Sentient in San Francisco – 31 August 2019

Contemporary South African Art – Janna Prinsloo

Below – “”Landscape in Sepia Series 2”; “Infinity 6”; “Mechanising the Brushstroke”; “Re-Framing Dreams V”; “Infinity In & Through Me 8.”

An American Voice: Born in 1966, Jill Lepore is an award-winning American historian, the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University, and author of “The Secret History of Wonder Woman” and “This America: The Case For The Nation.”

Some quotes from the work of Jill Lepore:

“History is the art of making an argument about the past by telling a story accountable to evidence. In the writing of history, a story without an argument fades into antiquarianism; an argument without a story risks pedantry. Writing history requires empathy, inquiry, and debate. It requires forswearing condescension, cant, and nostalgia. The past isn’t quaint. Much of it, in fact, is bleak.”
“Mainly, the more faddish and newer stages of life are really just marketing schemes. Tweenhood. The young old. The quarter-life crisis.”
“History is hereditary only in this way: we, all of us, inherit everything, and then we choose what to cherish, what to disavow, and what to do next, which is why it’s worth trying to know where things come from.”
“Old reference books are like tree rings. Without them, there’d be no way to know what a tree had lived through.”
“The study of history requires investigation, imagination, empathy, and respect. Reverence just doesn’t enter into it.”
“We have hands that must work, brains that must think, and personalities that must be developed.”
“Conservatism cherishes tradition; innovation fetishizes novelty. They tug in different directions, the one toward the past, the other toward the future.”
“The world may not be getting better and better, but our devices are getting newer and newer.”

Contemporary Polish Art – Anastasia Balabina

Below – “In dreams”; “Blue puppy”; “Pink chameleon”; “Dreamer”; “Girl in the clouds”; “Girl in glasses.”

A Poem for Today

“Christmas Night”
by Conrad Hilberry

Let midnight gather up the wind
and the cry of tires on bitter snow.
Let midnight call the cold dogs home,
sleet in their fur—last one can blow

the streetlights out. If children sleep
after the day’s unfoldings, the wheel
of gifts and griefs, may their breathing
ease the strange hollowness we feel.

Let midnight draw whoever’s left
to the grate where a burnt-out log unrolls
low mutterings of smoke until
a small fire wakes in its crib of coals.

Contemporary Australian Art – Amelia Millard

Below – “Fading memories”; “Something Reminded Me”; “I’m So Glad You Called”; “Lost and found”; “Shanghai”; “Past.”

An American Voice: Born in 1932, William Kittredge is an American writer and author of “Owning It All,” “Hole in the Sky: A Memoir,” and “Who Owns the West?”

Some quotes from the work of William Kittredge:

“In learning to pay respectful attention to one another and plants and animals, we relearn the acts of empathy, and thus humility and compassion – ways of proceeding that grow more and more necessary as the world crowds in.”
“Places come to exist in our imaginations because of stories, and so do we. When we reach for a ‘sense of place,’ we posit an intimate relationship to a set of stories connected to a particular location, such as Hong Kong or the Grand Canyon or the bed where we were born, thinking of histories and the evolution of personalities in a local context. Having ‘a sense of self’ means possessing a set of stories about who we are and with whom and why.”
“I wonder what my father saw in his most secret sight of the right life. It’s my guess he wanted to live out his life surrounded by friends and children and fertile fields of his own designing. I tihnk he wanted to die believing he had been in on the creation of a good sweet place. Those old pilgrims believed stories in which the West was a promise, a far away place where decent people could escape the wreckage of the old world and start over. Come to me, the dream whispers, and you can have one more chance.”
“I want to think I deserve what I get. I don’t want to consider how vastly I am overly rewarded. I don’t want to consider the injustices around me. I don’t want any encounters with the disenfranchised. I want to say it’s not my fault. But it is, it’s yours and mine, and ours. We’d better figure out ways to spread some equity around if we want to go on living in a society that is at least semi-functional. It’s a fundamental responsibility, to ourselves.”
“We live in stories. What we are is stories. We do things because of what is called character, and our character is formed by the stories we learn to live in.”
“It is our duty to preserve huge tracts of land in something resembling its native condition. The biological interactions necessary to insure the continuities of life are astonishingly complex, and cannot take place in islands of semiwilderness like the national parks.”
“We must define a story which encourages us to make use of the place where we live without killing it, and we must understand that the living world cannot be replicated. There will never be another setup like the one in which we thrived. Ruin it and we will have lost ourselves, and that is craziness.”
“The ecology of the valley was complex beyond our understanding, and it began to die as we went on manipulating it in ever more frantic ways. As it went dead and empty of the old life it became a place where no one wanted to live. In our right minds we want to seek out places that reek of complexity. Our drive to industrialize soured and undercut the intimacies that drew most people to country life in the first place.”
“The specific danger is us; we are rampant; this earth is our only friend; we are destroying it increment by increment at a horrific rate. We must understand that we can’t buy it back.”

Contemporary French Art – Claudio Missagia

Below – “Altrove”; “Butterflies party”; “Altrove”; “Composition”; “Altrove p”; “Nymphea.”

A Poem for Today

“How Is It That the Snow”
by Robert Haight

How is it that the snow
amplifies the silence,
slathers the black bark on limbs,
heaps along the brush rows?

Some deer have stood on their hind legs
to pull the berries down.
Now they are ghosts along the path,
snow flecked with red wine stains.

This silence in the timbers.
A woodpecker on one of the trees
taps out its story,
stopping now and then in the lapse
of one white moment into another.

Below – Ken Ahlering: “Through The Snowy Woods”

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