American Art – Part I of III: Patricia Traub
The paintings of Patricia Traub have appeared in numerous solo and group exhibitions.
A Poem for Today
By Greg Williamson
“When a Gunnison’s [prairie dog] sees a
person and gives an alarm, it doesn’t simply
say, ‘Predator!’ It actually says, for example,
‘Tall dark thin man!’ With humans, they will
scurry into their burrows, then pop their
heads back out to watch.”
“The Baltimore Sun”
For so long nature never said a word.
Whenever storms harangued or seas would rage,
Whenever thrush or skylark would be heard
To warn, or trees to whisper in the winds,
We knew that we were standing just offstage,
Throwing our voices, speaking their many minds.
But if they could speak, we had speculated,
They’d love us, care for us, or be profound
At least in their uncaring; so we waited,
Leaving them speechless even as we sought
To speak some sentence into every sound.
That was the nature of the world we thought.
Here is the Artist Statement of Brazilian painter Patricia Ariel (born 1970): “Whenever I wanted answers or inspiration for life and art, it was not in the mundane or in the ordinary life that I looked for them, but in the unlimited world of my inner reality. This world, inhabited by mysterious places and people, has its own stories, its own rules, its own wisdom. I am only the storyteller.”
Reflections in Summer: A.E. Housman
A Second Poem for Today
“Tea for My Father,”
By Michael Hofmann
I think of his characteristic way
of saying ‘tea,’ with his teeth
bared and clenched in anticipation.
It is not his first language nor
his favourite drink, so there is
something exotic about both word
and thing. He asks for it several times
a day, in the morning and afternoon
only. Mostly it is to help him work.
He likes it very strong, with cream,
in mugs, and sweetens it himself.
He puts it on the window-sill in front
of his table, and lets it grow cold.
Later on, I come and throw it out.
Reflections in Summer: Allen Ginsberg
“who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who came back to Denver & waited in vain, who watched over Denver & brooded and loned in Denver and finally went away to find out the Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes.”
Alphons William Bernhard Johannes (Fons) Bemelmans (Born in Maastricht, January 8, 1938) is a Dutch artist, best known as a sculptor. He also works as a goldsmith, painter, graphic artist and medal artist.
Reflections in Summer: Daniel Roy Wiarda
A Third Poem for Today
By Mary Avidano
My father, rather a quiet man,
told a story only the one time,
if even then—he had so little
need, it seemed, of being understood.
Intervals of years, his silences!
Late in his life he recalled for us
that when he was sixteen, his papa
entrusted to him a wagonload
of hogs, which he was to deliver
to the train depot, a half-day’s ride
from home, over a hilly dirt road.
Lightly he held the reins, light his heart,
the old horses, as ever, willing.
In town at noon he heard the station-
master say the train had been delayed,
would not arrive until that evening.
The boy could only wait. At home they’d
wait for him and worry and would place
the kerosene lamp in the window.
Thus the day had turned to dusk before
he turned about the empty wagon,
took his weary horses through the cloud
of fireflies that was the little town.
In all his years he’d never seen those
lights—he thought of this, he said, until
he and his milk-white horses came down
the last moonlit hill to home, drawn as
from a distance toward a single flame.
Reflections in Summer: Ingrid Nkenlifack
Died 5 September 1922 – Georgette Agutte, a French painter.
Reflections in Summer: Constantine Cavafy
From the American Old West – Part I of II: Jesse James
“My pistols, however, I always kept by me.” – Jesse James, American outlaw, gang leader, bank robber, train robber, and murderer, who was born 5 September 1847.
American Art – Part II of III: Misha Malpica
Artist Statement: “I am a mixed media artist, living in the mountain town of Ruidoso, New Mexico. Enamored with the Southwest, my work focuses primarily on the people and the animals that live here. My color palette consists of warm, rich earth tones with a splash of turquoise or red. I’ve been sculpting in various mediums for over forty years and every creation is different. I create each sculpture one at a time and decorate them with feathers and vintage beads and other beautiful adornments. I can’t help myself, I just love the beauty of an iridescent pheasant feather, the sparkle of an old bead, the design of a button. Threads and fibers, ribbons and fringe, I add each element to make the sculpture unique. Currently I am exploring clay. I am in love with the texture and versatility of clay. Holding my breath as I open the kiln, it’s like Christmas morning! My studio is brimming with paints and stains and feathers and furs and beads and found objects. My inspiration surrounds me.”
