American Art – Part I of V: David Bumbeck – Part I
David Bumbeck earned a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.
Reflections in Summer: Kurt Vonnegut
“In every age of transition men are never so firmly bound to one way of life as when they are about to abandon it.” – Bernard Levin, English journalist, author, and broadcaster, who died 7 August 2004.
Some quotes from the work of Bernard Levin:
“If you cannot understand my argument, and declare ‘It’s Greek to me,’ you are quoting Shakespeare; if you claim to be more sinned against than sinning, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you recall your salad days, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you act more in sorrow than in anger; if your wish is father to the thought; if your lost property has vanished into thin air, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose, if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows, made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, stood on ceremony, danced attendance (on your lord and master), laughed yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing, if you have seen better days or lived in a fool’s paradise -why, be that as it may, the more fool you , for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare; if you think it is early days and clear out bag and baggage, if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it, if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood, if you lie low till the crack of doom because you suspect foul play, if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason, then – to give the devil his due – if the truth were known (for surely you have a tongue in your head) you are quoting Shakespeare; even if you bid me good riddance and send me packing, if you wish I was dead as a door-nail, if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain, bloody-minded or a blinking idiot, then – by Jove! O Lord! Tut tut! For goodness’ sake! What the dickens! But me no buts! – it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare.”
” Ask a man which way he is going to vote, and he will probably tell you. Ask him, however, why, and vagueness is all.”
“On the whole, I am against mass murder. I rarely commit it myself, and often find myself quite out of sympathy with those who make a habit of it.”
“No amount of manifest absurdity… could deter those who wanted to believe from believing.”
“What has happened to architecture since the second world war that the only passers-by who can contemplate it without pain are those equipped with a white stick and a dog?”
Reflections in Summer: James Joyce
“Clever people master life; the wise illuminate it and create fresh difficulties.” – Emil Nolde, German/Danish painter, printmaker, and one of the first Expressionists, who was born 7 August 1887.
A Poem for Today
By Wendell Berry
If you are not to become a monster,
you must care what they think.
If you care what they think,
how will you not hate them,
and so become a monster
of the opposite kind? From where then
is love to come—love for your enemy
that is the way of liberty?
From forgiveness. Forgiven, they go
free of you, and you of them;
they are to you as sunlight
on a green branch. You must not
Reflections in Summer: Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in – forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
Nobel Laureate: Rabindranath Tagore
“We read the world wrong and say that it deceives us.” – Rabindranath Tagore, Bengali writer, musician, author of Gitanjali,” and recipient of the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature “because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West,” who died 7 August 1941.
Some quotes from the work of Rabindranath Tagore:
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
“Bigotry tries to keep truth safe in its hand with a grip that kills it.”
“If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.”
“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in you. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”
Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for she was born in another time.”
“Let your life lightly dance on the edges of
Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.”
American Art – Part II of V: Jo Baer
In the words of one critic, “Jo Baer was a key figure among the celebrated protagonists of Minimalist painting in New York in the 1960s and first half of the ’70s. It was during that period that she executed her series of different-sized squares as well as vertical and horizontal rectangles in the hard-edge style, works she later expanded into multipartite arrangements as diptychs and triptychs.
Jo Baer’s ‘image’ paintings are often distinguished by their forceful colours and emphatic chiaroscuro contrasts. Other compositions are dominated by white surfaces. By the use of a pronounced positioning of colour as well as translucent and opaque areas in her current works, Jo Baer once again brings her own artistic origins to light, placing them on an equal footing with the newer elements.”
Below – “Memorial for an Art World Body (Nevermore)”; “Altar of the Egos (Through a Glass Darkly)”; “Time Line (Spheres, Angles and the Negative of the 2nd Derivative)”; “Royal Families (Curves, Points and Little Ones)”; “Of a Fearful Symmetry (Bound Hand and Foot)”; “When Every Lamplight Spent…(Right side diptych, ‘It’s Time’).”
