From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXXII


Art for Winter – Part I of III: Elena Chestnykh (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Communal Bridge”

Musings in Winter: Cormac McCarthy

“There is no later. This is later.”

Art for Winter – Part II of III: Andrey Chezhin (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “New York”

A Poem for Today

“Brian Age Seven”
By Mark Doty

Grateful for their tour
of the pharmacy,
the first-grade class
has drawn these pictures,
each self-portrait taped
to the window-glass,
faces wide to the street,
round and available,
with parallel lines for hair.

I like this one best: Brian,
whose attenuated name
fills a quarter of the frame,
stretched beside impossible
legs descending from the ball
of his torso, two long arms
springing from that same
central sphere. He breathes here,

on his page. It isn’t craft
that makes this figure come alive;
Brian draws just balls and lines,
in wobbly crayon strokes.
Why do some marks
seem to thrill with life,
possess a portion
of the nervous energy
in their maker’s hand?

That big curve of a smile
reaches nearly to the rim
of his face; he holds
a towering ice cream,
brown spheres teetering
on their cone,
a soda fountain gift
half the length of him
—as if it were the flag

of his own country held high
by the unadorned black line
of his arm. Such naked support
for so much delight! Artless boy,
he’s found a system of beauty:
he shows us pleasure
and what pleasure resists.
The ice cream is delicious.
He’s frail beside his relentless standard.

Below – Pablo Picasso: “Line Drawing of Harlequin”

Art for Winter – Part III of III: Maria Bozoky (Hungarian, 1917-1996)

Below – “Remarkable Mountains”

Musings in Winter: Lauren Klarfeld

“As we travel great lengths in this world away from home, most of us come back with a clearer view on what home means. And most likely it isn’t so much about the place in itself, but more about the places and people that have made us feel AT home.”

Below – Jasper Francis Cropsey: “The Return Home”

Contemporary Russian Art – Part I of II: Aleksander Dashevsky

In the words of one writer, “Aleksandr Dashevsky is an exceptional artist in terms of his approach to subject matter and his execution of content. The unusual choice of focus within his works should not be simply dismissed as lacking dexterity. Rather, it is important to account for the fact that Dashevsky freely admits to the content of his pieces choosing him, as opposed to the other way round. Hence, the artist freely accepts what one might perceive as being candor within his works and this is what mobilizes one to carefully reconsider the work in front of them. As Magritte infamously declared the image of the pipe is not the pipe itself, so does one discern that the objects represented within Dashevsky’s paintings are also not completely self-evident and unambiguous.
As a member of the St. Petersburg’s ‘Society of Painting and Drawing Lovers’, Dashevsky’s work could be characterized as new urbanism. The city planning of today blurs the traditional boundaries between the city, suburbs and industry. Block housing and empty lots unfurl into the never ending Russian nature. As a ‘poet of the agglomeration,’ Dashevsky moves in the same direction that American artists of the 1960’s to the 80’s were heading—out of the city center. He probes the American poetic of melancholy and forlornness in his own territory, which has its own industrial tradition in the art of Futurism and Social Realism. The alienating anti-aesthetic of garages and shanty towns blends into the painterly aesthetic of abstraction that plays with shades of colors, surfaces and depths. His paintings can be seen as science-fiction landscapes, painterly patchworks, technical blueprints, or as the dreams of lonely people. The ambiguity and mysteriousness of his works are the most important elements of their charm.”

Below – Night Landscape, Vedenskya Street”; “Pulkovskie Heights No. 17”; “Swimming Pool”; “Insomnia No. 5”; “Chairs”; “Phantom of the Infanta.”

A Second Poem for Today

By Aaron Fagan

Sisyphus punches in, each morning,
At a mountain he must face all day,
In hell, for eternity, and at night,
Having not reached the summit
Again, he walks down slow, where
The rock rushed by, careful to see,
With new eyes, where it all went
Wrong, again, and then later,
At the bar in town, sits cooling his
Bleeding hands against a whiskey,
On the rocks, and maps new paths,
On a napkin, inside the wet ring
His tumbler made, again and again,
The routes running on to absurd
Lengths, hands shaking, and if it
Wasn’t a map, you might think
It was the history of history
Or parts of a nude in repose,
Patient with death and belonging.

