American Art – Part I of II: Perin Mahler
Artist Statement: “My current body of work, titled ‘Autobiographies,’ is a series of large, multi-figure paintings illustrating various aspects of my life both personal and professional. In these works I use the format of history painting, normally associated with the heroic and eternal, to depict quotidian subjects. Using complicated structures and often large casts of characters, I’m attempting to conjure a dramatic presence from a scene that might be experienced on a daily basis. Most recently, the themes of these paintings have veered toward domestic subject matter, focusing on parenthood and its various experiences. I’m interested in the idea of responsibility both in the sense of physical care, with its concomitant associations of anxiety and fatigue, and in the habits and personality traits bequeathed through heredity. These works, almost as much still life as figure compositions, use objects to represent the burdens of domestic life.”
A Poem for Today
By Ernest Dowson
Pale amber sunlight falls across
The reddening October trees,
That hardly sway before a breeze
As soft as summer: summer’s loss
Seems little, dear! on days like these.
Let misty autumn be our part!
The twilight of the year is sweet:
Where shadow and the darkness meet
Our love, a twilight of the heart
Eludes a little time’s deceit.
Are we not better and at home
In dreamful Autumn, we who deem
No harvest joy is worth a dream?
A little while and night shall come,
A little while, then, let us dream.
Japanese Art – Part I Of II: Enoki Toshiyuki
According to one critic, artist Enoki Toshiyuki (born 1961) was “educated in several different genres of lacquer painting, traditional Japanese painting, and western painting. (His) works are an amalgamation of the new and aged, reality and myth.”
Japanese Art – Part II of II: Ryo Shiotani
Australian Art – Part I of II: Sydney Long
In the words of one art historian, “Sydney Long (1871-1955) is Australia’s foremost Art Nouveau style painter and a major Symbolist (who) created magical images. Long’s Art Nouveau paintings are like reveries, an escape from the everyday; they create a feeling of spiritual elevation, of another reality. And yet, seeking imagery which conveyed the ‘lonely and primitive feelings of this country,’ he captured something of the soul and tone of the Australian bush.”
“It was grey windless weather, and the bell of the little old church that nestled in the hollow of the Sussex down sounded near and domestic. We were a straggling procession in the mild damp air – which, as always at that season, gave one the feeling that after the trees were bare there was more of it, a larger sky.” – Henry James
Australian Art – Part II of II: Penny Byrne
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Australian ceramicist Penny Byrne: “Originally from Mildura, Penny Byrne is one of Australia’s most radical contemporary ceramacists. Often tackling current events and issues like the environment and politics in her current work, Byrne began her career as a ceramics restorer and conservator. The Four Horsemen of the 21st Century Apocalypse (Water Scarcity, Peak Oil, Food Shortages, Over population) was originally shown at a solo exhibition at Sullivan+Strumpf in Sydney, which also represents the artist.
Penny Byrne, born 1965, completed a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) at La Trobe University, Melbourne in 1997, a Bachelor of Art (Fine Art Ceramics) at RMIT University in Melbourne, 1987 and a Graduate Diploma (Ceramics and Glass Conservation and Restoration) at West Dean College in the United Kingdom, 1990.
Byrne meticulously constructs manipulated figurines from damaged and antiquated ceramic objects into artworks that fiercely wield a political message. The use of fragile ceramics contradicts the political issues evident in her work. Byrne’s satirical viewpoint confronts a number of contemporary political issues that presents an ongoing inquiry into popular culture and international politics. Her training as a ceramics conservator informs her practice.”
A Second Poem for Today
“My November Guest,”
By Robert Frost
My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walked the sodden pasture lane.
Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted gray
Is silver now with clinging mist.
The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.
“October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.” ― J.K. Rowling
A Third Poem for Today
“Solitude Late at Night in the Woods”
By Robert Bly
The body is like a November birch facing the full moon
And reaching into the cold heavens.
In these trees there is no ambition, no sodden body, no leaves,
Nothing but bare trunks climbing like cold fire!
My last walk in the trees has come. At dawn
I must return to the trapped fields,
To the obedient earth.
The trees shall be reaching all the winter.
“November is usually such a disagreeable month…as if the year had suddenly found out that she was growing old and could do nothing but weep and fret over it. This year is growing old gracefully…just like a stately old lady who knows she can be charming even with gray hair and wrinkles. We’ve had lovely days and delicious twilights.” – Lucy Maud Montgomery
American Art – Part II of II: Robert McCauley
In the words of one writer, “Robert McCauley was born and raised in Mt. Vernon, Washington. He graduated from Western Washington University in 1969, and received his Master of Fine Arts Degree from Washington State University in 1972. He is currently professor and Chairman of the Art Department at Rockford College in Illinois.”