Shelly Speaks Out About the Value of Abstraction!
Paul Klee said, “The true artist does not work from nature, but works like nature and in nature.”
I am inspired by nature and all things natural: the lush diversity, the mystery of its processes, the structure, the dualities, the interconnectedness, the physics and the biology, the quark and the cosmos. The list goes on… It’s what makes me want to spend all my time drawing and painting. So why not paint lovely portraits of nature as so many do? True, it would likely satisfy my desire to show the beauty I perceive, but there is something more, something I realized many years ago I couldn’t deny. I don’t just want to show a pretty picture of this cosmic mystery of existence. No, that’s just not enough for me as an artist. I need to BE it. I need more than anything to participate in the act of nature itself, because of course I am it. We all are, and there’s no way around it. We are nature, from the President to the carrot I ate on my salad for lunch. And there is not so much difference between us as we would like to think.
So what does it mean to work like nature and in nature as Paul Klee says? For me it means working with the same things nature uses: basic elements, layers, time. It is the tenuous balance of construction and deconstruction that most fascinates me. When I work I am always putting imagery together and taking it apart again, over and over, layer after layer, until Cosmos is reached. I call it Cosmos because it is the perfect form I seek: the one that is whole, complete and universal. It is the one that has a singularity to it, one that represents all form in nature. Nature finds these forms for itself all the time. We are a good example, but so are moons, and microbes, and strands of DNA.
But nature never stops with a single form, however “perfect” it may seem, and neither do I. My forms are always changing, my process ever in transition toward the something new which is my ultimate goal. To move forward and grow is the essence of how I work: to find a new way into a process that is never ending and never staying the same. Art process and natural process are so much alike simply because they are one and the same. I am so happy about that, it gives me the true participation I am looking for. So why paint abstractly? Perhaps a better question for me to ask myself is why paint something from the outside, when I can paint it from the inside? Why not truly become the thing, thereby knowing it best of all? And as for the term “realism”, what is more realistic than knowing what you paint because you have been there and been on the inside of it? So perhaps I am a true realist… At least I know this much: I paint what is real for me.
A final note: My paintings are created with oil paint and mediums, cold wax medium, sand, chalk, and earth on wood panels.
Nora Esthimer Explains How The Line Forms Here
A writer sits alone and writes a novel. A writer sits in the middle of Grand Central Station at rush hour and writes a novel. Sooner or later, a writer wants a reader for her novel. And a second reader. A thousandth reader. A millionth.
A writer finds it odd that the readers haven’t been waiting for her, standing on line, lattes in hand, for as long it takes. Perhaps getting impatient and chanting, “we want stories, we want stories.”
Since the readers don’t queue themselves up, eventually a writer must put out a sign, “line forms here.” In other words, she must publish.
I am such a writer and a year ago I made the decision to form my own publishing company, Lystra Books & Literary Services, to publish myself and a few friends. Let’s agree that Lystra Books & Literary Services can compete for the title of world’s smallest publisher.
My friend, Jenny, is also in print. With Random House. The world’s largest publisher. Jenny and I had an opportunity to speak in public about our different paths to publication and while her “line forms here” sign is about 1,000 times larger than mine, we have much more in common than not. We each want to tell a good story and tell it well. We each want readers, one at a time, to love what we do and to tell someone.
Poets have slams. Artists have galleries. Musicians have clubs. Writers like Jenny and me, we have our “line forms here” signs. If you love books and reading, please keep in mind that books are sold one at a time. No matter who the writer is. Please read, love, and tell. Read again, and remind the people you tell to tell someone else.
Nora Gaskin is author of Until Proven: A Mystery in 2 Parts and Time of Death. Read more about the content of these books at Lystra Books and Literary Services.
Her friend, Jenny Milchman, is the author of Cover of Snow. All good reads!
George Jenne Shows Us What is Spooky
George Jenne explores a relationship between video, text and sculpture in his upcoming show, entitled Spooky Understands. This following explanation is from his recent press release:
When one takes a look at the George Jenne website, and takes a look at his past work in video and installation, it’s easy to see that this latest piece is likely a logical extension of his prior work. He has stacked up a fair list of solo and group exhibitions in major cities over the past dozen or so years.
