American Art – Part I of VI: Richard E. Miller
Here is how one art historian describes painter Richard E. Miller (1875-1943): “One of the many Americans who worked at Giverny during these years (1901-1914), he became a familiar of Frederick Frieseke and together they often met at Monet’s home to paint, critique, and socialize. Miller readily adopted an aesthetic similar to that of Frieseke: wistful maidens relaxing in sun-flecked gardens painted with broken strokes in impressionist colors. Repeated diagonals of figures and furniture generally characterize the patterning of his canvases, a dynamic that strengthens their inherent introspection.”
12 November 1936 – The 1936 Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded to American Eugene O’Neill “for the power, honesty and deep-felt emotions of his dramatic works, which embody an original concept of tragedy.”
Some quotes from the work of Eugene O’Neill:
“I am so far from being a pessimist…on the contrary, in spite of my scars, I am tickled to death at life.”
“None of us can help the things life has done to us. They’re done before you realize it, and once they’re done they make you do other things until at last everything comes between you and what you’d like to be, and you’ve lost your true self forever.”
“Censorship of anything, at any time, in any place, on whatever pretense, has always been and always will be the last resort of the boob and the bigot.”
“It was a great mistake, my being born a man, I would have been much more successful as a seagull or a fish. As it is, I will always be a stranger who never feels at home, who does not really want and is not really wanted, who can never belong, who must be a little in love with death!”
“There is no present or future-only the past, happening over and over again – now.”
“Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace.”
“The fog was where I wanted to be. Halfway down the path you can’t see this house. You’d never know it was here. Or any of the other places down the avenue. I couldn’t see but a few feet ahead. I didn’t meet a soul. Everything looked and sounded unreal. Nothing was what it is. That’s what I wanted—to be alone with myself in another world where truth is untrue and life can hide from itself. Out beyond the harbor, where the road runs along the beach, I even lost the feeling of being on land. The fog and the sea seemed part of each other. It was like walking on the bottom of the sea. As if I had drowned long ago. As if I was the ghost belonging to the fog, and the fog was the ghost of the sea. It felt damned peaceful to be nothing more than a ghost within a ghost.”
“Suppose I was to tell you that it’s just beauty that’s calling me, the beauty of the far off and unknown, the mystery and spell which lures me, the need of freedom of great wide spaces, the joy of wandering on and on—-in quest of the secret which is hidden over there—-beyond the horizon?”
“To hell with the truth! As the history of the world proves, the truth has no bearing on anything. It’s irrelevant and immaterial, as the lawyers say. The lie of a pipe dream is what gives life to the whole misbegotten mad lot of us, drunk or sober.”
“I was set free! I dissolved in the sea, became white sails and flying spray, became beauty and rhythm, became moonlight and the ship and the high dim-starred sky! I belonged, without past or future, within peace and unity and a wild joy, within something greater than my own life, or the life of Man, to Life itself!…And several other times in my life, when I was swimming far out, or lying alone on a beach, I have had the same experience, became the sun, the hot sand, green seaweed anchored to a rock, swaying in the tide. Like a saint’s vision of beatitude. Like the veil of things as they seem drawn back by an unseen hand. For a second you see, and seeing the secret, you are the secret. For a second there is meaning! Then the hand lets the veil fall and you are alone, lost in the fog again, and you stumble on towards nowhere for no good reason.”
“There are unknown forces in nature; when we give ourselves wholly to her, without reserve, she lends them to us; she shows us these forms, which our watching eyes do not see, which our intelligence does not understand or suspect.” – Auguste Rodin, French sculptor, who was born 12 November 1840.
American Art – Part II of VI: Eric Wallis
Here is one writer describing the background of Eric Wallis: “Eric started oil painting at the age of seven painting en plein-air along with his father, Kent R. Wallis. Trekking through mountain forests and rural farmland, the two painted together, scenes of simple, quiet, yet soulful scenery. Eric became a child prodigy at the side of his experienced father.
Many awards followed through Eric’s school years as he continued to find voice in visual clarity. His impressionistic style continued to develop; color and texture the focus of the experience.
Eric received a music scholarship at Utah State University but after teaching a percussion class at a local middle school, he quickly changed direction and embarked upon an education in painting. Eric studied with Adrian Van Suchtelen, an extraordinary figurative artist with traditional discipline at hand. Glen Edwards from Art Center, also with a traditional approach, guided Eric in a loose, impressionistic style. Figure painting was the emphasis at USU. Eric received a BFA in painting in 1992.”
“The foot cannot know
Whether marble or mire
The path it must go
Toward the mind’s desire.” – George Dillon, American poet and recipient of the 1932 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (for “The Flowering Stone”), who was born 12 November 1906.
Again before our ignorant eyes
The beautiful moment blooms and dies.
Here is a mystery as old
As the rock moving under the sands.
We are but children holding hands.
Holding hands, what do we hold?
What do we crush, whose seeds will flower
Beyond the endless arid Hour?
What do we hush, whose echoes chime
Down the long star-drifts of bleak Time?
What can we do but tremble still
And kiss, and call the kiss a kiss,
Having no eloquence for this
Eternity we touch and kill?
Finding her body woven
As if of flame and snow,
I thought, however often
My pulses cease to go,
Whipped by whatever pain
Age or disease appoint,
I shall not be again
So jarred in every joint,
So mute, amazed, and taut,
And winded of my breath,
Beauty being at my throat
More savagely than death.
Let loneliness be mute. Accuse
Only the wind for what you lose,
Only the wind has ever known
Where anything you lost has gone.
