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Friday, April 30, 2004

"UP AND UP" (1996) (PAPIER MACHE SCULPTURE, 20 x 10 x 8 IN) by MIRIAM BLOOM
Location: Library, Pygmalion-First Floor

I first met sculptor Miriam Bloom when our residencies at MacDowell Colony overlapped. I fell in love with Miriam's work, kept in touch, and she would come to invite me to write an essay for her 2000 show at Elizabeth Harris Gallery (New York). It was the first time I wrote for an exhibition catalogue! Later, I would expand my essay to include it in my book of art essays and art-inspired poems, MY ROMANCE. Here's an excerpt from what I've written on Miriam's sculptures:

"Bloom's works also offer a sense of naturalism once we suspend preconceptions on how they should appear -- once we accept that they are fully realized rather than approximating the human body or shapes more familiar to us. We may accept the concept of nature as all-encompassing, but many of us still consider what is natural in terms of what is inerited versus what one creates/imagines. Bloom makes accessible to the naked eye various figures which exist but usually remain invisible ("Make No Bones" could mirror the form of tiny organisms effectuating osmosis). Similarly, Bloom uses certain colors like royal blue because she considers primary colors less prevalent in nature than, say, the color green. By uncovering the invisible, Bloom reminds us to reconsider -- and honor -- nature's extent.

"Her respect for other entities and desire to recover images from invisibility indicate that Bloom, too, is commenting on the plight of those discriminated against because of their physicality. Studies reveal that height is helpful in achieving positions of power in corporations or politics; those with extreme features were once relegated to the circus; some businesses fire women (and men) who exceed a certain age or weight level; and many art galleriese fill their front desks with people fitting fashion magazines' definitions of bodily charm. By questioning such practices through her show, Bloom reveals herself to be a political artist.

"Vision and language -- when we enlarge one, we enlarge the other. Through such enlargement, elements hiding in our dreams can surface, as suggested by Bloom's sculpture "Night Between Two Days." Oversized pimple-like attachments cling against the side of the sculpture with its flesh of fractured silver. What lies between days is night; what lies within night can be dreams; what lies within dreams can be what we fear as manifested by forms we consider alien as well as a color both ruptured and in-between light and dark. Nature has adark side, but it can become beautiful through art.

"If Bloom asks us to reconsider how we define Beauty beyond Hollywood's sanitized versions of reality, it is because something is at stake: positive relationships can be difficult to form given what she alludes to in her title as the tragic-comic quality of American culture.

"Nonetheless, Bloom is wise enough to recognize the tragic side of humanness -- some of us may never be able to open our eyes and minds to Beauty's varied embodiments. Rather than concern herself with those who will not be moved to reach affectionately for her sculptures, Bloom has chosen to focus on those who will see her creations and transcend a culturally-induced gut reaction to judge them as mistakes. Bloom's optimism is obvious in her sense of humor as she demonstrates that Beauty encompasses imperfection. Consequently, Bloom's works always manifest Hope."

***
Prov.: Direct from Artist



Thursday, April 29, 2004

"TWL" (renamed "BLACK LIGHTNING" after its image appeared on my book entitled with same name) (1997) (OIL ON WOOD, 22 X 22 IN) by THERESA CHONG
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

"EIGHT (A&B)" (1998) (OIL ON WOOD) (TWO PANELS, EACH 40 X 20 1/2 IN, HUNG 1/2 INCH APART) by THERESA CHONG
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

DRAWING ON RICE PAPER (Details to Come) by THERESA CHONG
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

MONEY & STAMP SERIES (2000) (PRINTS) by THERESA CHONG
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

DRAWINGS FOR POETRY COLLABORATION by THERESA CHONG
Location: Library, Pygmalion-Second Floor

DRAWING WITH BOOK (Details to Come) by THERESA CHONG
Location: Library, Pygmalion-Second Floor

DRAWING WITH BOY (Details to Come) by THERESA CHONG
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

[SECOND MENTION DUE TO UPDATE]

I'm mentioning Theresa Chong's works again so that I can cite from the wonderful review she's received from Edward Leffingwell in the May 2004 issue of Art in America. This was for her last solo exhibition which shows Theresa being among the contemporary artists who have put to bed the idea that drawing is for studies rather than being the end result on its own. Here's an excerpt from Leffingwell's review:

"In each drawing, Chong navigates a random course through vast fields of these little boxes, each of which is filled with white or blue-black gouache laid down with a fine brush. On close inspection, the soft trail of graphite seems almost molten in contrast to the opaque gouache....these works express her understanding of the importance of gesture in abstraction. She finds gesture not only in the work of de Kooning and Pollock but in the clear, sure line of Lichtenstein."

***
Prov.: Danese Gallery, New York; direct from Artist; 1999 Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School Benefit Fundraiser



"[] (WAX PYRAMID WITH EMBLEMS) by AGNES ARELLANO
Location: Babaylan Lodge

While I was at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books last week, I picked up Self-Portraits: Twelve Filipina Artists Speak (Eds. Thelma B. Kintanar and Sylvia Mendez Ventura, Ateneo de Manila University Press). Here's an excerpt from the article on Agnes Arellano:

Agnes calls her sculptures "inscapes," a term she borrowed from poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, who defined inscape as the esence and underlying design of a thing. Agnes not merely looks at the surface of a thing but explores the very core of it, the idea that form sit underpinning. EAch of her sculptures is thus an integration of ideas into one total space or environment called an inscape.

[The interviewer asked]: In doing your inscapes, are you guided by any social, moral, or aesthetic values?

Agnes Arellano: The only thing I can demand of the artist is that he be true to his vision. "To thine own self be true ... and it must follow as the night the day" -- ruthlessly true. I can't fool myself because I'm hard on myself. I do not make art fo the sake of art. I do it for me. Art is a convenient means for expressing my madness, my deepest, darkest thoughts and feelings, the evil that I fight within. Perhaps this is why my art is ugly to some people.

I believe in cycles and changes. I have been consulting the I Ching since my hippie days, and continue to do so every time I need to find my place in the cosmic scheme, where contradictions can and do exist.

Find all your million contradictory selves. Confront them all but don't get lost in the confusion. My life is chaos. My art makes this chaos harmonious. Live out the insanity and you will feel how sane you areally are after all.

***
Prov.: A. Yuson



Wednesday, April 28, 2004

"[] HOLOGRAPH by MITRA FABIAN
Location: Library, Pygmalion-Second Floor

I began Volume IV of my Art/Poetry Journal with Mitra Fabian writing in it one of the texts from her wall installation of onion skin fragments typed with text (the typing was done with an IBM Selectric and the particular ink-result of that decision really made a difference for heightening evocativeness: a nice sculptural element). Mitra is currently exhibiting at Gallery 825 at Bergamot Station through May 8, 2004. The text I loved right away and which she inscribed:

I felt the wind & remembered everything

***
Prov: Direct from Artist





Sunday, April 25, 2004

TWO DRAWINGS IN E.T.'S ART/POETRY JOURNAL (2001) by G. SCOTT MACLEOD
Location: Library, Pygmalion-Second Floor

[THIRD MENTION DUE TO UPDATE]

One of the highlights of my 2001 residency at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico was meeting Montreal-based artist Scott MacLeod. It was great seeing him make these Taos-inspired paintings here. In my journal, he made drawings (one of them of a "Gotland Grave") related to his "Ancestral Homes" series; some images here (I was really pleased to hear later that his series were exhibited in 2002 at the Swedish American Museum Center in Chicago). I really love this series as it's narrative-laden while also working effectively as purely visual (even abstract) imagery. I also had a chance to listen to Scott sing -- an all around Renaissance Man.

UPDATE:
I'm traveling so can't do much to update the list until I return to Galatea on Tuesday (I'm on the road partly to do a poetry reading/multi-media performance at the club "Smell" in Los Angeles; for more details in case you wish to stop by, go to my primary Blog). But I can reprint below the official press release related to Scott MacLeod written by critic John Grande, and which I just received in this morning's e-mail batch:

Central Park Two Views
Monica Tatjana Gotz & G. Scott MacLeod


April 29 to June 10, 2004
Opening reception
Wednesday, April 28, 6 to 8 pm

Arsenal Gallery, Central Park
Fifth Avenue and 64th Street
Third Floor
New York, New York

Gallery Hours
Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm
212.360.8163

For general info, please call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov/parks
For advanced viewing go to http://www.macleod9.com/newyork/index.htm
www.woerthstreetstudio.com

PRESS RELEASE

Using the simple device of the pinhole camera to record scenes of New York City, Monica Tatjana Gotz captures atmospheres that are quite unlike the hurried pace of daily life in New York. We see quiet oases of tranquility, oblique and sometimes obscure views of the city, and tonal qualities that give the viewer a sense of time. The many layers of the city and its history, both natural and manmade, are exposed but with a voyeuristic eye. The surrounds become vague, uncertain. The central focus of each photo usually involves man-made structures; the Bandshell or the Winterdale Arch or a Gothic-style bridge in Central Park.

