Musings in Winter: Bill Bryson
“Whatever happens in the world – whatever is discovered or created or bitterly fought over – eventually ends up, in one way or another, in your house. Wars, famine, the Industrial Revolution, the Enlightenment – they are all there in your sofas and chests of drawers, tucked into the folds of your curtains, in the downy softness of your pillows, in the paint on your walls and the water in your pipes. So the history of household life isn’t just a history of beds and sofas and kitchen stoves … but of scurvy and guano and the Eiffel Tower and bedbugs and body-snatching and just about everything else that has ever happened. Houses aren’t refuges from history. They are where history ends up.”
Art for Winter – Part I of IV: Denis Prasolov (Russian, contemporary)
Below – “Fire” (sculpture)
Musings in Winter: Boria Sax
“We poetically construct our identity as human beings, together with our values, largely through reciprocal relationships with animals. They provide us with essential points of reference, as well as illustrations of the qualities that we may choose to emulate or avoid in ourselves. Any major change in our relationships with animals, individual or collective, reverberates profoundly in our character as human beings, in ways that go far beyond immediately pragmatic concerns. When a species becomes extinct, something perishes in the human soul as well.”
Art for Winter – Part II of IV: Don Oelze (American, contemporary)
Below – “Bitter Cold”
A Poem for Today
By Mary Ruefle
The teacher asks a question.
You know the answer, you suspect
you are the only one in the classroom
who knows the answer, because the person
in question is yourself, and on that
you are the greatest living authority,
but you don’t raise your hand.
You raise the top of your desk
and take out an apple.
You look out the window.
You don’t raise your hand and there is
some essential beauty in your fingers,
which aren’t even drumming, but lie
flat and peaceful.
The teacher repeats the question.
Outside the window, on an overhanging branch,
a robin is ruffling its feathers
and spring is in the air.
Art for Winter – Part III of IV: Valery Barykin (Russian, contemporary)
Below – “Do Not Distract Driver’s Attention From Motorway”
Musings in Winter: Harley King
“I climb aboard my tricycle and pedal my heart to the stars.”
Art for Winter – Part IV of IV: Sheila Beecham (American, contemporary)
Below- “The Opportunist” (bronze)
A Second Poem for Today
“Like Any Good American”
By Brynn Saito
I bathe my television in total attention I give it my corneas
I give it my eardrums I give it my longing
In return I get pictures of girls fighting and men flying
and women in big houses with tight faces blotting down tears
with tiny knuckles Sometimes my mother calls
and I don’t answer Sometimes a siren sings past the window
and summer air pushes in dripping with the scent
of human sweat But what do I care I’ve given my skin
to the TV I’ve given it my tastes In return it gives me so many
different sounds to fill the silence where the secrets
of my life flash by like ad space for the coming season
Contemporary Russian Art – Part I of II: Alexei Lantsev
In the words of one writer, “Lantsev was born in the city of Krasnodar in 1970. After graduated from V. Surikov Art Institute in Moscow (The Russian Art Academy) in 1996, Lantsev has participated in different solo exhibitions and group exhibitions.”
Below – “Self Discipline”; “Michelangelo’s Girlfriend”; “Physical Training iii”; “Feelings”; “Meditation 2.”
Musings in Winter: Cormac McCarthy
“It’s a life’s work to see yourself for what you really are and even then you might be wrong. And that is something I don’t want to be wrong about.”
Contemporary Russian Art – Part II of II: Dmitry Shorin
In the words of one writer, “Dmitry Shorin’s paintings are immediately recognizable – influenced by photography and referencing mass media images, he paints beautiful young girls almost exclusively. Frequently placing his fragile and ephemeral heroines in the heavens paired with airplanes, his paintings are uncanny. Matte and somewhat drained of colour, Shorin’s images are rife with unease created by a repressed yet ever present psychological eroticism. The girls he paints are constantly observed, their images created for and consumed by consumer society, but Shorin’s presentation of them is them is that of the voyeur, the unseen observer.”
Below – “Analog”; “Mars”; “Nymphea”; “Ornithopter”; “Stripe”; “He Has a Train in an Hour.”