Reflections in Summer: Ken Wilber
“I have one major rule: Everybody is right. More specifically, everybody — including me — has some important pieces of truth, and all of those pieces need to be honored, cherished, and included in a more gracious, spacious, and compassionate embrace.”
Guitar Maestros – Part I of II: George Van Eps
Born 7 August 1913 – George Van Eps, an American swing and mainstream jazz guitarist known as “the Father of the Seven String Guitar.”
Reflections in Summer: Anne Morrow Lindbergh
“And then, some morning in the second week, the mind wakes, comes to life again. Not in a city sense—no—but beach-wise. It begins to drift, to play, to turn over in gentle careless rolls like those lazy waves on the beach. One never knows what chance treasures these easy unconscious rollers may toss up, on the smooth white sand of the conscious mind; what perfectly rounded stone, what rare shell from the ocean floor. Perhaps a channeled whelk, a moon shell, or even an argonaut.”
Here is one critic describing the artistry of English wire sculptor Derek Kinzett (born 1966): “Described as beyond beautiful, stunning & spiritual, Derek’s work has gained recognition and respect for its intricacy and detail, and can be found within private collections throughout the UK, America, Russia, and France.”
A Second Poem for Today
“My Father’s Funeral”
By Frank Ormsby
The flypaper hung
from the ceiling cork-
screws with the weight
of dead bluebottles.
Guitar Maestros – Part II of II: Manitas de Plata
Born 7 August 1913 – Manitas de Plata, a French flamenco guitarist. He was born in a Gypsy (Gitano) caravan in Sète in southern France, and he became famous by playing each year at the Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer Gypsy pilgrimage in Camargue, According to one writer, “Upon hearing him play at Arles in 1964, Pablo Picasso is said to have exclaimed ‘that man is of greater worth than I am!’ and proceeded to draw on the guitar.”
Reflections in Summer: Laura Ingalls Wilder
American Art – Part III of V: Ryan Pickart
Reflections in Summer: Molly Ivins
“When politicians start talking about large groups of their fellow Americans as ‘enemies,’ it’s time for a quiet stir of alertness. Polarizing people is a good way to win an election, and also a good way to wreck a country.”
“They say such nice things about people at their funerals that it makes me sad to realize that I’m going to miss mine by just a few days.” – Garrison Keillor, American radio show host, author, storyteller, and humorist, who was born 7 August 1942.
Some quotes from the work of Garrison Keillor:
“Anyone who thinks sitting in church can make you a Christian must also think that sitting in a garage can make you a car.”
“Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a purpose.”
“A book is a gift you can open again and again.”
“I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it.”
“When in doubt, look intelligent.”
“Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.”
“You get old and you realize there are no answers, just stories.”
“One reads books in order to gain the privilege of living more than one life. People who don’t read are trapped in a mine shaft, even if they think the sun is shining.”
“A girl in a bikini is like having a loaded gun on your coffee table- There’s nothing wrong with them, but it’s hard to stop thinking about.”
“It’s a shallow life that doesn’t give a person a few scars.”
“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.”
“Sex is good, but not as good as fresh sweet corn.”
“I’ve seen the truth, and it makes no sense.”
“Life is unjust and this is what makes it so beautiful. Every day is a gift. Be brave and take hold of it.”
“The most un-American thing you can say is, ‘You can’t say that.’”
“Intelligence is like four-wheel drive. It only allows you to get stuck in more remote places.”
“Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known. ”
“It is a sin to believe evil of others but it is seldom a mistake.”
“Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people.”
“If you lived today as if it were your last, you’d buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn’t you?”
“That’s the news from Lake Woebegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”
Reflections in Summer: Wendell Berry
“We must learn to acknowledge that the creation is full of mystery; we will never entirely understand it. We must abandon arrogance and stand in awe. We must recover the sense of the majesty of creation, and the ability to be worshipful in its presence. For I do not doubt that it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it.”