Musings in Winter: J.M. Coetzee

“No consciousness that we would recognize as consciousness. Not awareness, as far as we can make out, of a self with a history. What I mind is what tends to come next. They have no consciousness therefore. Therefore what? Therefore we are free to use them for our own ends Therefore we are free to kill them? Why? What is so special about the form of consciousness that we recognize that makes killing a bearer of it a crime while killing an animal goes unpunished?”

Below – Kindness Hall of Fame Inductee Gene Bauer, President of Farm Sanctuary

Contemporary Russian Art – Part II of II: Djoma

Painter Djoma (born 1966) lives and works in St. Petersburg.

Below – “Watermelon Day”; “Pastoral”; “Horsewoman”; “Autumn Blues”; “Morning”; “Dream.”

A Third Poem for Today

“At the Gym”
By Mark Doty

This salt-stain spot
marks the place where men
lay down their heads,
back to the bench,

and hoist nothing
that need be lifted
but some burden they’ve chosen
this time: more reps,

more weight, the upward shove
of it leaving, collectively,
this sign of where we’ve been:
shroud-stain, negative

flashed onto the vinyl
where we push something
unyielding skyward,
gaining some power

at least over flesh,
which goads with desire,
and terrifies with frailty.
Who could say who’s

added his heat to the nimbus
of our intent, here where
we make ourselves:
something difficult

lifted, pressed or curled,
Power over beauty,
power over power!
Though there’s something more

tender, beneath our vanity,
our will to become objects
of desire: we sweat the mark
of our presence onto the cloth.

Here is some halo
the living made together.

Musings in Winter: Kamand Kojonri

“Poetry is seeing everything when there is only one thing. It is looking at a rose but seeing the stars, moons, seas, and trees. It is a truth beyond logic, an experience beyond thought. Poetry is the Earth pausing on its axis in order to manifest itself as a rose.”

Contemporary American Art – Part I of II: Mark Whitmarsh

In the words of one writer,”Born in Denver, Colorado, Mark Whitmarsh studied art at the University of Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain School of Art and Design in Denver. ‘As I build layers of color, a personal iconography evolves on the painted surface. I’m interested in a surface that has a rich patina with a modern ancestry. By adding and subtracting layers, a genesis over time is revealed.’ Working on paper or canvas and using mixed mediums such as oils, pastels, acrylics and watercolors, Mark is free to explore light, color and space. He creates a certain mood that he has seen or felt by the seemingly chance placement of shape and color relationships that excite the eye. ‘I enjoy discovery through painting … for me this is why I am an artist. My desire is to translate the discoveries in my work, in order to share with others. Painting for me is perfect self expression.’”

Below – “Spirit Lake”; “Violet Thunder”; “Dream Sequence”; “Sierra Mist”; “Cool Meadow”; “Sky Blue.”

Musings in Winter: Anthony Doerr

“The stars were so many and so white they looked like chips of ice, hammered through the fabric of the sky.”

Contemporary American Art – Part II of II: Nancy Boren – Part I of II

In the words of one writer, “Nancy Boren’s first painting, a watercolor, was done at age 12 while sitting next to her artist father, James Boren, as he painted at the Grand Canyon.  Since then she has branched out to original print making and oil painting, depicting a variety of landscape and marine subjects, and is often captivated by scenes in which the figure fills the canvas.”

Below – “Paper Lights, Magic Nights”; “Four Corners Cowboy”; “The Flying Circus Hits Laramie”; “Warm Twilight”; “Apache Crown Dancer”; “American Basin.”

Musings in Winter: Adi Alsaid

“Then that’s what the Northern Lights are. All the lives that we’re not living.”

Contemporary American Art – Part II of II: Nancy Boren – Part II of II

In the words of one writer, “She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Abilene Christian University and cites the influence of notable traditional painters such as Sargent, Sorolla and Fechin. Boren’s painting, “Aloft in the Western Sky,” is part of the permanent collection of the Booth Museum of Western Art in Cartersville, GA. She has also exhibited at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, the Gilcrease Museum, The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City, and the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Show at the National Arts Club, NY.”

Below – “October Field, Central Texas”; “Tubac Cholla”; “Happy Hour”; “Like a Sunflower to the Sun”; “A Desert Rat’s Ode to Maynard Dixon”; “Above Carmel Beach.”

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