A Third Poem for Today
By T. R. Hummer
After the explosion, no one knew what to do
For the boy who’d stood closest to the abandoned leather briefcase.
By some miracle, he was the only one injured. It erupted
In an incense of sulfur and nails as he made his way
To steal it. Holiness has an aura, everyone knows that,
But why would terrorists bother to murder a thief?
The ethics of this question paralyzed everyone in sight
While the boy, unable to breathe, watched God wandering
The station in a business suit, asking occasional strangers
‘Have you seen my briefcase? There was something urgent in it’.
Musings in Winter: Joy Harjo
“She had horses who were the blue air of the sky.”
Below – John Nieto: “Reflecting Indian”
American Art – Part I of II: Rob Rohm
In the words of one writer, “Bob Rohm has been drawing and painting most of his life. He was first introduced to the power of art at the age of ten when a favorite aunt took him to an exhibition of the French Impressionists. In the years that followed his graduation from the York Academy of Arts, he began a career in the film and video production business. Starting as a camera assistant, he quickly advanced to director, then producer and eventually ran his own production company. The long hours and demands of the business became his priority and eventually forced him to stop painting for nearly ten years. Born and raised in the northeast, Rohm’s return to painting was triggered in the early 1980s when he moved to Texas; the broad vistas and vast sky of the southwest opened up before him. There he found a landscape of stark simplicity and solitary beauty. Rohm began to cut back his production business in order to paint part time, and in a few short years became a full-time artist. Rohm’s style reflects his discovery of the southwestern terrain. Each painting goes beyond mere subject matter and is able to take the viewer on that same journey, a little out of the realm of reality. While not all of his paintings have a southwestern theme, they speak the language of his particular style which evolved with his realization of the southwestern image: razor sharp contrasts and vivid colors.”
Below – “Forgotten Gate”; “All That Glitters”; “Afternoon on Cows”; “Open Range”; “At the Water’s Edge”; “Train Bridge.”
A Fourth Poem for Today
“The Not-Yet Child”
By Joshua Weiner
‘Why won’t you make me now who wants a life
Inside your life’?
I fear you as a thief
Stealing about the orchards of my future,
Green fruit glistening above a starving creature.
‘To increase the coin buried inside yourself’
You need exchange it for an alien wealth.
Wealth being you? I need to spend my hoard
On public conquests of a private world:
Take drugs and chances, love recklessly, and build.
‘I promise I’m your most famous bright adventure.’
My stanzas will collapse, mere rooms in nature. . . .
‘I understand: you dwell on agony,
But there you’ll shape your strongest poem, me’.
Your cry will play the tune ending my work
As health plays boss over the art I serve.
‘Not always helpless, some day I’ll help you,
And you’ll be grateful for what I give to you’.
Fever, high blood pressure, and sleeplessness?
I’ve my beloved to cause me such distress,
And in my distress I find again denial–
If I’m the father how can I stay the child?
‘Make me, and as your face grows old
You’ll find in my face your face taking hold’.
That’s vanity you call posterity.
‘Afraid the future bears what you want to see’?
Of what I could become but might not be.
Musings in Winter: Paulette Jiles
“Above and behind them the Dipper turned on its great handle as if to pour night itself out onto the dreaming continent and each of its seven stars gleamed from between the fitful clouds.”
American Art – Part II of II: Ovanes Berberian
In the words of one writer, “Born in Russian Armenia, Berberian received his primary art education under the guidance of his father who was an important Russian artist, a member of the Armenian Artists’ Society, as well as a theatrical set designer and college art professor.
It was in this environment, studying at his father’s art school, Ovanes achieved a significant portion of his art education. In the summer of 1977, following his father’s death, the young Berberian and his three brothers and mother immigrated to the United States, settling in California.
In Idaho near Bongart, Berberian built his home and studio from which he conducts workshops in the summer. His painting style is easily recognizable by his confident blend of color and brush work as depicted in his dramatic landscapes and still lifes. “One of the shining stars in American art, Ovanes is a nationally renowned teacher and plein aire artist who has been at the forefront of the American art scene for many years.”
Below – “Cabin in the Woods”; “Last Light by the Pond”; “The Old Pier”; “Midday at the Lake”; “Hidden Sun”; “Sunset.”