Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Get 'em While They're Young

My four-year-old daughter, Evie Rose, watched the musical film Meet Me in St. Louis with me for the first time Christmas week. She has a passion for classic musicals, especially the old black and white ones and anything with Fred Astaire. The numbers she danced and sang to from this one: "Meet Me in St. Louis" and "Under the Bamboo Tree," the latter of which is posted below.

I can't tell you how many times we sang the lines 'We'll dance the Hoochee Koochee, I'll be your tootsie wootsie' from the title song in the days that followed. It's a catchy tune, and little ones intuitively know a good song when they hear and feel it. And because this feel for rhythm and melody comes so naturally when they're little, I think it wise to introduce children to music, musical theatre and dramatic expression when they're young. Exposure to the arts opens the curtains wider to the grand stage of their imagination as well as ontology, and as such allows them to see and make fluid connections between thought, feeling, creativity and self expression that accentuate the contextual narrative embedded within all life.

Watching the opera Dr. Atomic -- live from the Met -- televised on our local PBS station this Sunday, Evie Rose exclaimed, "It's a chapel!" How insightful, I think, and accurate in many ways. Children are open to seeing; they don't edit.

Here is the trailer for John Adams's Dr. Atomic. I find the opera nothing short of profound. It is a stunningly beautiful masterpiece, rich in symbolism and complex, interwoven, layers of meaning that chill to the bone.

Learn More: John Adams - Dr. Atomic

Friday, December 26, 2008

Visual Culture: The High Heel

A sexy, informative visual history of the rise of the shoe heel and its feminine attributes.

Fashion bound: Behind the scenes with Rodarte.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Glam Rocks The Art World in Dario Robleto's "Alloy of Love"

"Robleto continues to tell the history of popular music that relies on complex and intertwined degrees of separation. In the case of I've Kissed Your Mother Twice and Now I'm Working on Your Dad, the cast of an antique lipstick holder is crafted from three melted records: David Bowie's Rock 'n' Roll Suicide, The New York Doll's Trash, and The Sex Pistols' God Save the Queen. The choice of these specific records highlights the connection that exists among them as anthems of Glam Rock and the gender bending tactics of their lead singers and horde of followers. While the origin of the piece is from the world of popular music, the craftsmanship of the lipstick holders evokes the artistry and skill of previous generations' metallurgical designs."

From New Frontiers 3: Dario Robleto at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, December issue 1999.

I had the good fortune of seeing I've Kissed Your Mother Twice and Now I'm Working On Your Dad recently at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle. It is part of the exhibit "Dario Robleto: Alloy of Love," a 10-year survey of Robleto's career, currently on view through January 25, 2009, at the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, New York.

For more information on "Alloy of Love" visit: Art Beat

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bearded Roman - Put a little hair on yer art luvin' chest

Bearded Roman - "Away For a Week" -- Came upon this today while searching for information on the Hungarian artist Mihaly Munkacsy. A worthwhile blog and post. Do make sure to visit the associated links as well. I think you'll find them to your liking.


"The Condemned"

The above painting is a relatively new favorite of mine. I wish I could find a larger image of it online. I saw this one on exhibit at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle this summer. I was immediately moved by Munkacsy's classical yet expressive brushwork, as well as his dramatic use of light and gesture. The tension in his work ensnares the viewer; it excites, enthralls, and even disheartens without ever becoming uncomfortable or overbearing. Though I feel the somber weight of Munkacsy's subject, I come away feeling comforted rather than condemned.

From whence does this calm reassurance, this feeling of protection, arise? At first glance it appears to be the result of various technical and stylistic elements such as lighting, color, brushwork, and spacial composition. Consider for a moment the corresponding relationships between the figure standing just inside of what appears to be the doorway, the horizontal line of the table, and the vertical thrust of the walls. Note how the standing figure and walls are harmonized; their force and weight balanced at each end of the table.

Upon second glance, I sense that this condemned man is being sheltered from his fate, buffered, albeit only marginally, by the solidity of the prison walls, the low, heavy ceiling, and by the table that separates him from the person, I assume, charged with taking him away. One could certainly argue that the oppressive solidity of the cell's walls symbolize the harsh reality of the man's inescapable fate bearing down upon him. Perhaps it is a little of both: a buffer and a gavel. Even so, I detect the presence of some profound power--Protection? Forgiveness? Grace? Surrender? Mercy?--swaddling Munkacsy's subject. Whatever this force may be, all I know for certain is that it is not cut from the swaddling cloths of sorrow and despair.

Where else is this feeling present within the above painting? I wonder if you feel it too. (Yes, I realize that you'll probably have to go see it for yourself or at least find a larger image of it online to know.)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Me Too

From PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cold Art Crash

Unless you're a seasoned collector with the cold hard cash, good luck.

