American Art – Part I of III: Alexandra Pacula
Alexandra Pacula earned a BFA in Painting/Drawing from the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University and an MFA in Painting/Drawing from Montclair State University.
“How can people trust the harvest, unless they see it sown?” – Mary Renault, English writer best known for her historical novels and author of “The Bull from the Sea,” who was born 4 September 1905.
Some quotes from the work of Mary Renault:
“In hatred is love, we grow like the thing we brood upon. What we loathe, we graft into our very soul.”
“To hate excellence is to hate the gods.”
“Do not believe that others will die, not you…. I have wrestled with Thanatos knee to knee and I know how death is vanquished. Man’s immortality is not to live forever; for that wish is born of fear. Each moment free from fear makes a man immortal.”
“You cannot step twice into the same river, said Herakleitos. People in the past were not just like us; to pretend so is an evasion and a betrayal, turning our back on them so as to be easy among familiar things.”
A Poem for Today
By Bill Coyle
Here is one critic describing the background and artistry of Armenian painter Rudolf Khachatryan: “Rudolf Khachatryan (1937-2007) started painting at the age of three. Roudolf Khachatrian lived in Paris for a long period. Then he returned to Armenia, his homeland. For his paintings, beautiful portraits, Rudolf Khachatryan (Roudolf Khachatrian) used white or colored paper, pencil, light-brown liquid ink (sepia), and red chalk pencil (sanguine), pen and brush. In 1971 Rudolf Khachatryan moved to Moscow. He created portraits and still lifes, filled with black or monochromatic ocher pencil, developing his own distinctive artistic style.”
Reflections in Summer: Hart Crane
“Our too-young and too-new America, lusty because it is lonely, aggressive because it is afraid, insists upon seeing the world in terms of good and bad, the holy and the evil, the high and the low, the white and the black; our America is frightened of fact, of history, of processes, of necessity. It hugs the easy way of damning those whom it cannot understand, of excluding those who look different, and it salves its conscience with a self-draped cloak of righteousness.” – Richard Wright, African-American short story writer, novelist, essayist, poet, and author of “Native Son,” who was born 4 September 1908.
Some quotes from the work of Richard Wright:
“I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of the hunger for life that gnaws in us all.”
“Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread.”
“They hate because they fear, and they fear because they feel that the deepest feelings of their lives are being assaulted and outraged. And they do not know why; they are powerless pawns in a blind play of social forces.”
“There are times when life’s ends are so raveled that reason and sense cry out that we stop and gather them together again before we can proceed.”
“Pity can purge us of hostility and arouse feelings of identification with the characters, but it can also be a consoling reassurance which leads us to believe that we have understood, and that, in pitying, we have even done something to right a wrong.”
“The artist must bow to the monster of his own imagination.”
One critic has characterized the paintings of Filipino artist Aleah Rose Angeles as “lyrical compositions with a warm romantic flair,” while another describes them thusly: “(They are) inspired by the figures of young girls, which the artist herself relates to and draws from life based on her own photographs; her paintings often show them in recumbent positions, half caught in dreams and fantasy.”
Reflections in Summer: Andrew Rayner
“Vast tracts of ocean, whether Polynesia, Micronesia or Melanesia, contain island populations that remain outside the modern world. They know about it, they may have traveled to it, they appreciate artifacts and medical help from it, but they live their daily lives much as hundreds of generations of ancestors before them, without money, electricity, phones, TV or manufactured food.”
Nobel Laureate: Albert Schweitzer
“The deeper we look into nature the more we recognize that it is full of life, and the more profoundly we know that all life is a secret, and we are all united to all this life.” – Albert Schweitzer, German-French humanitarian, organist, theologian, philosopher, physician, medical missionary in Africa, and recipient of the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize “for his philosophy of ‘Reverence for Life,’” who died 4 September 1965.
Some quotes from the work of Albert Schweitzer:
“The only escapes from the miseries of life are music and cats.”
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.”
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
“Joy, sorrow, tears, lamentation, laughter — to all these music gives voice, but in such a way that we are transported from the world of unrest to a world of peace, and see reality in a new way, as if we were sitting by a mountain lake and contemplating hills and woods and clouds in the tranquil and fathomless water.”
“Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.”
“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”
“Man is a clever animal who behaves like an imbecile.”
“A man does not have to be an angel to be a saint.”
“In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.”
“No one can give a definition of the soul. But we know what it feels like. The soul is the sense of something higher than ourselves, something that stirs in us thoughts, hopes, and aspirations which go out to the world of goodness, truth and beauty. The soul is a burning desire to breathe in this world of light and never to lose it–to remain children of light.”
