Musings in Autumn: August Strindberg
Canadian Art – Part I: Chris Temple
In the words of one writer, “Chris Temple has exhibited extensively across Canada, and is featured in prominent collections of institutions such as the Art Gallery of Mississauga, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Price Waterhouse Toronto, the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, and the Canada Council Art Bank.
A graduate of the Ontario College of Art, Chris Temple has been capturing the complexity and sublimity of Canada’s urban environments for over 30 years. Indeed, Temple describes himself as a ‘landscape painter’ whose fascination with the urban has prompted explorations all over North America and Europe in search of the ‘urban core compression, intricate infrastructure, and industrial decay that [he] finds so interesting to ponder.’ Temple’s technically precise paintings render the cityscape as something both strong and delicate, familiar yet mysterious, and always reverent of contemporary landscape as an endless source of visual interest.”
A Poem for Today
By Amy Lowell
In the cloud-grey mornings
I heard the herons flying;
And when I came into my garden,
My silken outer-garment
Trailed over withered leaves.
A dried leaf crumbles at a touch,
But I have seen many Autumns
With herons blowing like smoke
Across the sky.
Musings in Autumn: Stephen King
Canadian Art – Part II: Stephen Hutchings
In the words of reviewer Petra Halkes, “There is more to Stephen Hutchings’ new paintings than meets their mechanical reproduction. What is lost in the images that illustrate this review, and even in those that pop up on the web, is not just the scale, but the worked-over surfaces of these seemingly consolidated pictures. The paintings’ intense luminosity picks out single tree leaves and blades of grass even in these illustrations, but much of the elaborate creative process–the scratching, rubbing, and overlaying of paint–is apparent only in the originals. Some of Hutchings’ ironic undercutting of the Romantic idea of nature is thus lost in reproduction.”
Mary Hunter Austin (1868-1934) was an American nature writer and author of “The Land of Little Rain.”
Some quotes from the work of Mary Hunter Austin:
“We are not all born at once, but by bits. The body first, and the spirit later… Our mothers are racked with the pains of our physical birth; we ourselves suffer the longer pains of our spiritual growth.”
“For all the toll the desert takes of a man it gives compensations, deep breaths, deep sleep, and the communion of the stars.”
“But there is one tree that for the footer of the mountain trails is voiceless; it speaks, no doubt, but it speaks only to the austere mountain heads, to the mindful wind and the watching stars. It speaks as men speak to one another and are not heard by the little ants crawling over their boots. This is the Big Tree, the Sequoia.”
“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.”
“The palpable sense of mystery in the desert air breeds fables, chiefly of lost treasure. … It is a question whether it is not better to be bitten by the little horned snake of the desert that goes sidewise and strikes without coiling, than by the tradition of a lost mine.”
“When a woman ceases to alter the fashion of her hair, you guess that she has passed the crisis of her experience.”
“Ride your emotions as the shallop rides the waves; don’t get upset among them. There are people who enjoy getting swamped emotionally, just as, incredibly, there are people who enjoy getting drunk.”
“This is the sense of the desert hills, that there is room enough and time enough.”
“Probably we never fully credit the interdependence of wild creatures, and their cognizance of the affairs of their own kind.”
“People would be surprised to know how much I learned about prayer from playing poker.”
“Genius . . . arises in the natural, aboriginal concern for the conscious unity of all phenomena.”
A Second Poem for Today
By David Lehman
The yellow pears hang in the lake.
Life sinks, grace reigns, sins ripen, and
in the north dies an almond tree.
A genius took me by the hand and said
come with me though the time has not yet come.
Therefore, when the gods get lonely,
a hero will emerge from the bushes
of a summer evening
bearing the first green figs of the season.
For the glory of the gods has lain asleep
too long in the dark
in darkness too long
too long in the dark.
Musings in Autumn: Donna Lynn Hope
“Steam rising underneath a canopy of whispering, changing aspens; starlight in the clear, dark night, and wondrous beauty in every direction. If only all could feel this way, to be so captured and enthralled with autumn.”
A Third Poem for Today
“Lament of the Middle Man”
By Jay Parini
In late October in the park
the autumn’s faults begin to show:
the houses suddenly go stark
beyond a thinning poplar row;
the edges of the leaves go brown
on every chestnut tree in town.
The honking birds go south again
where I have gone in better times;
the hardy ones, perhaps, remain
to nestle in the snowy pines.
I think of one bold, raucous bird
whose wintry song I’ve often heard.
I live among so many things
that flash and fade, that come and go.
One never knows what season brings
relief and which will merely show
how difficult it is to span
a life, given the Fall of Man.
The old ones dawdle on a bench,
and young ones drool into their bibs;
an idle boffer, quite a mensch,
moves fast among the crowd with fibs.
A painted lady hangs upon
his word as if his sword was drawn.
Among so many falling fast
I sometimes wonder why I care;
the first, as ever, shall be last;
the last are always hard to bear.
I never know if I should stay
to see what ails the livelong day.
I never quite know how to ask
why some men wear bright, silver wings
while others, equal to the task,
must play the role of underlings.
“It’s what you know, not who,” they swore.
I should have known what to ignore.
I started early, did my bit
for freedom and the right to pray.
I leaned a little on my wit,
and learned the sort of thing to say,
yet here I am, unsatisfied
and certain all my elders lied.
A middle man in middle way
between the darkness and the dark,
the seasons have tremendous sway:
I change like chestnuts in the park.
Come winter, I’ll be branches, bones;
come spring, a wetness over stones.
American Art: Amjad Faur
Artist Statement: “Medieval depictions of historical events in Shi’a art and illuminations often depict the prophet Muhammad with a golden flame enveloping his head or show his face entirely shrouded by a veil; an attempt at reverence in both his depiction and non-depiction. This primary tension regarding how images operate and their power to narrate versus their potential to transform into something more seductive and dangerous is instrumental in my own approach to image making. The conceptual translations of these concerns to modern depictions of geopolitical and religious violence are not hard to make within the context of contemporary media as well as art and indeed manifest within my photographs.
As an artist simultaneously attempting to navigate photography’s contemporary role in art and populist models of thought as well as its relationship to art history, I find inescapable parallels between the photograph’s exacting abstraction of the world and our inclination to adore them as empirical objects. I am inclined to employ this representational tension as a means to explore both the volatile and mercurial problems of my ancestral background in the Middle East.
I have been working for over a decade with large format photography and it is still the means by which I conceptualize, associate and produce my work. There is a meditative and decidedly intentional quality built in to every image that stems tangibly from the very materials they are made of. My images are often constructed in a studio, within a controlled environment and require much in the way of sculptural and spatial problem solving. The images are contingent on having been shot “in camera” so as to reinforce the visual abstractions contained within them. In contrast, the visual content of the images is mostly informed by the transitional and elastic spaces found in the ethnic, political and religious labyrinth of the Middle East; a region whose narratives are so often borne of both the control and immediacy of images and their symbolic weight.”