January Offerings – Part XXVI: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of III: Michael Bartholomew

Artist Statement: “My philosophy towards still life painting is to say more with less with simplistic arrangements and the use of organic and inanimate objects.
To me, art is the vehicle that transcends through time, what we love, feel, and experience about this life we live. It represents every expression of humanity, good bad, or indifferent. It is not to be taken for granted or dismissed as something that is simply just there for the taking. But instead, art is to be respected because it tells the truth and reveals the soul of its creator.”
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From the Music Archives: Elvis Presley

26 January 1961 – Elvis Presley’s “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” reaches #1 on American popular music charts.

Died 26 January 1824 – Théodore Géricault, an influential French painter and lithographer.

Below (left to right) – “The Raft of the Medusa”; “The Derby at Epsom”; “Portrait of a Kleptomaniac”; “Portrait of a Demented Woman”; “Portrait of Laura Bro”; “The Capture of a Wild Horse.”
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“As science pushes forward, ignorance and superstition gallop around the flanks and bite science in the rear with big dark teeth.” – Philip Jose Farmer, American author best known for his award-winning science fiction and fantasy works, who was born 26 January 1918.

Some quotes from the work of Philip Jose Farmer:

“The universe is a big place, perhaps the biggest.”
“These people who expect to be saints in heaven, though they were not on Earth, have ignored the wisdom of the founders of the great religions. This wisdom is that the kingdom of heaven is within you and that you do not go to heaven unless you are already in it. The magic must be wrought by you and you alone. God has no fairy wand to tap the pig and turn it into a swan.
People ignore this. And those who believe in sinners burning in hell are, perhaps, not so much concerned with going to heaven as with being sure that sinners-–others-–roast forever in the flames.”
“Dullard: Someone who looks up a thing in the encyclopedia, turns directly to the entry, reads it, and then closes the book.”
“It was the essence of life to disbelieve in death for one’s self, to act as if life would continue forever. And life had to act also as if little issues were big ones. To take a realistic attitude toward life and death meant that one lapsed into unreality. Into insanity. It was ironic that the only way to keep one’s sanity was to ignore that one was in an insane world or to act as if the world were sane.”
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Russian painter Oxana Zaika (born 1969) lives and works in Paris.
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“What I desire of a poem is a clear understanding of motive, and a just evaluation of feeling A poem in the first place should offer us a new perception…bringing into being a new experience Verse is more valuable than prose for its rhythms are faster and more highly organised and lead to greater compexity.” – Yvor Winters, American poet and literary critic, who died 25 January 1968.

“The Slow Pacific Swell”

Far out of sight forever stands the sea, 

Bounding the land with pale tranquillity. 

When a small child, I watched it from a hill 

At thirty miles or more. The vision still 

Lies in the eye, soft blue and far away: 

The rain has washed the dust from April day; 

Paint-brush and lupine lie against the ground; 

The wind above the hill-top has the sound 

Of distant water in unbroken sky; 

Dark and precise the little steamers ply- 

Firm in direction they seem not to stir. 

That is illusion. The artificer 

Of quiet, distance holds me in a vise 

And holds the ocean steady to my eyes.

Once when I rounded Flattery, the sea 

Hove its loose weight like sand to tangle me 

Upon the washing deck, to crush the hull; 

Subsiding, dragged flesh at the bone. The skull
Felt the retreating wash of dreaming hair. 

Half drenched in dissolution, I lay bare. 

I scarcely pulled myself erect; I came 

Back slowly, slowly knew myself the same. 

That was the ocean. From the ship we saw 

Gray whales for miles: the long sweep of the jaw, 

The blunt head plunging clean above the wave. 

And one rose in a tent of sea and gave 

A darkening shudder; water fell away; 

The whale stood shining, and then sank in spray.

A landsman, I. The sea is but a sound. 

I would be near it on a sandy mound, 

And hear the steady rushing of the deep 

While I lay stinging in the sand with sleep. 

I have lived inland long. The land is numb. 

It stands beneath the feet, and one may come 

Walking securely, till the sea extends 

Its limber margin, and precision ends. 

By night a chaos of commingling power, 

The whole Pacific hovers hour by hour. 