From the American Old West – Part II of II: Crazy Horse
“A very great vision is needed, and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky.” – Crazy Horse (Lakota Tashunke Witko, literally “His-Horse-Is-Spirited”), Native American visionary and war leader of the Oglala Lakota, who died 5 September 1877.
“Crazy Horse dreamed and went into the world where there is nothing but the spirits of all things. That is the real world that is behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that one. He was on his horse in that world, and the horse and himself on it and the trees and the grass and the stones and everything were made of spirit, and nothing was hard, and everything seemed to float. His horse was standing still there, and yet it danced around like a horse made only of shadow, and that is how he got his name, which does not mean that his horse was crazy or wild, but that in his vision it danced around in that queer way. It was this vision that gave him his great power, for when he went into a fight, he had only to think of that world to be in it again, so that he could go through anything and not be hurt . . . They used to say that he carried a sacred stone with him, like one he had seen in some vision, and that when he was in danger, the stone always got heavy and protected him somehow. That, they used to say, was the reason that no horse he ever rode lasted very long. I do not know about this; maybe people only thought it; but it is a fact that he never kept one horse long. They wore out. I think it was only the power of his great vision that made him great.” – Black Elk, in “Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Ogalala Sioux,” as told to John Neihardt
Below – A 1934 sketch of Crazy Horse made by an artist after interviewing Crazy Horse’s sister, who claimed the depiction was accurate; the Crazy Horse Memorial being sculpted on Thunderhead Mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Australian Art – Part I of II: Megan Roodenrys
“Civilization is like a thin layer of ice upon a deep ocean of chaos and darkness.” – Werner Herzog, German film director, producer, screenwriter, and actor, who was born 5 September 1942.
French filmmaker François Truffaut once called Herzog “the most important film director alive,” and American film critic Roger Ebert stated that Herzog “has never created a single film that is compromised, shameful, made for pragmatic reasons or uninteresting. Even his failures are spectacular.”
Some quotes from the work of Werner Herzog:
“I think it is a quest of literature throughout the ages to describe the human condition.”
“Facts sometimes have a strange and bizarre power that makes their inherent truth seem unbelievable.”
“I could not become an American citizen. I would not like to become a citizen of a country that has capital punishment.”
“I despise formal restaurants. I find all of that formality to be very base and vile. I would much rather eat potato chips on the sidewalk.”
“I have nothing against 3D films but I do not need to see them.”
“I like and I love everything that has to do with cinema: writing, directing, editing, creating music, and even acting.”
“I think psychology and self-reflection is one of the major catastrophes of the twentieth century.”
“I think there should be holy war against yoga classes.”
“I’m a very professional man. I’m not out for the experience of adventure.”
“I’m not a journalist; I’m a poet.”
“I’m not an activist.”
“I’m not an interviewer. I have conversations.”
“I’m not into digital marketing, downloading, or streaming – I’ve always been a man of the theaters.”
“I’m the last one who would do self-analysis.”
“Sometimes bad luck hits you like in an ancient Greek tragedy, and it’s not your own making. When you have a plane crash, it’s not your fault.”
“The universe is monstrously indifferent to the presence of man.”
“The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot.”
“Why go to Antarctica, why do a film like ‘Grizzly Man’? It’s the sheer joy of storytelling – it’s the urge.”
“You should bear in mind that almost all my documentaries are feature films in disguise.”
“Ambition is to be the fastest runner on this planet, to be the first on the South Pole, which is a grotesque perversion of ambition. It’s an ego trip, and I’m not on an ego trip. I don’t have ambitions – I have a vision.”
“I think there are specific times where film noir is a natural concomitant of the mood. When there’s insecurity, collapse of financial systems – that’s where film noir always hits fertile ground.”
“Life on our planet has been a constant series of cataclysmic events, and we are more suitable for extinction than a trilobite or a reptile. So we will vanish. There’s no doubt in my heart.”
“Perhaps I seek certain utopian things, space for human honor and respect, landscapes not yet offended, planets that do not exist yet, dreamed landscapes.”
“What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams.”
“Do you not then hear this horrible scream all around you that people usually call silence?”
“Academia is the death of cinema. It is the very opposite of passion. Film is not the art of scholars, but of illiterates.”
“Look into the eyes of a chicken and you will see real stupidity. It is a kind of bottomless stupidity, a fiendish stupidity. They are the most horrifying, cannibalistic and nightmarish creatures in the world.”
“If you truly love film, I think the healthiest thing to do is not read books on the subject. I prefer the glossy film magazines with their big color photos and gossip columns, or the ‘National Enquirer.’ Such vulgarity is healthy and safe.”