American Art – Part IV of V: Sean Diediker
Artist Statement: “I enjoy subjects that are tangible to me. You might say my work is directly affected by where I’m living: the people, the landscape, the things I see everyday. I enjoy observing the stimulus and reaction of different human situations. Environment should affect an artist’s work; if it doesn’t, you’re painting decorations.”
In the words of one critic, ”Sean Diediker is a painter’s painter. His sweeping, faceted brushstrokes and painterly surfaces generate works that reveal the artist’s sensitivity to his medium and attention to the act of painting itself. Diediker assembles bold colors, chiaroscuro and a cutting-edge sense of design to create a highly original body of work that separates him from his contemporaries. His imagery captures biblical allegories, narratives and concepts and renders them contemporary. Classical iconography, in Diediker’s hands, becomes a thoroughly modern symbolic language that is fresh, visually striking, and germane to our times.”
Reflections in Summer: Rabindranath Tagore
From the American History Archives: Operation Watchtower
7 August 1942 – United States Marines come ashore on Guadalcanal, in the first major land effort by Allied forces against the Empire of Japan.
The general history of the campaign: “On 7 August 1942, Allied forces, predominantly American, landed on the islands of Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and Florida in the southern Solomon Islands with the objective of denying their use by the Japanese to threaten the supply and communication routes between the US, Australia, and New Zealand. The Allies also intended to use Guadalcanal and Tulagi as bases to support a campaign to eventually capture or neutralize the major Japanese base at Rabaul on New Britain. The Allies overwhelmed the outnumbered Japanese defenders, who had occupied the islands since May 1942, and captured Tulagi and Florida, as well as an airfield (later named Henderson Field) that was under construction on Guadalcanal. Powerful US naval forces supported the landings.
Surprised by the Allied offensive, the Japanese made several attempts between August and November 1942 to retake Henderson Field. Three major land battles, seven large naval battles (five nighttime surface actions and two carrier battles), and continual, almost daily aerial battles culminated in the decisive Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in early November 1942, in which the last Japanese attempt to bombard Henderson Field from the sea and land with enough troops to retake it was defeated. In December 1942, the Japanese abandoned further efforts to retake Guadalcanal and evacuated their remaining forces by 7 February 1943 in the face of an offensive by the US Army’s XIV Corps, conceding the island to the Allies.”
The preceding description does not do justice either to the incredible savagery of the battle, or to the appalling conditions under which it was fought (perhaps the worst conditions in World War II), or to the courage exhibited by the combatants on both sides of the conflict. For a better understanding of the Guadalcanal campaign and the Pacific Theater, I recommend two books: “Good-bye Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War,” by William Manchester (an American historian and a former marine who fought in the Pacific during World War II), and “The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945,” by John Toland (which won the 1971 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction).
Below – A map of Guadalcanal; American marines coming ashore on Guadalcanal on 7 August; Japanese reinforcements arriving on Guadalcanal in September 1942.
Reflections in Summer: William S. Burroughs
Back from the Territory – Art: Charlie Eyaituq
Charlie Eyaituq is an Inuit sculptor.
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
“There is a distinct difference between having an open mind and having a hole in your head from which your brain leaks out.” – James “Amazing” Randi, Canadian-American stage magician, scientific skeptic and founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation best known for his challenges to paranormal claims and pseudoscience, who was born 7 August 1928.
In the words of one historian, “Although often referred to as a ‘debunker,’ Randi dislikes the term’s connotations and prefers to describe himself as an ‘investigator.’ He has written about the paranormal, skepticism, and the history of magic… The JREF sponsors The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge offering a prize of US$1,000,000 to eligible applicants who can demonstrate evidence of any paranormal, supernatural or occult power or event under test conditions agreed to by both parties.”
Arthur C. Clark: “I regard Randi as a national treasure, and perhaps one of the remaining antidotes that may prevent the rotting of the American mind.” I agree with Clark, and I think that everyone would benefit from visiting the JREF website, if for no other reason than to be astonished at the persistence of folly and delusion in a world that presumes to think of itself as “advanced.”
