Sentient in Seattle – 31 May 2018

Musings in Spring: Voltaire

“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.”


This Date in Art History: Born 31 May 1860 – Walter Sickert, an English painter.

Below – “The Acting Manager or Rehearsal: The End of the Act”; “La Giuseppina, the Ring”; “Brighton Pierrots”; “Ennui”; “Camden Town Interior – The Looking Glass”; “Nude Before a Mirror.”

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of Her Birth: Born 31 May 1948 – Svetlana Alexievich, a Belarusian journalist, non-fiction prose writer, author of “Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster,” and recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Svetlana Alexievich:

“Death is the fairest thing in the world. No one’s ever gotten out of it. The earth takes everyone – the kind, the cruel, the sinners. Aside from that, there’s no fairness on earth.”
“No one had taught us how to be free. We had only ever been taught how to die for freedom.”
“We’re often silent. We don’t yell and we don’t complain. We’re patient, as always. Because we don’t have the words yet. We’re afraid to talk about it. We don’t know how. It’s not an ordinary experience, and the questions it raises are not ordinary. The world has been split in two: there’s us, the Chernobylites, and then there’s you, the others. Have you noticed? No one here points out that they’re Russian or Belarusian or Ukrainian. We all call ourselves Chernobylites. ‘We’re from Chernobyl.’ ‘I’m a Chernobylite.’ As if this is a separate people. A new nation.”
“Show me a fantasy novel about Chernobyl–there isn’t one! Because reality is more fantastic.”
“Chernobyl is like the war of all wars. There’s nowhere to hide. Not underground, not underwater, not in the air.”
“Today, no one has time for feelings, they’re all out making money. The discovery of money hit us like an atom bomb.”
“It’s certainly true that Chernobyl, while an accident in the sense that no one intentionally set it off, was also the deliberate product of a culture of cronyism, laziness, and a deep-seated indifference toward the general population. The literature on the subject is pretty unanimous in its opinion that the Soviet system had taken a poorly designed reactor and then staffed it with a group of incompetents. It then proceeded, as the interviews in this book attest, to lie about the disaster in the most criminal way. In the crucial first ten days, when the reactor core was burning and releasing a steady stream of highly radioactive material into the surrounding areas, the authorities repeatedly claimed that the situation was under control. . . In the week after the accident, while refusing to admit to the world that anything really serious had gone wrong, the Soviets poured thousands of men into the breach. . . The machines they brought broke down because of the radiation. The humans wouldn’t break down until weeks or months later, at which point they’d die horribly.”


This Date in Art History: Died 31 May 1986 – Jane Frank, an American painter and sculptor.

Below – “Winter Windows”; “Aerial Series – Dorado”; “Aerial Series – Ploughed Fields”; “Aerial View No. 1”; “Crags and Crevices”; “Ledge of Light.”

Notes from Trumpistan – 25 June 2018

On global warming: “It’s really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!” – Donald Trump, Twitter, 19/10/15.


Worth a Thousand Words: Godafoss, Iceland.

This Date in Art History: Born 31 May 1923 – Ellsworth Kelly, an American painter and sculptor.

Below – “Derriere le Miroir no. 110 Page”; “Light Blue with Orange”; “Blue and Green over Orange”; “Red, Yellow, Blue”; “Yellow over Dark Blue”; “Red Curve (for Joel).”


Remembering a Great Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 31 May 1819 – Walt Whitman, an American poet, essayist, and journalist.

“Song of Myself: LII”
by Walt Whitman

The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab and my loitering.

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.

The last scud of day holds back for me,
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow’d wilds,
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.

I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.

American Art – April Gornik: Part I of II.

In the words of one writer, “Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1953, she received a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1976.”

Below – “Spirit Clouds II”; “Water World”; “Landscape”; “Approaching Night”; “Vernal Equinox”; Untitled (Yellow Wind).

Musings in Spring: George Gordon Byron

“The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space.”


American Art – April Gornik: Part II of II.

In the words of one writer, “She has work in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y., the Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y., the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C., the Cincinnati Museum, the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, the Modern Art Museum of Art of Fort Worth, the Orlando Museum of Art, and other major public collections.”

Below – Untitled (Storm at Sea); “Blue Day, Blue Night”; “Turning Waterfall”; “Sea Light”; “Fire and Water”; “Cloud Bringing Night.”

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