Sentient in Seattle – 11 June 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 11 June 1925 – William Styron, an American novelist, essayist, author of “Sophie’s Choice,” and recipient of both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.

Some quotes from the work of William Styron:

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”
“‘Someday I will understand Auschwitz.’ This was a brave statement but innocently absurd. No one will ever understand Auschwitz. What I might have set down with more accuracy would have been: ‘Someday I will write about Sophie’s life and death, and thereby help demonstrate how absolute evil is never extinguished from the world.’ Auschwitz itself remains inexplicable. The most profound statement yet made about Auschwitz was not a statement at all, but a response.
The query: ‘At Auschwitz, tell me, where was God?’
And the answer: ‘Where was man?’”
“Depression is a disorder of mood, so mysteriously painful and elusive in the way it becomes known to the self — to the mediating intellect– as to verge close to being beyond description. It thus remains nearly incomprehensible to those who have not experienced it in its extreme mode.”
“The good writing of any age has always been the product of someone’s neurosis, and we’d have a mighty dull literature if all the writers that came along were a bunch of happy chuckleheads.”
“We each devise our means of escape from the intolerable.”
“We’re all in this game together.”

Art for Spring: Gregory Frank Harris (American, contemporary)

Below – “Parasol on the Beach”; “St. Ives Fisherman”; “Water’s Edge”

For Your Information: 11 June is both National Corn on the Cob Day and National German Chocolate Cake Day in the United States.

This Date in Art History: Born 11 June 1776 – John Constable, an English painter.

Below – “Dedham Vale”; “Wivenhoe Park”; “Maria Becknell” (the artist’s wife); “Weymouth Bay”; “Stonehenge.”

Musings in Spring: Phillip Rieff

“To be busy, spirited, and self-confident is a goal that will inspire only those who have resigned the ghosts of older and nobler inspirations.”

This Date in Art History: Born 11 June 1881 – Spiros Xenos, a Greek-Swedish painter.

Below – “Still life with flowers in interior”; “Mother with Child”; “Cafebesokare”; “Flickportratt”; “Oljemalning.”

Worth a Thousand Words: Patagonia, Argentina.

This Date in Art History: Born 11 June 1951 – Yasumasa Morimura, a Japanese painter, photographer, and appropriation artist (an artist who borrows images from other painters).

Below – “Daughter of Art History, Theater B” (chromogenic print); “An Inner Dialogue with Frida Kahlo” (mixed media and photography); “An Inner Dialogue with Frida Kahlo (Will to Live)” (chromatic print); “A Requiem: Vladimir at Night” (inkjet print); “Vermeer Study: Looking Back (Mirror)” (chromatic print on canvas); “Greta Garbo 3” (color film).

A Poem for Today

“The Only Day in Existence”
by Billy Collins

The early sun is so pale and shadowy,
I could be looking up at a ghost
in the shape of a window,
a tall, rectangular spirit
looking down at me in bed,
about to demand that I avenge
the murder of my father.
But the morning light is only the first line
in the play of this day–
the only day in existence–
the opening chord of its long song,
or think of what is permeating
the thin bedroom curtains

as the beginning of a lecture
I will listen to until it is dark,
a curious student in a V-neck sweater,
angled into the wooden chair of his life,
ready with notebook and a chewed-up pencil,
quiet as a goldfish in winter,
serious as a compass at sea,
eager to absorb whatever lesson
this damp, overcast Tuesday
has to teach me,
here in the spacious classroom of the world
with its long walls of glass,
its heavy, low-hung ceiling.

Contemporary American Art – Gaylen Hansen

In the words of one writer, Gaylen Hansen “is an American artist best known for neo-expressionist figurative paintings that feature the flora and fauna of the Palouse, a geographically unusual area in Eastern Washington state where he lives and works, and ‘the Kernal,’ Hansen’s alter-ego frontiersman whose often-perilous adventures are depicted in many of the artist’s canvases.”

Below – “Red Dog and Bird”; “Cowboy and Rock Wall”; “Four Dogs on White Background I”; “Kernal Riding Horse”; “Still Life with Two Blue Tulips”; “Standing Bison.”

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