American Art – Part I of V: Wendy Chidester
Artist Statement: “I love looking for old, worn objects to inspire me to paint. Things that have been replaced and forgotten make great subject matter for my paintings. These objects become the focal point of much of my artwork. I try to bring new life to old objects and evoke memories of days past in each painting. I enjoy making the painting surface as rich and as interesting as the objects themselves, giving each painting a feeling of age, depth, and beauty.”
German Art – Part I of III: Max Ernst
Born 2 April 1891 – Max Ernst, a German painter, sculptor, graphic artist and poet, who was a pioneer in the Dada and Surrealism movements.
German Art – Part II of III: Kerstin Arnold
German Art – Part III of III: Sebastian Walter-Lilienfein
2 April 1917 – Jeannette Rankin (Republican – Montana) begins her term as the first female member of the United States House of Representatives. An ardent pacifist, Rankin was, in the words of one historian, “one of fifty members of Congress who voted against entry into World War I in 1917, and the only member of Congress who voted against declaring war on Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.”
Canadian Art – Part I of III: Charles Daudelin
Died 2 April 2001 – Charles Daudelin, Canadian sculptor and painter.
Below – “Crouching Woman”; “Allegrocube”; “Island Dwellers”; “Odalisque”; “Young Woman at Her Window Sill.”
Canadian Art – Part II of III: Oliver Ray
Canadian Art – Part III of III: Laura den Hertog
“I am drawn to the magical efficacies of language as a political act.” – Anne Waldman, American poet, professor, editor, performer, scholar, and cultural/political activist, who was born 2 April 1945.
Art begins with a lie
The separation is you plus me plus what we make
Look into lightbulb, blink, sun’s in your eye
I want a rare sky
vantage point free from misconception
Art begins with a lie
Nothing to lose, spontaneous rise
of reflection, paint the picture
of a lightbulb, or eye the sun
How to fuel the world, then die
Distance yourself from artfulness
How? Art begins with a lie
The audience wants to cry
when the actors are real & passionate
Look into footlight, then feed back to eye
You fluctuate in an artful body
You try to imitate the world’s glory
Art begins with a lie
That’s the story, sharp speck in the eye.
Died 2 April 2012 – Elizabeth Catlett, an American-born Mexican printmaker and sculptor.
From the Music Archives: Emmylou Harris
“Mediocrity is gonna kill the world before Armageddon ever does.” – Emmylou Harris, American singer-songwriter, musician, and twelve-time recipient of a Grammy Award, who was born 2 April 1947.
Vietnamese Art – Part I of II: Phuong Quoc Tri
Vietnamese Art – Part II of II: Pham Luan
According to one writer, Vietnamese artist Pham Luan “was born in Hanoi in 1954 and graduated from Hanoi’s Teachers Training College. Although he paints a variety of subjects, Pham Luan always returns to the subject of Hanoi, with its scenic location on the banks of the Red River, its lakes and ponds, the clarity of light, verdant greenery, elegant French architecture, and the wealth of its own culture. Engaging Pham Luan’s paintings is like reading a poem. At times, he chooses to remember Hanoi in its past beauty, devoid of the urbanization that is inevitably enveloping the city.”
Nobel Laureate: Nicholas Murray Butler
“America is the best half-educated country in the world.” – Nicholas Murray Butler, American philosopher, diplomat, educator, president of Columbia University, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, who was born 2 April 1862.
Some quotes from Nicholas Murray Butler:
“The one serious conviction that a man should have is that nothing is to be taken too seriously.”
“This desire of knowledge and the wonder which it hopes to satisfy are the driving power behind all the changes that we, with careless, question-begging inference, call progress.”
“Perhaps we should comprehend these things better were it not for the persistence of the superstition that human beings habitually think. There is no more persistent superstition than this.”
“The epitaphs on tombstones of a great many people should read: ‘Died at thirty, and buried at sixty.’”