What surrounds them is usually nature as seen in a city whether it be sky, water, garden or park. The main sense that emerges from viewing Gotz’s photography as a collectivity is that we are witness to brief glimpses of a private world in a city that is anything but private. New York City thus carries with it a narrative history that is simultaneously about the past, and present, even inadvertently a future. Monica Tatjana Gotz’s soulful pinhole photo images are intentionally distressed and varnished to achieve a further sense of what the 19th century art and architecture critic John Ruskin called the “weare of tyme”. She captures this sense of the mystery of the ordinary place and space with an elegant sense of bygone days.

Ironically, the starting point for Scott MacLeod’s paintings is precisely the contrary to that of Monica Tatjana Gotz’s. MacLeod’s paintings are not derived from the observation of reality at all. Instead, they draw directly from the atmosphere and subject matter of Gotz’s pinhole photos. MacLeod’s paintings are resplendent with a sense of the captured moment. Each subject is brought to life with a delight in the build up of atmosphere on the paint surface. From Gothic arches, to bridge structures, to the tranquility of a Central Park pond, all MacLeod’s paintings are based on Gotz’s photographs. We would never have known this without having been informed of it. Using a thick impasto, loose brushwork and strong coloristic sense, MacLeod has produced a remarkable series of lively oil on masonite sketches for this show. His ability to transcend the ordinary, and refabricate a sense of the mystery and beauty of a place is remarkable.
- John K. Grande

(Writer and art critic John Grande's reviews and feature articles have been published extensively in Artforum, Vice Versa, Sculpture, Art Papers, British Journal of Photography, Espace Sculpture, Public Art Review, Vie des Arts, Art On Paper, The Globe & Mail, Circa & Canadian Forum. The author of Balance: Art and Nature (Black Rose Books, 1994), Intertwining: Landscape, Technology, Issues, Artists (Black Rose Books, 1998) and Jouer avec le feu: Armand Vaillancourt: Sculpteur engagé (Montreal: Lanctot, 2001). John Grande has published numerous catalogue essays on selected artists and has taught art history at Bishops University. He co-authored Judy Garfin: Natural Disguise (Vehicule Press, Montreal, 1998) and Nils-Udo: Art with Nature (Wienand Verlag, Koln, Germany 2000) and his latest book is David Sorensen: Abstraction From Here to Now (Centre culturel Yvonne L. Bombardier, Valcourt, 2001) Mr. Grande?s Art Nature Dialogues will be published by SUNY Press in 2003, as will a newly revised edition of Balance: Art and Nature will appear with Black Rose Books.)

If you wish to follow up on Scott's works, here are some contact details and links:

G.Scott MacLeod
6333 St-Laurent
Montreal, QC
Canada
514.271.1468
www.macleod9.com
www.larazagroup.com
www.abriefcanadianhistory.com

***
Prov.: Direct from Artist
N.B. Letters and CD in File



Thursday, April 22, 2004

"UNTITLED" (1998) (PRINTER'S INK & RESIN ON PAPER, 19 x 15 IN) by MAUREEN MCQUILLAN
Location: Red Bedroom, Pygmalion-Second Floor

"UNTITLED" (1999) (PRINTER'S INK & RESIN ON PAPER, 19 1/4 x 19 1/2 IN) by MAUREEN MCQUILLAN
Location: Pantry Hallway (SouthEast), Pygmalion-First Floor

HOLIDAY CARD DRAWING by MAUREEN MCQUILLAN
Location: Pantry Hallway (SouthEast), Pygmalion-First Floor

"UNTITLED" (PRINTER'S INK & RESIN ON PAPER, 1 1/8 x 7 IN) by MAUREEN MCQUILLAN
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

This is a second mention of Maureen Mcquillan to add on a previously overlooked work (the fourth item above) and for an Update related to a group exhibition through April 30, 2004:

MOVING OUTLINES
Contemporary Museum
100 W. Centre Street
Baltimore, Maryland
410-783-5720

Featuring:
Carlos Amorales
Nick Barna
Lee Boot
Talia Greene
Doug Holden
Christine Kesler
Maureen McQuillan
Vik Muniz
Marc Andre Robinson
Juliao Sarmento
Mark Sheinkman
Zak Smith
Rudolf Stingel

***
Prov.: The Drawing Center/direct from Artist; and James Graham & Sons, New York



VASE (CERAMIC, 1996) by WASHINGTON LEDESMA
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco

Washington Ledesma creates pleasure-inducing objects.

***
Prov.: ______, Healdsburg, CA



Wednesday, April 21, 2004

NEW YORK PRETZEL (1994) (PAINTED CARDBOARD, UNLIMITED EDITION) by CLAES OLDENBERG
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

Not only does this piece by Claes Oldenberg never fail to make me smile but I like the underlying concepts behind the unlimited edition (that Art should be accessible to all, and so on). Besides, it's the only Oldenberg work we have since the hubby, when he was five years old, erased a drawing made for him by Mr. Oldenberg himself. The toddler as critic.

***
Prov.: Printed Matter, New York



THREE TINY FIGURES (CLAY) by MARGARET AND LUTHER GUTIERREZ
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

Margaret and Luther Gutierrez (Santa Clara Pueblo) were a brother-sister team whose works could be as small as an inch, which is about what these are. So I placed the three figures on a shelf around a miniature NYTimes so that they look like they're reading the paper. Why not? Art should be fun.

***
Prov.: Somewhere in Santa Fe but the hubby can't recall...



"GOSSIP VI" (2003) (10 x 8 IN) PAINTING by THOMAS FINK
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

"DEAR ONE" (2002) PAINTING by THOMAS FINK
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

"DOES THE MOON BLEED" (2002) PAINTING by THOMAS FINK
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

This is a correction to my March 30, 2004 post on poet-painter Thomas Fink; I'd forgotten about the third painting noted above.

***
Prov.: Direct from Artist


SEVEN BLACK AND WHITE AND ONE COLOR WOODCUT PRINTS ON RICE PAPER (NEPAL)
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

They also remind me of arguably my most favorite place ever to have visited: Nepal.

***
Prov.: _______, New York



"SPLASH" (2003) (MIXED MEDIA, 5 X 5 IN) by LINDA GEARY
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

I first saw Linda Geary's work in a group exhibition at Marcel Sitcoske Gallery in San Francisco. I thought then that her works were a stand-out. So I was pleased to be able to get one of her paintings during a New Langton Arts benefit.

***
Prov.: New Langton Arts, San Francisco



TWO DRAWINGS IN E.T.'S ART/POETRY JOURNAL (2001) by G. SCOTT MACLEOD
Location: Library, Pygmalion-Second Floor

[SECOND MENTION DUE TO UPDATE]

One of the highlights of my 2001 residency at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico was meeting Montreal-based artist Scott MacLeod. It was great seeing him make these Taos-inspired paintings here. In my journal, he made drawings (one of them of a "Gotland Grave") related to his "Ancestral Homes" series; some images here (I was really pleased to hear later that his series were exhibited in 2002 at the Swedish American Museum Center in Chicago). I really love this series as it's narrative-laden while also working effectively as purely visual (even abstract) imagery. I also had a chance to listen to Scott sing -- an all around Renaissance Man.

UPDATE:
On April 29, 2004, G. Scott MacLeod opens an exhibition of his paintings and drawings with Monica Gotz who will show her "pinhole photographs." The exhibit, entitled "Central Park: Two Views" will last through June 10, 2004 at

Arsenal Gallery, Central Park
Fifth Avenue and 64th Street
Third Floor
New York, N.Y.
Gallery Hours: M-F, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
212-360-8163
Opening Reception: April 28, 6-8 p.m.

***
Prov.: Direct from Artist
N.B. Letters and CD in File



Tuesday, April 20, 2004

ARMOIRE (16TH CENTURY) FRENCH
Location: Family Room, Pygmalion-First Floor

It's fitting to have this piece of furniture in Galatea as its architecture is from a period when (Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, et al were alive and) France was making war with Italy and had conquered much of Northern Italy. So that, back then, the King of France was also the King of Naples. Which is why the armoire is French though we acquired it in Italy.

***
Prov.: _____ Antique Store, Cuneo, Italy



"ZENITH/CLIFTON, TX" (1999) (ACRYLIC ON ILLUSTRATION BOARD, 8 X 12 IN) by R.E. PENNER
Location: Hallway before Kitchen, Pygmalion-First Floor

As regards this realistic work by R.E. Penner, I always love to tell visitors, "It's fabulous as a photograph, brilliant as acrylic on board."

***
Prov.: O.K. Harris, New York




"[]" PAINTED BOX by MARCI
Location: Living Room, Pygmalion-First Floor

Because the painting folds around the five visible facades of a wooden box (four sides plus top), it's interesting to see how the angles of said box works to form perspective. The use of the box is this work's most interesting aspect.

***
Prov.: Calistoga Farmers Market (2003), Calistoga, CA



THREE PAINTED IVORY BOXES (TURKISH)
Location: Living Room, Pygmalion-Living Room

Sweet stuff.

***
Prov.: Grand Bazaar, Istanbul



CHICKEN (PAINTED WOOD, MEXICAN) by KIKI*
Location: Foyer, Pygmalion-First Floor

The chicken keeps Leroy Ortega's bunny (scroll below for post) company.

***
Prov.: Tourism
*Yet another post to irritate the insurance man



"UNTITLED" (1999) (OIL, MIXED MEDIA ON PANEL, 71.75 X 71.75 IN) by RON EHRLICH
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

"UNTITLED" (2003) (OIL, MIXED MEDIA ON PANEL, 16 X 16 IN) by RON EHRLICH
Location: Hallway to Library, Pygmalion-First Floor

Ron Ehrlich's painterly surfaces clearly benefit from his stint studying ceramics in Japan. His approach not just enlivens but (to my eye) spirit-ualizes his lovely lush surfaces.


***
Prov.: Stephen Haller Gallery, New York



Monday, April 19, 2004

"[] (FOAM, CONTACT PAPER, SHADOW BOX-TYPE FRAME)" by STEPHANIE SYJUCO
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

I love Stephanie Syjuco's works so much that I've even written meditations on them, one of which is in my book MY ROMANCE and most recently for the literary & arts journal OurOwnVoice. Here's an excerpt:

"Lucidity, indeed, is the primary reason for my following and enjoying Stephanie Syjuco's works. As illustrated by her 2002 exhibition entitled "Transmogrified" at the Haines Gallery (San Francisco), Syjuco would not be able to achieve her works without open-minded vision. She looks by both recognizing the image as well as the context(s) of the image; from this perspective, she is able to offer material in a manner that transcends what preconceptions may have existed in the viewers' minds.

"In doing so, Syjuco makes what Stephen Berg wrote in his poem
Porno Diva Numero Uno to be "work [that] articulates nothing but itself and is happy, pointless, without malice or love, neither good nor bad." In other words, Syjuco creates paradoxes that can be called freedom; "pointless"-ness in her work is an abstraction that encourages viewers to apply as many "points" of interpretation as possible. She promotes a way of looking that Berg addressed when he asked:

how many times can you look at something
before you stop seeing it so the point was to
jolt it out of its old existence to make the
spectator begin again.


"'To make the spectator begin again' is Syjuco's gift to the world. She effectuates one of Art's greatest possibilities: encouraging the witness to expand vision."

The work I have is a study for Stephanie's Transmographied" series. I enjoy the way Stephanie's mind works.

***
Prov.: New Langton Arts, San Francisco





"[] (LONG-EARED RABBIT)" (1985) (CARVED AND PAINTED WOOD SCULPTURE) by LEROY ORTEGA
Location: Foyer, Pygmalion-First Floor

"[] (PIG)" (1984) (CARVED AND PAINTED WOOD SCULPTURE) by LEROY ORTEGA
Location: Master Bedroom, Pygmalion-Second Floor

Why am I not surprised that Leroy Ortega's bunny looks exactly like the long-eared wabbits hopping all over Galatea's mountain? Anyway, the bunny we have (dated 12/31/85) is most assuredly related to the 1986 bunny featured on this link to the Museum of International Folk Art, Museum of New Mexico.

***
Prov.: Direct from Artist



Sunday, April 18, 2004

"STEPHANIE" (1974) (GELATIN SILVER PRINT FROM PAPER NEGATIVE, HAND-COLOURED, 20 x 16 IN) by JOAN MYERS
Location: Red Bedroom, Pygmalion-Second Floor


A lovely, evocative piece of a nude in an armchair by Joan Myers. Ms. Myers was a recipient of the 2003 Eliot Porter Prize. Visions of Passage, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego.


***
Prov.: Linda Durham Gallery, then Santa Fe and now Galisteo, NM



"TESUQUE LANE" (PASTEL, 20 x 25.5 IN) by Maggie Muchmore
Location: Hallway along Guest Bedrooms, Pygmalion-Second Floor

Maggie Muchmore's pastel is interesting partly for its black background...and how that darkness deepens the space of the flat field of a painting/drawing.

***
Prov.: Munson Gallery, Santa Fe



"OELGEMALDE MIT RAHMEN" (1992-93) (OIL ON BOARD, 12 X 12 IN) by LAFITE
Location: Master Bedroom, Pygmalion-Second Floor

An enchanting work of a still life featuring a quill by two books and a candelabra with a short wax candle, all atop a table with a marble top. The textures are all painted realistically so that you can sense/feel the difference between candle-wax, marble, leather (as the books are leather-bound) and feather (on the quill-pen).

***
Prov.: Galerie Baufugue (sp), Germany


"UNTITLED" (1986) (WATERCOLOR ON PAPER, 10.5 x 14 5/8 IN) by JONATHAN JANSON
Location: Hallway To Library, Pygmalion-First Floor

I just discovered Jonathan Janson's website -- kewl: I didn't know all that stuff about his involvement with Vermeer that includes his painting the "undiscovered " Vermeer for the Hallmark Hall of Fame television production of Susan Vreeland's novel The Girl in Hyacinth Blue. Anyway, we love our watercolor -- always nifty to see the paradoxical result of how the medium, in Janson's hands, manages to radiate such heat.

***
Prov.: O.K. Harris, New York


FROM "AN AMERICAN DIARY, 1997: DECEMBER 25, 1941 (CHRISTMAS)" (1997) (ACRYLIC ON CANVAS 11 x 14 IN) by ROGER SHIMOMURA
Location: Family Room, Pygmalion-First Floor

[SECOND MENTION DUE TO UPDATE]

Roger Shimomura recently exhibited at the Greg Kucera Gallery in Seattle. His show entitled "Stereotypes and Admonitions" was awarded a 2003 "Painters and Sculptors Grant Program Award" from the Joan Mitchell Foundation. More information is available at http://www.gregkucera.com/shimomura_stereotypes.htm. From the Artist's Statement:

This series illustrates incidents of racial insensitivity I have experienced during my life. Accompanying each painting is a written description of the incident that inspired the piece. Also included in this series are events that have affected the Asian American community on a regional and national basis over the past 60 years — essentially my lifetime. - Roger Shimomura

More information from Shimomura's earlier series, "An American Diary, 1997" and a reproduction of "December 25, 1941 (Christmas)" is archived at the gallery website at http://www.gregkucera.com/shimomura_diary.htm.

UPDATE:
Roger Shimomura is retiring from the University of Kansas where he has taught since 1969 and designated a University Distinguished Professor in 1994, the first so honored in the history of the School of Fine Arts on that campus. As part of the festivities, there will be an evening of dancing and performance art for him on Friday, May 14, 2004 and retirement dinner on Saturday, May 15, 2004 where contributions will help build the Shimomura Faculty Research Fund. For more information, contact Judy McCrea, Department of Art, University of Kansas.

***
Prov.: Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, WA



CHINESE IVORY SNUFFBOX WITH BLUE ONYX CAP (19th CEN.)
Location: Living Room, Pygmalion-First Floor

It's cute -- you untwist the cap and raise it to see an attached teensy spoon.

***
Prov.: IndoArts, San Francisco



ANCIENT STELE (MARBLE)
Location: Kitchen, Pygmalion-First Floor

This once decorated a Roman tomb and depicts lovers amidst a harvest scene.

***
Prov.: ____ Antique Store, Positano, Italy



PAPUA NEW GUINEA PIPE (C. 1930)
Location: Dining Room, Pygmalion-First Floor

Gift from A.P. from a trip to Papua New Guinea. Poor scalp on man-figure is losing its curly hair...


MASQUERADE MASK (GURO TRIBE; IVORY COAST)
FACE MASK (CAMEROON)
YAOURE MASK (IVORY COAST)
HORNBILL MASK (GURO TRIBE; IVORY COAST)
MASK (DETAILS TO COME)
MASK (DETAILS TO COME; REPAIRED BY J.A.)
"[POET'S MASK]" MASK (DETAILS TO COME)

Location: Turret Steps, Pygmalion-1st and 2nd Floors

I can still sense the spirit of those who made and originally lived with these masks.

***
Prov.: Zambezi Trading Co., Sonoma, CA



Saturday, April 17, 2004

"[]" THREE PAINTINGS ([ACRYLIC AND INK]) ON PAPER by Rene Del Toro
Location: Red Bedroom, Pygmalion-Second Floor

Speaking of art acquired on the streets (as I was a few posts back), among my favorites are these three fabulous paintings by Rene Del Toro acquired in Mexico City. They are as satisfying as other works acquired in prestigious galleries! To love Art is to look everywhere!

And of course I know nothing about the artist. But since I was posting, I Googled him and... found something! Check out this link to see an example of his colorful imagery, over at Indigo Arts Gallery.

***
Prov.: Direct from Artist



TWO DRAWINGS IN E.T.'S ART/POETRY JOURNAL (2001) by SCOTT MACLEOD
Location: Library, Pygmalion-Second Floor

One of the highlights of my 2001 residency at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico was meeting Montreal-based artist Scott MacLeod. It was great seeing him make these Taos-inspired paintings here. In my journal, he made drawings (one of them of a "Gotland Grave") related to his "Ancestral Homes" series; some images here (I was really pleased to hear later that his series were exhibited in 2002 at the Swedish American Museum Center in Chicago). I really love this series as it's narrative-laden while also working effectively as purely visual (even abstract) imagery. I also had a chance to listen to Scott sing -- an all around Renaissance Man.

