but the mood of victory fills a moment and then is over.”
“Out of its squalor and human decay, its eruptions of butchery, India produced so many people of grace and beauty, ruled by elaborate courtesy. Producing too much life, it denied the value of life; yet it permitted a unique human development to so many. Nowhere were people so heightened, rounded and individualistic; nowhere did they offer themselves so fully and with such assurance. To know Indians was to take a delight in people as people; every encounter was an adventure. I did not want India to sink [out of my memory]; the mere thought was painful.”
“Small things start us in new ways of thinking.”
“Going home at night! It wasn’t often that I was on the river at night. I never liked it. I never felt in control. In the darkness of river and forest you could be sure only of what you could see — and even on a moonlight night you couldn’t see much. When you made a noise — dipped a paddle in the water — you heard yourself as though you were another person. The river and the forest were like presences, and much more powerful than you. You felt unprotected, an intruder … You felt the land taking you back to something that was familiar, something you had known at some time but had forgotten or ignored, but which was always there. You felt the land taking you back to what was there a hundred years ago, to what had been there always.”
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Russian painter Roman Zaslonov: “Roman Zaslonov is one of the most celebrated artists of our time. Born in 1962, he studied for 13 years at the Russian Academy of Fine Arts in Minsk. Upon moving to France, he won instant acclaim (including First Prize at the Salon d’Automne in 1997) and gained a vast international following.
His paintings are stunning — visually, intellectually and emotionally arresting. They are filled with the most fantastic imagination and wit. His work has been variously described as surrealist, fantastical, neo-romantic, theatrical — but it defies categorization. Zaslonov is in a world that is entirely his own.”
In the words of a second critic, “It is extraordinary the way Roman stands out in a crowd. No other artist compares. His attention to detail, his historical perspective and his use of color are really unparalleled.”
From the American History Archives – Part I of II: The First Ascent of Mount Rainier
17 August 1870 – Hazard Stevens and Philemon B. Van Trump make the first documented successful ascent of Mount Rainier.
Canadian Art – Part I of II: Robert Bateman
From the American History Archives – Part II of II: Stockton
17 August 1846 – United States naval commodore Robert F. Stockton plays a major role in the capture of California during the Mexican-American War.
17 August 2012 – Stockton, “The Golden State” city named in honor of Robert F. Stockton, is bankrupt.
Canadian Art – Part II of II: Mark Lang
In the words of one critic, “Mark Lang was born in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada in 1966. He now lives in Montreal, where he and his wife have raised a family. He was educated at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, and The School of Visual Arts in New York City, and received scholarships and awards at both institutions.”
“The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.” – Ted Hughes, English poet, children’s writer, and British Poet Laureate (1984-1998), who was born 17 August 1998.
“The Harvest Moon”
The flame-red moon, the harvest moon,
Rolls along the hills, gently bouncing,
A vast balloon,
Till it takes off, and sinks upward
To lie on the bottom of the sky, like a gold doubloon.
The harvest moon has come,
Booming softly through heaven, like a bassoon.
And the earth replies all night, like a deep drum.
So people can’t sleep,
So they go out where elms and oak trees keep
A kneeling vigil, in a religious hush.
The harvest moon has come!
And all the moonlit cows and all the sheep
Stare up at her petrified, while she swells
Filling heaven, as if red hot, and sailing
Closer and closer like the end of the world.
Till the gold fields of stiff wheat
Cry `We are ripe, reap us!’ and the rivers
Sweat from the melting hills.
A Poem for Today
“One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII,”
By Pablo Neruda
I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose
from the earth lives dimly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,
except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,
so close that your eyes close with my dreams.
American Art – Part II of II: Steve Hawley
According to one writer, “Steve Hawley, born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1950, received his diploma and graduate diploma from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston MA.”