American Art – Part I of IV: Randall Mooers
Artist Statement: “My paintings begin with a serious sense of play, both in the staging and the creating of the compositions. It is at this beginning stage that I operate under the Dadaist dictate that “anything can be art”, and at the same time I seek out a balanced and harmonious composition by way of line, shape, and color. I work according to my whimsy, sometimes seeking to assert some form of narrative however personal or ambiguous, and other times I am simply satisfied with the hint of a human presence.
Once I have my compositions the paintings then very quickly become about work, a very labor intensive work that forces me to focus my mind and slow things down (which I feel is relevant especially in this day and age of high-speed everything). A great amount of effort is spent on trying to get to the highest level of finish that is possible according to my current skill level.”
A Poem for Today
“Love Like Salt”
By Lisel Mueller
It lies in our hands in crystals
too intricate to decipher
It goes into the skillet
without being given a second thought
It spills on the floor so fine
we step all over it
We carry a pinch behind each eyeball
It breaks out on our foreheads
We store it inside our bodies
in secret wineskins
Fancies in Springtime: Carl Sagan
Russian Art – Part I of II: Anna Marinova
From the Literary History Archives: Ann S. Stephens
In the words of one literary historian, “‘Malaeska; the Indian Wife of the White Hunter’ (published 9 June 1860) is considered the first dime novel. Written by the domestic novelist Mrs. Ann S. Stephens and published by Erastus and Irwin Beadle (‘Beadle’s Dime Novels’), ‘Malaeska’ tells the tragic tale of an Indian maiden who marries a white settler. The novel’s romantic sensationalism proved enormously popular, and over 65,000 copies sold within the first few months.”
Russian Art – Part II of II: Oleg Radvan
Artist Statement: “My name is Oleg Radvan. I am 54 years old and fine art is my life. I never had a chance to receive formal education and have become ‘a self made man,’ as the words are often used in American culture. All my life observations, studying and endless trying and searching during last 5 years merged me completely in artwork. It is known that in recent decades realism has found a new special place, enriched by all kinds of modernism. I look at every face, every body from new, slightly different angle. I am trying to find something that has not been seen before, trying to bring into focus personalities, emotions, and aspirations of different people. I’ll never be tired of trying to reach excellence in my work and I am dreaming to spend the rest of my life to this goal.”
Oleg Radvan lives and works in Miami.
“Rise and demand; you are a burning flame.
You are sure to conquer there where the final horizon
Becomes a drop of blood, a drop of life,
Where you will carry the universe on your shoulders,
Where the universe will bear your hope.” – Miguel Asturias, Guatemalan poet, diplomat, novelist, playwright, journalist, and recipient of the 1967 Nobel Prize in Literature “for his vivid literary achievement, deep-rooted in the national traits and traditions of Indian peoples of Latin America,” who died 9 June 1974.
“The Indians Come Down From Mixco”
The Indians come down from Mixco
Laden with deep blue
And the city with its frightened
Streets receives them
With a handful of lights
That, like stars, are extinguished
When daybreak comes.
A sound of heartbeats
Is in their hands that stroke
The wind like two oars;
And from their feet fall
Prints like little soles
In the dust of the road.
The stars that peep out
At Mixco stay in Mixco
Because the Indians catch them
For baskets that they fill
With chickens and the big white flowers
Of the golden Spanish bayonet.
The life of the Indians
Is quieter than ours,
And when they come down from Mixco
They make no sound but the panting
That sometimes hisses on their lips
Like a silken serpent.
American Art – Part II of IV: Charles Loloma
Died 9 June 1991 – Charles Loloma, a visual artist, potter, and jewelry maker of Hopi ancestry.
Fancies in Springtime: Mary Austin
“There is another sort of beauty playing always about the Pueblo country, beauty of cloud and rain and split sunlight… Everywhere peace, impenetrable timelessness of peace, as though the pueblo and all it contains were shut in a glassy fourth dimension, near and at the same time inaccessibly remote.”
Died 9 June 1892 – Yoshitoshi Tsukioka, the last great master of the ukiyo-e genre of woodblock printing.
Below – “Rising Moon over Mount Nanping”; “Koi”; “Omori Notices a Demon”: The samurai carries a pretty girl across the stream by moonlight. He notices the horns of a demon in her reflection, draws his sword and strikes for a kill, before she can use a dagger or strangle his throat; “The Peony Lantern”: Two ghosts are gliding on their way to a nightly meeting. The lady is accompanied by a maid who holds a peony lantern. One fateful morning a dead man will be found. He embraces the bones of the lady; “Kurikara Kengoro Twists Bamboo”: Kurikara Kengoro twists freshly cut bamboo. The powerful man gets protection from the Acala God.
Fancies in Springtime: Alan Watts
“If you read the literature of the great religions, time and time again you come across descriptions of what is usually referred to as ‘spiritual experience.’ You will find that in all the various traditions this modality of spiritual experience seems to be the same, whether it occurs in the Christian West, the Islamic Middle East, the Hindu world of Asia, or the Buddhist world. In each culture, it is quite definitely the same experience, and it is characterized by the transcendence of individuality and by a sensation of being one with the total energy of the universe.”
A Second Poem for Today
“The Woman Who Collects Noah’s Arks”
By Janet McCann
Has them in every room of her house,
wall hangings, statues, paintings, quilts and blankets,
ark lampshades, mobiles, Christmas tree ornaments,
t-shirts, sweaters, necklaces, books,
comics, a creamer, a sugar bowl, candles, napkins,
tea-towels and tea-tray, nightgown, pillow, lamp.
