From the Pacific Northwest – Part XII

Musings in Autumn: Jens Stoltenberg

“When autumn darkness falls, what we will remember are the small acts of kindness: a cake, a hug, an invitation to talk, and every single rose. These are all expressions of a nation coming together and caring about its people.”

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Below – From the 17th Annual American Impressionist National Juried Exhibition that is being held this year at the Howard/Mandville Gallery in Kirkland, Washington: Jake Gaedtke, “In the Still of the Night.”
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A Poem for Today

“Images”
By Jaime Manrique

translated by Edith Grossman

I’ve spent a whole afternoon looking at photographs.
I’ve accumulated so many in my life—
but there are two in particular that interest me.
Both are sepia by now, I don’t know where
they were taken, and I’m not in either of them.
The first is a classic composition
of nine people. My mother’s family.
My grandparents, two uncles, four aunts,
and a woman I don’t know or have forgotten.
The women sit on the ground,
the men stand behind them
except for my Aunt Aura, who holds onto
my grandfather with one hand and with the other
caresses my uncle’s shoulder.
Even in this photo of her when she was young—caramel skin,
dark eyes, dark hair, even more beautiful through the sepia,
and wearing a two-piece bathing suit:
the same as a bikini in the 1940s—
one could guess at her boldness.
They’re all in bathing suits and most
try their best smiles.
I don’t know who took this picture,
and studying their faces, I try to see
what they were thinking, what they hoped for from their lives.
My grandmother, despite her twelve children
(or perhaps because of them), smiles
from right to left, like a giant sunflower.
My grandfather seems to contemplate the infinite, as handsome
as a gray ox; and my Aunt Emilia in her braids
seems to sense the sadness of life.
I’m sure I wasn’t born yet.
But even if I were already an adult,
could I have helped them with what I know now
about their lives? Could I have predicted their successes,
their failures—could I have prophesied their deaths?
Their slender, healthy bodies.
the men with the look of swordsmen—
I feel nostalgia when I look at this photograph.
So much energy in their stance!
When did they stop boxing with life?
In which round did they concede defeat?
When did the sound of the bell make them sense the immutable?
There’s no way to take them out of the snapshot,
to know what they were thinking just then.
This is my past, these are my roots,
but as I look at it again on this rainy afternoon,
why can’t I arrange everything into a coherent scene?

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German Art: Michael Wolf

In the words of one writer, “Michael Wolf is an internationally renowned photographer, known for his impressive large format images of dense architectural landscapes in cities like Paris, Chicago and Hong Kong.
Wolf began his interest in photography when studying at UC Berkeley and the Folkwang School with Otto Steinert in Essen, Germany. Wolf later moved to Hong Kong in 1994 to begin his artistic career as a contract photographer for Stern Magazine. Since 2001, Wolf has been focusing on his own projects, drawing his focus to the tradition of socially concerned photography, while also engaging with the radical transformation of photography of recent years. From this unique perspective, he has produced a body of work which deals with the complex reality of contemporary city life in a way that defies categorization.”

Below – “Transparent City 45”; “Tokyo Compression 39”; “Paris Rooftops 1”; “Architecture of Density 31”; “Night 6”; “Tokyo Compression 24.”

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Musings in Autumn: Percy Bysshe Shelley

“There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been!”

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Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) was a French-German physician, philosopher,philanthropist, organist, and theologian.

Some quotes from the work of Albert Schweitzer:

“There are two means of refuge from the misery of life — music and cats.”
“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.”
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.”
“The tragedy in a man’s life is what dies inside of him while he lives.”
“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.”
“Man is a clever animal who behaves like an imbecile.”
“In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.”
“The thinking (person) must oppose all cruel customs, no matter how deeply rooted in tradition and surrounded by a halo. When we have a choice, we must avoid bringing torment and injury into the life of another.”
“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.”
“Do something wonderful, people may imitate it.”
“The only thing of importance, when we depart, will be the traces of love we have left behind.”

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American Art: Megan Murphy

In the words of one writer, “Megan Murphy’s work uses historical events and locations to construct an understanding of how our contemporary selves and culture are informed by the subjectivity of recorded history, addressing global politics and man’s impact on the environment. These themes are emulated in her unique artistic practice which employs the combined elements of film/video, digital art, painting and the impression of the written word. Her painting process is one of addition and subtraction, functioning both physically and metaphorically to illuminate history through the reflection of time.”

