American Art – Part I of III: Angela Fraleigh
Artist Statement: “Questioning social constructs of beauty, class, gender and role play I am interested in the complications of desire, what power people have available to them and how they use that power. These images serve as a means of escape from one’s personal histories but also provides a space to question these idealistic scenarios. Drawing on dramatic moments from literature and framing the romantic stereotypes that are created these images are complicated by obscured power structures. Ambiguity conceals where authority lies in these familiar images disrupting our understanding of these hackneyed relationships while bringing into the foreground the continual power struggles still fueling our political, social and intimate relationships.
These tensions are heightened as paint itself becomes a tool for the disturbance; a main protagonist in the story and a carrier of meaning. Violent and seductive, threatening and unpredictable it complicates the image leaving us unsure if the figures are being birthed or eaten away; if the paint is taking control, acting as savior, interrupting, manipulating or providing the stimulus for the relationship. Physicality of the paint both cankers and covers the narrative caressing the fine line between victim and volunteer. There is a desperate human quality in the work, one that embraces the flawed hero…. you know what was supposed to have happened but you also know it didn’t.”
A Poem for Today
The flute of interior time is played whether we hear it or not,
What we mean by “love” is its sound coming in.
When love hits the farthest edge of excess, it reaches a wisdom.
And the fragrance of that knowledge!
It penetrates our thick bodies,
It goes through walls—
Its network of notes has a structure as if a million suns were arranged inside.
This tune has truth in it.
Where else have you heard a sound like this?
Ukrainian painter Michael Kerman (born 1964) attended the Ukraine Republic Art School and graduated with honors from the Kiev High Academy of Art. According to one critic, “Kerman’s paintings, mostly in acrylic on canvas, are strongly influenced by post Impressionists, specifically Matisse.”
Musings in Autumn: Bill Bryson
“And as for American closets, they seem to be always full of yesterday’s enthusiasms: golf clubs, scuba diving equipment, tennis rackets, exercise machines, tape recorders, darkroom equipment, objects that once excited their owner and then replaced by other objects even more shiny and exciting. That is the great, seductive thing about America – the people always get what they want, right now, whether it is good for them or not. There is something deeply worrying, and awesomely irresponsible, about this endless self-gratification, this constant appeal to the baser instincts.” – “The Lost Continent: Travels In Small-Town America”
From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Randy Newman
Born 28 November 1943 – Randy Newman, an American singer-songwriter, arranger, composer, pianist, and satirist.
From the American History Archives: The Battle of Cane Hill
28 November 1862 – The Battle of Cane Hill, Arkansas takes place during the American Civil War. In the words of one historian, “Union troops under Brig. Gen. James G. Blunt drove Confederates under Brig. Gen. John S. Marmaduke back into the Boston Mountains in northwestern Arkansas.”
Musings in Autumn: William Kittredge
“The seacoasts can be heart-stopping in their natural beauty, a melding of aspects both actual and imagined, drawing us to intuit that the world does not proceed in a haphazard manner. Heaven is a fiction we construct around real places, a way of imagining that says my time and stories are not meaningless.” – “Who Owns the West?”
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.” – William Blake, English poet, painter, and printmaker, who was born 28 November 1757.
Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!
When the stars threw down their spears
And water’d heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
Some quotes from the work of Nancy Mitford:
“I think housework is far more tiring and frightening than hunting is, no comparison, and yet after hunting we had eggs for tea and were made to rest for hours, but after housework people expect one to go on just as if nothing special had happened.”
“The trouble is that people seem to expect happiness in life. I can’t imagine why; but they do. They are unhappy before they marry, and they imagine to themselves that the reason of their unhappiness will be removed when they are married. When it isn’t they blame the other person, which is clearly absurd. I believe that is what generally starts the trouble.”
“You’ve no idea how long life goes on and how many, many changes it brings. Young people seem to imagine that it’s over in a flash, that they do this thing, or that thing, and then die, but I can assure you they are quite wrong.”
“To fall in love you have to be in the state of mind for it to take, like a disease.”
