American Art – Part I of III: Micah Ganske
Artist Statement: “What is art for the viewer but a catalyst for inspiration? I want to make work which inspires and engages the viewer in what I truly believe is important and what drives me. I believe in space exploration and the pursuit of technology as a vehicle to the future. There will be bumps along the way, because we are flawed. Some advanced technology will be used irresponsibly or simply for evil. However, the progression of science and technology also represents the evolution of our species. We are the first species just smart enough to evolve ourselves outside of natural selection and Darwinian evolution. Do we need to be smarter? Yes. But we don’t have to wait millions of years to get there naturally. We can do that through our ingenuity. Creating a body of work that can open a dialog about these ideas is what I am working towards with my art.”
“A family is a mystery.” – Sharon Olds, American poet and recipient of the 1983 National Book Critics Circle Award (for “The Dead and the Living”) and the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (for “Stag’s Leap”), who was born 19 November 1942.
“I Go Back to May 1937”
I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges,
I see my father strolling out
under the ochre sandstone arch, the
red tiles glinting like bent
plates of blood behind his head, I
see my mother with a few light books at her hip
standing at the pillar made of tiny bricks,
the wrought-iron gate still open behind her, its
sword-tips aglow in the May air,
they are about to graduate, they are about to get married,
they are kids, they are dumb, all they know is they are
innocent, they would never hurt anybody.
I want to go up to them and say Stop,
don’t do it—she’s the wrong woman,
he’s the wrong man, you are going to do things
you cannot imagine you would ever do,
you are going to do bad things to children,
you are going to suffer in ways you have not heard of,
you are going to want to die. I want to go
up to them there in the late May sunlight and say it,
her hungry pretty face turning to me,
her pitiful beautiful untouched body,
his arrogant handsome face turning to me,
his pitiful beautiful untouched body,
but I don’t do it. I want to live. I
take them up like the male and female
paper dolls and bang them together
at the hips, like chips of flint, as if to
strike sparks from them, I say
Do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it.
A Poem for Today
“I build my cottage . . .,”
By Tao Yuan Ming (365-427)
I built my cottage among the habitations of men,
And yet there is no clamor of carriages and horses.
You ask: “Sir, how can this be done?”
“A heart that is distant creates its own solitude.”
I pluck chrysanthemums under the eastern hedge,
Then gaze afar towards the southern hills.
The mountain air is fresh at the dusk of day;
The flying birds in flocks return.
In these things there lies a deep meaning;
I want to tell it, but have forgotten the words.
Polish Art – Part I of II: Jarek Wojcik
From the American History Archives – Part I of II: The Gettysburg Address
19 November 1863 – President Abraham Lincoln delivers his address in Gettysburg.
“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
Polish Art – Part II of II: Agnieszka Kozien
From the American History Archives – Part II of II: The Golden Gate Park Conservatory
American Art – Part II of III: Natalie Italiano
Died 19 November 1887 – Emma Lazarus, an American poet best known for being the author of “The New Colossus,” a sonnet that appears on a bronze plaque in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.
“The New Colossus”
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame,
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Died 19 November 1949 – James Ensor, a Flemish painter and printmaker who had an important influence on expressionism and surrealism.
19 November 1850 – Alfred Tennyson becomes Poet Laureate, succeeding William Wordsworth. He held the position until his death in 1892, by far the longest tenure of any Laureate before or since.
Flow down, cold rivulet, to the sea,
Thy tribute wave deliver:
No more by thee my steps shall be,
For ever and for ever.
Flow, softly flow, by lawn and lea,
A rivulet then a river:
Nowhere by thee my steps shall be
For ever and for ever.
But here will sigh thine alder tree
And here thine aspen shiver;
And here by thee will hum the bee,
For ever and for ever.
A Second Poem for Today
By Sharon Olds
Sometimes I can almost see, around our heads,
Like gnats around a streetlight in summer,
The children we could have,
The glimmer of them.
Sometimes I feel them waiting, dozing
In some antechamber – servants, half-
Listening for the bell.
Sometimes I see them lying like love letters
In the Dead Letter Office
And sometimes, like tonight, by some black
Second sight I can feel just one of them
Standing on the edge of a cliff by the sea
In the dark, stretching its arms out
Desperately to me.
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Iranian painter Fereshteh Salehi: “In her works she tells her stories with lines and colors in a plain and poetic manner.
Like Icons, her works portray simplicity, care and hope. They bring to mind all the mystery of what Arabic literary critics call ‘al-sahl al-mumtana’ – a simplicity that is impossible to imitate/explain.
She uses miniature elements and fresco techniques, which results nostalgic idealized paintings, that evokes people feelings of recognition, nostalgia, and love.
Her youth and roots in the ancient Persia, her school and her struggle with the classic views within the European art-world turn out to be an unsuspected source of dreams images.
It is no coincidence that the hands and eyes play such a big part in her works. They form the border and the distinction between inside and outside- between ourselves and the world-between past, present, future.
The humane individual does not approach nature as something that is ‘matter’ but respects it as another self! So the flowers, birds and fishes are magnified in her works to enable the viewer to appreciate the delicate beauty of each blossom and incidentally, her loving care in portraying them.”
Died 19 November 1931 – Xu Zhimo, a Chinese poet.