“Facts do not convey truth. That’s a mistake. Facts create norms, but truth creates illumination.”
“I believe the common denominator of the universe is not harmony; but chaos, hostility and murder.”
“It is not only my dreams, my belief is that all these dreams are yours as well. The only distinction between me and you is that I can articulate them. And that is what poetry or painting or literature or filmmaking is all about… and it is my duty because this might be the inner chronicle of what we are. We have to articulate ourselves, otherwise we would be cows in the field.”
“May I propose a Herzog dictum? Those who read own the world, and those who watch television lose it.”
“At the press conference for the film he impressed everyone with his complete sincerity and innocence. He said he had come to see the sea for the first time and marveled at how clean it was. Someone told him that, in fact, it wasn’t. ‘When the world is emptied of human beings,’ he said, ‘it will become so again.’”
“There are deeper strata of truth in cinema, and there is such a thing as poetic, ecstatic truth. It is mysterious and elusive, and can be reached only through fabrication and imagination and stylization.”
“If you’re purely after facts, please buy yourself the phone directory of Manhattan. It has four million times correct facts. But it doesn’t illuminate.”
“Meanwhile it’s got stormy, the tattered fog even thicker, chasing across my path. Three people are sitting in a glassy tourist cafe between clouds and clouds, protected by glass from all sides. Since I don’t see any waiters, it crosses my mind that corpses have been sitting there for weeks, statuesque. All this time the cafe has been unattended, for sure. Just how long have they been sitting here, petrified like this?”
“A fairly young, intelligent-looking man with long hair asked me whether filming or being filmed could do harm, whether it could destroy a person. In my heart the answer was yes, but I said no.”
“A vision had seized hold of me, like the demented fury of a hound that has sunk its teeth into the leg of a deer carcass and is shaking and tugging at the downed game so frantically that the hunter gives up trying to calm him. It was the vision of a large steamship scaling a hill under its own steam, working its way up a steep slope in the jungle, while above this natural landscape, which shatters the weak and the strong with equal ferocity, soars the voice of Caruso, silencing all the pain and all the voices of the primeval forest and drowning out all birdsong. To be more precise: bird cries, for in this setting, left unfinished and abandoned by God in wrath, the birds do not sing; they shriek in pain, and confused trees tangle with one another like battling Titans, from horizon to horizon, in a steaming creation still being formed. Fog-panting and exhausted they stand in this unreal misery – and I, like a stanza in a poem written in an unknown foreign tongue, am shaken to the core.”
Australian Art – Part II of II: Tricia Migdoll
Artist Statement: ”Growing up with the National Gallery of Victoria at my doorstep, I could not help but be enchanted by the arts.
Primarily self-taught, I began painting in 2002, inspired by the great masters of art and seeking to wed the contemporary with the traditional.
I paint anything that moves me, reflecting my love of natural beauty, spirituality, and humanity.
I lose myself in the process of painting and feel at times an instrument expressing the highest of emotions. My passion is to share this deep connection to Love with the viewer. ”
Reflections in Summer: Rebecca West
Back from the Territory – Art: Richard Shorty
Richard Shorty is an Inuit Artist.
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Below – “Crow-Sun & Wolf-Moon” (bentwood box); “Man to Thunderbird” (bentwood box).
Reflections in Summer: Annie Dillard
A Fourth Poem for Today
“Note From Echo”
By A.M. Juster
Narcissus, I no longer haunt the canyons
and the crypts. I thrive and multiply;
uncounted daughters are my new companions.
We are the voicemail’s ponderous reply
to the computers making random calls.
We are the Muzak in the empty malls,
the laughtrack on the reruns late at night,
the distant siren’s chilling lullaby,
the steady chirp of things that simplify
their scheduled lives. You know I could recite
more, but you never cared for my recitals.
I do not miss you, do not need you here—
I can repeat the words of your disciples
telling lovers what they need to hear.
Reflections in Summer: Ken Ilgunas
“We have trains to hop, voyages to embark on, and rides to hitch. And then there’s the great American wild—vanishing but still there—ready to impart its wisdom from an Alaskan peak or a patch of grass growing in a crack of a city sidewalk. And no matter how much sprawl and civilization overtake our wilds, we’ll always have the boundless wildlands in ourselves to explore.”
American Art – Part III of III: Sharon Sprung
Sharon Sprung has studied at Cornell University, the National Academy of Design, New York, NY, and the Art Students League, New York, NY.