From The New York Times, Art & Design:

"Night after night, collectors and dealers tentatively watched as paintings by Monet and Matisse, Bacon and Warhol went unsold. "
Read full article: In Faltering Economy, Auction Houses Crash Back to Earth, by Carol Vogel

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Personal Collection - Li-Young Lee

On the bookshelf. One of my favorites by poet Li-Young Lee, from his book of the same title:

The City In Which I Loved You

And when, in the city in which I love you,
even my most excellent song goes unanswered,
and I mount the scabbed streets,
the long shouts of avenues,
and tunnel sunken night in search of you...

That I negotiate fog, bituminous
rain rining like teeth into the beggar's tin,
or two men jackaling a third in some alley
weirdly lit by a couch on fire, that I
drag my extinction in search of you...

Past the guarded schoolyards, the boarded-up churches, swastikaed
synagogues, defended houses of worship, past
newspapered windows of tenements, along the violated,
the prosecuted citizenry, throughout this
storied, buttressed, scavenged, policed
city I call home, in which I am a guest...

a bruise, blue
in the muscle, you
impinge upon me.
As bone hugs the ache home, so
I'm vexed to love you, your body

the shape of returns, your hair a torso
of light, your heat
I must have, your opening
I'd eat, each moment
of that soft-finned fruit,
inverted fountain in which I don't see me.

My tongue remembers your wounded flavor.
The vein in my neck
adores you. A sword
stands up between my hips,
my hidden fleece send forth its scent of human oil.

The shadows under my arms,
I promise, are tender, the shadows
under my face. Do not calculate,
but come, smooth other, rough sister.
Yet, how will you know me

among the captives, my hair grown long,
my blood motley, my ways trespassed upon?
In the uproar, the confusion
of accents and inflections
how will you hear me when I open my mouth?

Look for me, one of the drab population
under fissured edifices, fractured
artifices. Make my various
names flock overhead,
I will follow you.
Hew me to your beauty.

Stack in me the unaccountable fire,
bring on me the iron leaf, but tenderly.
Folded one hundred times and
creased, I'll not crack.
Threshed to excellence, I'll achieve you.

but in the city
in which I love you,
no one comes, no one
meets me in the brick clefts;
in the wedged dark,

no finger touches me secretly, no mouth
tastes my flawless salt,
no one wakens the honey in the cells, finds the humming
in the ribs, the rich business in the recesses;
hulls clogged, I continue laden, translated

by exhaustion and time's appetite, my sleep abandoned
in bus stations and storefront stoops,
my insomnia erected under a sky
cross-hatched by wires, branches,
and black flights of rain. Lewd body of wind

jams me in the passageways, doors slam
like guns going off, a gun goes off, a pie plate spins
past, whizzing its thin tremolo,
a plastic bag, fat with wind, barrels by and slaps
a chain-link fence, wraps it like clung skin.

In the excavated places,
I waited for you, and I did not cry out.
In the derelict rooms, my body needed you,
and there was such flight in my breast.
During the daily assaults, I called to you,

and my voice pursued you,
even backward
to that other city
in which I saw a woman
squat in the street

beside a body,
and fan with a handkerchief flies from its face.
That woman
was not me. And
the corpse

lying there, lying there
so still it seemed with great effort, as though
his whole being was concentrating on the hole
in his forehead, so still
I expected he'd sit up any minute and laugh out loud:

that man was not me;
his wound was his, his death not mine.
and the soldier
who fired the shot, then lit a cigarette:
he was not me.

And the ones I do not see
in cities all over the world,
the ones sitting, standing, lying down, those
in prisons playing checkers with their knocked-out teeth:
they are not me. Some of them are

my age, even my height and weight;
none of them is me.
The woman who is slapped, the man who is kicked,
the ones who don't survive,
whose names I do not know;

they are not me forever,
the ones who no longer live
in the cities in which
you are not,
the cities in which I looked for you.

The rain stops, the moon
in her breaths appears overhead.
the only sound now is a far flapping.
Over the National Bank, the flag of some republic or other
gallops like water on fire to tear itself away.

If I feel the night
move to disclosures or crescendos,
it's only because I'm famished
for meaning; the night
merely dissolves.

And your otherness is perfect as my death.
Your otherness exhausts me,
like looking suddenly up from here
to impossible stars fading.
Everything is punished by your absence.

Is prayer, then, the proper attitude
for the mind that longs to be freely blown,
but which gets snagged on the barb
called world, that
tooth-ache, the actual? What prayer

would I build? And to whom?
Where are you
in the cities in which I love you,
the cities daily risen to work and to money,
to the magnificent miles and the gold coasts?

Morning comes to this city vacant of you.
Pages and windows flare, and you are not there.
Someone sweeps his portion of sidewalk,
wakens the drunk, slumped like laundry,
and you are gone.

