November Offerings – Part XV: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of VI: Carol Lee Thompson

Carol Lee Thompson earned an MFA from the Maryland College of Art.

“Poetry evokes out of words the resonance of the primordial world.” – Gerhart Hauptmann, German dramatist, novelist, author of “The Weavers,” and recipient of the 1912 Nobel Prize in Literature “primarily in recognition of his fruitful, varied and outstanding production in the realm of dramatic art,” who was born on 15 November 1862.

Some quotes from the work of Gerhart Hauptmann:

“Life is an unbroken chain of discoveries.
“Experience is the basis of poetry.”
“Art is a language, therefore a social function.”
“Every music comes from the heart and should reach the heart again.”
“Power encompasses patience. Impatience speaks about weakness.”

Here is the Artist Statement of Canadian painter Donna Shvil: “Personal involvement with the subject is crucial in placing the subject into the world of my work. The intimate nature of this relationship, and respect for the living subject, are guides for the representational concerns.”

“The mark of a truly civilized man is confidence in the strength and security derived from the inquiring mind.” – Felix Frankfurter, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, who was born on 15 November 1882.

Frankfurter was considered a liberal and advocated progressive legislation, but he was also a firm believer in judicial restraint.

Some quotes from the work of Felix Frankfurter:

“The real rulers in Washington are invisible, and exercise power from behind the scenes.”
“To some lawyers, all facts are created equal.”
“It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have been forged in controversies involving not very nice people.”
“Old age and sickness bring out the essential characteristics of a man.”
“All our work, our whole life is a matter of semantics, because words are the tools with which we work, the material out of which laws are made, out of which the Constitution was written. Everything depends on our understanding of them.”
“As a member of this court I am not justified in writing my private notions of policy into the Constitution, no matter how deeply I may cherish them or how mischievous I may deem their disregard.”
“Freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to the end of achieving a free society.”
“Gratitude is one of the least articulate of the emotions, especially when it is deep.”
“I don’t like a man to be too efficient. He’s likely to be not human enough.”
“It is a wise man who said that there is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals.”
“It simply is not true that war never settles anything.”
“Judicial judgment must take deep account of the day before yesterday in order that yesterday may not paralyze today.”
“Litigation is the pursuit of practical ends, not a game of chess.”
“The history of liberty has largely been the history of the observance of procedural safeguards.”
“The ultimate touchstone of constitutionality is the Constitution itself and not what we have said about it.”
“We forget that the most successful statesmen have been professionals. Lincoln was a professional politician.”
“Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late.”

American Art – Part II of VI: Mark Spencer

In the words of one critic, ”Initially, Mark Spencer’s dream-like paintings might seem to be examples of pure fantasy, seductive in their rich suggestiveness. A closer look, however, reveals that there is more in these works than first meets the psyche. Compelling as they are – once seen, who can easily forget Bride of Fear? – these visions would not be convincing without the solid mastery of painting technique that animates them. Spencer’s genius is the ability to balance the means with ends in order to create a visual experience that is as stimulating to the conscious and unconscious mind as it is to the eye.
Mark Spencer is acutely aware of history of art, and it is fascinating to notice how he reanimates the past in a way that gives extraordinary urgency to his visions. Although the artist has allowed his work to be called ‘neo-classical surrealism,’ he has fortunately for us, avoided the pathetic and vitiated notion of Surrealism bequeathed to us by Salvatore Dali. Instead, Spencer has hone back to the late nineteenth-century symbolic roots of Surrealism to build his own robust and evocative worlds.”

“It is quite cruel that a poet cannot wander through his regions of enchantment without having a critic, forever, like the old man of the sea, upon his back.” – Marianne Moore, American poet and recipient of the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and the Bollingen Prize (for “Collected Poems”), who was born on 15 November 1887.