“An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less.”
“The words that bore the deathless verse of Homer from bard to a group of fascinated hearers, and with whose fading sounds the poems passed beyond recall, are fixed on the printed page in a hundred tongues. They carry to a million eyes what once could reach but a hundred ears.”
“The mythologies represent genuine reflection and not a little insight. They reveal man’s simple, naïve consciousness busying itself with the explanation of things.”
“An important step, far-reaching in its consequences, was taken when man first sought the cause of change and decay in things themselves and in the laws which appeared to govern things, rather than in powers and forces outside of and beyond them. When the question was first asked, What is it that persists amid all changes and that underlies every change? a new era was about to dawn in the history of man’s wonder and his desire to know.”
“The maxim, ‘An unexamined life is not worth living,’ is the priceless legacy of Socrates to the generations of men who have followed him upon this earth. The beings who have stood on humanity’s summit are those, and only those, who have heard the voice of Socrates across the centuries. The others are a superior kind of cattle.”
“Education is in no small measure preparing the way for the intellectual life and pointing to it. Those who cannot enter in at its gates are doomed, in Leonardo da Vinci’s words, to ‘possess neither the profit nor the beauty of the world.’ For them life must be short, however many its years, and barren, however plentiful its acts. Their ears are deaf to the call of the indwelling Reason, and their eyes are blind to all the meaning and the values of human experience.”
Died 2 April 1956 – Philippo de Pisis, an Italian painter and poet.
“Actors who have tried to play Churchill and MacArthur have failed abysmally because each of those men was a great actor playing himself.” – William Manchester, American author, biographer, historian, combat veteran of the Pacific theater during World War II, and author of “American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964,” “Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War,” and “The Last Lion: William Spencer Churchill” (3 volumes), who was born 1 April 1922.
Some quotes from the work of William Manchester:
“The sum of a million facts is not the truth.”
“(Douglas MacArthur) was a thundering paradox of a man, noble and ignoble, inspiring and outrageous, arrogant and shy, the best of me and the worst of men, the most protean, most ridiculous, and most sublime. No more baffling, exasperating soldier ever wore a uniform. Flamboyant, imperious, and apocalyptic, he carried the plumage of a flamingo, could not acknowledge errors, and tried to cover up his mistakes with sly, childish tricks. Yet he was also endowed with great personal charm, a will of iron, and a soaring intellect. Unquestionably he was the most gifted man-at arms- this nation has produced.”
“But there are no loners. No man lives in a void. His every act is conditioned by his time and his society.”
“It is the definition of an egoist that whatever occupies his attention is, for that reason, important.”
“There was, however, a difference between his (Churchill’s) mood and that of the rest of the cabinet. They felt desperate; he felt challenged.”
“There was nothing green left; artillery had denuded and scarred every inch of ground. Tiny flares glowed and disappeared. Shrapnel burst with bluish white puffs. Jets of flamethrowers flickered and here and there new explosions stirred up the rubble.
While I watched, an American observation plane droned over the Japanese lines, spotting targets for the U.S. warships lying offshore. Suddenly the little plane was hit by flak and disintegrated. The carnage below continued without pause.
Here I was safe, but tomorrow I would be there. In that instant I realized that the worst thing that could happen to me was about to happen to me.”
“One strange feeling, which I remember clearly, was a powerful link with the slain, particularly those that had fallen within the past hour or two. There was so much death around that life seemed almost indecent. Some men’s uniforms were soaked with gobs of blood. The ground was sodden with it. I killed, too. ”
“In many ways Churchill remained a nineteenth-century man, and by no means a common man. He fit the mold of what Henry James called in ‘English Hours’ ‘persons for whom the private machinery of ease has been made to work with extraordinary smoothness.’”
“Today’s Europeans and Americans who reached the age of awareness after midcentury when the communications revolution lead to expectations of instantaneity are exasperated by the slow toils of history. They assume that the thunderclap of cause will be swiftly followed by the lightening bolt of effect.”
American Art – Part II of V: Timothy John-Luke Smith
Here is one critic describing the artistry of painter Timothy John-Luke Smith: “His favorite artists are still the oil painters of the Neo-Classical and French Academic schools and his pastel paintings have the look and feel of an oil painting. Timothy is the founder of his own movement he calls, ‘Neo-Meso Americanism.’ This movement is affected by the recent discoveries of whole Mayan cities from the Late Classic Period, as well as the deciphered glyphs from those same cities. These discoveries are all within the last 15 years! Just as the 18th century archaeologists discovered the ancient Roman Cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum from the volcanic ashes of Mount Vesuvius at 79 AD, the jungles of Central America had lifted their veil from the ancient Mayan cities of Palenque, Calakmul and Copan. The 19th century artists painted the ancient Roman world as Timothy today paints the ancient Mayan world. He is able to read and write ancient Mayan glyphs and they are in his paintings.”
British Art – Part I of IV: Arthur Ballard
Born 2 April 1915 – Arthur Ballard, a British artist.
British Art – Part II of IV: Darren Baker
Here is one critic describing the artistry of British painter Darren Baker (born 1976): “Darren Baker is now one of leading painters within the British Art classical realism genre. Baker’s technique and vision are the result of observation and inspiration from the Old Masters and contemporary realist painters.”
“Leaving sex to the feminists is like letting your dog vacation at the taxidermist.” – Camille Paglia, American writer, teacher, social critic, self-described “dissident feminist,” and author of “Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson,” who was born 2 April 1947.
Some quotes from the work of Camille Paglia:
“Are we like late Rome, infatuated with past glories, ruled by a complacent, greedy elite, and hopelessly powerless to respond to changing conditions?”
“Woman is the dominant sex. Men have to do all sorts of stuff to prove that they are worthy of woman’s attention.”
“Men know they are sexual exiles. They wander the earth seeking satisfaction, craving and despising, never content. There is nothing in that anguished motion for women to envy.”
“If civilization had been left in female hands we would still be living in grass huts.”
“There is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper.”
“Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans? Though they claim to speak for the poor and dispossessed, Democrats have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers.”
“Out with stereotypes, feminism proclaims. But stereotypes are the west’s stunning sexual personae, the vehicles of art’s assault against nature. The moment there is imagination, there is myth.”
“Beauty is our weapon against nature; by it we make objects, giving them limit, symmetry, proportion. Beauty halts and freezes the melting flux of nature.”
“Now that virtually every career is an option for ambitious girls, it can no longer be considered regressive or reactionary to reintroduce discussion of marriage and motherhood to primary education. We certainly do not want to return to the simplistic duality of home economics classes for girls and wood shop for boys.”
“The damage done to U.S. prestige by the feckless, buffoonish George W. Bush will take years to repair.”
“A serious problem in America is the gap between academe and the mass media, which is our culture. Professors of humanities, with all their leftist fantasies, have little direct knowledge of American life and no impact whatever on public policy.”
“Although I’m an atheist who believes only in great nature, I recognize the spiritual richness and grandeur of the Roman Catholicism in which I was raised.”
“I say the law should be blind to race, gender and sexual orientation, just as it claims to be blind to wealth and power. There should be no specially protected groups of any kind, except for children, the severely disabled and the elderly, whose physical frailty demands society’s care.”
“If feminism has receded in visibility and prestige, it is precisely because its vision of life’s goals and rewards has become too narrow and elitist.”
“It’s time for a recovery and reassessment of North American thinkers. Marshall McLuhan, Leslie Fiedler and Norman O. Brown are the linked triad I would substitute for Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault, whose work belongs to ravaged postwar Europe and whose ideas transfer poorly into the Anglo-American tradition.”
“Madonna can still produce a catchy pop song, but she hasn’t expanded her artistic vocabulary since the 1990s. Her concerts are glitzy extravaganzas of special effects overkill. She leaves little space in them for emotional depth or unscripted rapport with the audience.”
“Manhood coerced into sensitivity is no manhood at all.”
“Rule of art: Cant kills creativity!”
“Sotomayor’s vainglorious lecture bromide about herself as ‘a wise Latina’ trumping white men is a vulgar embarrassment – a vestige of the bad old days of male-bashing feminism.”
“Television is actually closer to reality than anything in books. The madness of TV is the madness of human life.”
“A woman simply is, but a man must become.”
“All objects, all phases of culture are alive. They have voices. They speak of their history and interrelatedness. And they are all talking at once!”
“And what do Democrats stand for, if they are so ready to defame concerned citizens as the ‘mob’ – a word betraying a Marie Antoinette delusion of superiority to ordinary mortals. I thought my party was populist, attentive to the needs and wishes of those outside the power structure. And as a product of the 1960s, I thought the Democratic Party was passionately committed to freedom of thought and speech.”
“Except for naval and air exercises, our military should be stationed on American soil, where service men and women can lead normal lives in close proximity to family and friends.”
“Heaven help the American-born boy with a talent for ballet.”
“High Romanticism shows you nature in all its harsh and lovely metamorphoses. Flood, fire and quake fling us back to the primal struggle for survival and reveal our gross dependency on mammoth, still mysterious forces.”
“I am a registered Democrat who is determined to return my party to the proletarian principles of the Franklin D. Roosevelt era.”
“I believe that history has shape, order, and meaning; that exceptional men, as much as economic forces, produce change; and that passe abstractions like beauty, nobility, and greatness have a shifting but continuing validity.”
“I certainly derived my skills as a prose writer from my scrutiny of poetry and of the individual word. But schools don’t do things like that anymore – tracking words down to their roots.”
“I despise the phony, fancy-pants rhetoric of professors aping jargon-filled European locutions – which have blighted academic film criticism for over 30 years.”
“I’m a professor of media studies as well as humanities, and I’m an evangelist of popular culture, but when there’s only media, then there’s going to be a slow debasement of language, and that’s what I think we’re fighting.”
“In an era ruled by materialism and unstable geopolitics, art must be restored to the center of public education.”
“My generation of the Sixties, with all our great ideals, destroyed liberalism, because of our excesses.”
“Nature, I have constantly argued in my work, is the real superpower of this godless universe. It is the ultimate disposer of human fate, randomly recarving geography over 10,000-year epochs.”
“Our presence in Afghanistan is not worth the price of any more American lives or treasure.”
“Over the past 20 years, I have noticed that the most flexible, dynamic, inquisitive minds among my students have been industrial design majors. Industrial designers are bracingly free of ideology and cant. The industrial designer is trained to be a clear-eyed observer of the commercial world – which, like it or not, is modern reality.”
“Perhaps there is no greater issue facing contemporary women than the choices they must make about balancing home and work.”
“The 1990s, after the reign of terror of academic vandalism, will be a decade of restoration: restoration of meaning, value, beauty, pleasure, and emotion to art and restoration of art to its audience.”
“The airheads of Congress will keep their own plush healthcare plan – it’s the rest of us guinea pigs who will be thrown to the wolves.”
“What has been forgotten is that there were major intellectual breakthroughs in the 1960s, thanks to North American writers of an older generation. There was a rupture in continuity, since most young people influenced by those breakthroughs did not enter the professions.”
“When anything goes, it’s women who lose.”
“Working moms commonly testify that they feel guilty when they are away from their children and guilty when they are not at their jobs. Devoted fathers certainly miss their children deeply, but it does not seem to be with the same gnawing, primal anxiety that often afflicts women.”
British Art – Part III of IV: William Holman Hunt
Born 2 April 1827 – William Holman Hunt, an English painter and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
British Art – Part IV of IV: Michael Taylor
According to one writer, British artist Michael Taylor “works quietly and carefully on one painting at a time, spending about three months over each composition.”
