American Art Part I of VII – Jess Collins
Born 6 August 1923 – Jess Collins, an American artist. In the words of one historian, “Jess was born Burgess Franklin Collins in Long Beach, California. He was drafted into the military and worked on the production of plutonium for the Manhattan Project. After his discharge in 1946, Jess worked at the Hanford Atomic Energy Project in Richland, Washington, and painted in his spare time, but his dismay at the threat of atomic weapons led him to abandon his scientific career and focus on his art.”
Below – “The Enamored Mage: Translation #6”; “Ex 7 Zodiacal Light”; “The Napoleanic Geometry of Art”; “Mountain”; “Figure 2 – A Field of Pumpkins Grown for Seed: Translation #11.”
From the Music Archives: Ibrahim Ferrer
Died on 6 August 2005 – Ibrahim Ferrer, a popular Cuban singer and musician who late in life became a member of the internationally successful Buena Vista Social Club.
American Art – Part II of VII: Andy Warhol
“I love Los Angeles. I love Hollywood. They’re beautiful. Everybody’s plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic.” – Andy Warhol, American painter and a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art, who was born 6 August 1928.
Below – “Campbell’s Soup”; “Marilyn Monroe”; “Mao – Pink”; “Eight Elvises”; “Flip Flops”; “Self-Portrait.”
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Jose Manual Capuletti: “Once ranked by admirers among the principal Spanish painters of the twentieth century, along with Picasso and Dalí, José Manuel Capuletti (1925-1978) was ignored by the critical establishment during his lifetime–though not by discerning collectors.
As a painter, Capuletti was largely self-taught, having spent years studying the work of the masters he most admired–among them Velazquez, Carpaccio, and Vermeer. In matters of style, however, he is closer to Dalí, though their sensibilities could not be more different, as a cursory comparison of their work reveals. In contrast with his eccentric compatriot, who so often embraced the irrational, the bizarre, and the grotesque–Capuletti’s work consistently projects positive human values, even when he juxtaposes incongruous elements in fantastic or dramatic scenes. A prolific painter, his subjects range from sensuous female nudes, vibrant young lovers, and adolescent girls, to flamenco singers and musicians, bullfighters, and introspective self-portraits, not to mention landscapes, cityscapes, and still lifes.”
“O how sweet to be reincarnated as dreams,
Dreams that help us forget,
the resentment awaiting between the bow and arrow.” –
From “Passages to Exile,” by Buland Al-Haydari, Kurdish poet, who died 6 August 1996.
In the words of one historian, “Buland Al-Haydari was born in Northern Iraq on September 26, 1926 into a Kurdish family. Buland (Kurdish for mountain), moved to Baghdad as a boy and began to write Kurdish and Arabic poetry in his teens and early twenties. By the 1940’s, Al-Haydari was emerging as a self-educated poet dedicated towards expressing his political activism and left-wing politics through his poetry. His works sought to focus on political themes within Iraq that were concerned with oppressive rulers and abuse of power. He was part of the leftist intellectual community that promoted secular unity to overcome past colonized oppression, western hegemony and domestic dictatorship. Unlike the Iraqi Nationalist who sought to unify the country through Islam, Al-Haydari became part of the Marxist inspired rebellion against Islamism and Western colonization. He envisioned a secular democracy where all Iraqis, despite religion, could live together and appreciate the diversity of their country.”
And here am I,
By the side of the stove,
that a woman might dream of me,
That I might bury in her breast
A secret she would not mock;
Dreaming that in my fading years
I might spring forth as light,
And she would say:
This light is mine;
Let no woman draw near it.
By the side of the stove,
And here Am I,
Spinning my dreams and fearing them,
Afraid her eyes would mock
My bald, idiotic head,
My greying, aged soul,
Afraid her feet would kick
And here, by the side of the stove,
I would be lightly mocked by a woman.