I am a cloud in the sky,
A chance shadow on the wave of your heart.
Don’t be surprised,
Or too elated;
In an instant I shall vanish without trace.
We meet on the sea of dark night,
You on your way, I on mine.
Remember if you will,
Or, better still, forget
The light exchanged in this encounter.
Iris Frederix (born 1981) is a Dutch painter. According to one critic, “Human drama and comedy are the primary source of inspiration for her work. The urge to submerge herself thoroughly into her chosen subject usually results in a series of particular works. Large canvasses, clear colours or atmospheric pictures; the centre of attention is always the human being or his palpable presence.”
“Serious poetry deals with the fundamental conflicts that cannot be logically resolved: we can state the conflicts rationally, but reason does not relieve us of them.” – Allen Tate, American poet, essayist, and social commentator, who was born 19 November 1899.
When you are come by ways emptied of light
You’ll say goodbye, in that indifferent gloom,
To the quick draughts of old, yet with polite
Anguish of pride recall as an heirloom
A dawn when stars dropped gold about your head
And, so amazed, you knew not were you dead.
For, brother, know that this is art, and you
With a cold incautious sorrow stricken dumb,
Have your own vanishing slit of light let through,
Passionate as winter, where only a few may come:
Not idiots in the street find out the lees
In the last drink of dying Socrates.
A Third Poem for Today
“Confessions of a Bird Watcher,”
By Chard Deniord
The windows are dressed in feathers where the birds have flown against
then fallen below into the flowers where their bodies lie grounded, still,
slowly disappearing each day until all that is left are their narrow,
I have sat at my window now for years and watched a hundred birds
mistake the glass for air and break their necks, wondering what to do,
how else to live among them and keep my view.
Not to mention the sight of them at the feeder in the morning,
especially the cardinal in snow.
What sign to post on the sill that says, “Warning, large glass window.
Fatal if struck. Fly around or above but not away.
There are seeds in the feeder and water in the bath.
I need you, which is to say, I’m sorry for my genius as the creature inside
who attracts you with seeds and watches you die against the window
I’ve built with the knowledge of its danger to you.
With a heart that rejects its reasons in favor of keeping what it wants:
the sight of you, the sight of you.
Here is how one critic describes the artistry of Australian painter Amber Koroluk-Stephenson: “(Her) current practice draws directly from her day-to-day experience within the Tasmanian suburban landscape. She seeks out points of tension within these environments in an effort to deconstruct the idealised images of suburbia seen in Australian popular culture. As a voyeur exploring the homes of others, Koroluk-Stephenson engages in a dialogue that pushes the boundaries between public and private space. This tension is transposed into her work as the saturated colours and shifting pictorial planes subtly obscure realistic representations of these familiar yet strange environments. Her paintings present an ambiguous instability, highlighting cracks within the suburban facade.”
A Fourth Poem for Today
“Design for November,”
By William Carlos Williams
Let confusion be the design
and all my thoughts go,
swallowed by desire: recess
from promises in
the November of your arms.
Release from the rose: broken
through which, from easy
branches that mock the blood
a few leaves fall.
There the mind is cradled,
stripped also and returned
to the ground, a trivial
and momentary clatter. Sleep
and be brought down, and so
condone the world, eased of
the jagged sky and all
its petty imageries, flying
birds, its fogs and windy
phalanxes . . .
American Art – Part III of III: James Neil Hollingsworth
Artist Statement: “It’s been said that most people will have three major careers in their life. I’m now into my fourth. Following a tour in the military in the early 70’s I worked a number of day jobs, and went to school at night. No real direction, just testing the water. It was during this period that I discovered soaring, and spent most of my summer weekends flying sailplanes. The lure of aviation became so strong that I decided to put the academic world on hold, and entered technical school. Two years later I was a licensed aircraft mechanic. Aviation was an all-consuming passion for me, but between working on aircraft, flying and a short lived affair with skydiving, I still found the time to paint an occasional watercolor, or illuminate a letter to a friend. Following a particularly cold winter in an unheated hanger, I found myself tempted to change careers when the father of a friend who owned a graphic design business offered me a job as a paste up artist. I decided to mothball my tools, and two weeks later I was working as an ‘artist.’ A couple of years down the line I left to become a partner in a typesetting/graphic design shop with a close friend of mine. That lasted for nearly eight years. The growing popularity of desktop publishing had begun to take a large bite out of our business, so sadly we agreed to close our shop. After that I worked for a number of design firms on a salaried, and freelance basis. I also worked for two years as a book designer, and illustrator for a small publishing company. Ready to leave the freelance world for a stable job with a regular paycheck I decided to follow in the footsteps of my wife Karen, who at the time was working as a registered nurse. Two years of nursing school later, so was I. My nursing career started in the emergency room, and later I moved to the operating room. This lasted nearly a decade. Then one day some friends of ours told Karen and I how they had begun to sell their artwork on the Internet. I gave it a try, and found they were right. I spent the next year working days in the OR, and painting nights, and on weekends. At the close of that year the sales of my art were such that I felt confident enough to take the leap, and left nursing to paint full-time. That was the end of 2005. Currently I am represented by a number of fine galleries, and have my work in private collections throughout the United States, parts of Europe, and Asia.”