American Art – Part I of VI: Jim Zwadlo
Artist Statement: “I paint the urban pedestrian from the aerial point of view.
As a discipline, painting manifests the aura of tradition, and presents a space for its renewal. I see paintings as a part of reality, as real things in themselves, and as having a demonstrable connection with other real things. My paintings can be analyzed in purely formal terms, as abstractions about color, line, form, and space. But I add a representational subject, the urban pedestrian, to make a more complex and engaging painting, to connect the reality of the painting directly with the reality of the world.
I use photographs as a way to reconstruct images from the real world and transfer them to the real painting. For me, photography functions as a catalyst, like a catalyst in a chemical reaction: photographs are instrumental in the process of painting, but they do not appear in the completed painting.”
Born 29 July 1946 – Ximena Armas, a Chilean painter.
Below – “Secrets”; “The Lighthouse”; “Enigma”; “Poles”; “Origins”; “Impressions.”
“The American lives in a land of wonders, in which everything seems to be in constant flux, and every change seems to mark an advance. Hence the idea of the new is coupled in his mind with the idea of the better. Nowhere does he perceive the limits that nature may have imposed on man’s efforts. In his eyes, that which does not exist is that which has not yet been attempted.” – From “Democracy in America,” by Alexis de Tocqueville, French political thinker and historian, who was born 29 July 1805.
Some quotes from “Democracy in America”:
“It would seem that if despotism were to be established among the democratic nations of our days, it might assume a different character; it would be more extensive and more mild; it would degrade men without tormenting them.”
“Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom.”
“Nothing conceivable is so petty, so insipid, so crowded with paltry interests, in one word, so anti-poetic, as the life of a man in the United States.”
“The religionists are the enemies of liberty, and the friends of liberty attack religion; the high-minded and the noble advocate bondage, and the meanest and most servile preach independence; honest and enlightened citizens are opposed to all progress, whilst men without patriotism and without principle put themselves forward as the apostles of civilization and intelligence. Has such been the fate of the centuries which have preceded our own? and has man always inhabited a world like the present, where all things are out of their natural connections, where virtue is without genius, and genius without honor; where the love of order is confounded with a taste for oppression, and the holy rites of freedom with a contempt of law; where the light thrown by conscience on human actions is dim, and where nothing seems to be any longer forbidden or allowed, honorable or shameful, false or true?”
“I do not know if the people of the United States would vote for superior men if they ran for office, but there can be no doubt that such men do not run.”
29 July 1921 – 29 July 2012 – Chris Marker, French photographer, writer, documentary film director, multimedia artist, and film essayist.
From the Music Archives: Cass Elliot
“I would say the world’s in terrible shape, but I’m afraid the world would say, ‘Look who’s talking!'” – Cass Elliot (born Ellen Naomi Cohen), American singer and member of The Mamas & the Papas, who died 29 July 1974.
Died 29 July 1918 – Ernest William Christmas, an Australian painter.
In the words of one historian, “He was elected to the British Royal British Academy in 1909. In 1910-11, he painted mountains and lakes in Argentina and Chile. He lived in San Francisco around 1900 and again around 1915. He was an avid traveller, but spent the last two years of his life in Hawaii, where he painted landscapes including dramatic volcano scenes.”
Below –“Kilauea Caldera”; “On the Murray River”; “View in the Andes”; “Corner on the Road to Morgan”; “The Drover”; “House by the Bay.”
“In the world of the present, in our time, we feel that suffering, anguish, the torments of body and soul, are greater than ever before in the history of mankind.” – Eyvind Johnson, Swedish writer and co-recipient (with Harry Martinson) of the 1974 Nobel Prize in Literature “for a narrative art, far-seeing in lands and ages, in the service of freedom, who was born 29 July 1900.
Another quote from the work of Eyvind Johnson:
“And this we should believe: that hope and volition can bring us closer to our ultimate goal: justice for all, injustice for no-one.”
In the words of one critic, Israeli painter Sigal Tsabari (born 1966) “has developed over the years a unique pictorial language, both technically – in her color palette and in the use of various media on one painting – and in her subject matter. Tsabari engages in a sort of pursuit after nature: she follows almost scientifically the development of plants growing in buckets on her balcony, depicting the changing hues of an eggplant and the enlarged shape of the okra fruit, which she doesn’t pick until the fruit dries off and hangs from the branch like a dead appendage. Such arrangements are often juxtaposed with images taken from her personal and family life. The growth of a plant serves as a metaphor for the growth of a person, or the growth of a child in the uterus. Themes of sexuality and motherhood comprise an important aspect of her work, as expressed in images of fertility and growth in nature.”
“There are two things that will be believed of any man whatsoever, and one of them is that he has taken to drink.” – Newton Booth Tarkington, American novelist, dramatist, and author of “The Magnificent Ambersons” (winner of the 1919 Pulitzer Prize) and “Alice Adams” (winner of the 1922 Pulitzer Prize), who was born 29 July 1869.
