American Art – Part I of IV: Ronnie Landfield
Born 9 January 1947 – Ronnie Landfield, an American abstract painter.
“One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, and compassion.” – Simone de Beauvoir, French writer, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist, social theorist, and author of “The Mandarins” and “The Second Sex,” who was born 9 January 1908.
Some quotes from the work of Simone de Beauvoir:
“What an odd thing a diary is: the things you omit are more important than those you put in.”
“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.”
“I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for truth – and truth rewarded me.”
“On the day when it will be possible for woman to love not in her weakness but in her strength, not to escape herself but to find herself, not to abase herself but to assert herself–on that day love will become for her, as for man, a source of life and not of mortal danger.”
“If you live long enough, you’ll see that every victory turns into a defeat.”
“Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day.”
“Man is defined as a human being and a woman as a female — whenever she behaves as a human being she is said to imitate the male.”
“It is in the knowledge of the genuine conditions of our lives that we must draw our strength to live and our reasons for living.”
“I wish that every human life might be pure transparent freedom.”
“The body is not a thing, it is a situation: it is our grasp on the world and our sketch of our project.”
“Capabilities are clearly manifested only when they have been realized.”
Here is how one writer describes the artistry of Dutch painter Peter Vaz Nunes (born 1955): “Since his childhood, Vaz has been intrigued by the works of the 17th-century masters. From the age of sixteen, he has drawn and painted portraits and landscapes, originally working with pencil and pastel.”
From the Music Archives: – Part I of III: Joan Baez
“Action is the antidote to despair.” – Joan Baez, American folk singer, songwriter, musician, and activist, who was born 9 January 1941.
From the Music Archives: – Part II of III Crystal Gayle
Born 9 January 1951 – Crystal Gayle, an award-winning country music singer.
From the Music Archives: – Part III of III: The Beatles
9 January 1965 – The “Beatles ’65” album reaches number one on the popular music charts and remains there for nine weeks.
In the words of one critic, “Judy Drew (born 1951) is one of Australia’s most talented and exciting female artists, having a loyal and devoted following with a history of opening night sell out exhibitions. Drew’s images are infused with an impressionist sensibility towards colour and form and being a colourist work’s her medium of pastel to new limits. Drew’s paintings speak for themselves. The sensitive and intimate portrayal of her subjects will no doubt further cement her growing reputation as one of Australia’s leading traditional artists.”
9 January 1954 – The Bollingen Prize for poetry is awarded to Leonie Adams (shared with Louise Bogan).
“Alas, Kind Element!”
Then I was sealed, and like the wintering tree
I stood me locked upon a summer core;
Living, had died a death, and asked no more.
And I lived then, but as enduringly,
And my heart beat, but only as to be.
Ill weathers well, hail, gust and cold I bore,
I held my life as hid, at root, in store:
Thus I lived then, till this air breathed on me.
Till this kind air breathed kindness everywhere,
There where my times had left me I would stay.
Then I was staunch, I knew nor yes nor no;
But now the wishful leaves have thronged the air.
My every leaf leans forth upon the day;
Alas, kind element! which comes to go.
9 January 1954 – The Bollingen Prize for poetry is awarded to Louise Bogan (shared with Leonie Adams).
To me, one silly task is like another.
I bare the shambling tricks of lust and pride.
This flesh will never give a child its mother,—
Song, like a wing, tears through my breast, my side,
And madness chooses out my voice again,
Again. I am the chosen no hand saves:
The shrieking heaven lifted over men,
Not the dumb earth, wherein they set their graves.
9 January 1979 – The Bollingen Prize for poetry is awarded to W. S. Merwin.
“The Speed of Light”
So gradual in those summers was the going
of the age it seemed that the long days setting out
when the stars faded over the mountains were not
leaving us even as the birds woke in full song and the dew
glittered in the webs it appeared then that the clear morning
opening into the sky was something of ours
to have and keep and that the brightness we could not touch
and the air we could not hold had come to be there all the time
for us and would never be gone and that the axle
we did not hear was not turning when the ancient car
coughed in the roofer’s barn and rolled out echoing
first thing into the lane and the only tractor
in the village rumbled and went into its rusty
mutterings before heading out of its lean-to
into the cow pats and the shadow of the lime tree
we did not see that the swallows flashing and the sparks
of their cries were fast in the spokes of the hollow
wheel that was turning and turning us taking us
all away as one with the tires of the baker’s van
where the wheels of bread were stacked like days in calendars
coming and going all at once we did not hear
the rim of the hour in whatever we were saying
or touching all day we thought it was there and would stay
it was only as the afternoon lengthened on its
dial and the shadows reached out farther and farther
from everything that we began to listen for what
might be escaping us and we heard high voices ringing
the village at sundown calling their animals home
and then the bats after dark and the silence on its road
American Art – Part II of IV: Kathleen Morris
Artist Statement: “The imagery in my work has come to me, as much as I have called it out of that ‘vast silence’ of collectivity. The human figure holds a passionate centrality in my painting and has led me to place the archetypal figures in a setting that floats freely in time and space.”
