American Art – Part I of V: Rachel Collins
According to one writer, “Rachel Collins considers herself a realistic painter of nature’s abstract form. Although she grew up in a home in New York State where her mother taught oil painting, design and composition, she did not pursue art on her own until she reached her mid-thirties. By then she had graduated from Middlebury College with a degree in French, obtained a masters degree in library science from the University of Wisconsin, and worked for several years as librarian, archivist and museum curator at the Baha’i World Centre in Haifa, Israel.”
“Risk anything! Care no more for the opinion of others … Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.” – Katherine Mansfield, New Zealand-born British writer, who was born 14 October 1888.
Some quotes from the work of Katherine Mansfield:
“Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can’t build on it; it’s only good for wallowing in.”
“How idiotic civilization is! Why be given a body if you have to keep it shut up in a case like a rare, rare fiddle?”
“The mind I love must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody’s fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.”
“I adore Life. What do all the fools matter and all the stupidity? They do matter but somehow for me they cannot touch the body of Life. Life is marvelous. I want to be deeply rooted in it – to live – to expand – to breathe in it – to rejoice – to share it. To give and to be asked for Love.”
“I always felt that the great high privilege, relief and comfort of friendship, was that one had to explain nothing”
“For the special thrilling quality of their friendship was in their complete surrender. Like two open cities in the midst of some vast plain their two minds lay open to each other. And it wasn’t as if he rode into hers like a conqueror, armed to the eyebrows and seeing nothing but a gay silken flutter–nor did she enter his like a queen walking on soft petals. No, they were eager, serious travelers, absorbed in understanding what was to be seen and discovering what was hidden–making the most of this extraordinary absolute chance which made it possible for him to be utterly truthful to her and for her to be utterly sincere with him.”
“I am treating you as my friend, asking you to share my present minuses in the hope that I can ask you to share my future plusses.”
“Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different. Life would undergo a change of appearance because we ourselves had undergone a change of attitude.”
“When we begin to take our failures non-seriously, it means we are ceasing to be afraid of them.”
“I saw myself driving through Eternity in a timeless taxi.”
“This is not a letter but my arms about you for a brief moment.”
“I think of you often. Especially in the evenings, when I am on the balcony and it’s too dark to write or to do anything but wait for the stars. A time I love. One feels half disembodied, sitting like a shadow at the door of one’s being while the dark tide rises. Then comes the moon, marvelously serene, and small stars, very merry for some reason of their own. It is so easy to forget, in a worldly life, to attend to these miracles.”
“It’s a terrible thing to be alone — yes it is — it is — but don’t lower your mask until you have another mask prepared beneath — as terrible as you like — but a mask.”
“Ach, Tchekov! Why are you dead? Why can’t I talk to you in a big darkish room at late evening—where the light is green from the waving trees outside? I’d like to write a series of Heavens: that would be one.”
“To acknowledge the presence of fear is to give birth to failure.”
“Don’t you think the stairs are a good place for reading letters? I do. One is somehow suspended. One is on neutral ground – not in one’s own world nor in a strange one. They are an almost perfect meeting place. Oh Heavens! How stairs do fascinate me when I think of it. Waiting for people – sitting on strange stairs – hearing steps far above, watching the light playing by itself – hearing – far below a door, looking down into a kind of dim brightness, watching someone come up. But I could go on forever. Must put them in a story though! People come out of themselves on stairs – they issue forth, unprotected.”
“There are many great authors of the past who have survived centuries of oblivion and neglect, but it is still an open question whether they will be able to survive an entertaining version of what they have to say.” – Hannah Arendt, German-American political theorist and author of “The Origins of Totalitarianism” and “The Human Condition,” who was born 14 October 1906.
Some quotes from the work of the brilliant and insightful Hannah Arendt:
“The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any.”
“Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it, and by the same token save it from that ruin which except for renewal, except for the coming of the new and the young, would be inevitable. And education, too, is where we decide whether we love our children enough not to expel them from our world and leave them to their own devices, nor to strike from their hands their chance of undertaking something new, something unforeseen by us, but to prepare them in advance for the task of renewing a common world.”