“A Graveyard”

Man, looking into the sea—
taking the view from those who have as much right to it as you have it to yourself—
it is human nature to stand in the middle of a thing
but you cannot stand in the middle of this:
the sea has nothing to give but a well excavated grave.
The firs stand in a procession—each with an emerald turkey-foot at the top—
reserved as their contours, saying nothing;
repression, however, is not the most obvious characteristic of the sea;
the sea is a collector, quick to return a rapacious look.
There are others besides you who have worn that look—
whose expression is no longer a protest; the fish no longer investigate them
for their bones have not lasted;
men lower nets, unconscious of the fact that they are desecrating a grave,
and row quickly away—the blades of the oars
moving together like the feet of water-spiders as if there were no such thing as death.
The wrinkles progress upon themselves in a phalanx—beautiful under networks of foam,
and fade breathlessly while the sea rustles in and out of the seaweed;
the birds swim through the air at top speed, emitting cat-calls as heretofore—
the tortoise-shell scourges about the feet of the cliffs, in motion beneath them
and the ocean, under the pulsation of light-houses and noise of bell-buoys,
advances as usual, looking as if it were not that ocean in which dropped things are bound to sink—
in which if they turn and twist, it is neither with volition nor consciousness.


I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all
this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
discovers in
it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
they are
useful. When they become so derivative as to become
the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand: the bat
holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf
a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse that
feels a
flea, the base-
ball fan, the statistician–
nor is it valid
to discriminate against ‘business documents and

school-books’; all these phenomena are important. One must
make a distinction
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the
result is not poetry,
nor till the poets among us can be
‘literalists of
the imagination’–above
insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, ‘imaginary gardens with real toads in them’, shall
we have
it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness and
that which is on the other hand
genuine, you are interested in poetry.

In the words of one writer, “Eugene Balakshin was born in 1962 in Saransk, Russia. He studied in Saransk Art College, at M. P. Shanin’s art studio. He is a member of the Union of Artists of Russia since 1991.
The paintings of artist have deep and philosophical character of Russian school of painting. His works are presented in the private collections in France, England, Holland, Spain, Switzerland, Japan and Russia.”

From the Music Archives: Petula Clark

Born 15 November 1932 – Petula Clark, an English singer, songwriter, and actress.

In the words of one critic, “Tone Aanderaa, a graduate fine arts student at Pratt Institute, heads to the fjords of her native Norway every summer, where she works as a salmon fisherman, casting a net from her rowboat every morning to earn money to pay her $10,000 tuition. Not surprisingly, her paintings are highly evocative of the rhythms of the natural world.
Miss Aanderaa plans to return to Norway after graduation. ‘There’s too much country in me,’ she explains in her second-floor studio at Pratt one morning, the air redolent of linseed oil and turpentine. ‘In New York, you forget the cycles, the particular way the seasons change. I’m a northern person. I feel very tied to that particular area of the world.’
Norway offers a more independent vantage point, a place removed from the frenzied world of the New York or European gallery scenes. ‘It’s outside, which feels like freedom,’’ she explains. ‘Still, the prospect of returning is not without its conflict. In many ways it’s harder to paint in the country, because a lot of painting comes from questioning the outside. I worry about that.’”

American Art – Part III of VI: Thomas John Carlson

Artist Statement: “These paintings are a type of visual memoir in which I document moments in my life personally significant to me. Similar to pages of a journal, these paintings record my reflections on certain events and my relationships with people I know. I habitually photograph everyday events with hundreds of disposable images. While rapidly cycling through them, I look for elements of true sincerity. My final image is composed of elements from various sources, and through paint gains value over the initial disposable imagery. If a viewer believes that an image is not contrived, they are better able to sympathize with its subject matter. These paintings are honest reflections of myself ever changing, sometimes very literal, sometimes emblematic, and always open to interpretation.”

15 November 1806 – Explorer Zebulon Pike first sights the mountain that would bear his name – Pike’s Peak.

Above – Zebulon Pike.
Below – A field near Genoa, Colorado, with Pike’s Peak in the distance. This might not be an impressive photograph, but it was taken at the place on Interstate 70 West where Pike’s Peak first comes into view, thus signifying to travelers that their wearisome transit across the vast and featureless plains is nearing an end.

American Art – Part IV of VI: Georgia O’Keeffe

“I hate flowers—I paint them because they’re cheaper than models and they don’t move.” – Georgia O’Keeffe, American artist, who was born on 15 November 1887.

Below – “Jimson Weed”; “Ram’s Head, Blue Morning Glory”; “Oriental Poppies”; “Summer Days”; “Black Mesa Landscape/Out Back of Marie’s II”; “Rust Red Hills”; “White Shell with Red.”