You are not in the wind
which someone notes in the margins of a book.
You are gone out of the small fires in abandoned lots
where human figures huddle,
each aspiring to its own ghost.

Between brick walls, in a space no wider than my face,
a leafless sapling stands in mud.
In its branches, a nest of raw mouths
gaping and cheeping, scrawny fires that must eat.
My hunger for you is no less than theirs.

At the gates of the city in which I love you,
the sea hauls the sun on its back,
strikes the land, which rebukes it.
what ardor in its sliding heft,
a flameless friction on the rocks.

Like the sea, I am recommended by my orphaning.
Noisy with telegrams not received,
quarrelsome with aliases,
intricate with misguided journeys,
by my expulsions have I come to love you.

Straight from my father's wrath,
and long from my mother's womb,
late in this century and on a Wednesday morning,
bearing the mark of one who's experienced
neither heaven nor hell,

my birthplace vanished, my citizenship earned,
in league with stones of the earth, I
enter, without retreat or help from history,
the days of no day, my earth
of no earth, I re-enter

the city in which I love you.
And I never believed that the multitude
of dreams and many words were vain.

Read other poems in this collection: The City In Which I Loved You

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


The word Ensler, author of "The Vaginia Monologues", attributes to the 10-year war "fought on the bodies of women" in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, "where thousands of women and girls have been systematically raped during a 10-year war that some say has cost more lives than any other war since World War II."

How has this happened and what accounts for the world's mute response?

Read the article Woman: 'They wanted to destroy my body and spirit' to learn more.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Guest Entry - Lost in A Storm

A special thank you to the author of the blog Why Paisley?? for granting permission to repost this one here.

perched upon this parapet
this mortuary mine
i weep poseidon’s saline tears
‘neath somber scudding sky

as moisture inundated clouds
exhale, sedna’s
plankton perfumed breath
and agitated artic gales
pass o’re her frozen lips

left anchored in abandon
aloft, this landlocked
margin of death
inflicted fallen fortress
turned, skeletal
black crows nest


Photo courtesy of

More poems by this author can be found at Just Paisley

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Forbidden Images

"This short was made for the 72 Hour Film Festival in Frederick, Maryland.

All of the clips used in this film came from a reel of 35mm nitrate, found in an old theater somewhere in Pennsylvania.

This reel is now in the hands of the Library of Congress."

(Film clip courtesy of CineGraphic)

I think this clip may have activated a latent foot fetish! ;)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Time Which is Built into My Body

Maya Deren in her own words. One to listen to more than watch.

(Duration: 4:25)

Maya Deren - A Study In Choreography For Camera (2:13)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Marcel Duchamp & Maya Deren

Witch's Cradle (1943): an incomplete black and white film, shot in NYC at Peggy Guggehnheim's Art of this Century Gallery, by Maya Deren and Marcel Duchamp.

PART ONE (5:03):

PART TWO (6:44):

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ballet Mecanique

"Ballet Mécanique (1924) was a project by the American composer George Antheil and the filmmaker/artist Fernand Léger. Although the film was intended to use Antheil's score as a soundtrack, the two parts were not brought together until the 1990s. As a composition, Ballet Mécanique is Antheil's best known and most enduring work. It remains famous for its radical style and instrumentation as well as its storied history." (Learn More)

Part 1 (duration: 8:30)

Part 2 (duration: 7:41)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

CQ - Anybody Out There?

And for the winner...
(see original Attuning The Frequency post for its humble beginnings)


She called:

"CQ... CQ..."

He answered:

"Now that I still can't get you off of my mind
I don't think that we can pull this one off
We shall see, time will tell
What is time and why does it
Taste like salt water inside of my mouth?"

Images and quicktime movie: AMC
Music: Pinback

Thank you, Sarah (and Pinback)!
And thanks to all who participated via myspace and this here bloggy.

Friday, August 22, 2008

John Cage's 4'33 - Art & Sound

"silence is the sound of life as we live it in real time. We just never stopped to listen before." - Holland Cotter

Dia:Beacon Two installations commemorating artists now gone: Tacita Dean’s is six films with Merce Cunningham, honoring John Cage’s “4’33””.


"Oh So Quiet"
Published: August 21, 2008

Silence is the tough one... John Cage said it didn’t exist, not in this world, and illustrated the point in his famous composition “4’33,” ” first performed in 1952.

A musician with a stopwatch comes on stage, sits at a piano, more or less motionless, for 4 minutes 33 seconds, raising and lowering the keyboard cover to signal the beginning and end of movements.

Instead of music, or not-of-this-world silence, the audience hears itself: coughing, jangling, whispering, tittering and eventually, depending on the general mood, erupting into boos or applause...