***
Prov.: Direct from Artist
N.B. Letters and CD in File



ANTIQUE ELM DESK (BEIJING) (CIRCA MID-19TH CENTURY) (120 x 53 x 80 CM)
Location: Green Bedroom, Pygmalion-Second Floor

ANTIQUE JUMU DESK (JIANGSU) 9CIRCA MID-19TH CENTURY) (97.5 x 51 x 80.5 CM)
Location: Red Bedroom, Pygmalion-Second Floor

Both desks have a so-called "Antique Authentification Document" from the "Common Chine Antiques" certifying that both are over a hundred years old (but who knows?). We just like them. Both certificates share this description: "Three drawers with metal bails, also in the manner of slightly recessed panels, and brackets with just sufficient individulity (sic) of profile to avoid bareness, make another variant that is both unpretentious and useful. Here the metalwork also adds the usual note of individulity (hic), without it the design would have lacked a needed accent. The horse-hoof feet, too, provide food balance."

Food balance is always good.

***
Prov.: St. Helena Antique Store, St. Helena



"[] (ITALIAN STREET STEPS)" (OIL ON PAPER)
Location: Master Bedroom Bathroom, Pygmalion-Second Floor

"[] (RED FLOWERS, GREEN WINDOW SHUTTERS)" (WATERCOLOR)
Location: Green Bedroom Bathroom, Pygmalion-Second Floor

Acquired this painting directly from the artist on the streets of Rome. Can't recall the artist's name but they are lovely and hold up as well as other works by "name" artists.

***
Prov.: Direct from Artist


STORYTELLER (CLAY) by ADA SUINA
Location: Library, Pygmalion-First Floor

Storytellers are a favored presence at Galatea. I enjoy living with one by Ada Suina of the Cochiti Pueblo. Walking by Ada's Storyteller always makes me smile.

***
Prov.: L.P., Lincoln, Mass.



BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPH (LATE 1940S)
Location: Master Bedroom Bathroom, Pygmalion-Second Floor

The photograph depicts the then British ambassador and his wife with the governor of the San Ildefonso Pueblo (Louis Gonzales) and the governor's family members.

***
Prov: Paul Gonzales, San Ildefonso Pueblo


DRAWING IN E.T.'S ART/POETRY JOURNAL (2001) by CRISTOS GIANAKOS
Location: Library, Pygmalion-Second Floor

Well, this project is at least good for correcting my preconceptions of what was in the collection. I'd initially confused Cristos Gianakos with Stephen Antonakos (whose reference I've since deleted from Blog Archives. Here's correct reference:)

Cris Gianakos drew in my art/poetry journal (Volume II) during dinner after a 2001 presentation at the Asia Society (NY) on ekphrasis by Moi, Archie Rand, John Yau and Max Gimblett. I am really enjoying keeping a journal and seeing which artists end up drawing in it during the course of my days....

***
Prov.: Direct from Artist




TWO WOOD BENCHES, FRENCH (19TH CENTURY)
Location: Charles d'Amboise's Wine Cellar

Since their delivery just interrupted my day, I'm just bloggin' them now to put them on record.

***
Prov.: Mostly French, Calistoga, CA



Friday, April 16, 2004

"HEADS IN WATER" (PAINT, GOLD LEAF, METAL, NAILS, WOOD) ([2000])by ANN CHAMBERLIN
Location: Living Room, Pygmalion-First Floor

This small work by Ann Chamberlin reminds me of Russian icons. It's a small work that forces the viewer to come in close and peer at it -- a way of looking that emphasizes the necessary intimacy of ... rapport.

***
Prov.: Toumey Tourell, San Francisco



PITCHER by RICHARD ESTEBAN
Location: Charles d'Amboise's Wine Cellar

TWO SMALL PITCHERS by SYLVIE AND FRANCOIS FRENAIS
Location: Library, First Floor

These are today's acquisitions.

Richard Esteban is among the finest of contemporary Provencal ceramic artists. (According to Mostly French,) Richard learned his craft in Vallauris, one of the few great pottery centers in France, along with Cliousclat, Biot and Uzes. He began his apprenticeshipt at 16 and learned to throw with the last old throwers of these famous ateliers. He continued his apprenticeship in Cliousclat with Philip Sourdive, one of the few master potters still allive in France at that time.

Richard now has his own atelier in Aigues Vives, not far from the Mediterranean. There, each piece of pottery is thrown, slipped, dried in the sun and then glazed with "alquifoux." The ancient process, which is not often used today, gives the colors a transparency and intensity which has not been equaled by enamel.

Richard's work is known for its intensity of color and frequent use of traditional pottery shapes and designs (e.g. the leche frite, pichets, poelon, baratee a beurre, pegau, among others). The color and simple shapes give his work their stunning appearance.

Among Richard's students are Sylvie and Francois Frenais. They create their pottery in the littel valley of Sampigny les Maranges in Burgundy, just outside Beaune. They studied in the Rhone Valley at Cliousclat with Richard Esteban and Jane Norbury, two of their favorite potters. The Frenais live in an ancien moulin (old mill) in a bucolic spot next to a stream where they have their home and large studio. They often get their inspiration from ancient pottery pieces and techniques. In France, they sell only at their own studio or at "Tuile a loup" in Paris on the rue Daubenton (in the 5eme).

***
Prov.: Mostly French, Calistoga, CA



"[] (PINK AND WHITE POSTCARD)" (2002) (PAPER) by MICHELLE GRABNER
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

[SECOND MENTION DUE TO UPDATE]

This work by Michelle Grabner is postcard-size as it was part of a "Postcards From The Edge" benefit for Visual Aids. But there is nothing modest about this very satisfying work, which, by interweaving pink and white stripes, features Michelle Grabner's known style of abstract patterns. I don't know much about this artist (whose work I acquired simply because I liked it; the postcards were featured in a binder without the artists' names when I was looking through the art works) but it's nice to see that (according to a quick Google search) she seems to be doing well.

UPDATE:
Michelle is part of a group exhibition that just received a write-up at Artnet.com:

"Inner Positive: Michelle Grabner, Cheonae Kim, Agnes Martin," Feb. 20-Mar. 20, 2004, at Klein Art Works, 400 N. Morgan, Chicago, Ill. 60622

The article by Terence J. Hannum begins with this intriguing paragraph:

The art critic Rosalind Krauss nailed it in 1981 when she wrote, in reference to artists who use the grid, that their work ceases to "develop" and instead engages "repetition." This anti-modernist notion takes on a distinctly Buddhist tone in the presence of the works of Agnes Martin, the art-world's own legendary desert ascetic. Especially in a show titled "Inner Positive," Martin's serene grids -- here, a series of untitled prints -- suggest a higher, nonmaterial consciousness and even, perhaps, a Zen-like release from the endless cycle of being.


***
Prov.: Visual Aids, New York



Thursday, April 15, 2004

"SUTILEZA CIENTIFICA" (1999) (TINA SERIGRAFICA SOBRE VINIL, 132 x 125 CM) by FABIAN UGALDE
Location: Dining Room, Pygmalion-First Floor

"AUTOAGRESION POLITICAMENTE CORRECTA") (1999) (TINTA SERIGRAFICA SOBRE VINIL, 120 x 130 CM) by FABIAN UGALDE
Location: Dining Room, Pygmalion-First Floor

While trawling through the galleries of Mexico City a few years ago, we stumbled across and immediately loved the works of Fabian Ugalde at Galeria Enrique Guerrero.

Es muy fabuloso rendition of Pop.

***
Prov.: Galeria Enrique Guerrero, Mexico City



PAINTING by NICHOLAS MARAVELL
Location: Library, Pygmalion-First Floor

This is a special painting as it was a gift from Nicholas Maravell himself after we helped him find a gallery that exhibited his works. We weren't expecting a gift; we never expect gifts when we do something to promote artists. We help out when we can simply for the works, not to get something in return. Anyway, this painting was special and lovely; we love living with it...and we wish Nicholas well, wherever he may be nowadays.

***
Prov.: Direct from Artist
N.B. Letters in File



SIX CONTEMPORARY PAINTINGS ON ANTIQUE PAPER (TURKISH)
Location: Guest Bedroom Hallway, Pygmalion-Second Floor

These are absolutely entrancing paintings made by (at the time) a college student on pages recycled out from antique books. Miniatures. In fact, one of them was painted with a single-hair brush. Really lovely.

***
Prov.: Grand Bazaar, Istanbul



SWORD (IVORY HANDLE, LONG BLADE) [#1]
Location: Babaylan Lodge

TWO KRIS SWORDS (OLD) (Philippine or Indonesian)
Location: Babaylan Lodge

KRIS SWORD (CONTEMPORARY)
Location: Babaylan Lodge

BOLO KNIFE (c. WWII) (Philippine)
Location: Babaylan Lodge

This project is also making me realize how sloppy the art files are; I'm missing details that will make the insurance man happy. Details, as they say, "to come".

Poet and Gura Michelle Bautista (a practitioner of kali, a Filipino martial arts) once visited and it was nifty to see her dance with those swords!

