American Art – Part I of III: Ken Worley
In the words of one writer, “For the past twenty years, eco-landscape has been Ken Worley’s subject of choice, depicting a still and simplified nature, where every tree looks like a tear and every hill mother earth’s anxious breast. His goal is to record through his paintings the feel of his favorite small patch of nature rather than its literal appearance, in a subtle way that brings the viewer’s attention to the difference. “Landscapes are sensory things,” he wrote. “They are always changing. One has no control over a landscape. And there’s a mystery to them. Viewing a landscape is like looking at chaos and discovering order by making some sense of it. There’s so much adventure in there, so many possibilities.”
Mr. Worley depicts a world surreally free of both men and their structures. ‘I’m painting light, but not entirely with an Impressionist’s preoccupation,” he describes. “I enjoy the works of Vermeer, de Chirico and Balthus, not so much for the figures in their work, but because of the glassy stillness of the ‘air’ in their paintings, the sense of suspended drama. Perhaps the tradition I work in is close to Edward Hopper or Ingmar Bergman in the sense that my landscapes are actually ‘sets’ or ‘settings’ in which some human activity will occur or has just occurred.’”
Reflections in Summer: Karl Menninger
“The voice of intelligence… is drowned out by the roar of fear. It is ignored by the voice of desire. It is contradicted by the voice of shame. It is biased by hate and extinguished by anger. Most of all it is silenced by ignorance.”
“We are always the same age inside.” – Gertrude Stein, American writer, poet, art collector, and author of “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas,” who died 27 July 1946.
Some quotes from the work of Gertrude Stein:
“If you can’t say anything nice about anyone else, come sit next to me.”
“Everybody knows if you are too careful you are so occupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over something. ”
“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.”
“There ain’t no answer.
There ain’t gonna be any answer.
There never has been an answer.
There’s your answer.”
“Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose”
“For a very long time everybody refuses and then almost without a pause almost everybody accepts.”
“I do want to get rich but I never want to do what there is to get rich. ”
“A very important thing is not to make up your mind that you are any one thing.”
“You are all a lost generation.”
“You are so afraid of losing your moral sense that you are not willing to take it through anything more dangerous than a mud-puddle. ”
“You are extraordinary within your limits, but your limits are extraordinary!”
“You have to know what you want to get it.”
“America is my country, and Paris is my home town.”
“When I go around and speak on campuses,
I still don’t get young men standing up and saying,
How can I combine career and family?”
Reflections in Summer: Wendell Berry
“The world is so full and abundant it is like a pregnant woman carrying a child in one arm and leading another by the hand. Every puddle in the lane is ringed with sipping butterflies that fly up in flutter when you walk past in the late morning on your way to get the mail.”
A Poem for Today
“In the Garden the Chrysanthemums Were Dying …”
By Kostas Karyotakis
In the garden the chrysanthemums were dying
like desires when you came. Calmly
you laughed, like little white flowers.
Silent, I made a sweetest song
out of the darkness deep within me
and the petals sing it up above you.
In the words of one critic, Canadian painter Olaf Schneider “uses color, light, and brushwork to achieve visual harmony. He captures the movement of water, as well as the freshness and clarity of sunlight, which seems to glisten on his surfaces.” In describing his artistry as well as that of other representational painters, Schneider has said, “Each dab is stimulated by the details that I observe; we see what others miss and then make it compelling.”
Reflections in Summer: Fredrik Sjoberg
“Every summer there are a number of nights, not many, but a number, when everything is perfect. The light, the warmth, the smells, the mist, the birdsong – the moths. Who can sleep? Who wants to?”
Though you married me
any sot would do.” – Peter Reading, English poet and author, who was born 27 July 1946 (died 2011).
In the words of one critic, “(Reading) is known for his choice of ugly subject matter, and use of classical metres. ‘The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry’ describes his verse as ‘strongly anti-romantic, disenchanted and usually satirical.’ Interviewed by Robert Potts, he described his work as a combination of ‘painstaking care’ and ‘misanthropy.’” It sounds like he was a splendid chap.
“In the old days
you would have been charged
one obolos to cross.
There became so many passengers
That the authorities
Had to lay on more ferries.
Today it will cost you
1,200 euros, £1,000, 1,377 US bucks, 130.380 yen
to achieve the further bank.”
