Archive for the ‘art’ Category

Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.”

Ecc. 4:6

I sat in the backyard today listening to the waterfall, watching the green summer leaves fall out of my Ficus tree, pondering the white waterlilies in my pond and  reveling in quietness. It took some time, to get quiet. I had to wait, and let the wind come to me, and it eventually did, off the ocean, San Diegoesque, the way I like it.

Thus and so I slothified, lazificated and specifically and intentionally settlified on a handful of quietness. Later I made up some fresh food, sat out back again, and firmly and resolutely decided not to sort the bills or paint the wall in the family room — both on the docket for someday.

Better a handful of quietness on a holiday at home than the hard-driving, high-output, hyper-accomplishification of my everyday life.  Sure, I love that too, my — work — but rest, home, garden, reflection, “Ahh, so very good. ”

I think of my artists, the ones I love, my beauty makers, Pizzaro, Monet, Chagall, Pollock.

Pizzaro estblishished a family home outside of Paris in Pontoise and later in Louveciennes, both inspired many of his paintings including scenes of village life, along with rivers, woods, and people at work.

Monet had Giverny, his lily pond and garden, and you know what came of that amplitude of quietness. Visit the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris.

Marc Chagall had his Vitebsk in Russia, and it remained for life his little Jewish town, steeped in floating donkeys and flying Rabbi’s and levitating angels.

Jackson Pollock had his wood-frame house in East Hampton on the south shore of Long Island. For Jackson, that wasn’t enough. He tried, I’ll give him that but quietness wasn’t to be his.  Home may heal some insanity; it doesn’t heal it all.

A handful of quietness is a choice, to heal and to recover and to chew a bit too.  It’s better than chasing wind —  thus sayeth the seer — better than chasing accounts and awards and titles and fame, and if we chose it, if we stop doing and spend more time being, dawdling in patio chairs, lollygagging on lawns, lazing in poolside lounges then we just might, out of reverie, live more wisely — and also, eventually get up and go out and paint something wonderful.

I stood in the Georges Pompidou in Paris today, fifth floor, modern art exhibition.

Loved it!

Matisse, Picasso, Duchamp, Kandinsky, Kupka, Warhol, Pollock — all there and much more, lurking in the galleries, going nonrepresentational on me, splattered, shattered and re-mattered.

As I looked them over and through, I thought about how modern art has re-imaged our world. It has lifted our mental bed covers, peeped us beneath the surface of our lives and looked us into the strange, improvisatory forms and shapes of things sleeping in our psyches.

The exhibition in the Pompidou is so different from what is in the Louvre where we find the Venus de Milo, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the raft of the Medusa, the winged bulls.

As I stroll-gawked through the Pompidou exhibit, I thought about how modern art, over time, grew increasingly abstract — and increasingly inclusive. It was the impressionists who started this.

Monet begat Picasso.

With modern art, art became form, and everything became art.

Subjects became increasingly unrecognizable. Form and content merged and became colored lines, circles, curves, arrows, triangles, boxes, parallels, randoms.

Modern art threw reality in our faces — geometricized, essentialized, energized.

I love it, well some of it.

I’ve heard some people don’t

An elitist explanation for this would be that they simply don’t understand it.

I don’t think so. I think we all understand it all too well, and this is actually what disturbs us and either drives us away from it our pulls us into it.

Reality, stopped down to it’s essentials, frightens us, stuff like atoms, electrons, lines, dots, emotions, instincts, body parts, chaos, non-rational reality, the stuff that dreams are made of, the stuff that we are made of.

Modern art hasn’t made a life of it’s own; it is our life, and is unnerving, too real, too ugly, too beautiful and so we turn away from it, just as we do from reality.

Consider Kandinsky. His paintings are life untethered, parts and pieces, horizontals and verticals, color contrasts, essential spiritualities, floating through the flotsam and jetsam of sentience.

Perhaps a Kandinsky is more like a Venus de Milo than we suspect. Modern art is life — with the arms knocked off.

I’m for embracing it, all of it — what flies and what floats, what is rational, what is not, what is recognizable and also what lurks just below that but is that.

To appreciate modern art, any art, one must come out of denial and into acceptance.

It’s that simple.

It’s about you; it’s about accepting youself.

Upward!

I’ve seen it in the rainforest north of Juneau, where the fluffy moss puffs up like thick cat fur on the rotting logs, growing toward the sun, and I’ve seen it in Sequoia where the dark, thick redwoods just keep flinging their massive trunks upward. I love how the great ancient forests all leap upwards.

A raft of our greatest artists noted this — Van Gogh, Burchfield, Carr, Chagall.

In my office, a Van Gogh — one of his Olive trees — churns, surges and tendrils up above my desk. Likewise, the Northern symbolist Charles Burchfield paid attention to such movement with his cathedral forests, where all the branches and leaves coil and curl skyward in church-window like arches — the energy of up, the vibrating sky, as in  September Wind and Rain. Chagall took this tack too, and his donkeys, his angels, his lovers all leave the ground to float and drift in the sky, or wherever, as in Over the Town or I and The Village

Emily Carr, the Canadian arboreal savant saw it too. I like how with Emily her sacred trees are all rushing upward, for instance her Among the Firs and Sombreness Sunlight.

Carr respects the trees; her’s twirl and whorl and shout and shoot to the sky. She graces them with dark rich blues and greens — yellows and oranges and whites peaking through them — black trunk and limb pushing heavenward through fire.

I love how Emily’s paint, her broad brush strokes move up, the sweeping branches, the upsweeping skies, except for this — those gorgeous lateral slashes of paint and wind rushing through her trees. Burchfield did this too in Oncoming Spring.

This is the motion of life. Life is heliotropic — with the occasional slash —  it is ascendant, for me it is praise.