“The more people have time to experience the joys of creativity, the less they will be consumers, especially of mass-produced culture. I see that as a kind of new wealth that counts for more than owning material things. I also see art as something people will do rather than consume, and do it as a natural part of their lives; creative endeavors are a form of profound spiritual satisfaction.” – Theodore Roszak, American scholar, professor, and author of “The Making of a Counter-Culture: Reflections on the Technocratic Society & Its Youthful Opposition” and “Where the Wasteland Ends: Politics and Transcendence in Postindustrial Society,” who was born 15 November 1933.

Some quotes from the work of Theodore Roszak:

“Nature composes some of her loveliest poems for the microscope and the telescope.”
“It may, after all, be the bad habit of creative talents to invest themselves in pathological extremes that yield remarkable insights but no durable way of life for those who cannot translate their psychic wounds into significant art or thought.”
“The blood is our strength, for it is the power of the heavens and the Earth within us.”
“Deprived of bread or the equal benefits of the commonwealth, the person shrivels. Obviously. And that is a clear line to fight on. But when the transcendent energies waste away, then too the person shrivels–though far less obviously. Their loss is suffered in privacy and bewildered silence; it is easily submerged in affluence, entertaining diversions, and adjustive therapy. Well fed and fashionably dressed, surrounded by every manner of mechanical convenience and with our credit rating in good order, we may even be ashamed to feel we have any problem at all.”

In the words of one writer, “Jason Benjamin was born in Melbourne in 1971 and had a fairly peripatetic childhood. Moving from Sydney to the USA to Mexico and returning to Sydney for high school. At 16 he applied and received a scholarship that took him to New York, first to The Stony Brook School to complete a diploma and from there to Pratt Institute located in Brooklyn to focus solely on Art.
From his first group show in downtown Manhattan in 1989 and into 2011 he has had over 40 solo shows in Australia, Tokyo, London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Rome.”

15 November 1941 – The Cow Palace opens in Daly City, California, on the city’s border with San Francisco.

I don’t understand why a bunch of bovines deserves to have a Palace built for them. Perhaps cows are sacred in San Francisco, as are cable cars, Rice-A-Roni, youthful but generally worthless technocrats, and hippies.

American Art – Part V of VI: Barbara Kacicek

In the words of one writer, “With a BFA in Drawing and Painting (Kutztown University, Pennsylvania, USA), artist Barbara Kacicek has exhibited in numerous museum and invitational exhibitions including ‘Getting Real: 20th Century American Realism from the Philip Desind Collection’ and most recently ‘Contemporary Imaginings: the Howard A. and Judith Tullman Collection.’ Barbara’s chief influences are the Old and Modern Masters, the sky (clouds, stars, wind, phases of the moon), the quality and color of shifting light, walking, standing still, the creative pursuits of her husband and daughter, the poetry of singer-songwriters, day dreams, night dreams, the human figure, fruit, water, her hands.”

A Poem for Today

“How Rare a Really Beautiful Hand Is Now, Since the Harp Has Gone Out of Fashion,”
By Amy Key

Moisturizer is important to me like a car is important.
I’ll never own a car and skin is incidentally mine.
Truth is, skin seems to manage pretty well on its own.
I only travel in cars to sing to the radio.

My skin is such a brute! It needs a regime!
I need a drink. My car and my skin need a drink. I want to say
ain’t you a cool glass of water. My skin is so dull
and I have no car. My eyes, however, are ritzy.

I favor the non-abrasive. My cult product
is an anti-aging self-emollient. More often
this is new pajamas. But pajamas need multi-talents!
I’m not yet old-old. Thinking of crystal decanters

makes me feel young, they are inscrutable adulthood.
My skin can’t be so bad — sleep is like a drink
and my controls are set to bed. This is my mitigation
against stress, stern weather, assorted irritations.

Being ravaged is my own fault! Proper living
requires routine, tiny adjustments that make life better.
I’m making plans with no muscle to them.
Sleep is no artificial skin, despite its gauzy potential.

Rose water — by the by I’d rather drink it
as the hokey pendulum swings.
I’m looking for something foolproof, aplomb
that withstands the interrogating nude.


American Art – Part VI of VI: Charles Williams

Artist Statement: I explore the relationship between human emotions and the natural environment. These parallel perspectives are the basis for my landscapes channeled onto canvas. Often, it’s my perception that
I feel compelled to paint a specific landscape. These feelings inspire me to capture honest moments,
showing others a glimpse of what’s beneath the surface.”

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