The slow Pacific swell stirs on the sand, 

Sleeping to sink away, withdrawing land, 

Heaving and wrinkled in the moon, and blind; 

Or gathers seaward, ebbing out of mind.
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In the words of one art critic, “Born in 1963 in Sichuan, China, Pang Maokun received an MA from the Sichuan Arts Institute in 1988. Pang frequently shows work in major exhibitions and has held seven solo exhibitions. Pang showed work overseas as early as the 1980s and has taken part in academic visits in Paris and Amsterdam which provided further creative stimulus
Pang Maokun is not the type of intellectual who seeks social reform or the salvation of mankind or the society. He is more concerned with his own independent spiritual exploration and artistic creation, adopting an attitude of benign indifference to the dramatic changes in social life and to the prevailing cultural mediocrity. While keeping a distance from the daily life, Maokun concentrates in the perfection of his own character and in his artistic exploration – a way of spiritual self-salvation. Exactly in this kind of dogged spiritual pursue, we sense the independence of Chinese intellectual in this era of changing urban culture.”
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American Art – Part II of III: Brad Slaugh

Artist Statement: ”I work in several ways, all of them representational but not strictly realist, with an emphasis on immediate response and tactile exploration of form and color.
Many artists have influenced my work from el Greco, Caravaggio and Egon Schiele to more recent artists like Alice Neel, Eric Fischl and David Hockney.”
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From the American History Archives: Rocky Mountain National Park

26 January 1915 – President Woodrow Wilson signs the bill creating Rocky Mountain National Park.

Below – The Big Thompson River on the east side of the park; Hallett Peak (left); Longs Peak seen from the Dream Lake trail; Grand Lake; view from Bear Lake; Ouzel Falls.
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Lluis Sogorb is a Spanish wildlife artist and illustrator.
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A Poem for Today

“Evening Hawk,”
by Robert Penn Warren

From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through
Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds,
Out of the peak’s black angularity of shadow, riding
The last tumultuous avalanche of
Light above pines and the guttural gorge,
The hawk comes.

His wing
Scythes down another day, his motion
Is that of the honed steel-edge, we hear
The crashless fall of stalks of Time.

The head of each stalk is heavy with the gold of our error.

Look! Look! he is climbing the last light
Who knows neither Time nor error, and under
Whose eye, unforgiving, the world, unforgiven, swings
Into shadow.

Long now,
The last thrush is still, the last bat
Now cruises in his sharp hieroglyphics. His wisdom
Is ancient, too, and immense. The star
Is steady, like Plato, over the mountain.

If there were no wind we might, we think, hear
The earth grind on its axis, or history
Drip in darkness like a leaking pipe in the cellar.
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American Art – Part III of III: Daniel Bilmes

In the words of one writer, “Daniel Bilmes blends his unique family history with personal experiences around the world to create a lasting, impressionable body of work.
Semyon Bilmes, his father, attended the exclusive Russian Soviet Academy before immigrating to the United States in 1975 to attend the prestigious Parsons Academy in New York. There he met and fell in love with his future wife Alla, as she studied alongside such notable classmates as Mark Jacobs and Isaac Mizrahi at Parson’s School of Fashion Design.
Daniel began his lifelong artistic education as an eight year old at The Bilmes Art School in Southern Oregon under Semyon’s tutelage. The youngest student at his father’s school, Daniel displayed a natural talent and sensitivity for the medium while rapidly developing the awareness and focus needed to create meaningful art. Daniel, though younger than many of his peers, rapidly rose to become one of his father’s most trusted and able instructors.
Throughout his life Daniel has immersed himself in different cultures all over the world, acquiring inspiration, lifelong influence from such masters as Rafael, llya Repin, Ingres, Lawrence, Alma-Tadema, and Rembrandt, as well as an innate understanding of the lives and places he reinvents on canvas.
Daniel currently spends his time painting on Maui’s north shore. His studio, which he personally designed and helped build, is a beautiful space bathed in north light. The beautiful sunsets, exotic plant and wildlife, and serenity of the ocean, combined with Hawaii’s sublime landscape, provide Daniel an ideal setting to pursue his artistic ambitions.”
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