Reflections in Summer: Herbert Marcuse
“The means of communication, the irresistible output of the entertainment and information industry carry with them prescribed attitudes and habits, certain intellectual and emotional reactions which bind the consumers to the producers and, through the latter to the whole social system. The products indoctrinate and manipulate; they promote a false consciousness which is immune against its falsehood…Thus emerges a pattern of one-dimensional thought and behavior.”
Reflections in Summer: Elizabeth Enright
“Summer was over in twenty minutes that day. Finished. At four o’clock in the afternoon the roses were quiet on their stems, full-blown, fulfilled; the water in the pool was warm; the leaves on the trees quiet, too, and green. The cat lay with his belly to the sun, steeped in heat.”
“I would insist that poetry is a normal human activity and its proper concern all the things that happen to people.” – Michael Longley, Irish poet from Belfast in Northern Ireland, who was born 27 July 1939.
What’s the Greek for boat,
You ask, old friend,
Approaching Ithaca –
Oh, flatulent sails,
Shingle-scrunching keel –
But, so close to home,
There’s a danger always
Of amnesiac storms,
Here is the Artist Statement of Colombian painter Alexandre Monntoya (born 1974): “Painting is a way of expression, a constant internal search and from the moment I began to paint I have used several landscapes of colour. At first I expressed myself with the typical colouring of a tropical climate, then I was plunged into the chaos of not knowing where to go, I was inside a world of greys and from that basis I have been giving way to the warmth, the colours and the shapes that I show today.
I wish to show an everyday moment in a sweet manner, which is natural and full of passion and sensuality.
From a personal view point I also look for the merging of two energies, two opposites, two forces, the good and the bad, light and darkness, which when united, create a balance, a balance that gives way to shapes and spaces thus allowing you to glance at an instant of feelings and beauty.”
“I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart.”
A Second Poem for Today
“The Beauty of Things”
By Robinson Jeffers
To feel and speak the astonishing beauty of things—earth, stone and water,
Beast, man and woman, sun, moon and stars—
The blood-shot beauty of human nature, its thoughts, frenzies and passions,
And unhuman nature its towering reality—
For man’s half dream; man, you might say, is nature dreaming, but rock
And water and sky are constant—to feel
Greatly, and understand greatly, and express greatly, the natural
Beauty, is the sole business of poetry.
The rest’s diversion: those holy or noble sentiments, the intricate ideas,
The love, lust, longing: reasons, but not the reason.
Reflections in Summer: Robert Nathan
“Summer is the worst time of all to be alone. The earth is warm and lovely, free to go about in; and always somewhere in the distance there is a place where two people might be happy if only they were together. It is in the spring that one dreams of such places; one thinks of the summer which is coming, and the heart dreams of its friend.”
From the American History Archives: The Electric Tricycle
27 July 1888 – American inventor Philip Pratt unveils the first American electric tricycle. Built in conjunction with engineer Fred Kimball and weighing about 300 pounds, the vehicle’s 10 lead-acid cells created 20 volts to a 0.5 horsepower motor, and it had a top speed of 8 miles-per-hour.
Reflections in Summer: Marshall McLuhan
A Third Poem for Today
“Praise In Summer”
By Richard Wilbur
Obscurely yet most surely called to praise,
As sometimes summer calls us all, I said
The hills are heavens full of branching ways
Where star-nosed moles fly overhead the dead;
I said the trees are mines in air, I said
See how the sparrow burrows in the sky!
And then I wondered why this mad instead
Perverts our praise to uncreation, why
Such savour’s in this wrenching things awry.
Does sense so stale that it must needs derange
The world to know it? To a praiseful eye
Should it not be enough of fresh and strange
That trees grow green, and moles can course
And sparrows sweep the ceiling of our day?
Reflections in Summer: Cormac McCarthy
“He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.”
American Art – Part II of III: Raina Gentry
In the words of one critic, “Raina’s artwork incorporates her studies in printmaking, life drawing, collage, and painting, and is heavily influenced by her education at Prescott College. She views each canvas as a playground for her psyche – each piece evolving naturally and intuitively, with little structure or expectation about the final outcome. Through this organic approach to art-making, Raina believes that she taps into, and expresses universal themes that many people can identify with. Through complex layering of various media, with a focus on the human form, and nature, she creates meaningful, evocative works that draw her viewers in.”
