American Art – Part I of IV: Scott Duce
In the words of one writer, “scott duce received his mfa from boston university and his bfa from the university of utah. his paintings reveal a fine-tuned understanding of archetypical landscape reinterpreted in an uncompromisingly individual way. dedicated to the universal rather than the particular, duce’s keen insight reinvigorates the tradition of landscape painting. among his awards and honors he has received a national endowment for the arts/secca artist grant. scott duce is on the faculty at sarah lawrence college. he paints in his studio in new york city where he captures a lot of his subjects from the in marker series by photographing people going about their every day activities.”
Fancies in Springtime: Homer
Just for fun:
“Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.” – Leopold Bloom, the chief protagonist in James Joyce’s “Ulysses.”
The action in Joyce’s great novel takes place on 16 June 1904, and since Leopold Bloom is one of the most impressive characters in world literature, it is fitting that we remember him today in some appropriate way, perhaps by lifting a pint of Irish Stout in his honor.
Fancies in Springtime: Socrates
“By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.”
Below – The wife of Socrates, Xanthippe, emptying a chamber pot over her husband’s head. Socrates is supposed to have responded to this event with the remark, “After thunder there generally falls rain.”
A Poem for Today
From “Moral Proverbs and Folk Songs”
By Antonio Machida
Fancies in Springtime: Abraham Lincoln
Fancies in Springtime: Alan Watts
“A Chinese poem says: Entering the forest, he does not disturb a blade of grass; Entering the water, he does not cause a ripple. For the image represents a number of qualities which are, in fact, aspects of the same thing. It represents the sage’s freedom and detachment of mind, a skylike consciousness in which experience moves without leaving any stain. As another poem says: The bamboo shadows sweep the stairs, But stir no dust. Yet, paradoxically, this detachment from is also a harmony with, for the man who goes into the forest without disturbing a blade of grass is a man in no conflict with nature. Like the Native American scouts, he walks without a single twig cracking beneath his feet. Like the Japanese architects, he builds a house which seems to be a part of its natural surroundings. The image also represents the fact that the way of the sage cannot be traced and followed, since no authentic wisdom can be imitated. Each man must find it for himself, because there is really no way of putting it into words, of reaching it by any specific methods or directions.”
American Art – Part II of IV: John Rush
From the American Old West: Geronimo
“I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures.” – Geronimo, a prominent leader of the Bedonkohe Apache who fought the forces of both Mexico and the United States for their expansion into tribal lands, who as born 16 June 1829.
“Then there was a fine noise of rushing water from the crown of an oak at his back, as if a spigot there had been turned. Then the noise of fountains came from the crowns of all the tall trees. Why did he love storms, what was the meaning of his excitement when the door sprang open and the rain wind fled rudely up the stair, why had the simple task of shutting the windows of an old house seem fitting and urgent, why did the first watery notes of a storm wind have for him the unmistakable sound of good news, cheer, glad tidings?”
“Adventure is just bad planning.” – Roald Amundsen, Norwegian explorer of the polar regions.
16 June 1903 – Roald Amundsen sets sail on the Gjoa with seven companions on what would become the first successful attempt to traverse the Northwest Passage – from Baffin Bay, Canada to Nome, Alaska. It took more than two years to complete the expedition.
Fancies in Springtime: Wendell Berry
A Second Poem for Today
“Living in Seclusion in The Nanyue Mountains”
By Xingche (born 1606)
The late autumn moon lights up the forest,
And mountain mists fill the secluded woods.
I love to look at the crystal clear landscape,
It helps me sustain an empty and clear mind.
On the flat moss, I can sit in stable meditation,
As the wind whips its way deep into the woods.
An old nun comes to see how I am getting along,
We light some incense, play a bit on the zither.
American Art – Part III of IV: Arless Day
In the words of one writer, “arless day’s collage paintings of both interiors and exteriors often appear realistic at first glance but are actually dream environments created from scores of images collected from publications and assembled into a surreal and invented world. arless was born in baton rouge, louisana and studied at the ringling school of art in florida. day applies torn and cut pieces to a board with wax and burnishes it down securely. he creates the ficticious places then adds gouache by brush and uses various tools to draw into the work. his collages end up being windows into an imagined world that are not architecturally possible but full of beauty and surprises.”
Fancies in Springtime: Kenneth Grahame
“She ransacked her mind but there was nothing in it.” – Joyce Carol Oates, American novelist, playwright, essayist, and recipient of the 1970 National Book Award for Fiction (for “them”), who was born 16 June 1938.
Some quotes from Joyce Carol Oates:
“The strangeness of Time. Not in its passing, which can seem infinite, like a tunnel whose end you can’t see, whose beginning you’ve forgotten, but in the sudden realization that something finite, has passed, and is irretrievable.”
“Loneliness is like starvation: you don’t realize how hungry you are until you begin to eat.”
“A daydreamer is prepared for most things.”
“My belief is that art should not be comforting; for comfort, we have mass entertainment and one another. Art should provoke, disturb, arouse our emotions, expand our sympathies in directions we may not anticipate and may not even wish.”
“We work in the dark—we do what we can—we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.”
“I had forgotten that time wasn’t fixed like concrete but in fact was fluid as sand, or water. I had forgotten that even misery can end. ”
“‘Keeping busy’ is the remedy for all the ills in America. It’s also the means by which the creative impulse is destroyed.”
“And this is the forbidden truth, the unspeakable taboo – that evil is not always repellent but frequently attractive; that it has the power to make of us not simply victims, as nature and accident do, but active accomplices.”
“It makes me angry sometimes, it’s a visceral thing–how you come to despise your own words in your ears not because they aren’t genuine, but because they are; because you’ve said them so many times, your ‘principles,’ your ‘ideals’–and so damned little in the world has changed because of them.”
“The written word, obviously, is very inward, and when we’re reading, we’re thinking. It’s a sort of spiritual, meditative activity. When we’re looking at visual objects, I think our eyes are obviously directed outward, so there’s not as much reflective time. And it’s the reflectiveness and the spiritual inwardness about reading that appeals to me.”
“We are linked by blood, and blood is memory without language.”
“There is an hour, a minute – you will remember it forever – when you know instinctively on the basis of the most inconsequential evidence, that something is wrong. You don’t know – can’t know – that it is the first of a series of “wrongful” events that will culminate in the utter devastation of your life as you have known it.”
“Death is just the last scene of the last act.”
Fancies in Springtime: Homer
A Third Poem for Today
By Ryokan (1758-1831)
Fancies in Springtime: Laura Ingalls Wilder
“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat. In our mad rush for progress and modern improvements let’s be sure we take along with us all the old-fashioned things worth while.”
Back from the Territory – Art: Emma Barr
In the words of one writer, “The career of Whitehorse artist Emma Barr has spanned over one decade. The third-generation artist was educated at Kootenay School of the Arts in Nelson, B.C. and graduated with a diploma and a major in mixed media.
In addition to her studio work, which focuses primarily on painting, Emma teaches art and does production design for the film industry.
Emma’s work evolves with her exploration of medium and inspiration. At various points in her career, she has worked with wax and pigment medium, cera cola, which culminated in a body of abstract work; with oil pants, which emotively explore landscape; and in light sculpture. Each evolution produces a realized style that documents a vibrant period of intellectual and creative growth.
Emma exhibits and sells her work nationally and internationally.”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Fancies in Springtime: Emily Carr
“Oh, Spring! I want to go out and feel you and get inspiration. My old things seem dead. I want fresh contacts, more vital searching.”
American Art – Part IV of IV: Philip Geiger
In the words of one writer, “philip geiger has been an art professor at the university of virginia for over 30 years. he earned his bfa from washington university and went on to complete his mfa at yale university. geiger’s lustrous light, loose brushwork and subtle color tellingly capture the nuances of mood and feeling that make up the more peaceful moments of contemporary family life. geiger eschews a specific narrative in his paintings, challenging viewers to meditate on our society’s daily rituals and settings, and the meanings which may underlie seemingly mundane moments. his work has been reviewed in the new york times, art in america, artnews, and the new criterion.”