“The question whether I am a pessimist or an optimist, I answer that my knowledge is pessimistic, but my willing and hope are optimistic.”
“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”
“We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.”
Here is one critic describing the background and artistry of Colombian painter Marco Tulio: “Born in Medellin, Colombia in 1966, self-taught artist, Marco Tulio began his artistic endeavors at a very early age; with both of his parents as artists, Marco has been painting since he was very young. Certainly his talents must be innate as this prodigal child had his first exhibit at the age of eleven.
His father, abstract artist Guillermo Espinosa, instilled in him an appreciation of color but Marco practiced, refined, and has perfected his classically inspired scenes.
His human figures are the modernized version of the Classical figure; meanwhile, he adds elements of surrealism, and plays up color and texture to make each piece seem so impossibly real! Beyond the chiseled bodies and near-to-perfect, idealized human figures, he pays homage to his South American culture providing elements of mythology and mystical imagery that is unique to a Marco Tulio painting. An increasing admiration for his figures is largely due to the rich color and texture he paints; he makes the image on the one-dimensional canvas appear tangible and three-dimensional.”
A Second Poem for Today
By Miriam Gamble
The memory of sun, it is what they subsist upon
down where the jaws snap blindly
at whatever passes, where drifter is a meaningless term
and to hunt is to proffer teeth and tongue
and ghost-lit lantern
into a sea like liquid wind,
without prior compass
of the way the wind is blowing.
Should they be gifted with a corpse
whose half-spoilt flesh holds distillate
spent glittering in the euphotic zone,
they will give gross thanks and, in their way, be holy.
In the cartography of sea,
they are kin not to dragons nor the Stella Maris
but to your own bright band —
American Art – Part II of III: Paige Bradley
Artist Statement: “Focusing on tensions and liberations in my work, I feel most of our emotions are locked into an existential cocoon. My sculptures show the human race as a singular individual searching for connection but finding only alienation.
My recent work has become a symbol of struggle —
both being contained and liberating ourselves from
self-inflicted boundaries. Fears of ostracism, avoiding distinction and hiding from greatness are all thoughts that come to mind. These fears create sculptures wrapped in extraordinary tension. The figures struggle to unveil themselves in order to become understood and known. These bound figures give me a sense of unrest as if too much life is jammed into too restrictive of space. I feel as if I am trying to live my truth free and unveiled in a society that would rather keep us contained.”
Reflections in Summer: Kendal Rob
“Home is where you go to find solace from the ever changing chaos, to find love within the confines of a heartless world, and to be reminded that no matter how far you wander, there will always be something waiting when you return.”
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.” – E. F. Schumacher, influential economic thinker, statistician, and author of “Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered,” who died 4 September 1977.
Some quotes from the work of E. F. Schumacher:
“If greed were not the master of modern man–ably assisted by envy–how could it be that the frenzy of economism does not abate as higher ‘standards of living’ are attained, and that it is precisely the richest societies which pursue their economic advantage with the greatest ruthlessness? How could we explain the almost universal refusal on the part of the rulers of the rich societies–where organized along private enterprise or collective enterprise lines–to work towards the humanisation of work? It is only necessary to assert that something would reduce the ‘standard of living’ and every debate is instantly closed. That soul-destroying, meaningless, mechanical, monotonous, moronic work is an insult to human nature which must necessarily and inevitably produce either escapism or aggression, and that no amount of ‘bread and circuses’ can compensate for the damage done–these are facts which are neither denied nor acknowledged but are met with an unbreakable conspiracy of silence–because to deny them would be too obviously absurd and to acknowledge them would condemn the central preoccupation of modern society as a crime against humanity.”
“Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology toward the organic, the gentle, the elegant and beautiful.”
“An attitude to life which seeks fulfillment in the single-minded pursuit of wealth – in short, materialism – does not fit into this
world, because it contains within itself no limiting principle, while the
environment in which it is placed is strictly limited.”
“Anything that we can destroy but are unable to make is, in a sense sacred, and all our ‘explanations’ of it do not really explain anything.”
“There is incredible generosity in the potentialities of Nature. We only have to discover how to utilize them.”
“Call a thing immoral or ugly, soul-destroying or a degradation to man, a peril to the peace of the world or to the well-being of future generations: as long as you have not shown it to be ‘uneconomic’ you have not really questioned its right to exist, grow, and prosper.”
“The art of living is always to make a good thing out of a bad thing.”
“Every increase of needs tends to increase one’s dependence on outside forces over which one cannot have control and therefore increases existential fear.”
