American Art – Part I of VI: Angela Bentley Fife
Artist Statement: “I think we, as women, often compare ourselves to others, but we’re comparing ourselves to our perception of others. Maybe their best parts against our worst parts. I was thinking of that as I put the woman shoulder-to-shoulder with an unrealistic expectation of a woman as a mannequin.
Much of my work is created out of my own confusion of stereotypes, roles, and expectations that surround us and shift with time. I question our cultural ideals, why we place emphasis on certain characteristics both male and female, and I express my own weaknesses and insecurities through painting. In grouping symbols that are similar or contrasting, I can present an idea as concretely as I choose, while allowing space for interpretation. The underlying drive is that I have an urge to paint because of the physical process as well as the emotional development of an idea.”
From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Robert Plant
“The way I see it, rock’n’roll is folk music.” – Robert Plant, English musician, singer, and writer best known as the lead vocalist and lyricist of Led Zeppelin, who was born 20 August 1948.
American Art – Part II of VI: David Simon
In the words of one critic, “David Simon (born 1970) is a dynamic sculptor, based in Brooklyn, NY. His education has been first rate; graduating from Rhode Island School of Design, Brown University and the New York Academy of Art.
Simon sculpts in bronze, beeswax and an indoor/outdoor ploy-resin material called forton.”
From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
20 August 1882 – Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” debuts in Moscow.
American Art – Part III of VI: Henry Koerner
In the words of one critic, Austrian-American painter Henry Koerner (1915-1991) “was considered a master of Magic Realism. His works are in the permanent collections of several museums, among them the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.”
20 August 1741 – Danish explorer and Russian naval officer Vitus Bering becomes the first European to discover and explore Alaska. In the words of one historian, “Having returned to Okhotsk with a much larger, better prepared, and much more ambitious expedition, Bering set off towards North America in 1741. While doing so, the expedition spotted Mount Saint Elias, and sailed past Kodiak Island. A storm separated the ships, but Bering sighted the southern coast of Alaska, and a landing was made at Kayak Island or in the vicinity.”
Iranian Art – Part I of II: Yasmin Sinai
Iranian sculptor Yasmin Sinai (born 1969) graduated from Tehran Al Zahra University with a degree in Graphic Design
Iranian Art – Part II of II: Javad Azarmehr
Here is one critic describing the artistry of internationally acclaimed Iranian painter Javad Azarmehr (born 1948): ”Javad Azarmehr is like a story book to me. In front of the easel, in his studio, he paints every day. There is something of a story even in the painting. With their clear and pure pastels, they are tranquil and tender. The paintings are created with patience, amazing skill and precision. The color compositions are often very simple, making the paintings straight forward and within reach.”
From the American History Archives: The Great White Fleet
20 August 1908 – America’s Great White Fleet arrives in Sydney, Australia, to be greeted with a tremendous welcome. In the words of one historian, “On 20 August 1908 well over half a million Sydneysiders turned out to watch the arrival of the United States Navy’s ‘Great White Fleet.’ For a city population of around 600,000 this was no mean achievement. The largest gathering yet seen in Australia, it far exceeded the numbers that had celebrated the foundation of the Commonwealth just seven years before. Indeed, the warm reception accorded the crews of the 16 white-painted battleships during ‘Fleet Week,’ was generally regarded as the most overwhelming of any of the ports visited during the 14 month and 45,000 mile global circumnavigation. The NSW Government declared two public holidays, business came to a standstill and the unbroken succession of civic events and all pervading carnival spirit encountered in Sydney (followed by Melbourne and Albany) severely tested the endurance of the American sailors. More than a few decided to take their chances and stay behind when the fleet sailed!”
In fact, 221 American sailors decided to remain in Australia – the largest desertion in U.S. naval history. No worries, mate. We’ll just put another 221 shrimp on the barbie.
Below – The Great White Fleet in Sydney Harbor.
American Art – Part IV of VI: Joe Rosenthal
Died 20 August 2006 – Joseph John Rosenthal, an American photographer. In the words of one historian, “(he) received the Pulitzer Prize for his iconic World War II photograph ‘Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima,’ taken during the Battle of Iwo Jima. His picture became one of the best-known photographs of the war.”
French artist Frederic Clement is the author of “The Merchant of Marvels and the Peddler of Dreams,” for which he also provided the illustrations.
I shout love into your pain
when skies crack and fall
like slivers of mirrors,
and rounded fingers, blued as a great rake,
pluck the balled yarn of your brain.
I shout love at petals peeled open
by stern nurse fusion-bomb sun,
terribly like an adhesive bandage,
for love and pain, love and pain
are companions in this age.” – “I Shout Love,” by Milton Acorn, Canadian poet, writer, and playwright, who died 20 August 1986.
“Live with Me on Earth under the Invisible Daylight Moon”
Live with me on Earth among red berries and the bluebirds
And leafy young twigs whispering
Within such little spaces, between such floors of green, such
figures in the clouds
That two of us could fill our lives with delicate wanting:
Where stars past the spruce copse mingle with fireflies
Or the dayscape flings a thousand tones of light back at the sun —
Be any one of the colours of an Earth lover;
Walk with me and sometimes cover your shadow with mine.
According to one critic, Norwegian painter Froydis Aarseth (born 1968) “has always known what she wanted in life and that was to live a life as a classical painter. Not only to paint paintings that are beautiful to look at, but also to convey a deeper importance that will give the viewer something more than only aesthetics.
Frøydis has been a student of The Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy. Here she got an education in classical drawing and painting. She also studied anatomy under teacher Andrew Ameral. After three years at the academy she continued her studies as an apprentice under Odd Nerdrum.”
20 August 1980 – Reinhold Messner, mountaineer, adventurer, explorer, and author from the Italian autonomous province of South Tyrol, completes the first solo ascent of Mount Everest. In the words of one historian, “on August 20, 1980, Messner again stood atop Mount Everest without oxygen after climbing a new route up the North Face. For this audacious ascent, the first solo new route on the mountain, Messner traversed across the North Face, and then climbed the Great Couloir directly to the summit, avoiding the Second Step on the Northeast Ridge. He was the only climber on the mountain and spent only three nights above his advanced base camp below the North Col.”
In the words of one writer, Italian artist “Lorenzo Mattotti was born in 1954. After studying architecture, he decided to devote himself to comics and is recognised today as one of the most outstanding international exponents of the art. His works have been published in the most important magazines and his books are translated all over the world.”
American Art – Part V of VI: David Gluck
In the words of one writer, “Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, David Gluck currently resides in Toronto with his wife, where he works as a full time artist and part time instructor. He received his Bachelors of Science degree in Art Education from Penn State University in 2006.
A Poem for Today
“Sleeping in the Forest,”
By Mary Oliver
I thought the earth remembered me,
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.
Below – “Sleeping in the Forest,” a greeting card inspired by the Mary Oliver poem.
American Art – Part VI of VI: Myra Schuetter