Animals two-by-two in plaster, wood,
fabric, oil paint, copper, glass, plastic, paper,
tinfoil, leather, mother-of-pearl, styrofoam,
clay, steel, rubber, wax, soap.
Why I cannot ask, though I would like
to know, the answer has to be simply
because. Because at night when she lies
with her husband in bed, the house rocks out
into the bay, the one that cuts in here to the flatlands
at the center of Texas. Because the whole wood structure
drifts off, out under the stars, beyond the last
lights, the two of them pitching and rolling
as it all heads seaward. Because they hear
trumpets and bellows from the farther rooms.
Because the sky blackens, but morning finds them always
safe on the raindrenched land,
bird on the windowsill.
Fancies in Springtime: Kensi Brianne Smith
American Art – Part III of IV: Serge Zhukov
In the words of one writer, “Serge Zhukov was born on August 30, 1956 in the Donetsk region in the southern part of former Soviet Union. In 1975, he moved to St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1980, he graduated from the St. Petersburg Academy of Art and Design (formerly the Vera Mukhina School of Art and Design).
Since 1990, has lived and worked in Philadelphia.”
A Third Poem for Today
By Kevin Griffith
At times it’s like there is a small planet
inside me. And on this planet,
there are many small wars, yet none
big enough to make a real difference.
The major countries—mind and heart—have
called a truce for now. If this planet had a ruler,
no one remembers him well. All
decisions are made by committee.
Yet there are a few pictures of the old dictator—
how youthful he looked on his big horse,
how bright his eyes.
He was ready to conquer the world.
Fancies in Springtime: William Kittredge
“Up there on Huckleberry Mountain, I couldn’t sleep … As the sky broke light over the peaks of Glacier, I found myself deeply moved by the view from our elevation – off west the lights of Montana, Hungry Horse, and Columbia Falls, and farmsteads along the northern edge of Flathead Lake, and back in the direction of sunrise the soft and misted valleys of the parklands, not an electric light showing: little enough to preserve for the wanderings of a great and sacred animal who can teach us, if nothing else, by his power and his dilemma, a little common humility.”
In the words of one critic, “Talantbek Chekirov was born on April 15th 1971 in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgystan. He is an interesting new discovery in the sphere of art.
Chekirov’s paintings show varied aspects of the beautiful and the decorative art; his works are extracts of his rich and broadly situated ideas concerning the ideal notion of beauty in painting. Therefore, it is of little surprise that such dissimilar genres as landscapes and stylised antique nude paintings are represented in his work.”
“Poems in a way are spells against death. They are milestones, to see where you were then from where you are now.” – Richard Eberhart, American poet and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the National Book Award for Poetry, who died 9 June 2005.
“A Young Greek, Killed in the Wars”
They dug a trench, and threw him in a grave
Shallow as youth; and poured the wine out
soaking the tunic and the dry air.
They covered him lightly, and left him there.
When music comes upon the airs of Spring,
Faith fevers the blood; counter to harmony,
The mind makes its rugged testaments.
Melancholy moves, preservative and predatory.
Fancies in Springtime: Carl Sagan
“For all its material advantages, the sedentary life has left us edgy, unfulfilled. Even after 400 generations in villages and cities, we haven’t forgotten. The open road still softly calls, like a nearly forgotten song of childhood. We invest far-off places with a certain romance. This appeal, I suspect, has been meticulously crafted by natural selection as an essential element in our survival. Long summers, mild winters, rich harvests, plentiful game—none of them lasts forever. It is beyond our powers to predict the future. Catastrophic events have a way of sneaking up on us, of catching us unaware. Your own life, or your band’s, or even your species’ might be owed to a restless few—drawn, by a craving they can hardly articulate or understand, to undiscovered lands and new worlds.”
Back from the Territory – Art: Evon Zerbetz (Part III)
In the words of one writer, “Evon carves with knives and gouges to create her imagery in slabs of linoleum. She rolls ink over the surface, lays cotton paper on top, and cranks the block through her etching press. This is repeated for each impression in the edition. If an image is in an edition of 70…she does this 70 times.
After the prints dry, Evon hand paints many of her linocuts, often with many layers of color, making each print a unique work of art.
Evon was born in Alaska and works full-time in her studio in the tall trees
of the island community of Ketchikan.”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Fancies in Springtime: Emily Carr
“So still were the big woods where I sat, sound might not yet have been born.”
American Art – Part IV of IV: Elizabeth O’Reilly
In the words of one writer, “Having worked from a studio in the Gowanus area of Brooklyn for two decades, Elizabeth O’Reilly is at home in the abandoned precincts of the canal with its solidly geometric shapes. The artist alternates between the flexibility of oils and the inherent limitations of collage, with its clearly defined edges. These works provide an intimate view of Brooklyn, combining the dominance of the industrial with the energy of the natural world. The solidly geometric shapes of man-made objects turn loosely broken and beautiful in the mirror of the canal water.
Industrial depictions of the Gowanus Canal are complemented by scenes of Marion Lake on the North Fork of Long Island, where the artist spends weekends. In these paintings, she is similarly interested in the depiction of architecture as reflected in water. A spit of land separates Marion Lake from Gardiner’s Bay, and provides an alternating rhythm of land to water; the partially frozen lake echoes the canal with the geometry of the houses reflected in the water. Both bodies of work exhibit lively brushwork, thick atmosphere and a preoccupation with geometry, combining formal issues with a sense of place.”