“What do I miss, as a human being, if I have never heard of the Second Law of Thermodynamics? The answer is: Nothing. And what do I miss by not knowing Shakespeare? Unless I get my understanding from another source, I simply miss my life. Shall we tell our children that one thing is as good as another– here a bit of knowledge of physics, and there a bit of knowledge of literature? If we do so, the sins of the fathers will be visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generation, because that normally is the time it takes from the birth of an idea to its full maturity when it fills the minds of a new generation and makes them think by it.”
“The generosity of the Earth allows us to feed all mankind; we know enough about ecology to keep the Earth a healthy place; there is enough room on the Earth, and there are enough materials, so that everybody can have adequate shelter; we are quite competent enough to produce sufficient supplies of necessities so that no one need live in misery.”
“Our ordinary mind always tried to persuade us that we are nothing but acorns and that our greatest happiness will be to become bigger, fatter, shinier acorns; but this is of interest only to pigs. Our faith gives us knowledge of something better: that we can become oak trees.”
“Economic development is something much wider and deeper than economics, let alone econometrics. Its roots lie outside the economic sphere, in education, organisation, discipline and, beyond that, in political independence and a national consciousness of self-reliance.”
“Real life consists of the tensions produced by the incompatibility of opposites, each of which is needed”
“The real problems of our planet are not economic or technical, they are philosophical. The philosophy of unbridled materialism is being challenged by events.”
“Many have no desire to be in it, because their work does not interest them, providing them with neither challenge nor satisfaction, and has no other merit in their eyes than that it leads to a pay-packet at the end of the week.”
“Much of the economic decay of southeast Asia (as of many other parts of the world) is undoubtedly due to a heedless and shameful neglect of trees.”
“I certainly never feel discouraged. I can’t myself raise the winds that might blow us or this ship into a better world. But I can at least put up the sail so that when the winds comes, I can catch it.”
Reflections in Summer: Hunter S. Thompson
“Finally we came over a rise and I saw the Caribbean…My first feeling was a wild desire to drive a stake in the sand and claim the place for myself. The beach was white as salt, and cut off from the world by a ring of steep hills that faced the sea. We were on the edge of a large bay and the water was that clear, turquoise color that you get with a white sand bottom. I had never seen such a place. I wanted to take off all my clothes and never wear them again.”
Uzbekistani artist Ludmilla Perec (born 1959) graduated from the State University of Latvia with a degree in theoretical astrophysics. After studying professional drawing for several years, she graduated from the Riga Academy of Arts in 1993. Her paintings can be found in private collections throughout the United States and Europe.
A Third Poem for Today
By Edna St. Vincent Millay
I shall die, but
that is all that I shall do for Death.
I hear him leading his horse out of the stall;
I hear the clatter on the barn-floor.
He is in haste; he has business in Cuba,
business in the Balkans, many calls to make this morning. But I will not hold the bridle
while he clinches the girth.
And he may mount by himself:
I will not give him a leg up.
Though he flick my shoulders with his whip,
I will not tell him which way the fox ran.
With his hoof on my breast, I will not tell him where
the black boy hides in the swamp.
I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death;
I am not on his pay-roll.
I will not tell him the whereabout of my friends
nor of my enemies either.
Though he promise me much,
I will not map him the route to any man’s door.
Am I a spy in the land of the living,
that I should deliver men to Death?
Brother, the password and the plans of our city
are safe with me; never through me
Shall you be overcome.
Back from the Territory – Art: Lynn Blaikie – Part II
In the words of one writer, “Batik artist Lynn Blaikie was born in Southern Ontario. She moved to the Yukon Territory at the age of 18. It was in the small mining community of Elsa that she first discovered batik; a ray of colour in a long dark winter. A nine month mining strike gave Lynn an opportunity to fall in love with the huge vats of liquid colour that she used to create her earliest works of art.”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
A Fourth Poem for Today
“The Fate of Elms”
By Robert Francis
If they are doomed and all that can be done
Should fail, if they must die and disappear
And we must see them dying one by one,
Summer and fall and winter, year by year
Until there comes a summer so bereft
That over river, meadow, pasture height
No last and solitary elm is left
Lifting its leafy wings as if for flight—
Let us not make our grief for them too great
And say we wished that we had gone before,
Making the fate of elms too much our fate,
Seeing the always less and not the more.
Though elms may die, not everything must die:
Not their green memory against our sky.
Reflections in Summer: Cecil Day-Lewis
American Art – Part III of III: Gary Ruddell
Gary Ruddell earned a BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts.