It’s December 2 and I’m already behind! I unexpectedly went MIA from this space last week/weekend. We opted for something new this year. Instead of the traditional Thanksgiving feast, we headed over to Alabama for the annual Poarch Creek Indian Pow Wow. I’ve got a lot more to say (and show!) about that whole experience. Short of the long: I loved it!
Upon returning home Friday evening, we (read: the hubs) immediately headed over to the studio to get it prepped for paint. On Saturday we spent an unfortunate amount of time in that little box prepping, and prepping, and prepping… then painting, and repainting, and still more painting. It’s always something with remodels. This time, it was not only the four random bolts sticking up 2 inches out of my concrete floor, but that the paint (just the primer) kept sliding off the walls. It’s quite the site to see, paint literally not stick to the walls. We realized (not soon enough) that it was because of a lack of circulation. So a fourth trip to Target later, a fan is now circulating air and the walls are dry(ing). During our trials and tribulations we received a call that my Dad had to be taken to the hospital.
Needless to say Sunday was not spent in the studio, but rather sitting by his bedside in ICU catching up on some much needed magazine time and listening to machines beep while he tried to rest. He’s semi-stable now and we are just doing a lot of waiting. Waiting on tests. Waiting on doctors. Just waiting. Pretty coincidental since we began our “Advent” waiting the same day. This time of year is always so weird for me. What a paradox we walk in every day.
I hope to post lots more photos of the Pow Wow this week…but we’ll see how things go.
It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman. — Abigail Adams
[photo by the hubs!]
One of our weekend adventures was to visit a historic home; although we missed the last tour for the main house, we were able to walk around the gardens and through the carriage house, and around the main house. I immediately fell IN LOVE with the HUGE porch; particularly the mint green ceiling. I know there are a lot of folks that paint their ceilings blue, but this mint with the black was beautiful! And those Live Oaks! My goodness, they were huge. And I’m so impressed with how strong they are, having survived hurricane Ike. (That’s why one of them is laying on its side.) If the outside was this o-mazing, I’m dying to see the inside.
[all photos taken with my iphone with the “camera+” app]
I love these beautiful 17th century Hindu prints. Yes, I said, 17th century. These works are compiled in a new book called Tantra Song. Here is a lovely review by Maria Popova:
“…a striking collection of rare, abstract Tantric paintings based on 17th-century illustrations from Indian religious texts that bridge Eastern spirituality with Western 20th-century art in their haunting reminiscence of the likes of Paul Klee, Agnes Martin, and Daniel Buren. The images were discovered by French poet Franck André Jamme in 1970 while rummaging through the catalogs of a Parisian art gallery. He became so transfixed by these esoteric artworks that in the 1980s, he traveled to India to find their origins. In 1985, his quest nearly killed him in a bus accident whilst on the Tantric trail across the deserts of Rajasthan. He suffered a series of comas, spent three weeks in a Parisian hospital and six months at home in a hospital bed, and found his mind as broken as his body, unable to live with the memory of what he considered a painful failure. After a long and painful recovery, his obsession with the artworks led him back to India, where he earned the trust of tantrikas— the authentic practitioners of the Tantric tradition — and set out to better understand their meditative art form.
Jamme reflects on why these images spoke to him so powerfully :
It was strange that such modern, occidental-looking patterns already existed in India during the 17th century, and they were so simple, so powerful, so quietly and naturally abstract, so near, as well, to my own field, which was already something like poetry. Poetry is so often like that, isn’t it? Playing with words, using words in such a natural abstract way.”
The stunning images abstract key symbols of Tantric metaphysics and cosmogony, from the bindu, a dot symbolizing the undifferentiated absolute, to the negative space of the shunya, the absolute void of the supreme deity. But what makes these works extraordinary is the poetic contrast between the seeming simplicity of their minimalist geometric forms and the complex, textured humanity of their handmade paper, water stains, and imperfect text — two opposing currents, which ebb and flow in a delicate osmotic balance that could never be achieved digitally, on a sterile screen. Lawrence Rinder observes in the introduction:
It’s not just a desire for the antique or a nostalgic patina that makes the incidental marks so important, it’s precisely that ideal forms — forms plumbed from the depths of the mind, of the soul — need to co-exist with randomness and the emptiness of chance.”
See more designs and the original review here.
The story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s voyage to the Antarctic has long been one of my favorites. (I think I’ve seen the IMAX film at least three times.) But one aspect of the adventure I had not explored much was that of the ships photographer/cinematographer — Frank Hurley — and the great lengths he went to to capture the events of the disaster and the tough choices he had to make. An excerpt of the wgbh website reads as follows:
After they abandoned the debilitated Endurance, Shackleton ordered the crew members to pare their personal possessions down to two pounds each. Hurley had to leave his precious cameras behind, but Shackleton allowed him to keep a selection of photographs and motion-picture footage. Stripped to the waist, Hurley dove into the icy waters to retrieve his treasured images from the sinking wreck of the ship. Together, Shackleton and Hurley chose 120 glass plates to keep and smashed about 400; Shackleton feared that Hurley would endanger himself to return for them later. Hurley sealed the plates in metal tins with improvised solder, along with prints he had developed on board the ship. Hurley documented the remainder of their odyssey with only a handheld Vest Pocket Kodak camera and three rolls of film.
[read the entire article here]
How hard would it have been to smash those plates?! Ugh. But thankfully, 120 plates survived and we can catch a glimpse of what that experience must have been like. I thinks the stills capture an authenticity of the dire circumstance in which those men found themselves in. And of course, seeing any color photos of the early 20th century is always a treat.
see more photos here & a video here
You can hear the Declaration of Independence read aloud here. Despite all it’s flaws, I still love my country!