A filmed variation on Cage’s score is playing this summer at Dia:Beacon; it’s well worth spending time with. It’s one of two Dia installations that, in very different ways, quietly commemorate artists now gone whose names have a magic ring to contemporary ears.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Die Nebensonnen. Herbet Pfostl

Last night I sang "moon, moon, moon" with an owl perched in the fir tree.

The Things of This World. Herbet Pfostl

I watched the Perseid meteor shower, tails burning the sky, held my nearly full grown son in my lap and laughed and sang and whooped and hooted in delight and in awe and appreciation.

It was a perfect night under the stars, among a stand of trees and the lone owl's hoo, hoo, hoo.

"Thank you," I said out loud.
"Thank you," I said silently.
"Do you feel lonely, too?" I asked

Thank you.

More works by Herbert Pfostl:
Herbert Pfostl's Paper Graveyard
hpfostl (flickr)

Friday, August 8, 2008


Let us choose every day to make our own magic.

Don't wait.
Never stop.

Video courtesy of Niemand.
More sites to delight listed on Blind Pony Books

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Gift

"I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past. "

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end."


All quotations, Virginia Woolf.

Image courtesy of Bats and Swallows, where many more hauntingly beautiful photos may be found. Highly recommend you have a look.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mad Love

Tremendous! Tremendous!

"I wish to bring back the gods: oracular knowledge. To force miracles without the traps of religion...
What seems so utterly forgotten today has never left us but was only covered up and needs to be re-found and cared for. It takes heart to pay attention."

These words make me SWOON. Swoon, swoon, swoon. I have fallen hard for Blind Pony Books. Every entry on their blog 'penetrates' me to my core and makes me salivate. Their credo alone makes me flush with excitement! My heart quickens and I feel exactly as I do when I fall in love. How can images and words on a blog be so powerful? It's magic.
The Pony Credo

An idea of books from a yearning
to counter the all-polluting imagery-machines
with parables of plants and animals
and old stories
of black robbers and white stags.
Fragments on death like mirrors
from a black sleep
in the forests of fairy tales.
All stories from the dust of the dead
in fragments and footnotes
like melodies of heartbreak
and north and night and exploration–breakdowns.
About saints with no promise of heaven
and lost sailors forgotten
and the terribly lonely bears.
The unknown, the ugly – and the odd.
Collected grand mistakes,
noble errors from many sources.
Sinking signals - conscious or not – sonatas and last letters
and great insults.
The impossible tears in landscapes
of ocean or stranded whales.
A going far back to coals
and cruelties and sobbing
like songs in whiskey and blood.
Of soldiers’ last letters and all seven seas.
With pirates and wars and prayers
in holes in the ground.
Of fallen women and orphaned children
and drowned slaves and burned saints.
To make songs from doubt
and books to live by.

Theirs is a blog that spins the mirrors reflecting sober fragments of my innermost light and darkness; the machinations and sweeping undercurrents of my poetic mind; the kindling of my heart's fancy and longing. I suppose I am simply in love with the dark, quietly illuminating philosophical and artistic brilliance of the past, with its sinking signals and dusty coals burning deep in the ash, where one, if they look hard enough, can catch a glimmer of a faint glow still red with the raw essence of life.

Go ahead and see for yourself at Blind Pony Books. Bear in mind that to understand what I'm speaking of requires looking through it all. A cursory glance will not suffice with a site of this magnitude.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kelly Moore - Outsider Artist at Play

Former neighbor of mine, Kelly Moore, was Artist a Day's featured artist last week.

india taught me alot things

one of the biggest was

that character matters

and if you wanna learn

what you got inside of you

look no further

than whats in front of


See more at:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Jean-Paul Riopelle (Canadian, 1923-2002)
The Wheel – Cold Dog (Indian Summer)
1954-1955. Oil on Canvas

The artwork of Jean-Paul Riopelle:

"He begins at the beginning. And each time he begins, it is as if he had never lived before. Painting: or the desire to vanish in the act of seeing. That is to say, to see the thing that is... as if it were the last time that he would ever see."

"To breathe in the whiteness of the farthest north. And all that is lost, to be born again from this emptiness in the place where desire carries him, and dismembers him, and scatters him back to earth."

"A forest. And within that forest, a tree. And upon that tree, a leaf. A single leaf, turning in the wind. This leaf, and nothing else. The thing to be seen."

"When a single leaf turns, it is the entire forest that turns around it. And he who turns around himself."

The poems of Reverdy:

"The more the relationship between the two juxtaposed realities is both distant and true, the stronger the image will be -- the greater its emotional power and poetic reality." [my accompanying note in the margin: I just drew an image representing this exact thing!]

Poet Francis Ponge:

"The primary act of the poet, therefore, becomes the act of seeing, as if no one had ever seen the thing before, so that the object might have 'the good fortune to be born into words.'"

High-wire artist Philippe Petit: "...the high-wire is an art of solitude, a way of coming to grips with one's life in the darkest, most secret corner of the self."