Some quotes from the work of James Randi:
“I want to be, if I can, as sure of the world–the real world–around me as is possible. Now, you can only attain that to a certain degree, but I want the greatest degree of control. I’ve never involved myself in narcotics of any kind, I don’t smoke, and I don’t drink because that can easily just fuzz the edges of my rationality–fuzz the edges of my reasoning powers–and I want to be as aware as I possibly can. That means giving up a lot of fantasies that might be comforting in some ways, but I’m willing to give that up in order to live in an actually real world, or as close as I can get to it.”
“There exists in society a very special class of persons that I have always referred to as the Believers. These are folks who have chosen to accept a certain religion, philosophy, theory, idea or notion and cling to that belief regardless of any evidence that might, for anyone else, bring it into doubt. They are the ones who encourage and support the fanatics and the frauds of any given age. No amount of evidence, no matter how strong, will bring them any enlightenment. They are the sheep who beg to be fleeced and butchered, and who will battle fiercely to preserve their right to be victimized… patent offices handle an endless succession of inventors who still produce perpetual-motion machines that don’t work, but no number of idle flywheels will convince these zealots of their folly; dozens of these patent applications flow in every year. In ashrams all over the world, hopping devotees of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi will never abandon their goal of blissful levitation of their bodies by mind power, despite bruises and sprains aplenty suffered as they bounce about on gym mats like demented (though smiling) frogs, trying to get airborne. Absolutely nothing will discourage them.”
“I suggest that we might want to depose this incumbent God and start dealing with The Real World. He’s proven — time and again — to be cruel, capricious, and vindictive. He drowns, crushes, burns, and starves millions of us every day. He created cancer, viruses, and germs to invade and destroy our bodies as He sees fit, and uses them very effectively. In His wisdom, He directed those in charge to impede stem cell research so that such a powerful approach would not be available to us and He wouldn’t have to strain the Divine Intellect to disarm that defense. We amuse Him as we flail about vainly trying to appease Him. I vote that we dump Him.”
“The conjuror or con man is a very good provider of information. He supplies lots of data, by inference or direct statement, but it’s false data. Scientists aren’t used to that scenario. An electron or a galaxy is not capricious, nor deceptive; but a human can be either or both.”
“To make sure that my blasphemy is thoroughly expressed, I hereby state my opinion that the notion of a god is a basic superstition, that there is no evidence for the existence of any god(s), that devils, demons, angels and saints are myths, that there is no life after death, heaven nor hell, that the Pope is a dangerous, bigoted, medieval dinosaur, and that the Holy Ghost is a comic-book character worthy of laughter and derision. I accuse the Christian god of murder by allowing the Holocaust to take place — not to mention the ‘ethnic cleansing’ presently being performed by Christians in our world — and I condemn and vilify this mythical deity for encouraging racial prejudice and commanding the degradation of women.”
Reflections in Summer: Bertrand Russell
“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid … Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.”
A Third Poem for Today
“Not in This Chamber”
By Edna St. Vincent Millay
Not in this chamber only at my birth–
When the long hours of that mysterious night
Were over, and the morning was in sight–
I cried, but in strange places, steppe and firth
I have not seen, through alien grief and mirth;
And never shall one room contain me quite
Who in so many rooms first saw the light,
Child of all mothers, native of the earth.
So is no warmth for me at any fire
To-day, when the world’s fire has burned so low;
I kneel, spending my breath in vain desire,
At that cold hearth which one time roared so strong,
And straighten back in weariness, and long
To gather up my little gods and go.
Reflections in Summer: Wallace Stegner
“The mountains of the Great Divide are not, as everyone knows, born treeless, though we always think of them as above timberline with the eternal snows on their heads. They wade up through ancient forests and plunge into canyons tangled up with water-courses and pause in little gem-like valleys and march attended by loud winds across the high plateaus, but all such incidents of the lower world they leave behind them when they begin to strip for the skies: like the Holy Ones of old, they go up alone and barren of all circumstance to meet their transfiguration.”
American Art – Part V of V: David Bumbeck – Part II
David Bumbeck earned an BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.