Without love, or dreams, or a woman,
And tomorrow I shall die of the cold within,
Here, by the side of the stove
“Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.” – Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria’s reign and one of the greatest poets in the history of the English language, who was born 6 August 1809.
It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
Life to the lees. All times I have enjoy’d
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea. I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known,– cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honor’d of them all,–
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains; but every hour is saved
>From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
to whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,–
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill
This labor, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me,–
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads,– you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends.
‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,–
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Elena Climent was born in Mexico City in 1955. Her father was the Spanish artist Enrique Climent. She developed as a staunchly independent self-taught artist while living in Mexico, Spain, France, and the United States.
Here is the Artist Statement of Dutch painter Lia Laimbock (born 1965): “Both figurative and abstract forms of art have my interest. However, I have chosen to work in a figurative way, because it enables one to place yourself into new worlds. Figuration has a larger meaning to me – I do not just speak of copying reality. Illusion is my passion. I like to paint in a suggestive kind of way.
I paint landscapes that form an allegory to the origin – birth, life and death. Here-within I like to bring the value of intimacy to people’s attention. The paintings’ sizes are often large. Such a big, white canvas feels to me like a standing tidal wave. The picture then slowly grows. The image builds up from blurred spots, shaping forms that get sharper and sharper. In the final stage, I work out tiny details. Then I feel like a watchmaker working on large scale.”
From the American History Archives – Part I of II: Hiroshima
6 August 1945 – Hiroshima, Japan is devastated when the atomic bomb “Little Boy” is dropped on the city by the United States B-29 “Enola Gay.”
Below – The nuclear cloud over Hiroshima; “Fire,” one of fifteen folding panels in the series “The Hiroshima Panels,” painted by husband and wife artists Maruki Iri and Maruki Toshi.
Born 6 August 1932 – Howard Hodgkin, a British painter and printmaker.
American Art – Part III of VII: Timothy O’Sullivan
As a teenager, Timothy O’Sullivan worked in the studio of the legendary 19th century photographer Mathew Brady, who is considered the father of photo-journalism. A veteran of the American Civil War in its first year, O’Sullivan turned his hand to photographing the horrors of combat during the final three years of the conflict before setting out on his cross-continental expeditions. According to one historian, “From 1867 to 1869, he was official photographer on the United States Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel under Clarence King. The expedition began at Virginia City, Nevada, where he photographed the mines, and worked eastward… In so doing, he became one of the pioneers in the field of geophotography. O’Sullivan’s pictures were among the first to record the prehistoric ruins, Navajo weavers, and pueblo villages of the Southwest. In contrast to the Asian and Eastern landscape (conventions), the subject matter he focused on was a new concept. It involved taking pictures of nature as an untamed, pre-industrialized land without the use of landscape painting conventions. O’Sullivan combined science and art, making exact records of extraordinary beauty…From 1871 to 1874 he returned to the southwestern United States to join Lt. George M. Wheeler’s survey west of the 100th meridian west.”
Below – Six of Timothy O’Sullivan’s sepia-tinted photographs of the American West: 1. Timothy O’Sullivan; 2. Native Americans: The Pah-Ute (Paiute) Indian group, near Cedar, Utah in a picture from 1872; 3. Tents can be seen (bottom, centre) at a point known as Camp Beauty close to canyon walls in Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona in 1873; 4. Timothy O’Sullivan’s darkroom wagon, pulled by four mules, entered the frame at the right side of the photograph, reached the center of the image, and abruptly U-turned, heading back out of the frame. Footprints leading from the wagon toward the camera reveal the photographer’s path. Made at the Carson Sink in Nevada in 1867, this image of shifting sand dunes reveals the patterns of tracks recently reconfigured by the wind; 5. The junction of Green and Yampah Canyons, in Utah in 1872; 6. Cathedral Mesa, Colorado River, Arizona in 1871.