It is the wind whose breath shall come
To quench tall-flaming trees and numb
The narrow bones of birds. It is
The wind whose dissipating kiss
Disbands the soft-assembled rose.
It is the wordless wind that knows
Where every kind of beauty goes.
American Art – Part III of VI: Jane Fisher
Artist Statement: “The ideas for my paintings emerge as emotions. My task is to turn those emotions into images. I do this by playing on the viewer’s empathy, sympathy, curiosity and sense of humor. My paintings are figurative, presenting people in varying degrees of self-awareness. I am interested in how people behave alone as well as how they present themselves to others when they want to make a specific impression. These are the two main contexts I have used in exploring this; presenting people in moments of isolation, and presenting them in performance.
Ultimately, the figures are the metaphors for psychological states. Their body language conveys feelings of discomfort and vulnerability, anticipation and trepidation, solitude and melancholy. I seek out the right actors to portray these themes. In this way my work is collaborative. I rely on other people to express my ideas. In the end, however, it is my emotions that I want to convey through them.”
From the Music Archives: Neil Young
“If you follow every dream, you might get lost.” – Neil Young, Canadian singer-songwriter, who was born 12 November 1945.
In the words of one writer, “New Zealand born artist Mark Cross is considered one of the South Pacific’s leading contemporary realist painters. Based in the central Polynesian island of Niue, Mark Cross works are sought after by collectors from the Pacific Rim and further afield. Employing landscapes often with people in them, Mark Cross works are well known for imparting a social message that speaks of mankind’s delinquent abuse of his home the Earth. They speak of the world but are intrinsically Pacific. Mark Cross exhibits regularly in New Zealand.”
The Sound of Autumn
“A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made. The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air.” – Eric Sloane
American Art – Part IV of VI: Robin Freedenfeld
In the words of one writer, “Robin Freedenfeld was raised in Verona, New Jersey. She studied art at Rochester Institute of Technology, graduating in 1973 with a major focus in Etching and Lithography.
After college, Robin opened three printmaking workshops: the first in Boston, then Chicago, and a third in Northampton, Massachusetts. In Northampton Robin met many artists that influenced her decision to paint. In 1984, following an exhibition of paintings by Robin and a group of friends at the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke, Massachusetts, an article appeared in ‘The New England Monthly’ entitled ‘Fertile Valley’ in which the author coined the phrase ‘Valley Realists’ to describe this group of five painters. Robin has continued to paint in the realist tradition. Although not a photo realist, her paintings are a combination of photography, imagination, and painting directly from life.”
A Poem for Today
By Frank Stanford
Like seven birds sleeping on the plateau
Overlooking the shipwreck of love, mystery
Of the drunken visitors wandering off
With your wife, men who talk with a bad accent,
The condemned the abandoned, one day of silence,
Two days of silence, dreams shattered and protected,
The more the blossoms the more you suffer.
American Art – Part V of VI: Linda Post
Artist Statement: “My work is always figurative, with a distinct psychological edge. I am intrigued by the very tenuous balance of conscious and unconscious, the conjunction of dreaming and waking states. Many of my paintings take place at twilight or dawn – the most ambiguous times of day, when even the sky is ambivalent about its intentions and the improbable becomes possible. My most recent work, an exploration of the cusp of adolescence and the nature of personal relationships, is both more introspective and less overtly dreamlike than the imagery that has preoccupied me for the last twenty years.
The heightened emotional state of each work gives them an almost prescient quality. There is a sense that something is either in the middle of happening or is about to happen. My paintings are suggestive of feelings that we are familiar with, images that are part of our collective unconscious. The underlying narratives describe our dreams and memories.
I anchor my paintings in the places I know best. I grew up in New England near the ocean, and I have a special predilection for the clear light, sand dunes and salt marshes of islands and the seashore. Much of my adult life has been spent in western Massachusetts, so my work also often includes the rolling hills and sinuous waterways of the Pioneer Valley.”
A Second Poem for Today
“November, Remembering Voltaire,”
By Jane Hirshfield
In the evenings
I scrape my fingernails clean,
hunt through old catalogues for new seed,
oil work boots and shears.
This garden is no metaphor –
more a task that swallows you into itself,
earth using, as always, everything it can.
I lend myself to unpromising winter dirt
with leaf-mold and bulb,
plant into the oncoming cold.
Not that I ever thought the philosopher
meant to be taken literally,
but with no invented God overhead
I conjure a stubborn faith in rotting
that ripens into soil,
in an old corm that flowers steadily each spring –
not symbols but reassurances,
like a mother’s voice at bedtime
reading a long-familiar book, the known words
barely listened to, but bridging
for all the nights of a life
each world to the next.
American Art – Part VI of VI: Miles Cleveland Goodwin
In the words of one critic, “What is the fundamental nature of art if not to elicit feeling, to create a direct line of communication between creator and viewer? In an age of digital manipulation and mass produced imagery, Miles Cleveland Goodwin remains true to his own hand, just as he does to the individual perception of his eye. Goodwin is a superb painter. How seldom today do we refer to work as “painterly”? Yet that so well defines Goodwin, an artist whose classical training underlies his every canvas. Art builds upon its own history, and Goodwin pays homage to the vision of such seemingly disparate painters as Francis Bacon and Andrew Wyeth with a hand not unrelated to the mastery of the German expressionists. Though young, Goodwin’s work has attained what the French call ‘ecriture,’ the unique hallmark that sets an artist apart from all others.”