American Art – Part I of V: Danny Galieote
In the words of one critic, “Danny Galieote juxtaposes the imagery and pop sensibility of postwar America with an air of surrealism, evoking a menacing, dark aura in his paintings and casting a shadow over the historical eras they depict. At the beginning of his career, Galieote worked full time at Disney while pursuing his painting practice on the side. He began pairing images of innocent midcentury Americana—a young couple enjoying Coca-Cola or women frolicking on a beach—with threatening sights from the same period, such as mushroom cloud explosions. Galieote uses a grid to map his photographic sources onto the canvas, resulting in technically precise compositions.”
Reflections in Summer: Dan Simmons
“The beauty of that June day was almost staggering. After the wet spring, everything that could turn green had outdone itself in greenness and everything that could even dream of blooming or blossoming was in bloom and blossom. The sunlight was a benediction. The breezes were so caressingly soft and intimate on the skin as to be embarrassing.”
From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Bobby “Blue” Bland
Died 23 June 2013 – Bobby “Blue” Bland, an American blues singer.
Reflections in Summer: John Ashbery
American Art – Part II of V: Chris Bilton
In the words of one critic, “Chris Bilton could be thought of as a Modern Neo-Renaissance artist. In his words, he is inspired by ‘the artists of the High Renaissance, and the way their disciplines seem to intertwine and cross over, creating a deeper aesthetic and a more profound truth.’ At the same time, he infuses traditional art techniques with his modern sensibilities to create art that clearly conveys the influence of twentieth century art and of contemporary thinking.”
Reflections in Summer: Abraham Lincoln
A Poem for Today
“The Centralia Mine Fire”
By Leonard Kress
Drive north from the city two hours,
past the appropriate ridges and through
the obligatory tunnel that cowers
under the mountain. Hawks that flew
solicitously near the roadside mowers
return to their own named peak to view
without judgment your entrance. Ask the powers
of light and shadow to reveal the blue onion bulbs of the true
Ruthenian Church amid wildflowers
and steep vetch. Wind back as if you knew
by heart Cyrillic names of miners — sowers
of canonized fern and weed, and renew
the threefold Byzantine Rite, as summer showers
stream down and a yellow halo of mist to surround
the town rises slowly from the burning ground.
The town rises slowly from the burning ground.
Watch the vacant homes, unsellable now,
freshly blanched with strips of siding, the crowned
churches, their Babel of tribal Masses below the show
of sunlight on gold and copper; and the sky, split
by brittle steeples. It is little grown
from the company town — patchwork village by the pit
with omnipresent monument, the Breaker, flown
like a buttress against the black mountain —
this the shrine of the Holy Order of Anthracite.
Though odors of bottom damp and methane
no longer reek into the streets and ignite,
the underground tunnels burn, and each vein
of coal, potential fuse, leads to another domain.
Reflections in Summer: Polly Horvath
“The library in summer is the most wonderful thing because there you get books on any subject and read them each for only as long as they hold your interest, abandoning any that don’t, halfway or a quarter of the way through if you like, and store up all that knowledge in the happy corners of your mind for your own self and not to show off how much you know or spit it back at your teacher on a test paper.”
From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Rosetta Hightower
Born 23 June 1944 – Rosetta Hightower, an American vocalist and former lead singer of The Orlons.
Reflections in Summer: Wendell Berry
“The passive American consumer, sitting down to a meal of pre-prepared food, confronts inert, anonymous substances that have been processed, dyed, breaded, sauced, gravied, ground, pulped, strained, blended, prettified, and sanitized beyond resemblance to any part of any creature that ever lived. The products of nature and agriculture have been made, to all appearances, the products of industry. Both eater and eaten are thus in exile from biological reality.”
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Norwegian painter Lars Elling (born 1966): “Elling works with tempera on canvas as his media of communication. Elling is a storyteller. His layers of imagery evoke memories of childhood, with the possible disturbance and trauma written between the lines. Family is the repetitive theme in Elling’s works; familiar moments infiltrated by surprising or unpleasant elements. The formalistic aspect of Lars Elling’s paintings is characterized by the erased and the broken. The pure visual expression has a meaningful function, where story and poetry are strong fundamentals. The paintings can be seen as a burst of memory, a description of a moment, where the almost experienced or almost seen is presented in a dreamlike and poetic expression.”
A Second Poem for Today
By John Morgan
The boy on the beach, maybe
ten, watches the waves come in.
He was there before us, we’ve
been here an hour, and it makes me
remember Kansas. There’s not much to do in
Kansas, so you learn to be patient,
to sit there and look at the sky
till it answers back with your name.
Then the day takes you into its
vast impersonal mill. The wind
blows over you and the fields
listen, until life fills you up.
What you glean at that age
has no name, but it stays.
So, today, in Mexico, I can sit and watch the
boy watching the waves, the changing
light, and nothing is happening — a tern,
a lolloping gull-and out there beyond
the sky, the spider spinning and spinning
Reflections in Summer: Bernard Knox
“Three thousand years have not changed the human condition in this respect. We are still lovers and victims of the will to violence, and so long as we are, Homer will be read as its truest interpreter.”