“She was filled with a strange, wild, unfamiliar happiness, and knew that this was love. Twice in her life she had mistaken something else for it; it was like seeing somebody in the street who you think is a friend, you whistle and wave and run after him, but it is not only not the friend, but not even very like him. A few minutes later the real friend appears in view, and then you can’t imagine how you ever mistook that other person for him.”
“Oh dear… it really is rather disillusioning. When one’s friends marry for money they are wretched, when they marry for love it is worse. What is the proper thing to marry for, I should like to know?”
“Mother, of course, takes a lot of exercise, walks and so on. And every morning she puts on a pair of black silk drawers and a sweater and makes indelicate gestures on the lawn. That’s called Building the Body Beautiful. She’s mad about it.”
“I have only ever read one book in my life, and that is ‘White Fang.’ It’s so frightfully good I’ve never bothered to read another.”
From the Movie Archives: Leslie Nielsen
Died 28 November 2010 – Leslie Nielsen, a Canadian-American actor and comedian who during the course of his career appeared in more than one hundred films and fifteen hundred television programs. Nielsen is perhaps best known for his roles in the movies “Airplane” and “The Naked Gun.”
Musings in Autumn: Confucius
Spanish painter Soledad Fernandez (born 1949) lives and works in Madrid. In the words of one art historian, “In the 80’s she visited and studied art in Paris, London, Rome and Venice, going deeply into the techniques already learnt in Madrid. After several exhibitions of lesser importance, in 1987 her works were exhibited at the Sammer Gallery in London and subsequently in Madrid, El Escorial, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Zaragoza, etc. She was also present at national and international Art Fairs in Washington, Chicago, Santander (Spain), Valencia (Spain), Miami, etc.”
A Second Poem for Today
By Jane Hirshfield
One day in that room, a small rat.
Two days later, a snake.
Who, seeing me enter,
whipped the long stripe of his
body under the bed,
then curled like a docile house-pet.
I don’t know how either came or left.
Later, the flashlight found nothing.
For a year I watched
as something – terror? happiness? grief? –
entered and then left my body.
No knowing how it came in.
Not knowing how it went out.
It hung where words could not reach it.
It slept where light could not go.
Its scent was neither snake nor rat,
neither sensualist nor ascetic.
There are openings in our lives
of which we know nothing.
From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
“Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought.” – Matsuo Basho, Japanese poet recognized as the greatest master of haiku, who died 28 November 1694.
Four haiku by Basho:
of the peony.
A strange flower
for birds and butterflies -
the autumn sky.
this deep in fall–
still not a butterfly.
A cicada shell;
it sang itself
Musings in Autumn: Mark Edmundson
“But by and large, the compassionate ideal is so dangerous to the Self that it is not even safe to put it into displaced or sublimated form. Pressed to the wall, we affirm the faith in individualism, and that is that. Jesus the preacher of universal brotherhood – ‘Who is my neighbor?’ the lawyer asks, and the Savior tells him so that no one is likely to forget – that Jesus is all but gone, and it is best for our comfort and our entertainment that this be so…Let us take the Buddha, and Confucius, and the Hindu Sages off with this Jesus, too, and have done with it.” – “Self and Soul: A Defense of Ideals”
American Art – Part II of III: Gail Roberts
Art critic Robert Pincus: “She (Roberts) is exhorting us to see nature as a luminous mirror of our ceaseless obsession with mortality. Seeing nature wax and wane around her, she has become acutely aware of the fragility of life.”
A Third Poem for Today
By Jim Harrison
For the first time
far in the distance
he could see his twilight
wrapping around the green hill
where three rivers start,
and sliding down toward him
through the trees until it reached
the blueberry marsh and stopped,
telling him to go away, not now,
not for the time being.
American Art – Part III of III: Robert Liberace
In the words of one critic, “Rob Liberace’s work is inspired by centuries of knowledge and skill exemplified by the great masters. He strives to combine his fascination with anatomy, art history and technique to produce work in a variety of disciplines including drawing, watercolor, painting and sculpture.”