"... life does not hide from death, but stares it straight in the face. Each time he sets foot on the wire, Philippe takes hold of that life and lives it in all its exhilarating immediacy, in all its joy."

Self: "... When you truly enter a state of solitude, that is the moment when you are not alone anymore, when you start to feel your connection with others... I even quote Rimbaud... 'Je est un autre'
[I is another]"

"The whole process... is one of stripping away to some barer condition in which we have to face up to who we are. Or who we aren't. It finally comes to the same thing."

"Writing is no longer an act of free will for me, it's a matter of survival. An image surges up inside me, and after a time I begin to feel cornered by it, to feel that I have no choice but to embrace it. A book starts to take shape after a series of such encounters."

All quotes - Paul Auster, The Art of Hunger

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Prefaces & Parallels - Jacques Dupin & Paul Auster

Portrait of Jacques Dupin. Francis Bacon. (courtesy of

"... for the poem can be born only when all chances for its life have been destroyed."

"Dominated by stone, mountain, farm implements, and fire, the geography is cruel, built of the barest materials, and human presence can never be taken for granted in it. It must be won. Generated by a desire to join what forbids him a place and to find a dwelling within it, the Dupin poem is always on the other side: the limit of the human step, the fruit of a terrestrial harrowing."

"The strength that Dupin speaks of is not the strength of transcendence, but of immanence and realization. The gods have vanished, and there can be no question of pretending to recover the divine logos."

- Paul Auster (The Art of Hunger)


Grand Vent ( High Wind)

We only belong to the mountain path

meandering under the sun between sage and lichen

rising at night, a borderline path

towards constellations,

we have enabled tops to come close to each other

the limit of arable lands

seeds burst in our fists

flames into our bones

Let manure rise all the way to us on men's backs

Let vine and rye answer

to the volcano's old age

the fruits of pride, the fruits of basalt

will ripe under the blows

that make us visible

Flesh will endure what the eye suffered from

what wolves never dreamt

before flowing on to the sea.

-Jacques Dupin, 1963

"The fundamental movement of the poem is to move painfully towards the highest which is also the emptiest, to direct onself towards the scarce, the rare, nay, the unbreathable. The purpose is to climb towards an air burrow or a kind of open sky deposit where the inside of man himself up there, very high, becomes a landscape where the obscure and the secret unfold in light."

(poem and quote courtesy of Jean-Michel Maulpoix & Co. - Modern French Literture)


image courtesy of

To shatter, to retake, and thus, to rebuild. In the forest we are closer to the woodcutter than to the solitary wanderer. No innocent contemplation. No high forests crossed by sunlight and the songs of birds, but their hidden future: cords of wood.

- Jacques Dupin

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Ephemeral Proof

"First lessons in practical theosophy" photo montage courtesy of seriykotik1970

Journal Entry - February 14, 2008

If I were to remove every written word, there would perhaps be no trace of our fleeting connection. I believe it still exists, elsewhere. But in time, in death, I may find in this I am also wrong.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Sometimes I Dream that I am What You Are

The IP Poetry project involves the development of a software and hardware system that uses text from the Internet to generate poetry that is then recited in real time by automatons connected to the web.

Internet search terms used: "I dream that I am..."

More Gustavo Romano at

If I Had Known She Was Going to Look at Me and Make My Heart Stop

The IP Poetry project involves the development of a software and hardware system that uses text from the Internet to generate poetry that is then recited in real time by automatons connected to the web.

Internet search terms used: "If I had... If I had not... If you had... today we would be..."

More Gustavo Romano at

Monday, June 30, 2008

If I Had a Time Machine

No, Dido...

(Dido: Andrea Sacci, 1599-1661)

Don't do it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Red - Good as Gold

Seeing the documentary Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working With Time two nights ago has deepened my long held appreciation of Goldsworthy's work beyond measure.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Beyond Resuscitation

Resuscitation: What I yearn for.

Resuscitation. Installation. Sumer Erek.

Split: I, too, feel like this sometimes.

Split. Installation - Performance. Sumer Erek.


About conceptual artist Sumer Erek:

"... His work owes its strength and appeal to the impression of its being on the threshold, hovering between the material and the spiritual, the physical and the metaphysical, the factual and the fantastic reality of dreams."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Igor Melnikov - Hidden In Plain Sight - Where You Find Me, You Still Find Me Not

"When people weep in the presence of Melnikov’s paintings, it is not from pathos but from recognition of a forgotten part of themselves."

One of my favorite artists is Igor Melnikov.

In his own words... "For me, these are not portraits of children, but portraits of human souls... The face of an adult is biography; the face of a child is metaphysics."