American Art – Part III of V: Richard Maury
In the words of one critic, “Richard Maury (born 1935) is a mature painter who is considered to be an important and continuing link in the rich tradition of American realism — the logical successor to John Singer Sargent.
While still in his 20’s, Maury chose to leave the United States and settle in Italy. Ever since, he has lived in Florence and has worked diligently in pursuit of his craft, creating paintings that are set in his old and picturesque living quarters. Like Vermeer, his attention to detail is breathtaking without becoming overworked and trite. His flowing, painterly technique depicts haunting light that drifts through halls and beats through windows to create airy atmospheres. The mundane is elevated to magnificence.
Richard Maury paints his environs with scrupulously direct observation. His rooms are full of life’s discards and endless intriguing objects. In everyday life, these objects would be unseen — in a Maury painting the unseen is bared for all to see and treated with reverence. People appear rarely and are assimilated as another beautifully rendered texture — plain, simple and resonating with radiance.”
Reflections in Summer: Kellie Elmore
From the Movie Archives: Frances McDormand
“The fact that I’m sleeping with the director may have something to do with it.” – Frances McDormand, American film and stage actress, who was born 23 June 1957, explaining how she got the role that won her an Academy Award for Best Actress in “Fargo.” The director of “Fargo,” Joel Coen, is her husband.
Reflections in Summer: Theodore Roosevelt
“In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.”
American Art – Part IV of V: Alan Brown
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Alan Brown: “Native to New Jersey, Alan Brown has a long-standing career as a professional artist. His work is extensively exhibited in the New York metropolitan area.
Brown has two degrees from New York schools; an M.F.A. from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn; and a B.S. in Fine Art from Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs. His focus then and now has centered on oil painting.
Alan Brown’s style varies from photo-realistic to expressionistic, nearly always with the figure as the focus.”
In Brown’s words, “My recent work examines humanness in relation to the natural world. The visual interplay is between figure, pattern, and object. The objects and patterns in my paintings serve always to reflect back upon the figure.”
A Third Poem for Today
By Charles O. Hartman
for Howard Nemerov
Milkweed is pertinent now, so in the air
That everyone is thinking in its terms.
The housewife doesn’t dare hang out the wash
Without considering milkweed; engineers
Decide today to redesign the air
Filters they thought perfected. It’s a fact:
Milkweed has come to live and be lived with.
Reprieved, the birds have ceased to pluck their breasts
To line their nests — though few enough are still
Fixing for eggs when milkweed begins to hatch
Exploding from the brown sun-brittled pods.
Occasional nestlings get mistaken meals,
Beakfuls of milkweed someone took for bugs:
Like anything in the air, it seems all things
Eventually: a faery’s shuttlecock
As soon as seeds blown from the plainest plant.
Step in a cataract of light on a day
Like this, look up and see another race
Cast from its place and looking for its place;
Riding the wind toward distant, solid ground,
They scatter golden light on their scattered way.
Reflections in Summer: Auguste Rodin
“The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.”
Back from the Territory – Art: Simon James Gilpin (Part I)
In the words of one writer, “Simon Gilpin is an artist with an emphasis on environment. At the age of three following the death of their father his family moved to a council estate on the edge of the city of Leeds in Yorkshire, England. This change made a huge impression on Simon and he has always maintained that it is the root of his creative instinct.
After receiving a fine art degree at Wakefield’s Bretton Hall, Simon left England and travelled extensively around the world drawing, taking pictures and visiting the world’s major art galleries. Armed with these experiences he would paint in his Leeds studio when back in the UK.
In 2006, while backpacking in the Yukon Territory, Canada Simon met his wife Jean. They married in Yorkshire in 2008. After a few years in Ilkley the pair moved permanently back to the place they first met: Whitehorse, Yukon, where Simon now works as a professional artist.
Simon’s paintings centre around the human-made and natural worlds. Not only the extremes of these two worlds, but also the blurring points and grey areas in between, and where as humans we fit into these worlds. Since arriving in the Yukon, Simon has become fascinated by the ‘Wild’ of the Northern landscape and his paintings look deep into the heart of the forest.”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Reflections in Summer: Wendell Berry
“Always in the big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the Unknown, and it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into.”
American Art – Part V of V: Victoria Adams
Artist Statement: “My interest is in providing a means for viewers to ponder what comprises their own experience of landscape. I paint grand views with sweeping horizons and dramatic skies. The vistas and skies in each painting are fictional, made up from imagination and making use of the cultural vocabulary of traditional Western landscape painting.
I do want the paintings to provide an interface between how a painting is experienced and how nature is experienced.
I feel that it is still possible, and probably more important than ever during our current preoccupation with climate change and global warming, for an individual, standing alone before a landscape to have a conscious awareness of being overwhelmed–whether you want to call this state transcendence, or joy, or fear, or vulnerability in an unpredictable universe.
I want a viewer to feel participation and inextricable belonging in the larger matrix of sky, distance, and land that I paint.”