“It looks like fallen petals, and it looks like rain. It looks like the sounds the birds make at dawn. It looks like the aisle of grocery stores when a song I love suddenly begins to play overhead, and I cannot help but dance a little dance. It looks like a sigh, a kiss, an unmade bed. It looks like Cheerios in a white bowl with a bit of silence on the side. It looks like a plain vanilla cupcake in white paper, a dance with the wind, pink toenails, warm socks. It looks like a fire against the cold of winter, and a deep lake cool against a summer sky. It looks like chick flicks, books that make you cry, and all the candles blown out on the first try.”
Died 27 July 1996 – Ivan V. Lalic, Serbian poet whose work has been translated into more than twenty languages. In her obituary of him, Celia Hawkesworth spoke of “the central place in his work of memory: fragile in the face of the collapse of civilisations, but all we have. Memory allows the poet to recreate brief instants of personal joy as well as to conjure up a sense of the distant past. It allows each of us, as individuals condemned to solitude, to connect with a shared inheritance and feel, for a moment, part of a larger whole.”
“Places We Love”
Places we love exist only through us,
Space destroyed is only illusion in the constancy of time,
Places we love we can never leave,
Places we love together, together, together,
And is this room really a room, or an embrace,
And what is beneath the window: a street or years?
And the window is only the imprint left by
The first rain we understood, returning endlessly,
And this wall does not define the room, but perhaps the night
In which your son began to move in your sleeping blood,
A son like a butterfly of flame in your hall of mirrors,
The night you were frightened by your own light,
And this door leads into any afternoon
Which outlives it, forever peopled
With your casual movements, as you stepped,
Like fire into copper, into my only memory;
When you go, space closes over like water behind you,
Do not look back: there is nothing outside you,
Space is only time visible in a different way,
Places we love we can never leave.
Reflections in Summer: Jack London
“I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.”
Back from the Territory – Art: Adamie Mathewsie
Adamie Mathewsie is an Inuit sculptor.
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Reflections in Summer: Wendell Berry
“If we are to have a culture as resilient and competent in the face of necessity as it needs to be, then it must somehow involve within itself a ceremonious generosity toward the wilderness of natural force and instinct. The farm must yield a place to the forest, not as a wood lot, or even as a necessary agricultural principle but as a sacred grove – a place where the Creation is let alone, to serve as instruction, example, refuge; a place for people to go, free of work and presumption, to let themselves alone.”
A Fourth Poem for Today
“The Pacific Slides Up The Beaches Of The West Coast”
By Al Zolynas
You can hear it in these treetops
sheltering a farmhouse
in the middle of Minnesota.
You can hear the whale-song
in the bellow of the cows beyond the corn
and the crickets in the grass.
The swallow-rays dive and pivot
on air currents
and swim smoothly about the barn.
You know that if you dig straight down
you’ll find a bright twisted shell and
you only have to pull out the earth-plug
to hear the sea there too.
Reflections in Summer: Andrew Lang
“In the old stories, despite the impossibility of the incidents, the interest is always real and human. The princes and princesses fall in love and marry–nothing could be more human than that. Their lives and loves are crossed by human sorrows…The hero and heroine are persecuted or separated by cruel stepmothers or enchanters; they have wanderings and sorrows to suffer; they have adventures to achieve and difficulties to overcome; they must display courage, loyalty and address, courtesy, gentleness and gratitude. Thus they are living in a real human world, though it wears a mythical face, though there are giants and lions in the way. The old fairy tales which a silly sort of people disparage as too wicked and ferocious for the nursery, are really ‘full of matter,’ and unobtrusively teach the true lessons of our wayfaring in a world of perplexities and obstructions.”
American Art – Part III of III: Cindy Tower
In the words of one writer, “Cindy Tower paints large-scale oil paintings of overloaded, exhausted, depleted American industries on location with a bodyguard. Her working methods cannot be separated from what she chooses to depict.
Raw in spirit and conviction, Tower’s highly articulated works provide evidence of their making and engage the viewer in a visceral, otherworldly experience. Composite views of decrepitude become metaphors of bodily functions and reflect the political climate of our modern world. Wet, gloppy oil paint is loosely applied with control–in a manner in which subjects miraculously dematerialize and reemerge continuously. Tower’s painting practice mirrors her concept of gradual accumulation that provides an exhausting, claustrophobic sensation and raises questions regarding the complexity and level of exchange that occurs in our modern world. Consumption, intimacy, obsolescence and loss, the paintings are an overwhelming celebration of materials and process. They provide the viewer with a visceral, physical experience that not only engages but actually engulfs the viewer in the self-contained environment of each work of art.”