***
Prov.: Michael Davis, London (#1); _________, New Orleans



Wednesday, April 14, 2004

"PALETTE STILL LIFE [#2 or #34]" (1979) (MONOTYPE, 29.5 X 41 IN) by MICHAEL MAZUR
Location: Hallway Atop Turret, Pygmalion-Second Floor

It's wonderful living with this stellar example of Michael Mazur's printmaking prowess. He has some lovely images here and here.

***
Prov.: Harcus Krakow Gallery, Boston




"[]" (1997) ([ACRYLIC ON CANVAS], 21 X 16 IN) by HU XIN
Location: Yellow Bedroom, Pygmalion-Second Floor

It was the poet (and critic) Garrett Caples who introduced me to Hu Xin's work ... in fact, I'd come to publish through Meritage Press a limited edition poetry/art chapbook by both entitled er, um. As does Garrett, I appreciate Hu Xin's home-grown style of surrealism.

***
Prov.: G.C.



"CORRESPONDENCE (SNAKE)" (INKJET PRINTER) by BRAD MELAMED
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

I acquired Brad Melamed's postcard-art in a benefit to support Visual Aids. Visual Aids aptly receives the support of numerous artists; this link is for the 2003 benefit, though I'd acquired Melamed's postcard during the 2002 benefit. Accompanying his work was a brief Artist's Statement:

I see my work as a kind of translation between form/matter/life and metaphysical/sub-atomic/cosmic experiences. Art as a place where spirituality and science can coalesce.

***
Prov.: Visual Aids, New York



Tuesday, April 13, 2004

"[] MOTHER AND CHILD SCULPTURE" (MIXED MEDIA, WOOD) by TALA ISLA-CONTRERAS
Location: Babaylan Lodge

Speaking of the 1999 exhibition (at the Puffin Room, New York City) entitled "The Art of Resistance: Social Realists" (which commemorated the centennial anniversary of the Philippines' declaration of independence from Spanish colonialism), I also saw, admired, and picked up this sculpture by Tala Isla-Contreras.

***
Prov.: Puffin Room, New York; The Philippine Forum



"ANGHELPUGAY NG KASARINLAN (ELEGIAC ANGEL OF INDEPENDENCE" by JOSE TENCE RUIZ
Location: Babaylan Lodge

This image of a blindfolded angel struggling to rise out of a garbage heap resonates for me for so many reasons. It's a metaphor for the Philippines' struggle for development...and for a poet's struggle...and for civilization to continue amidst horror....and I can go on and on about this work by Jose Tence Ruiz but ....

Anyway, I acquired Ruiz's work when I noticed it at the 1999 exhibition (at the Puffin Room, New York City) entitled "The Art of Resistance: Social Realists" commemorating the centennial anniversary of the Philippines' declaration of independence from Spanish colonialism. I had curated a poetry reading while the exhibit was up, noticed it, interrupted one of my spiels to direct the audience's attention to it ... and brought it home with me.

***
Prov.: Puffin Room, New York; The Philippine Forum






WHITE POT, WINNEBAGO by JACQUIE STEVENS
Location: Library, Pygmalion-First Floor

This is a sculpted white clay pot with leather strung through holes by the lip. I enjoy Jacquie Steven's unique and refreshing approach to Native American pottery.

***
Prov.: Institute of American Indian Arts Museum



Monday, April 12, 2004

"[] (WHITE WAX PAINTING)" ([1998]) (PAINT, MARKER PEN, WAX ON WOOD) by ANDREW BICK
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

"[] (YELLOW WAX PAINTING)" ([1998]) (PAINT, MARKER PEN, WAX ON WOOD) by ANDREW BICK
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

"[] (GLASSINE BAG DRAWING)" (1999) by ANDREW BICK
Location: Atop Turret Hall, Pygmalion-Second Floor

I adore Andrew Bick's works, if only because their physicality addresses something very close to me as a poet: the issue of transparency. In the wax works, he creates a layer of wax, draws/paints on it, then spreads another layer of wax, draws/paints on it again and so on for many layers. The result is a thick wax surface bearing many marks and gestures which one can see or sense evoked through the wax layers.

Andrew addresses the same issue through drawings slipped into glassine envelopes. The glassine offers a similar transparent, milky surface as wax.

The milky surface, of course, hints at other layers of significance -- e.g. that what is seen is never really clear, even as the wax/glassine offers surfaces of tactility become ... almost-sensual. It seems synchronistic, then, that Bick's experimental video, "The Palaver," with writer and director Gad Hollander bears this synopsis:

While the text deals with what Edmond Jabes calls "the impossibility of writing" - an attempt to grasp the essence of writing, the pause in speech - the video turns on the impossibility of touching, the distance of desire. The desire to speak and to touch informs the narrative and its successive digressions at every frame and every syllable. A narrator invokes "a voice in the shape of a window" while conferring that invocation on a third person, "corse" (a corpse). The voice has a shape and the corpse has a voice, and the two interlocutors face each other in an undefined space, like analyst and analysand, facets of the same character at different stages of being - alive and dead. The internal monologue of the presumed narrator is externalized in the corpse of a suicide victim, who addresses his own self in the past. The stories that emerge revolve around the narrator's sensual desires - to touch and to speak. Through this series of anecdotes we glimpse the life of a solitary figure, a writer, whose overwhelming desire - to see through a voice - remains unquenched, and for whom suicide is the window through which he observes that desire.


***
Prov.: LiebmanMagnan Gallery, New York



"[] (LANDSCAPE, BURGUNDY)" (c1900) by ANONYMOUS
Location: Library Bathroom, Pygmalion-First Floor

It's very sweet...

***
Prov.: Mostly French, Calistoga, CA



Sunday, April 11, 2004

"5 JARS, BLACKBOARD AND BLUE TABLECLOTH" ([1987]) (OIL ON CANVAS) by NORMAN LUNDIN
Location: Master Bedroom, Pygmalion-Second Floor

Norman Lundin, in addition to being an artist, is a teacher and curator. Here is a link to an interesting essay he wrote for one of the shows he curated; here's an excerpt:

"I believe it is a mistake for artists to try to make art and an even greater mistake to try to make significant art. Artists are better off making drawings, paintings, installations etc. and hope that art is a by-product of their efforts. It is for others, for society, to call it art. Artists are wise to keep in mind that most bad art comes from good intentions. They frequently mistake their own involvement for accomplishment; this is, perhaps, the biggest trap into which artists can fall. Serious intent and involvement are not accomplishment -- to confuse them is a delusion. Involvement, of course, is important, but there is no direct ratio between effort and accomplishment. Picasso said, "In my opinion to search means nothing in painting. To find is the thing."

***
Prov.: Stephen Haller Gallery, New York



TABLE AND TWO CHAIRS, SANTA FE STYLE FURNITURE (ZIA) (1993) by EDWARD MIER
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

I love New Mexico and have long appreciated this reminder -- courtesy of Edward Mier -- of that state's wonderful culture in our home.

***
Prov.: Direct from Artist



"[] (PINK AND WHITE POSTCARD)" (2002) (PAPER) by MICHELLE GRABNER
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

This work by Michelle Grabner is postcard-size as it was part of a "Postcards From The Edge" benefit for Visual Aids. But there is nothing modest about this very satisfying work, which, by interweaving pink and white stripes, features Michelle Grabner's known style of abstract patterns. I don't know much about this artist (whose work I acquired simply because I liked it; the postcards were featured in a binder without the artists' names when I was looking through the art works) but it's nice to see that (according to a quick Google search) she seems to be doing well.

***
Prov.: Visual Aids, New York



"UNTITLED (THREE WOMEN) ([1988]) (ACRYLIC ON CANVAS) by ROBERT LOWE
Location: Babaylan Lodge

"UNTITLED" (MAN WITH BUST) ([1988]) (ACRYLIC ON CANVAS) by ROBERT LOWE
Location: Galatea Offsite/Tom's Office

Robert Lowe has an intriguing surface. He creates a seemingly transparent layer that nonetheless evokes the tangibility of more densely applied paint. He shows that expressionism can be implied and not just manifested.

***
Prov.: O.K. Harris, New York



Friday, April 09, 2004

"ICED MUFFINS" (2003) (OIL ON CANVAS) by MARVIN HUMPHREY
Location: Library, Pygmalion-First Floor

"LANDSCAPE (RAIN ON SPRING MOUNTAIN)" (2001) (OIL ON CANVAS, 11 x 14 IN) by MARVIN HUMPHREY
Location: Library, Pygmalion-Second Floor

Marvin Humphrey is one of the mail delivery people for St. Helena. I stumbled across his work when he had a show at the St. Helena Library. His show was sold out, but we contacted him directly and got his "Iced Muffins." Being a writer, I often go to the post office and I soon noticed that on the bulletin board there, they would hang one of William's paintings. That's how we got his "Landscape" painting. As soon as someone would buy his painting from the bulletin board, another Humphrey painting soon would hang. I have yet to see a single painting that would disappoint. Humphrey presents one of the great art bargains in this country in that he charges the same $125 each for his paintings.