Below – “Beginning”; “Discern”; “Gaze”; “Glimpse.”

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A Second Poem for Today

“Afternoons”
By Jorge H. Aigia

Those afternoons, the Saturdays of my tender childhood
in Mexico City
were just lovely.
It was the time when fathers
were one on one with their sons,
and took them to see friends, have an ice,
talk in the park, or to intriguing stores
from their youth.
I remember going to a store
that sold mountain climbing equipment:
my father knew “The Goat,”
one of the climbers of the great Popocatepetl,
and he would show us boots, ropes, and hammers,
and photographs of the Valley of Mexico and of snow.
Another place in my fantast was a corner
in the old section of the city,
where they sold model airplanes
with gasoline engines;
I would watch the wealthy kids buy
and we in our dreams would fly.
Another place was the small shop of the Japanese man, Osawa,
who sold shells, butterflies, spiders, beetles,
and other vermin and dried creepers;
for a few pesos one could well
enlarge a modest collection.
A labyrinth in the basement of a mansion
led one to the abode of the Old Catalán
who sold stamps and postal seals;
he had in his possession the first stamp of Juárez,
and promised never to sell it,
though perhaps, he might give it to me some day.
In a garage Don Leopoldo sold supplies for engineers:
slide rules with many rows, squares,
fine pens, india ink, complicated compasses,
and with all this my father’s friend
traced a world for me.
Those crammed afternoons, already abandoned,
shadowed by death,
undone by a fast and coarse world,
taught me what it is to fill out
the alertness of time.

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Musings in Autumn: Robert Frost

“My sorrow, when she’s here with me, thinks these dark days of autumn rain are beautiful as days can be; she loves the bare, the withered tree; she walks the sodden pasture lane.”
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A Third Poem for Today

“The Laughing Child”
By W. S. Merwin

When she looked down from the kitchen window
into the back yard and the brown wicker
baby carriage in which she had tucked me
three months old to lie out in the fresh air
of my first January the carriage
was shaking she said and went on shaking
and she saw I was lying there laughing
she told me about it later it was
something that reassured her in a life
in which she had lost everyone she loved
before I was born and she had just begun
to believe that she might be able to
keep me as I lay there in the winter
laughing it was what she was thinking of
later when she told me that I had been
a happy child and she must have kept that
through the gray cloud of all her days and now
out of the horn of dreams of my own life
I wake again into the laughing child

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Canadian Art: Grant Leier

In the words of one writer, “Born in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan in 1956, Grant Leier studied at the Alberta College of Art in Calgary (1974-78) before honing his skills further at the Illustrator’s Workshop in New York (1978). It was here that Grant became fascinated with pattern and decoration. A proficient painter, Leier has had numerous solo exhibitions in Canada and California and has been featured in important group exhibitions in public and private galleries. His work is represented in many corporate and private collections including the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Public Archives Canada and Chevron Canada.
Grant feels a need to create intense color, pattern, and a sense of celebration into everything he paints and wants his images to evoke feelings of well being and goodness.
Grant Leier once compared himself to a crow who sets out to collect the most beautiful and colourful objects it could find. His whimsical and wonderful art works are technically perfect and his sense of design complete. His love of pattern and his proficiency of hand make him a master at illustration. This, a quick wit, and a quirky sense of humour combine to makes works that both titillate and excite the viewer.
Combining found objects, odd photographs and other imagery with a symphony of patterns and designs, Leier collages his images and ideas by both painting and drawing them together into a story-like setting. Monkeys or people or even fruit and flowers are intertwined into a world of both fantasy and reality. He takes his everyday life and creates his playful realms full of beautiful colours and forms both for himself and his viewer.
The combination of design, bold colours and interesting imagery excite the viewer and cause them to react to the works in a positive and joyful manner. Leier works in bold, bright acrylics with festive and decorative colours often framing the works with patterns of ornamental designs. These works are flamboyant expressions of fabricated realities. These often sentimental recreations can elicit nostalgia in the viewer and sometimes embellish memories of times gone by.
Leier sets the stage, poses the actors and tells his story and the stage sets are always sublime.
Grant Leier now lives in British Columbia with his wife, also an artist, and their son.”

Below – “Ennui”; “Sad Fan Girl”; “Three”; “Titanium Queen 8”; “Conversation – Vermillion Urn”; “Give Room to Your Soul”; “Conversation – Cobalt Urn.”

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