American Art – Part I of V: Norman Rockwell
Died 8 November 1978 – Norman Rockwell, a painter and illustrator.
“Words are one thing, deeds are quite another.” – Ivan Bunin, Russian poet, novelist, author of “The Village,” and recipient of the 1933 Nobel Prize in Literature “for the strict artistry with which he has carried on the classical Russian traditions in prose writing,” who died 8 November 1953.
Two quotes from the work of Ivan Bunin:
“On the second and the third night there was again a ball — this time in mid-ocean, during a furious storm sweeping over the ocean, which roared like a funeral mass and rolled up mountainous seas fringed with mourning silvery foam. The Devil, who from the rocks of Gibraltar, the stony gateway of two worlds, watched the ship vanish into night and storm, could hardly distinguish from behind the snow the innumerable fiery eyes of the ship. The Devil was as huge as a cliff, but the ship was even bigger, a many-storied, many-stacked giant, created by the arrogance of the New Man with his ancient heart.”
“The middle of the ‘Atlantis’ the warm, luxurious cabins,ining-rooms, halls, shed light and joy, buzzed with the chatter of an elegant crowd, was fragrant with fresh flowers, and quivered with the sounds of a string orchestra. And again amidst that crowd, amidst the brilliance of lights, silks, diamonds, and bare feminine shoulders, a slim and supple pair of hired lovers painfully writhed and at moments convulsively clashed. A sinfully discreet, pretty girl with lowered lashes and hair innocently dressed, and a tallish young man with black hair looking as if it were glued on, pale with powder, and wearing the most elegant patent-leather shoes and a narrow, long-tailed dress coat, a beau resembling an enormous leech. And no one knew that this couple had long since grown weary of shamly tormenting themselves with their beatific love-tortures, to the sound of bawdy-sad music ; nor did any one know of that thing which lay deep, deep below at the very bottom of the dark hold, near the gloomy and sultry bowels of the ship that was so gravely overcoming the darkness, the ocean, the blizzard.”
Here is the Artist Statement of Dutch painter Caroline Westerhout (born 1970): “My work mainly contains oil paintings. Paintings of the human being, in all its being. With feelings, thoughts and emotions. In the same manner as I paint.”
“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.” – John Milton, English poet, polemicist, scholar, civil servant, and author of “Paradise Lost” and “Areopagitica,” who died 8 November 1674.
Some quotes from the work of John Milton:
“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”
“For books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are; nay, they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them.”
“Solitude sometimes is best society.”
“What hath night to do with sleep?”
“I will not deny but that the best apology against false accusers is silence and sufferance, and honest deeds set against dishonest words.”
“Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind.”
“A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.”
From the Music Archives: Bonnie Raitt
“I would rather feel things in extreme than not at all.” – Bonnie Raitt, American blues singer-songwriter and slide guitar player, who was born 8 November 1949.
American Art – Part II of V: Jack Levine
Died 8 November 2010 – Jack Levine, an American Social Realist painter best known for his satires on both modern life and political corruption.
Below – “The Great Society”; “Under the El”; “Carnival at Sunset”; “Election Night”; “Medicine Show”; “Orpheus in Vegas”; “The Arms Brokers”; “String Quartet”; “Finger of Newt.”
8 November 1889 – Montana becomes the 41st U.S. state.
In the words of one writer, “Born in the Czech Republic and now based in the outskirts of New York, Dagmar Hricková has lived her life as somewhat of a nomad, taking inspiration from her ever changing surroundings to create truly conceptual and thought provoking art.
Hricková’s inspiration steers away from ‘the niceties of the world,’ and she has discovered that true beauty, for her, lies tucked away in the edges of society. Dagmar’s work has a phantasm feel to it, with moody landscapes, dark figures and distorted faces. When analysing her paintings there is definitely an overwhelming sense of escapism that is created, which seems to reflect Hricková’s visual objective, as she claims to have no desire to engage with realism in her work.”
From the American Old West: Doc Holliday
Died 8 November 1887 – John Henry “Doc” Holliday, an American gambler, gunfighter, lawman, and dentist of the American Old West who, in the words of one historian, “is usually remembered for his friendship with Wyatt Earp and his involvement in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.”
Above – Holliday’s dental school graduation photo taken in 1872, when he was twenty years old.
Below – An autographed photo of Holliday taken in 1879 in Prescott, Arizona; the headstone of Doc Holliday’s grave in Pioneer/Linwood Cemetery overlooking Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
American Art – Part III of V: Gloria DeArcangelis
Here is the Artist Statement of painter Gloria DeArcangelis: “To me there is a wonderful presence in the place where darkness meets illumination. It is a visual place but it’s also a psychological place for me. I use layers of transparent pigments to create shadows that the body seems to be receding into. I also use thin layers of more opaque colors to create the illusion of the form being illuminated as it emerges from the shadows. I use shadows and light to refer to a liminal moment, the threshold of a response or of an awareness. In my paintings the tension of light and dark is both method as well as metaphor.”
A Poem for Today
By Dean Young
Then I realized I hadn’t secured the boat.
Then I realized my friend had lied to me.
Then I realized my dog was gone
no matter how much I called in the rain.
All was change.
Then I realized I was surrounded by aliens
disguised as orthodontists having a convention
at the hotel breakfast bar.
Then I could see into the life of things,
that systems seek only to reproduce
the conditions of their own reproduction.
If I had to pick between shadows
and essences, I’d pick shadows.
They’re better dancers.
They always sing their telegrams.
Their old gods do not die.
Then I realized the very futility was salvation
in this greeny entanglement of breaths.
Yeah, as if.
Then I realized even when you catch the mechanism,
the trick still works.
Then I came to in Texas
and realized rockabilly would never go away.
Then I realized I’d been drugged.
We were all chasing nothing
which left no choice but to intensify the chase.
I came to handcuffed and gagged.
I came to intubated and packed in some kind of foam.
This too is how ash moves through water.
And all this time the side doors unlocked.
Then I realized repetition could be an ending.
Then I realized repetition could be an ending.
American Art – Part IV of V: Jonathan Janson
Here is how one historian describes the artistry of painter Jonathan Janson (born 1950): “In 1980, Janson put together a group of small, tightly composed interior paintings and suburban landscapes manifestly inspired by Vermeer in which the artist updated the Dutch painter’s motifs of contemporary life.”
Jonathan Janson lives and works in Rome.
A Second Poem for Today
From “A Child’s Calendar,”
By John Updike
The stripped and shapely
The ghosts of her
The ground is hard
As hard as stone.
The year is old
The birds are flown.
American Art – Part V of V: Andrew Wyeth
“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.”- Andrew Wyeth