“Clichés, stock phrases, adherence to conventional, standardized codes of expression and conduct have the socially recognized function of protecting us against reality.”
“Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda.”
“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”
“The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.”
“Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.”
“The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any.”
“There are no dangerous thoughts; thinking itself is dangerous.”
“The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together.”
“Loving life is easy when you are abroad. Where no one knows you and you hold your life in your hands all alone, you are more master of yourself than at any other time”
“The common prejudice that love is as common as ‘romance’ may be due to the fact that we all learned about it first through poetry. But the poets fool us; they are the only ones to whom love is not only a crucial, but an indispensable experience, which entitles them to mistake it for a universal one.”
“Under conditions of tyranny it is far easier to act than to think. ”
“Forgiveness is the only way to reverse the irreversible flow of history.”
“No punishment has ever possessed enough power of deterrence to prevent the commission of crimes.”
“Caution in handling generally accepted opinions that claim to explain whole trends of history is especially important for the historian of modern times, because the last century has produced an abundance of ideologies that pretend to be keys to history but are actually nothing but desperate efforts to escape responsibility.”
“The third world is not a reality, but an ideology.”
“And the distinction between violent and non-violent action is that the former is exclusively bent upon the destruction of the old, and the latter is chiefly concerned with the establishment of something new.”
“The new always happens against the overwhelming odds of statistical laws and their probability, which for all practical, everyday purposes amounts to certainty; the new therefore always appears in the guise of a miracle.”
“Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.”
“When all are guilty, no one is; confessions of collective guilt are the best possible safeguard against the discovery of culprits, and the very magnitude of the crime the best excuse for doing nothing. ”
“The human condition is such that pain and effort are not just symptoms which can be removed without changing life itself; they are the modes in which life itself, together with the necessity to which it is bound, makes itself felt. For mortals, the easy life of the gods would be a lifeless life.”
“The ceaseless, senseless demand for original scholarship in a number of fields, where only erudition is now possible, has led either to sheer irrelevancy, the famous knowing of more and more about less and less, or to the development of a pseudo-scholarship which actually destroys its object. ”
Italian artist Ugo Attardi (1923-2006) spent much of his career living and working in Rome.
14 October 1066 – The Norman-French forces of William II of Normandy defeat the Anglo-Saxon army of Harold II at the Battle of Hastings. The human battle might be long over, but the war between Norman-French Latin and Anglo-Saxon German continues unabated in the English language.
American Art – Part II of V: Michael Mararian
According to one critic, “Rendering traditionally cheerful images and concepts into frightening, yet humorous, tableaus, Michael Mararian often focuses on children as the last bastion of innocence to explore the dark humor behind social and psychological issues. What can on one level be construed as melancholy and cruel, can alternately be viewed as amusing, even charming. He enjoys letting his viewers decide.”
Artist Statement: “My work explores elements of contradiction. I am especially interested in examining how humor and tragedy coexist within our society. In my recent work, I deconstruct the American dream touching upon such topics as gross consumerism, school violence, teenage disappointments, pressures and the slowly growing social isolation that are part of our childhood and adult culture. The use of contradiction is an integral part of my work to magnify the absurdity of any given situation and draw a conflicting reaction from the viewer. Often times these themes are combined using real children as my inspiration from various forms of photography. I give the impression that my subjects are hovering in their environments, skin tones rendered in grey to add to their removed, unearthly state of being. They are part of this vibrant world yet quite alone.
Each work is hand drawn in various paint, drybrush and ink forms, crudely scratched at times for a gritty, textured aesthetic. Inspired by new and old journalistic-style photography, vintage graphics, cabinet cards, as well as retro advertisements and post mortem photography, I spend hours scouring eBay and flea markets to gather the studies for my subjects.”
American Muse – Part I of II: Randall Jarrell
“The blind date that has stood you up: your life.” – Randall Jarrell, American poet, literary critic, children’s author, essayist, and novelist, who died 14 October 1965.
Much of Randall Jarrell’s earliest – and best – poetry focuses on his experiences in the United States Army Air Force during World War II.
It was not dying: everybody died.
It was not dying: we had died before
In the routine crashes– and our fields
Called up the papers, wrote home to our folks,
And the rates rose, all because of us.
We died on the wrong page of the almanac,
Scattered on mountains fifty miles away;
Diving on haystacks, fighting with a friend,
We blazed up on the lines we never saw.
We died like aunts or pets or foreigners.
(When we left high school nothing else had died
For us to figure we had died like.)
In our new planes, with our new crews, we bombed
The ranges by the desert or the shore,
Fired at towed targets, waited for our scores–
And turned into replacements and woke up
One morning, over England, operational.
It wasn’t different: but if we died
It was not an accident but a mistake
(But an easy one for anyone to make.)
We read our mail and counted up our missions–
In bombers named for girls, we burned
The cities we had learned about in school–
Till our lives wore out; our bodies lay among
The people we had killed and never seen.
When we lasted long enough they gave us medals;
When we died they said, ‘Our casualties were low.’
They said, ‘Here are the maps’; we burned the cities.
It was not dying –no, not ever dying;
But the night I died I dreamed that I was dead,
And the cities said to me: ‘Why are you dying?
We are satisfied, if you are; but why did I die?’
“Eighth Air Force”
If, in an odd angle of the hutment,
A puppy laps the water from a can
Of flowers, and the drunk sergeant shaving
Whistles O Paradiso!–shall I say that man
Is not as men have said: a wolf to man?
The other murderers troop in yawning;
Three of them play Pitch, one sleeps, and one
Lies counting missions, lies there sweating
Till even his heart beats: One; One; One.
O murderers! . . . Still, this is how it’s done:
This is a war . . . But since these play, before they die,
Like puppies with their puppy; since, a man,
I did as these have done, but did not die–
I will content the people as I can
And give up these to them: Behold the man!
I have suffered, in a dream, because of him,
Many things; for this last saviour, man,
I have lied as I lie now. But what is lying?
Men wash their hands, in blood, as best they can:
I find no fault in this just man.
American Art – Part III of V: Lee Price
Here is how one writer describes the work of American artist Lee Price: “Lee Price is a figurative painter from New York. She has been painting women and food for over twenty years and continues to address the intersections of food with body image, addiction, and unabating desire.”
American Muse – Part II of II: e. e. cummings
“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” – e. e. cummings, American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright, who was born 14 July 1894.
“i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)”
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
“Who Knows If The Moon’s”
who knows if the moon’s
a balloon, coming out of a keen city
in the sky—filled with pretty people?
(and if you and i should
get into it, if they
should take me and take you into their balloon,
we’d go up higher with all the pretty people
than houses and steeples and clouds:
away and away sailing into a keen
city which nobody’s ever visited, where
Spring) and everyone’s
in love and flowers pick themselves
American Art – Part IV of V: Carole A. Feuerman
According to one critic, “Carole A. Feuerman is acknowledged as one of the world’s most prominent hyperrealist sculptors. Born in Connecticut, raised and trained in New York, Feuerman has had six museum retrospectives to date and has been included in exhibitions at The State Hermitage, The Palazzo Strozzi Foundation, the Kunstmuseum Ahlen and the Circulo de Bellas Artes.
Spanning four decades, Feuerman’s prolific career has developed her reputation across a variety of media. Working in resin, marble and bronze, she has distinguished her skill in each medium by defining and recreating the human condition. Feuerman sculpts life-size, monumental and miniature works, painting them with hundreds of layers before achieving human-like tones. Her resin sculptures encompass her signature trompe-l’oeil technique to construct all clothing and accessories used to achieve her hyperrealist perfection. Eyes, teeth, hair, wrinkles and skin texture are meticulously rendered to give the viewer the impression of a living, breathing human being.”
A Poem for Today
“Sailing to Byzantium,”
By William Butler Yeats
That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.
O sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.
Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.
American Art – Part V of V: Natalie Frank
In the words of one writer, “American painter Natalie Frank (born 1980) earned an M.F.A. in Visual Arts from Columbia University and then continued her studies at the National Academy of Fine Art in Oslo, the New York Academy of Art, The L’Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts in Paris, the Florence Academy of Art, the International School of Art in Todi, Italy, and the Slade School of Art, University College, London.”