More significant, I appreciate what Humphrey implies (to me). Here is an artist whose talent is at least equal to many found in major art centers. I wonder if he is an artist who opted out of the "professional art world" infrastructure to go his own way, content with just being able to make his art instead of also promoting it. If so, then perhaps this artist engaged on a path that presented the least distractions away from focusing on simply making his paintings. I would call that...Integrity.

***
Prov.: St. Helena Post Office; Direct from Artist



"[] (HAND, MAPPED OUT, PAINTED/DRAWN AGAINST HAND-MADE PAPER) by SANTIAGO BOSE
Location: Babaylan Lodge

[SECOND MENTION DUE TO UPDATE]

This work was a gift from Santiago Bose. Nothing I can say would ever capture how meaningful this artist is to me. His significance includes having been the instigator for my book of art essays and art-inspired poems, MY ROMANCE (Giraffe Books, Quezon City).

UPDATE via A Press Release:
“IN MEMORY OF A TALISMAN,” an exhibition of selected works by internationally acclaimed Filipino artist Santiago Bose, opens at the Main Gallery of the Cultural Center of the Philippines on Thursday, April 15, 2004 at 6:00 PM.

Considered as one of the finest innovators in Philippine contemporary art, Santiago Bose’s works, in the visual, installation and performance arts, introduced fresh approaches to the creative process. He consistently explored relevant cultural, political, religious and social issues.

The exhibition will provide different audiences with an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the ideas and innovations of Santiago Bose.

Aside from the exhibition of selected works, there will be a forum and interaction on the opening day. A video installation of performance art pieces by Bose and live footages and interviews with the late artist will be on view for the duration of the exhibit.

The exhibit runs until May 15, and is open to the public from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Tuesday through Sunday. For information, please call the Cultural Center of the Philippines, 832-1125.


***
Prov.: Direct from Artist



Wednesday, April 07, 2004

"44 YEAR STORAGE JAR" (1991) (PORCELAIN, 14.5 IN HIGH) by DAVID REGAN
Location: Master Bedroom, Pygmalion-Second Floor

"TIDAL TUREEN" (1992) (PORCELAIN, 20 x 20 IN) by DAVID REGAN
Location: Master Bedroom, Pygmalion-Second Floor

David Regan opens a new exhibition with a champagne reception from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm on Tuesday, April 13th at the Garth Clark Gallery 24 West 57th Street, Suite 305 New York, NY 10019

We really enjoy living with David Regan's work, described in the gallery's latest press release as merging "ceramics and the woodblock print. He cuts through a porcelain surface covered in black manganese to create his unique surface drawing in black and white." As a result of such technique, David Regan offers layered surfaces which I've thought of as painterly.


***
Prov.: Garth Clark Gallery, New York



"MASK IMPLOSION" (SIGNED COLOR XEROX) by ROBERT ROTH
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

I was introduced to Robert Roth's work by curator Ted Lawton who included me in a 1998 exhibition entitled "When Butterflies Speak" (Skylight Gallery, Brooklyn) involving poets/writers and visual artists. Roth's print inspired me to write "MUSE POEM” (from my book Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole). Part of the inspiration reflects how the print is all red, so that one of the prose stanzas simply collages in the synonyms for red from Roget's Thesaurus.


MUSE POEM

She spends her days in a dusty room, its lone window shuttered, the air lit with the glow from a computer screen, and stacks of books melting into the shadows. This is the way it should be. Her eyes are open to a parallel universe where silence is alien, for silence has no color. She sees no reason to censor the mountain from saffron, the sky from celadon, the boulder from lavender, the bougainvillea from cobalt, the grass from ebony, the diamond from cerise, or you from me.

Or me from you. But everything costs. To define the Muse as forgetting memory is to begin by birthing a mask, then becoming subservient to it. Even if one must learn to allow shackles on one's wrists, fall to one's knees -- then bow once more after begging for more lashes from the whip. All for the hope that welts will be permanent to create new parts of my body that may rise at the thought of your touch.

The use of third-party pronouns in a poem will not spare me from the sight of your back receding as the door slowly closes. This is the way it should be. I must crawl towards where I recall the door to be, uncertain of who you have become on the other side. When I find the door by scenting blood, I must open it by first remembering fear. I must remember fear. For nothing must be silenced. There must be color.

Like the color of Wet: bittersweet, bloodshot, blooming, blush, brick, burgundy, cardinal, carmine, cerise, cherry, chestnut, claret, copper, coral, crimson, dahlia, flaming, florid, flushed, fuchsia, garnet, geranium, glowing, healthy, inflamed, infrared, magenta, maroon, pink, puce, rose, roseate, rosy, rubicund, ruby, ruddy, russet, rust, salmon, sanguine, scarlet, titian, vermilion, wine. . .

Nothing must be silenced. There must be color. Though I remember fear, I have heard the memory of a Taoist shaman whispering: "Bright pure color represents the virtue. Bright white for strength, courage and rectitude. Bright blue for gentleness and wisdom. Bright green for kindness and benevolence. Bright golden yellow for balance, centeredness and fairness. Bright red for love, joy and compassion." I must remember fear, before remembering to forgive myself.

Nothing must be silenced. There must be color. Like the color of Wet: RED.


"QUEEN PUSO" (1993) (COLORED INKS AND/OR WATERCOLOR ON PAPER) by CORAZON UGALDE-YELLEN
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

I had acquired this lovely, colorful work from an exhibit (of emerging Filipino artists) at the now defunct Puro Arte Gallery in Los Angeles where I once conducted a poetry workshop. I don't know much about Corazon Ugalde-Yellen but it seems (according to a Google search) that she's into dolls. That would make sense as "Queen Puso" -- or "Queen of Hearts" -- features a long-haired lady in an ornate, gauzy outfit standing in front of the paradox of a blue but night sky.

***
Prov.: Puro Arte, Los Angeles



Tuesday, April 06, 2004

"AMERICAN BLONDE" (1997) (ACRYLIC ON PANEL, 36 X 36 IN) by JAMES WESTWATER
Location: Master Bedroom, Pygmalion-Second Floor

"POMP" (1997) (ACRYLIC ON PANEL, 36 X 36 IN) by JAMES WESTWATER
Location: Master Bedroom, Pygmalion-Second Floor

"CAEDMON'S FIRST WORD" (1997) (ACRYLIC ON PANEL, 22 X 11 IN) by JAMES WESTWATER
Location: Master Bedroom, Pygmalion-Second Floor

"GRIFTER'S REWARD" (1997) (ACRYLIC ON PANEL, 11 X 11 IN) by JAMES WESTWATER
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

"GARGLE" (1997) (ACRYLIC ON PANEL, 11 X 11 IN) by JAMES WESTWATER
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

THREE MATCHBOX PAINTINGS by JAMES WESTWATER
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

POSTCARD COLLAGE from JAMES WESTWATER
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

James Westwater is opening a new exhibition! At Klaudia Marr Gallery in Santa Fe:


APRIL 16 - MAY 9, 2004
Pinklings: new paintings and objects


James, by the way, introduced me to Caedmon, the poet (hence the referenced title above). I find his work inspirational; in fact, some of James' paintings "dictated" a short story to me (featured in my short story collection Behind The Blue Canvas). Congrats on the new show, James!

***
Prov.: Linda Durham Gallery, Galisteo, N.M.



"[]" (TROPHY FOR PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD IN POETRY) (1997) (PAINTED WOOD SCULPTURE) by NAPOLEON V. ABUEVA
Location: Babaylan Lodge

A more accomplished artist has inner drive and stamina. Now this is very important. The plight of the artist is somewhat similar to that of the long distance runner. You have to cross the finish line. What counts more in life is the end result. Leonardo da Vinci once said that the greatest tragedy of artists is when theory outstrips performance (laughs). Artists are judged by the end result. Theory is important but concepts must be executed very well for any theory to be realized. The artist must possess the inner drive, passion, and “loneliness” of a long distance runner to go very far.
--Napoleon V. Abueva, from interview by Jose Wendell Capili


Speaking of poetry (and as I say on the other blog, "She's Always Talking Poetry") I have this sculpture by Napoleon V. Abueva, considered the "Father of Modern Philippine Sculpture" and the youngest ever to receive the designation of Philippine National Artist. I received it when my first poetry collection Beyond Life Sentences (Anvil, 1999) received the Philippine Manila Critics' Circle National Book Award in Poetry. But I'd received that award for a book published in 1998 and, preparing to write up this post, I checked the date on the sculpture and it's 1997. So, it may be that (unlike what I'd assumed), Abueva didn't make this sculpture for the literary award, but that he had donated a sculpture to the awardees that year. In any event, I'm grateful to have this gift from this pioneering artist.

At the moment, the ledge to Abueva's sculpture is providing a seat for one of my Pinay Barbies -- such, of course, is not a sign of disrespect.