Taylor lives and works in a stone cottage on the edge of the Yorkshire moors, near Haworth.
Cypriot painter George Kotsonis (born 1940) studied art in England, China, and Czechoslovakia. He lives and works in Pafos, Cyprus.
American Art – Part III of V: Michael Lynn Adams
Here is part of the Artist Statement of painter Michael Lynn Adams: My goal is to show that commonplace objects are anything but ordinary. Using light, texture and composition, I hope to create work that is full of warmth and spirit.”
A Poem for Today
“The Mountain Cemetery,”
By Edgar Bowers
With their harsh leaves old rhododendrons fill
The crevices in grave plots’ broken stones.
The bees renew the blossoms they destroy,
While in the burning air the pines rise still,
Commemorating long forgotten biers.
Their roots replace the semblance of these bones.
The weight of cool, of imperceptible dust
That came from nothing and to nothing came
Is light within the earth and on the air.
The change that so renews itself is just.
The enormous, sundry platitude of death
Is for these bones, bees, trees, and leaves the same.
And splayed upon the ground and through the trees
The mountains’ shadow fills and cools the air,
Smoothing the shape of headstones to the earth.
The rhododendrons suffer with the bees
Whose struggles loose ripe petals to the earth,
The heaviest burden it shall ever bear.
Our hard earned knowledge fits us for such sleep.
Although the spring must come, it passes too
To form the burden suffered for what comes.
Whatever we would give our souls to keep
Is merely part of what we call the soul;
What we of time would threaten to undo
All time in its slow scrutiny has done.
For on the grass that starts about the feet
The body’s shadow turns, to shape in time,
Soon grown preponderant with creeping shade,
The final shadow that is turn of earth;
And what seems won paid for as in defeat.
American Art – Part IV of V: Barbara Rogers
Here is one writer describing the accomplishments of painter Barbara Rogers: “Rogers has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally, including one person exhibitions at major galleries and museums in San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Scottsdale, Germany, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates. Her work is in major public and private collections including The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, The Oakland Museum of Art, and The San Jose Museum of Art.”
A Second Poem for Today
“Advice to a Prophet,”
By Richard Wilbur
When you come, as you soon must, to the streets of our city,
Mad-eyed from stating the obvious,
Not proclaiming our fall but begging us
In God’s name to have self-pity,
Spare us all word of the weapons, their force and range,
The long numbers that rocket the mind;
Our slow, unreckoning hearts will be left behind,
Unable to fear what is too strange.
Nor shall you scare us with talk of the death of the race.
How should we dream of this place without us?–
The sun mere fire, the leaves untroubled about us,
A stone look on the stone’s face?
Speak of the world’s own change. Though we cannot conceive
Of an undreamt thing, we know to our cost
How the dreamt cloud crumbles, the vines are blackened by frost,
How the view alters. We could believe,
If you told us so, that the white-tailed deer will slip
Into perfect shade, grown perfectly shy,
The lark avoid the reaches of our eye,
The jack-pine lose its knuckled grip
On the cold ledge, and every torrent burn
As Xanthus once, its gliding trout
Stunned in a twinkling. What should we be without
The dolphin’s arc, the dove’s return,
These things in which we have seen ourselves and spoken?
Ask us, prophet, how we shall call
Our natures forth when that live tongue is all
Dispelled, that glass obscured or broken
In which we have said the rose of our love and the clean
Horse of our courage, in which beheld
The singing locust of the soul unshelled,
And all we mean or wish to mean.
American Art – Part V of V: Mark Horst
Here is part of the Artist Statement of painter Mark Horst: “I paint as a way to see and to know the world. Yet the world is never finished and the joy of seeing it is never complete—and so my painting points to the fleeting, the glimpsed, to the life that is always present and so difficult to touch.”