Hide and Seek

In and Old Doll's Dream


"I don't like poetic generalizations, particularly about my own work. But, if I can dare to qualify the subject that interests me most of all, it is this: the little, weak human beings coming into this huge, brutal, senseless world, and being unwanted, uninteresting, and unloved by anyone. Ultimately, the existential conflict is expressed most clearly as the awakening conscience of the little human being in the face of the cosmos."

One of my favorite paintings by Melnikov is titled "Julia and Universe." I can't find an image of it anywhere on the web. If you happen to find one, contact me.

For more insight into this highly sensitive, perceptive artist, I recommend downloading and reading this pdf: Hidden In Plain Sight - The Art of Igor Melnikov

Friday, June 6, 2008

Ben Strawn - Good For The Gods

I am excited to announce that my friend, local artist Ben Strawn, is's ARTIST OF THE DAY!

(Good on ya, Ben.)

Stereographic painting. Ben Strawn. 2007

You can learn more by visiting:
Leave him a comment and a rating if you stop by!

(To see more of his work, click the "Ben Strawn" link just below the image posted above. It will take you to his website.)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lives of The Artists - Charles Wright


Jaundicing down from their purity, the plum blossoms

Snowfall out of the two trees

And spread like a sheet of mayflies

soundlessly, thick underfoot -

I am the silence that is incomprehensible,

First snow stars drifting from the sky,

late fall in the other world;

I am the utterance of my name.

Belief in transcendence,

belief in something beyond belief,

Is what the blossoms solidify

In their fall through the two worlds -

The imagining of the invisible, the slow dream of metaphor,

Sanction our going up and our going down, our days

And the lives we infold inside them,

our yes and yes.

Good to get that said, tongue of cold air

Licking the landscape,

Snuffing the flame in the green fuse.

I am the speech that cannot be grasped.

I am the substance and the thing that has no substance,

Cast forth upon the face of the earth,

Whose margins we write in,

whose one story we tell, and keep on telling.

-Charles Wright, Black Zodiac

Monday, June 2, 2008

Art, Meaning, and Power

"The production of meaning is inseparable from the production of power."

- Lisa Tickner

Pablo Picasso. Crucifixion. 1930. Oil on wood.

Andres Serrano. Piss Christ.

Alma Lopez. Our Lady. 1999. Iris print on canvas.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Psychology of Flowers?

I Detest

I Love

Chicory looks most beautiful at dusk; their blue heads seemingly floating freely like bright disks shining in a lucid auric light. They alight the ditches of every rural Illinois back road, transforming any leisurely drive, if taken at the right time of day, into a psychedelic meditation where every translucent petal calls out and magnetically pulls you into a deep intoxicating dream. I love them. They're my favorite of all flowers.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

Go... Click...

Letters - January 30, 2008

In about ten years, go with me to Greece to see the Parthenon. Current reconstruction should be completed by then and it's one of the most amazing pieces of ancient architecture.


Meanwhile, do click on the "detail" link for that Puella Animo Aureo painting by Mark Ryden. There's a detail of the books; read the titles on their spines.

If I were to do a symbolic self portrait, one that represented my overall nature, that painting would be it. The girl would look different but the components would essentially be the same.

I particularly like how she stands atop Chaos. That relationship evokes all sorts of associations for me, personal and archetypal. I unfortunately don't have the time or space to share them here -- perhaps one day, I hope.

Much love,
Poly D.

Friday, May 23, 2008

La Muerta, La Muerta!

[Absent Image]
Day of The Dead Fetish doll by AMC, 2006

The Tomb of Amir Khusru

Trees heavy with birds hold
the afternoon up with their hands.
Arches and patios. A tank of water,
poison green, between red walls.
A corridor leads to the sanctuary:
beggars, flowers, leprosy, marble.

Tombs, two names, their stories:
Nizam Uddin, the wandering theologian,
Amir Khusru, the parrots tongue.
The saint and the poet. A grim
star spouts from a cupola.
Slime sparkles in the pool.

Amir Khusru, parrot and mockingbird:
the two halves of each moment,
muddy sorrow, voice of light.
Syllables, wandering fires,
vagabond architectures:
every poem is time, and burns.

-Octavio Paz

Monday, May 19, 2008

As I Sat in a Church in Detroit and The Preacher Sipped His Beer, He Told Me I Needed to Go to Tupelo

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds: Tupelo

Looka yonder! looka yonder!
Looka yonder! a big black cloud come!
A big black cloud come!
O comes to tupelo. comes to tupelo

Yonder on the horizon
Yonder on the horizon
Stopped at the mighty river
Stopped at the mighty river and
Sucked the damn thing dry
Tupelo-o-o, o tupelo
In a valley hides a town called tupelo

Distant thunder rumble. distant thunder rumble
Rumble hungry like the beast
The beast it cometh, cometh down
The beast it cometh, cometh down
Wo wo wo-o-o
Tupelo bound. tupelo-o-o. yeah tupelo
The beast it cometh, tupelo bound

Why the hen wont lay no egg
Cant get that cock to crow
The nag is spooked and crazy
O God help tupelo! o God help tupelo!
O God help tupelo! o God help tupelo!