***
Prov.: Manila Critics' Circle; Direct from Artist



Monday, April 05, 2004

"UNTITLED (FRUIT STILL LIFE)" (2000) (WATERCOLOR, 30.5 X 22 in) by DENISE DUHAMEL
Location: Yellow Bedroom, Pygmalion-Second Floor

I had sex with a famous poet last night
and when I rolled over and found myself beside him I shuddered
because I was married to someone else,
because I wasn't supposed to have been drinking,
because I was in fancy hotel room
I didn't recognize. I would have told you
right off this was a dream, but recently
a friend told me, write about a dream,
lose a reader and I didn't want to lose you
right away.
--from "Sex With A Famous Poet" by Denise Duhamel


Denise Duhamel is known more as a poet than as a visual artist. But, a true artist, she doesn't allow herself to be limited by forms. When she and her husband Nick Carbo, also a talented poet, moved to Florida (where they both teach at the University of Miami), she began doing some watercolors. She j-pegged one image as a Holiday cyber-card one year. I was so taken with the image I asked them for it; forthwith, it was in a tube delivered to my home. Denise, I suspect, doesn't realize just how magnificent a work she created.

***
Prov.: Direct from Artist



"[]" by DULCIE DEE (WATERCOLOR AND MIXED MEDIA)
Location: Red Bedroom, Pygmalion-Second Floor

Dulcie Dee's works are a lot of fun -- I like the gold glitter she glued onto this work to outline the breasts on a blue torso. I met her in New York but then lost touch, but a Google search also turns up this link with some images and her new residence in California.

***
Prov.: Direct from Artist



BOX CONTAINING TWO BOXES UTILIZING MARQUETRY AND SPECIAL WOODS ([1985/6])by STEVEN B. LEVINE
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

Steven B. Levine is scheduled to appear in the 39th Annual Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts from July 7-22, 2004.

***
Prov.: Columbia University Fair, New York; Direct from Artist



BLACK POT by MARIA MARTINEZ OF SAN ILDEFONSO PUEBLO
Location: Library, Pygmalion-First Floor

Maria's simple, uncarved pot ... whose spirit fills up the entire room.

***
Prov.: L.P., Lincoln, Mass.


TIMOR, INDONESIA LIME CONTAINER ("OLD")
Library, Pygmalion-First Floor

FIVE TIMOR, INDONESIA LIME CONTAINERS (CONTEMPORARY)
Library, Pygmalion-First Floor

ELEVEN NORTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA BATAK MEDICINE CONTAINERS
Library, Pygmalion-First Floor

Lime Powder Containers are used to store crushed limestone which is mixed with beetle nut and chewed like tobacco. Beetle nut chewing is practiced throughout Indonesia, often during ceremonies and served to guests as a sign of respect and welcome.

Batak medicine containers were used to store pupuk, a powerful mixture of organic substances prepared by the Datu or magic man. The carved wooden stopper is a figure of mythical Singa which often takes the body of a horse, then mount and protector of important acestors and divine beings. There is the Singa association with the serpent dragon; among the Batak the rider is associated with prestige and supernatural power. The carving is a calendar of Batak languages which is used for picking days for ceremonies.

***
Prov.: ____ Frank: Beads and Fine Ethnographic Art, New York



"VISIO" (1995-1998) (GRAPHITE ON PAPER, 8.5 x 5 1/28 IN) by JOHN MORRIS
Location: Living Room, Pygmalion-First Floor

"UNTITLED" (1997) (WAX, CRAYON, GRAPHITE ON PAPER, 14.25 x 10.25 IN) by JOHN MORRIS
Location: Atop Turret, Pygmalion-Second Floor

The prior post on Hadi Tabatabai reminded me of John Morris, another artist whose works imply an obsessiveness as well in his approach to his drawings. Obsession is often just a manifestation of passion and I appreciate John's unique take. John will have works in an upcoming exhibition:

79th Annual: An Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art
May 6 - June 20, 2004
National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts


***
Prov.: D'Amelio Terras, New York




Sunday, April 04, 2004

"UNTITLED" (1999) (PRISMA COLOR PENCIL ON PAPER, 14 X 12 3/8 IN) by HADI TABATABAI
Location: Library, Pygmalion-First Floor

Thinking of poet-artist collaborations reminded me of Hadi Tabatabai who has been quoted as likening his painting process to "almost like writing", as in this excerpt from a July 5, 2000 interview of him by Jesse Hamlin for the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Tabatabai spends two to three months on each piece, obsessively painting thousands of little gray lines on a white background, or carving lines in the gray-painted surface of a wooden door or cutting and gluing 5,000 tiny rectangles of white paper on a Masonite board.

"It's almost like writing," says Tabatabai," pointing to his "Door #2.' "I start at the top left side and go across, down one row then the next row until the whole thing is finished. I was just making little marks. I had no idea how it was going to turn out."


If Tabatabai's process is almost like writing, I would venture it's almost like writing poetry -- since the poet, at the time of writing a poem's first word, may not yet know how the poem will turn out.

***
Prov.: Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco


"PICADILLY OR PARADISE" (SIGNED LIMITED EDITION OF 65, 12.5 X 9.5 IN, FERRIS EDITIONS) by TREVOR WINKFIELD AND JOHN YAU
Location: Library, Pygmalion-First Floor

'Twas the poet John Yau who introduced me to Max Gimblett, subject of the prior post. John, also an art critic and art professor, has collaborated with many artists -- of which Picadilly or Paradise with Trevor Winkfield is one. "Picadilly or Paradise" is also featured in John's fabulous collection FORBIDDEN ENTRIES. Here's an excerpt:


from "Picadilly or Paradise"

When I leap through the flung-open windows of your dance
and reach toward my shadow, its drifting silk and nylon net,
everyone looks at the wind growing a new set of teeth around the moon.
Once, they were among the sweetest of the town's prize apples,
evocative names and histories a waiter would point to on the menu,
his mouth forging the budding pink and yellow clouds
that would soon swell and open above the visitor's table.
I remember praying for a dazzling array of snow and clay
to descend the stairs to the cellar where I was kept.
But she was afraid to reveal her latest desire:
blue face powder kept in the bronzed shoe of a former lover,
and velvet gloves for every bird.
                                                            As for him,
the man with silver breath, words were like a toupee--
something he could not share with anyone.

***
Prov.: Ferris Editions; J.Y.



"ENSO" (DRAWING ON FOUR PIECES OF HANDMADE PAPER) by MAX GIMBLETT
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

"UNTITLED" (COLLABORATIVE DRAWING ON BUTCHER PAPER BETWEEN MAX GIMBLETT, E.T., T.P. AND NOMI) (2001)
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

"[]" (2003) (PRINT, 15/25) by MAX GIMBLETT
Location: Yellow Bedroom, Pygmalion-Second Floor

"UNTITLED" (SUMI INK DRAWING AGAINST ASIA SOCIETY PROGRAMS) (2001) by MAX GIMBLETT
Location: Babaylan Lodge

POETRY/ART BROADSIDE by MAX GIMBLETT AND E.T.
Location: Babaylan Lodge

"DOUBLE HEADED CREATURE FEATURE" (ARTISTS' BOOK, 17.5 X 7 X 0.5 IN) by MAX GIMBLETT AND JOHN YAU WITH TOBY HINES
Location: Library, Pygmalion-Second Floor

DRAWINGS IN TWO OF E.T.'S ART/POETRY JOURNALS by MAX GIMBLETT
Location: Library, Pygmalion-Second Floor

DRAWINGS IN TWO COPIES OF MAX GIMBLETT MONOGRAPH by MAX GIMBLETT (2003)
Location: Library, Pygmalion-Second Floor

EPHEMERA by MAX GIMBLETT
Location: Library, Pygmalion-Second Floor

Among artists whose works have inspired my poems, I've spent the most time yet with Max Gimblett as we've also done collaborations (e.g. my "Poems Form/From The Six Directions" project and a joint 2001 poetry/art presentation at the Asia Society, New York City). Not only is Max one of the featured artists in my book of art essays/poems MY ROMANCE, but it is Max's painting "Teacher" whose image is reproduced on the cover. To know Max's work is to experience the beauty of alchemy -- it's obvious by just touring the many wonders at his website. Here is the text of my poem from one of our collaborations, a poetry/art broadside published by 2ndAvenuePoetry; against a pale blue field, my text was in black and his enso drawing in gold :

From The Tibetan Hallway of Transition
-- after “The Scent of Jade Islands” by Max Gimblett

               I want to send you
               this silence,
               the bold fires in the mountains
               and the way they torch the earth,
               the way things turn luminous
               and entire unto themselves
               --Eric Gamalinda, “Letters to Theo”



Unpin the jade scepter from its crust of diamonds, sapphires and pearls to:

Follow the fall of my hair uncut since birth
Watch it skim my breasts, belly and thighs
See it pool around vermilion toes
Relish the storm clouds it forms

Like the inky-dark clouds split by lightning
You share with me in our private bardo -- you are
The scent of rain -- I am parched
Almonds. My “eyes never close”
I am swooning into your childhood

Where the Milky Way floats like a silk scarf
Where you formed your gods and beat the gong
To call for golden fireflies to glitter and mate
To make me part my lips and know you await

As the rock that can be felt but not seen
In Ryoanji -- about which a poet writes
Of the sand ministered to by a monk’s rake:
An archipelago is that space between jade islands
That unites us as you slip cobalt from my shoulders --

I am swooning into you with eyes of open stones

“Don’t ever stop.” Be mad with me. Be ecstasy. Be me…


***
Prov. Direct from Artist





"UNTITLED, DIPTYCH" (1998) (OIL ON CANVAS, LEFT: 9 x 8 IN; RIGHT: 10 X 10 IN) by SONITA SINGWI
Location: Guest Bedroom Hallway, Pygmalion-Second Floor