From the American History Archives – Part II of II: The Voting Rights Act of 1965
6 August 1965 – The Voting Rights Act of 1965 becomes the law of the land. In the words of one historian, (“The Act) is a landmark piece of federal legislation in the United States that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. It was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson during the height of the American Civil Rights Movement on August 6, 1965, and Congress later amended the Act five times to expand its protections.”
Below – President Lyndon B. Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks at the signing of the Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965
In the words of one writer, Russian painter Alyona Azernaya (born 1966) creates “a personal world, where Slavic mythologies, traditional Russian tales and biblical narratives, mix themselves together…
symbolizing the fragility of the man on the earth but also its trust in life.”
American Art – Part IV of VII: D. Jeffrey Mims
In the words of one critic, “Painter and muralist, D. Jeffrey Mims brings an extensive European background to the formation of his work, assimilating elements from the history of both sculpture and painting. Born in North Carolina in 1954, Mims attended the Rhode Island School of Design and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In 1976 Mims was awarded an Elizabeth T. Greenshields Foundation grant. This grant was used to support an intensive year of independent study in the museums of England, France, and Italy. In 1981 Mims returned to Florence, Italy where he studied for another year with Ben Long.”
From the American Old West: Chief Thundercloud
Born 6 August 1856 – Chief Thundercloud, member of the Blackfoot tribe, who served as a scout for the United States Army and later worked with both P.T. Barnum and Buffalo Bill. The profile of Chief Thundercloud is believed to be the model for the Native American who appears on both the nickel and the five dollar gold piece; he was also the subject of paintings by Frederic Remington, John Singer Sargent, and Eulabee Dix.
American Art – Part V of VII: Chris Antemann
The Artist Statement of ceramicist Chris Antemann (born 1970): “My work reclaims the figurine from its origin of multiplicity, pushing it back into the world of the original object. I began with extensive study of 18th century figurines and local kitsch. Browsing Montana second hand stores, I routinely came upon examples of Asian kitsch scattered among the decorative objects I’d become familiar with in Minnesota. My attraction to these Asian objects, my love of porcelain and history, led me to the residency in China. After working in one of the oldest figurine factories in the world, I was elevated and inspired by the dedication, focus and skill of the artisans and stimulated to seek other factory experiences.”
American Art – Part VI of VII: Jason Shawn Alexander
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Jason Shawn Alexander (born 1975): “Though modern in its subject matter, Alexander’s work pulls, still, from the vulnerability, fear, and underlying strength that come from his rural upbringing. Much like good Delta Blues, his work maintains a sense of pain and passion which steers Alexander away from the standard ‘ism’” that, in his words, ‘tend to muddy up what’s really important.’ The result is something heartbreakingly genuine.”
“A Home Buyer Watches The Moon,”
By David Bottoms
The whole neighborhood is quiet.
The architect who lives across the street
is now the architect of dreams, his cedar split-level
still as a crypt on the landscaped hill.
In the brick ranch house
the city planner turns another spade-full of dirt,
a groundbreaking for his own monument. And I
who can no longer afford to live
in my two-story, have come out into the street
to stare past the mailboxes at an abrupt dead end.
Quietly now the bats jerk
in and out of the streetlight, their shadows
zipping across the grass like black snakes.
And the moon lies balanced on the roof of my house
like a new gold coin, or the simple face
of an angel in a colonial cemetery.
American Art – Part VII of VII: Robert Highsmith
According to one critic, “Robert Highsmith received his art training from New Mexico State University and the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida. Since then he has had many one-man and group shows throughout the country. Critics and collectors alike have liked his work and he is the recipient of over a hundred awards for his work. His watercolors are in numerous corporate and private collections in the US and abroad. Most recently, he was honored with the Governors Award of Excellence in Art. The desert landscape and canyons of the southwest are his favorite subjects. His paintings are strong, unsentimental statements with equal parts heart and technical virtuosity. What takes them to brilliance is the stark contrasts that make the paintings photorealistic in detail.”