Some quotes from the work of Booth Tarkington:
“Gossip is never fatal until it is denied. Gossip goes on about every human being alive and about all the dead that are alive enough to be remembered, and yet almost never does any harm until some defender makes a controversy. Gossip’s a nasty thing, but it’s sickly, and if people of good intentions will let it entirely alone, it will die, ninety-nine times out of a hundred.”
“Whatever does not pretend at all has style enough.”
“Some day the laws of glamour must be discovered, because they are so important that the world would be wiser now if Sir Isaac Newton had been hit on the head, not by an apple, but by a young lady.”
“‘I’m not sure he’s wrong about automobiles,’ he said. ‘With all their speed forward they may be a step backward in civilization — that is, in spiritual civilization. It may be that they will not add to the beauty of the world, nor to the life of men’s souls.’”
“There aren’t any old times. When times are gone they’re not old, they’re dead! There aren’t any times but new times!”
“We debate sometimes what is to be the future of this nation when we think that in a few years public affairs may be in the hands of the fin-de-siecle gilded youths we see about us during the Christmas holidays. Such foppery, such luxury, such insolence, was surely never practiced by the scented, overbearing patricians of the Palatine, even in Rome’s most decadent epoch. In all the wild orgy of wastefulness and luxury with which the nineteenth century reaches its close, the gilded youth has been surely the worst symptom.”
“One may have a blazing hearth in one’s soul and yet no one ever come to sit by it. Passersby see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on the way.” – Vincent van Gogh, Dutch post-Impressionist painter and artistic genius, who died 29 July 1890,
Below – “The Night Café”; “The Red Vineyard”; “Two Peasant Women Digging in a Snow-Covered Field at Sunset”; “Courtesan” (after Eisen); “Wheatfield Under Thunderclouds”; “Self-Portrait with Straw Hat.”
“Ours is a world where people don’t know what they want and are willing to go through hell to get it.” Don Marquis, American novelist, poet, newspaper columnist, playwright, cartoonist, folk philosopher, and creator of archy and mehitabel, who was born on 29 July 1878.
Some quotes from the work of Don Marquis, a man who possessed both keen wit and good sense:
“A pessimist is a person who has had to listen to too many optimists.”
“Bores bore each other too; but it never seems to teach them anything.”
“Fishing is a delusion entirely surrounded by liars in old clothes.”
“Happiness is the interval between periods of unhappiness.”
“Honesty is a good thing, but it is not profitable to its possessor unless it is kept under control.”
“In order to influence a child, one must be careful not to be that child’s parent or grandparent.”
“An optimist is a guy that has never had much experience.”
“Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.”
“Some persons are likeable in spite of their unswerving integrity.”
“The trouble with the public is that there is too much of it; what we need in public is less quantity and more quality.”
Polish artist Anna Masiul-Gozdecka graduated from the Warsaw Academy of Arts in 2000. In the words of one critic, “She paints realistic and abstract paintings with the technique of acrylic paints and collages. Her works are in collections around the world: Poland, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, Luxemburg, Switzerland, and Singapore.”
“The universe is a continuous web. Touch it at any point and the whole web quivers.” – Stanley Kunitz, American poet and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (in 1974 and again in 2000), who was born 29 July 1905.
“End of Summer”
An agitation of the air,
A perturbation of the light
Admonished me the unloved year
Would turn on its hinge that night.
I stood in the disenchanted field
Amid the stubble and the stones
Amazed, while a small worm lisped to me
The song of my marrow-bones.
Blue poured into summer blue,
A hawk broke from his cloudless tower,
The roof of the silo blazed, and I knew
That part of my life was forever over.
Already the iron door of the North
Clangs open: birds, leaves, snows
Order their populations forth,
And a cruel wind blows.
From the American History Archives – Part I of II: Olympic National Park
28 July 1938 – Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the bill creating Olympic National Park.
American Art – Part II of VI: Linda Joyce Franks
Artist Statement: “Illusion is familiar terrain to the artist, creating the impression of existence through image – giving dimension to the dimensionless idea. Depth appears on a flat surface. It breathes. That which mimics the fullness of form begs embracing.
Art is a visceral experience. Our preferences are inexplicable. Imagery has meaning to us at a gut level. We are spoken to in terms which we feel deeply and which quite often defy description. Lust and love are this way.
The muse stirs within as the self. Her whispering voice – haunts from darker realms phantastical. From the depths of this strangely beautiful occult netherworld spring images of a tenaciously vital – often tragic archetypal goddess and heroine, found sometimes in the throes of death, always in the throes of passion – sometimes dead to the world, but never never dead to herself.”
From the American History Archives – Part II of II: Ken Burns
“It is the great arrogance of the present to forget the intelligence of the past” – Ken Burns, American director, documentary film producer, and the creative genius behind both “The Civil War” and “Baseball,” who was born 29 July 1953.
“The Civil War” is a masterpiece, depicting with consummate artistry the tragic complexities of a conflict that in some ways is the American equivalent of “The Iliad.”