Ya can say these streets are rivers
Ya can call these rivers streets
Ya can tell ya self ya dreaming buddy
But no sleep runs this deep
No! no sleep runs this deep
No sleep runs this deep
Women at their windows
Rain crashing on the pane
Writing in the frost
Tupelos shame. tupelos shame
O God help tupelo! o God help tupelo!

O go to sleep lil children
The sandmans on his way
O go to sleep lil children
The sandmans in his way
But the lil children know
They listen to the beating of their blood
Listen to the beating of their blood
Listen to the beating of their blood
Listen to the beating of their blood
They listen to the beating of their blood
The sandmans mud!
The sandmans mud!
And the black rain come down
The black rain come down
The black rain come down
Water water everywhere
Where no bird can fly no fish can swim
Where no bird can fly no fish can swim
No fish can swim
Until the king is born!
Until the king is born!
In tupelo! tupelo-o-o!
Til the king is born in tupelo!

In a clap-board shack with a roof of tin
Where the rain came down and leaked within
A young mother frozen on a concrete floor
With a bottle and a box and a cradle of straw
Tupelo-o-o! o tupelo!
With a bottle and a box and a cradle of straw

Well saturday gives what sunday steals
And a child is born on his brothers heels
Come sunday morn the first-born dead
In a shoebox tied with a ribbon of red
Tupelo-o-o! hey tupelo!
In a shoebox buried with a ribbon of red

O ma-ma rock you lil one slow
O ma-ma rock your baby
O ma-ma rock your lil one slow
O God help tupelo! o God help tupelo!
Mama rock your lil one slow
The lil one will walk on tupelo
The lil one will walk on tupelo
Black rain come down, black rain come down
Tupelo-o-o! yeah tupelo!
And carry the burden of tupelo
Tupelo-o-o! o tupelo! yeah!
The king will walk on tupelo!
Tupelo-o-o! o tupelo!
He carried the burden outa tupelo!
Tupelo-o-o! hey tupelo! [repeat]
You will reap just what you sow

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Where You Find Me, You Find Me Not

Today I came upon an artist whose work I find thrilling to say the least. His composite photos are romantic, nostalgic, and slightly disturbing. Jamie Baldridge's photography is the perfect companion to Odd Nerdrum's painting if I ever saw one. Both utilize dark, surreal, moody landscapes that draw the viewer in like some voyeur peering through a peephole into the mind of an anonymous cataloger who spends his time collecting specimens of the human subconscious with a magic time machine.

(Displayed Image: "Chaos Counter". Jamie Baldridge. Visit Modernbrook Gallery for purchasing information.)

Today's post titled after one of my favorite poems by A.R. Ammons.

Singling & Doubling Together

My nature singing in me is your nature singing:
you have means to veer down, filter through,
and, coming in,
harden into vines that break back with leaves,
so that when the wind stirs
I know you are there and I hear you in leafspeech,

though of course back into your heightenings I
can never follow: you are there beyond
tracings flesh can take,
and farther away surrounding and informing the systems,
you are as if nothing, and
where you are least knowable I celebrate you most

or here most when near dusk the pheasant squawks and
lofts at a sharp angle to the roost cedar,
I catch in the angle of that ascent,
in the justness of that event your pheasant nature,
and when dusk settles, the bushes creak and
snap in their natures with your creaking

and snapping nature: I catch the impact and turn
it back: cut the grass and pick up branches
under the elm, rise to the several tendernesses
and griefs, and you will fail me only as from the still
of your great high otherness you fail all things,
somewhere to lift things up, if not those things again:

even you risked all the way into the taking on of shape
and time fail and fail with me, as me,
and going hence with me know the going hence
and in the cries of that pain it is you crying and
you know of it and it is my pain, my tears, my loss--
what but grace

have I to bear in every motion,
embracing or turning away, staggering or standing still,
while your settled kingdom sways in the distillations of light
and plunders down into the darkness with me
and comes nowhere up again but changed into your
singing nature when I need sing my nature nevermore.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Leafspeech & The Poetics of the Soul

Where you are least knowable I celebrate you most.
- A.R. Ammons

My best friend Richard just so happens to be one of the greatest living poets I know. He has a facility for writing in several styles of prose. Whereas works from his late twenties are meditative expressions culled from a romantic appreciation for nature similar to A.R. Ammons and Charles Wright, his more recent body of poetry takes a modernist approach uniquely his own that manages to preserve both his southern voice and personal history.

I'd like to share his early poetry side-by-side with his contemporary work with you someday, but that will depend on him giving me his permission, which I as of yet do not have. He has, however, approved my sharing the poem I'm including in this blog; a poem he sent me in response to a conversation on midlife strife.