First in the UNC MFA thesis exhibition series titled Your Turn To Burn, George’s show will run from Feb 11-15 at the Allcott Gallery in Hanes Art Center. Join him for a reception on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, Feb 14.
Note: Thomson first encountered George Jenne’s work at Craven Art Gallery in Durham many years ago and was intriqued. He had hand-carved in clay finger nails and wrinkles into the hands and feet of tiny small figures placed in a range of strange tableaux. The details used to accentuate his concept were arresting. Hence, that memory prompted this posting to get the word out about what this current exhibit might entail!
Update by Thomson. The opening has past, and George’s work was just posted online. If you missed the event, here is your opportunity to see the video, Spooky Understands! The female narrator’s voice is arresting as are her thoughts as well as those of the man she pursues. I will need to watch this piece again and listen a few times to unravel the threads of this fantasy.
Armand Lenchek Explains What is the Blues
What is “The Blues”? Or maybe I should say: what is Da Blues? Or Da Bluz? Or Da Bloozzz? Why must I slang it up when talking about the Blues? Why must I mess with the perfectly fine “King’s English” when talkin’ Da Bluz? What is slang? Slang is a way of taking the formal English language and embellishing on it. Changing it up, being creative with it. Bringing influences from different neighborhoods, regions and even cultures to the “normal” language.
And that is a basic element of what The Blues is – the influence of different cultures on what might be termed “the King’s Music”. Specifically, the mixture of African music and European music. But of course, The Blues is much more than that. I could go into all sorts of explanations about technical stuff like major and minor pentatonic scales but I’m hoping you’ll stay awake for most of this read.
One of the most important things to remember about The Blues is it is first and foremost a medium of expression. A medium of communication about what is happening with the singer/player.
So imagine what most Africans would want to express when first brought to the “”New World”… Not a lot of happy sentiments, I’ll bet. Yet, still, as music is a medium of expression of all sentiments not all that was sung by the average African-American would be negative. In fact, one of the things that is misunderstood must about The Blues, is that it is expressive of ALL that could be going on in the singer’s life. All the sorrows but all the joys, too. And many more sentiments. BB King once said “The Blues is joy in the face of adversity.”
And since The Blues ended up being sung at juke joints, house parties, dance halls, bars and anywhere else people wanted to have a good time a good bit of blues music wound up being good time music. Fun music. Music to dance to. Music to help you forget your troubles rather than wallow in them. But wait, there’s more! What about what some call the “feel” of The Blues? Yes, this is a very, very important complaint of The Blues. What is “feel”? It is an unspoken communication through the music. Something you just “feel”. How does this happen? Well, to begin with, it goes back to what the performer is trying to communicate. European music is designed to make you feel something. So what would a blues performer want to make you feel? Maybe they’d want to express some of the raw darkness of life. Maybe some elemental aspect of life that can only be express non-verbally.
How does a blues performer do this? Here I do have to get a little technical. Try this: imagine that European music is simply based on the notes sounded by a piano’s keyboard. Before The Blues, Europeans would be very used to hearing only the notes that could be sounded by a piano. What The Blues brought is the notes in-between the notes on the keyboard. Sliding between the pitches. All the infinite variety of frequencies (notes, pitches, sounds) that could be found between each notes on the keyboard. The tension and release that those strange notes bring to the music is a huge part of The Blues. And a performer’s ability to instinctively manipulate those in-between notes is a big part of their appeal.
Thomson notes: Armand traveled North America & Europe playing the blues for 22 years before deciding to settle down, get a real job and, most importantly, raise his kid and love his wife. He still plays now and then, though. Catch him at the Blue Note Grill on April 20th (www.TheBlueNoteGrill.com). Help support his music habit by booking him as your REALTOR. I happen to know he is a favorite of those in the Triangle and highly rated, so also check out: www.TeamArmand.com.