American Art – Part III of VI: Jeremy Enecio
Artist Statement: “I was born in Ormoc City, Philippines in 1986 and moved to the United States at the age of four. In 2008, I received my BFA in illustration at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. Currently, I reside in Baltimore City as a freelance illustrator and concept artist at Big Huge Games/38 Studios.”
A Poem for Today
“Love 20 cents the First Quarter Mile,”
By Kenneth Fearing
All right. I may have lied to you and about you, and made a
few pronouncements a bit too sweeping, perhaps, and
possibly forgotten to tag the bases here or there,
And damned your extravagance, and maligned your tastes,
and libeled your relatives, and slandered a few of your
friends, O. K.
Nevertheless, come back.
Come home. I will agree to forget the statements that you
issued so copiously to the neighbors and the press,
And you will forget that figment of your imagination,
the blonde from Detroit;
I will agree that your lady friend who lives above us is not
crazy, bats, nutty as they come, but on the contrary rather bright,
And you will concede that poor old Steinberg is neither a
drunk, nor a swindler, but simply a guy, on the eccentric
side, trying to get along.
(Are you listening, you bitch, and have you got this straight?)
Because I forgive you, yes, for everything. I forgive you for
being beautiful and generous and wise,
I forgive you, to put it simply, for being alive, and pardon
you, in short, for being you.
Because tonight you are in my hair and eyes,
And every street light that our taxi passes shows me you
again, still you,
And because tonight all other nights are black, all other hours
are cold and far away, and now, this minute, the stars are
very near and bright.
Come back. We will have a celebration to end all celebrations.
We will invite the undertaker who lives beneath us, and a
couple of boys from the office, and some other friends.
And Steinberg, who is off the wagon, and that
insane woman who lives upstairs, and a few reporters,
if anything should break.
American Art – Part IV of VI: David Larson Evans
Artist Statement: “I took up oil painting seriously in 2007 as a break from my life as a struggling Printmaker (Intaglio process on zinc plates). Many years were spent sporting ink stained hands in an attempt to master that medium. Now it’s the challenge of ‘Daily Painting’ that bridles my creative drive. Making Art is an essential part of my life and my long-term goal is simple – one day paint something significant.”
A Second Poem for Today
“A Shropshire Lad: 52: Far in a western brookland,”
By A. E. Housman
Far in a western brookland
That bred me long ago
The poplars stand and tremble
By pools I used to know.
There, in the windless night-time,
The wanderer, marvelling why,
Halts on the bridge to hearken
How soft the poplars sigh.
He hears: long since forgotten
In fields where I was known,
Here I lie down in London
And turn to rest alone.
There, by the starlit fences,
The wanderer halts and hears
My soul that lingers sighing
About the glimmering weirs.
American Art – Part V of VI: Stephen Early
Stephen Early studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Art Students League in New York City, and Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia. He won a Certificate of Excellence at the 10th Annual International Portrait Competition hosted by the Portrait Society of America.”
A Third Poem for Today
“Buckroe, After the Season, 1942,”
By Virginia Hamilton Adair
Past the fourth cloverleaf, by dwindling roads
At last we came into the unleashed wind;
The Chesapeake rose to meet us at a dead end
Beyond the carnival wheels and gingerbread.
Forsaken by summer, the wharf. The oil-green waves
Flung yellow foam and sucked at disheveled sand.
Small fish stank in the sun, and nervous droves
Of cloud hastened their shadows over bay and land.
Beyond the NO DUMPING sign in its surf of cans
And the rotting boat with nettles to the rails,
The horse dung garlanded with jeweling flies
And papers blown like a fleet of shipless sails,
We pushed into an overworld of wind and light
Where sky unfettered ran wild from earth to noon,
And the tethered heart broke loose and rose like a kite
From sands that borrowed diamonds from the sun.
We were empty and pure as shells that air-drenched hour,
Heedless as waves that swell at the shore and fall,
Pliant as sea-grass, the rapt inheritors
Of a land without memory, where tide erases all.
American Art – Part VI of VI: Dean Fisher
Dean Fisher studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago and engaged in independent study at the Prado Museum in Madrid, The Louvre Museum in Paris, and the National Gallery of Art in London.
Artist Statement: “While normally being inspired to paint or draw just about any form which is bathed in light, I am particularly interested when challenged to arrange a grouping of forms within the format of my canvas or paper to suit my aesthetic needs.
The physical, ‘real’ world is visually fascinating to me; I strive to represent solid forms with fidelity; figure, tree, cup, etc. with a sense of breathable air around them combined with a tactile quality of surface which can bring the viewer closer to the painting and the made by hand process which was employed to make it.
My preference is for suggested color as opposed to saturated color.
I seek an interrelationship and fluidity between the forms represented.
The feeling which is most often repeated in my work is that of equilibrium and balance and occasionally a gentle lyricism.
Most importantly, I purposely try to avoid over explaining my art with the hope that the viewer comes away with her or his own impressions, interpretation or narrative of the work, when that happens naturally I feel the work is serving it’s purpose.”