I believe every art form carries with it its own spiritual lineage, which, not to be confused with tradition, is like a seed of unparalleled genius, sensitivity, vision and creativity implanted in many but awakened in only a precious few. This sowing not only ensures that the spirit of poetry (or art) survives but that it continues to bloom over successive generations.

To me, art, and that is art in its many forms, provides a universal stopgap for the insanity that coincides with being human. Art is the beacon we look to, what draws us near when we seek what's real and enduring and true in life. What I find most beautiful and enduring in a work of art is its defiance; for though art often evolves out of a solitary process, or what some might consider vulnerable or meek even, the end result--the work--is capable of imparting strength and power, of uniting (nay, igniting!) the human collective heart and inspiring change. Without these aesthetic works, human imagination and soul would hemorrhage to the point of nonexistence. Indeed the arts are as essential to quality of life as healthy nutrient-rich soil, clean air and water. Moreover, insufficient exposure to and lack of funding for the arts contributes to another inconvenient truth: global warming's sister crisis, global dimming of the mind and soul.

One of the first voices to speak about the poetic tradition was T.S. Elliot. Before I introduce my friend's poem, I'd like to share a few excerpts from Elliot's essay, "Tradition and the Individual Talent", written (I believe) in 1922, that mirror my own innate understanding of the poet's/artist's historical placement within his craft and the interconnectedness he shares with those who have preceded him as well as with those who shall follow after.

No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. You cannot value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead. I mean this as a principle of æsthetic, not merely historical, criticism. The necessity that he shall conform, that he shall cohere, is not one-sided; what happens when a new work of art is created is something that happens simultaneously to all the works of art which preceded it. The existing monuments form an ideal order among themselves, which is modified by the introduction of the new (the really new) work of art among them. The existing order is complete before the new work arrives; for order to persist after the supervention of novelty, the whole existing order must be, if ever so slightly, altered; and so the relations, proportions, values of each work of art toward the whole are readjusted; and this is conformity between the old and the new. Whoever has approved this idea of order, of the form of European, of English literature, will not find it preposterous that the past should be altered by the present as much as the present is directed by the past. And the poet who is aware of this will be aware of great difficulties and responsibilities...

... To proceed to a more intelligible exposition of the relation of the poet to the past: he can neither take the past as a lump, an indiscriminate bolus, nor can he form himself wholly on one or two private admirations, nor can he form himself wholly upon one preferred period. The first course is inadmissible, the second is an important experience of youth, and the third is a pleasant and highly desirable supplement. The poet must be very conscious of the main current, which does not at all flow invariably through the most distinguished reputations. He must be quite aware of the obvious fact that art never improves, but that the material of art is never quite the same. He must be aware that the mind of Europe—the mind of his own country—a mind which he learns in time to be much more important than his own private mind—is a mind which changes, and that this change is a development which abandons nothing en route, which does not superannuate either Shakespeare, or Homer, or the rock drawing of the Magdalenian draughtsmen. That this development, refinement perhaps, complication certainly, is not, from the point of view of the artist, any improvement. Perhaps not even an improvement from the point of view of the psychologist or not to the extent which we imagine; perhaps only in the end based upon a complication in economics and machinery. But the difference between the present and the past is that the conscious present is an awareness of the past in a way and to an extent which the past's awareness of itself cannot show.

Some one said: "The dead writers are remote from us because we know so much more than they did." Precisely, and they are that which we know.

And now I present a poet who embodies that which we know and are. Enjoy.
(Author's note: The black cottage part refers to a poem by Frost "The Black Cottage")

March 29th, Record High

Eureka Pizza Founder Talks of Secret of Success

This week, the boulevard was pink,
Now rows of sober trees at the ends of wind,
White petals drawn to gutters below what was
A sexus-nexus, or what have you—the party
Before this heated deepening, reddened levels
Extending me: in all this, I see me, at forty.

Last week, I figured myself the buzzing pink
Trees in the doorway of an old black cottage,
Forelighters, in plain sight, of the bees' surprise
In the walls—remember, that's when preacher,
Who'd been so reaching and garrulous, said let's get.
The speaker, the listener, regrets that nectar.
I mean to say, he wonders about the honey.

But April never is a cruel month, and
I always take the flower for the fruit.
A sycamore seed's afloat on my Spanish wine
And water blend, in the cup you made, wherever
You are. It turns and turns.

Wearing Kansas City Frank's foot warmers,
I came down from the central Midwest. I held
To shady paths. The meditation I need
Is harlequin bugs on collard greens, and stokes
To strike in toward a low spring fiction.

Bermuda Grass Forgives the Plow and Sends
A World of Tillers Out to Grab the Land

© 2007 Richard Earles