"UNTITLED" (1999) (WHITE BACKGROUND PAINTING) by SONITA SINGWI
Location: Hallway Before Pantry, Pygmalion-First Floor

DRAWING IN E.T.'S ART/POETRY JOURNAL
Location: Library, Pygmalion-Second Floor

I just discovered Sonita Singwi, an artist in whose works I see an affinity for what I love about poetry. Her paintings move me to recall how Filipino poet-editor Ricardo De Ungria described the birth of poems as "passionate patience." Sonita's paintings reflect the various quests of a highly active intellect which, when matched with a rigorous technique, result in works of overwhelming beauty. For me, Sonita's paintings are akin to poems developed after much thought, perhaps after much revision, and ultimately manifesting beauty through a cerebral approach. Sonita is not prolific and requires from three months to a year to finish a single painting. She layers oil paint on canvas, sands the surface down and repeats the process until the surface becomes like that of hard candy. The surfaces are elegantly simple in their ivory, pale blue or cream shades, but are also incredibly lush with a glow one associates with burnished gold or mother-of-pearl. In fact, despite their single colors, the paintings' surfaces project an opulence comparable to the surface of multi-hued silk Persian carpets.
--from Purvi Shah's Interview of Eileen Tabios, README



The above interview provides a hint as to what I mean when I say Sonita Singwi is yet another artist whose works I appreciate specifically for having some correlation to my approach to poetry. Sonita's paintings are gems. If Galatea is gold, then paintings like Sonita's are the inset precious stones. If that ain't fanciful enough, let me say that if candies could hum, Sonita has captured their tunes.

***
Prov.: LiebmanMagnan Gallery, New York; Direct from Artist



"PARVA, XXXIV" (1993) (ACRYLIC ON WOOD, 5.75 x 32 x 4 IN) by ANNE TRUITT
Location: Galatea Offsite/San Francisco Apartment

"Anne Truitt: Early Drawings and Sculpture, 1959-1963" is currently being exhibited, through May 9, 2004, at the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Anne Truitt is another artist whose work have inspired my poems. My book Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole consists of three sections, the last of which is entitled "Triptych for Anne Truitt." Each of the section's three poems riffs off from Anne Truitt's journals. Here's the first poem from that series for which one critic amused me by calling it "an ornate triptych" since Ms. Truitt's work (considered "minimalist) is about the opposite of "ornate":


Beginning Lucidity
-- after DAYBOOK THE JOURNAL OF AN ARTIST by Anne Truitt

Is the most difficult lesson one of submission: a spine bent willingly for a stranger's whip? How to reach something when we wake to find ourselves clutching the wet manes of panicked horses? And the only certainty about what lies beyond the drop of a path riddled with dangerous gravel is that there, too, "unanimous night" remains? I am trying this ride one can only make alone—that choking run towards a moment of light within the cloak of ragged breathing.

Sometimes, only erasures capture the threshold of consciousness. Why am I always drawn to the imperceptible? Why is there precedent for this curiosity by women marking time from the first farewell of a man? Noli me tangere—and still one feels it all, though the drain of emotion is persistently inevitable. One must pay the price of living on the spine to be a vessel for enlightenment. Is there consolation in this potential even as one begins to pace on the edges of knives? Do I really want to know why a permanent wound can be cut by a certain look from a child?

What kind of existence do we force on our days when we wish pain to remain unmitigated? Is that like poets laying pen against paper to approximate worlds without physicality? Is that like one more artist painting white on white on white? Perhaps I am forgetting that "faith" is religion without words, without buildings whose roofs block the sky. Indeed, sages welcome honey for its texture: a stubborn clinging fashioned from the sheen of precious metals. And I have heard angels from the Milky Way whisper through the fall of stars: "Jasmine is the scent of gold."

We teach our children that conversation can be a thin blanket for pain. But even a boor pauses before a Rembrandt self-portrait. I love a man who praises Rembrandt for painting his humanity beyond reprieve. But this man also repelled my child and now he thinks of thresholds solely for capturing shadows caused by a son's return. I love a man who looks at the world through a glass of heartbreaking resignation. What does this say about me?

Perhaps I am attempting to use color to prevent encounters from degenerating into lies? Afterthoughts always muster the musk of long-locked rooms—the musk of grey. I would like to believe I prefer what are held in common by rainbows and sapphires. I would rather continue down the path towards larger definitions. This, too, is why I believe criticizing artists is a waste of time, even if critics have glossy paper at their disposal. Character underwrites us all.

And what joy to recognize the curved line as both convex and concave—a moment close to my backbone. We should praise Greek poets for not bothering to alleviate heartbreak, but in addressing it only for fueling aspiration. Yet Plato shows me how I long to follow Prometheus—how deeply I feel the need to dance with vultures under a menopausal sun. I want, I want . . . to be wrung, to be rung!

Yes, I am intrigued by how we take the straight line for granted. Unless we have felt money diminish like the draining of marrow. Once, I saw a purple orchid with a pink stamen. I was shopping for a used car, but noticed through peripheral vision the flower on a crumbling windowsill. Now I appreciate rust. From this same process, I have chosen to become more feminine in behavior. I believe this means I am now a bat who operates through radar.

How to be as plain as bread chewed by oenophiles to clear their palates? I want to live in those moments when energy starts to become visible through physical effect. Like a poor girl from my childhood who wore a dress I outgrew. Everyday for three months, silk lace fondled a neck that increasingly thinned until I could count the ropes stretched along her throat. They evoked the sounds of hot days: ice rattling in pitchers of spent lemons as sugar fails against insistent sourness.

Apparently, the back of my hair is marked by a stranger's crimson paint. As it is January, I must have brushed against a building's attempt to greet a new year. I was trying to overcome the holidays by meandering down Main Street. I always compliment January for leaving light as plain as it could be. I like the courage of women who refuse to paint their lips. They are not like me, who love to stain whatever I kiss. I like to kiss because, too often, murder can occur simply through the seamless pass by an eye. I like to kiss because all of life is precious and "fragile." All of life is fragile.

Oh, how often I ask myself: "What did I know? What do I know?" Is it enough to find joy in a sunray slipping past the shutters to allow dust motes their tango? What suffices when I have seen bliss deep within the eyes of an ascetic who wanders the world with a beggar's bowl? What can I truly hope for when, sometimes, all decisions are made by color? Once, I drove through a forest in New Hampshire and saw a painting by Cezanne as I made a left turn. But, so quickly did I leave it behind—this eye's inadvertent slip that forever marks me like a heart tattoo against an inner thigh.

Some wounds never heal. With age, she has learned to avoid pricking at them. But, occasionally, her foot slips and, once more -- and I become tired as I note this to you—once more, she plunges. When all of my hair turned white, my reflection noted, "Down is faster than up." Matter is so stubborn that even Art can become about coping with the physical. Even your refusal to bear progeny fails to silence my pleas for shackled wrists. Or, how I long for your blindfold so I can beg, "Please: bare my breasts. Please: I want to feed your pleasure." Then once more: "Please."

I don't believe death is the final tenderness for death confirms the wisdom of choices that seek to exalt solitude. I overheard an old lady tell her companion: "One of the unexpected delights of parenthood is the reversal of being put to bed by a child." I have asked many among you whether I am naive to believe love need not be solipsistic. The man I love replied, No. So I have come this far to discover the beauty within a cloud chamber: the traces of intersecting trajectories. For the man I love quoted Emerson as he held me tight: "The health of the eye always demands a horizon. We are never tired so long as we can see far enough." I believe the man I love was telling me: "Do not fear the distance between physical objects. Learn how detachment includes."


***
Prov.: Danese Gallery, New York
N.B. Files contain Letter



FOUR "SELF-PORTRAITS" (2003) (INK ON GALATEA'S GUEST BOOK) by TREVA TABIOS
Location: Library, Pygmalion-First Floor

"PUPPY" (2003) (INK ON GALATEA'S GUEST BOOK) by KRISTINE TABIOS
Location: Library, Pygmalion-First Floor

Speaking of art on the Guest Book, my niece Treva (12 years old) also drew on it and her works, Dear Mr. Insurance Man, are, of course, priceless. Her mom Kristine Tabios's drawing of my puppy "Achilles" is equally masterful.

***
Prov.: Direct from Artists


"COLLABORATIVE DRAWING" (2003) (INK ON GALATEA'S GUEST BOOK) by STELLA LAI AND CHRIS OLIVERIA
Location: Library, Pygmalion-First Floor

I previously mentioned individual works by Stella Lai and Chris Oliveria. But I also have what is their first and, to date, only collaborative drawing together. Chris had accompanied Stella (along with their dealer Lizabeth Oliveria) to help her install the work "Don't Touch Me" against Galatea's foyer wall (click on link to see why Stella needed help as the link will present a series of white and blue masks spelling out "Don't Touch Me"). While here, both artists drew on the guestbook! It's a really nifty drawing, a special way to mark their visit!

***
Prov.: Direct from Artists



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