A Poem for Today
By Rachel Sherwood
I poured a whiskey and soda
watching the tree outside dissolve:
light going backward pushed to corners
to the white sliver of wood
around the door.
Where was that river seething with light?
I recall the banks menaced by wasps
swollen on summer sap, a cement hollow
stuck with their strange cradles
a woozy stench of damp clay
the blunt poison of water snakes.
I do remember someone
close warm flesh pushed to the sand
the ocean a dark noise
echoing gulls and a wail of forlorn love
moonlight like yellowed keys
on his antique piano
music across the water our song
tides pulled awful and endless
as the spine of memory.
The light is lost
my glass is hollow:
the door is luminous
like a firefly at midnight.
A Second Poem for Today
By Jeredith Merrin
The divorced mother and her divorcing
daughter. The about-to-be ex-son-in-law
and the ex-husband’s adopted son.
The divorcing daughter’s child, who is
the step-nephew of the ex-husband’s
adopted son. Everyone cordial:
the ex-husband’s second wife
friendly to the first wife, warm
to the divorcing daughter’s child’s
great-grandmother, who was herself
long ago divorced. Everyone
grown used to the idea of divorce.
Almost everyone has separated
from the landscape of a childhood.
Collections of people in cities
are divorced from clean air and stars.
Toddlers in day care are parted
from working parents, schoolchildren
from the assumption of unbloodied
daylong safety. Old people die apart
from all they’ve gathered over time,
and in strange beds. Adults
grow estranged from a God
evidently divorced from History;
most are cut off from their own
histories, each of which waits
like a child left at day care.
What if you turned back for a moment
and put your arms around yours?
Yes, you might be late for work;
no, your history doesn’t smell sweet
like a toddler’s head. But look
at those small round wrists,
that short-legged, comical walk.
Caress your history–who else will?
Promise to come back later.
Pay attention when it asks you
simple questions: Where are we going?
Is it scary? What happened? Can
I have more now? Who is that?
Below – “Le Divorce,” by Sierra Bailey.
American Art – Part III of IV: Andrew Hem
Here is how one critic describes the artistry of Cambodian-American painter Andrew Hem: “Andrew Hem’s introspective, otherworldly paintings explore realities one step away from our everyday waking life. What if our thoughts flickered across the surface of our skin like ephemeral silent movies? What if spirits walked among us, trying to find their path? What if there were no racism, and even the most outlandish people were accepted? What if the children of Andrew’s native land had been allowed to live in peace and thrive?
Born during his parents’ flight from Cambodia in the wake of the Khmer Rouge genocide, Andrew grew up poised in the balance between two cultures — the gentle animistic society of his Khmer ancestors, and the dynamic urban arts of the tough Los Angeles neighborhood where his family eventually came to rest.
Fascinated by graffiti at an early age, he honed his skills with graphics and composition on the walls of the city before following a passion for figure drawing to a degree in illustration from Art Center College of Design. Working in gouache, oil and acrylic, he weaves atmospheric, richly textured narratives in a vivid palette of twilight blues enlivened by swaths of deep red and splashes of golden light. His haunting impressions of culture and landscape evoke the life of the spirit through the visionary manifestation of memories and dreams.”
A Third Poem for Today
“An Afternoon at the Beach,”
By Edgar Bowers
I’ll go among the dead to see my friend.
The place I leave is beautiful: the sea
Repeats the winds’ far swell in its long sound,
And, there beside it, houses solemnly
Shine with the modest courage of the land,
While swimmers try the verge of what they see.
I cannot go, although I should pretend
Some final self whose phantom eye could see
Him who because he is not cannot change.
And yet the thought of going makes the sea,
The land, the swimmers, and myself seem strange,
Almost as strange as they will someday be.
A Fourth Poem for Today
“A New Law”
By Greg Delanty
Let there be a ban on every holiday.
No ringing in the new year.
No fireworks doodling the warm night air.
No holly on the door. I say
let there be no more.
For many are not here who were here before.
American Art – Part IV of IV: Ian Hornak
Born 9 January 1944 – Ian Hornak, an American painter, draughtsman, sculptor, and one of the founding artists of the Hyperrealist and Photorealist art movements.
Below (left to right) – “Marcia Sewing, Variation III”; “Hannah Tillich’s Mirror: Rembrandt’s Three Trees Transformed into The Expulsion From Eden” ; “Asmodeus”; “Home of the South Wind”; “Golden Sunrise: The Bay in Winter”; “Echo Lake Loses Narcissus.”