Saturday, November 20, 2010
Such pinings are silly. It's just a painting, right? But I felt loss...people loss. And as I write this I suddenly remember a conversation I had with the painter Carl Hall in 1984, as we looked at some pictures in a show at Willamette University where he was my teacher. I had asked him to help me understand some paintings that were obscure to me. "Paintings are people," he said.
At the time I thought he meant that they contain bits of the artist, that aspects of personality rub off in the work, or that you need to pretend that paintings are people so that you can behold them as individuals without the judgement of comparison. But with this recent experience I wonder if he didn't mean something deeper. The sensation of loss I had, of disappointment, was a human response, the kind I would have had if I had lost another human being, as if a friend suddenly disappeared without notice.
I admit this with some embarrassment, as it seems full of drama, especially when I normally view the whole process of art coming into the world from the point of view of one who makes it. But I would not feel this way about a familiar mass-produced object that disappeared from the landscape.
As art involves magic, attempting portals through which willing participants can pass to transformed states of being, its potential may be more powerful than I thought. Instead of merely evoking love; it might create it.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
It was an instant attraction, possibly a bit too physical at first, perhaps a little rushed...
But an itch like that needs to be scratched as soon as possible for the good of both parties.
What a relief!
I'm not sure what took us so long. It may have been that post-nuptial buyer's remorse that grips some of the recently espoused. Or my companion's rigid, quadrilateral disposition. Or my own fear of liking Matisse.
Either way, I have found endearing qualities in my companion, and they aren't ALL bare bottoms and garters.
May our visits be frequent and long.
May she understand if I'm not entirely monogamous.
And may beauty always be in the eye of the beholder!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Needless to say I am stoked! With our marriage, and now the approval of our families, out of the way... looks like it's time to start dating.
George Washington, by Rembrandt Peale
The truth of the matter is that I have a special relationship with George. It is not that he was the richest guy in the Colonies, not that he was a leader among men (women didn’t count for much those days, and some say he had more luck on his side than strategy), not that he was even a president, but that he was self-possessed and simultaneously modest.
It was the embodiment of what came to be known as the American spirit, or American values that makes me love him. When you look at George, he wears no decorations of rank or status. All military men of some standing wore shoulder macaroni, as did he. He also wore a simple stock around his neck, and a clean but modest garment. There are no metals plastered or pinned to his chest or badges of honor. There are no sashes defining to which club he might have been a member. He is just there, stately and ruddy-faced, with a relatively un-handsome big nose.
I always interpret the wooden oval around his portrait as the rough-hewn material from which he had emerged, although I am told that it indicates that by the time Rembrandt Peale made this portrait, George was dead.
One ought not leave out the painter Rembrandt Peale in all of this. He is one of our early geniuses, and it is a welcome and cherished gift that the Portland Art Museum is the recipient of a piece of his work.
My family came to America long after Washington and Peale had died. But it was easy to adopt George and the mythology around him as our own. He stood for the best in all of us. Modest, smart, enterprising, but with the wisdom to know when to step down and pass the mantle of power.
When touring students at the art museum as I do, I look for an opportunity to have those students say, “Hello, George.” And if we have time, we pull out a dollar bill and compare portraits, and we talk about transmitted values. Civic pride ought not be overlooked just because art is our major topic.
Carol Isaak, Portland Art Museum docent
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I was visiting the art museum with friends and we were meandering around when I ran into Boar quite literally. I was walking backwards talking and bumped into him. I remember being fascinated by the detailing involved in the piece. I can only imagine the time involved in creating this amazing work.
When I heard about the ability of being married to a work of art I immediately thought of my beloved pal and signed up right away! Luckily I happened to be just in time to be the last one to be married that night by my "Justice of the Peace".
Vows commenced. We kissed. (Insert photo op here)
I'm looking forward to my next visit with Boar. Hopefully that will be soon :-)
"...to spend that much time in front of an artwork, you have to be in dialogue with it. You have to listen to it, and think something in response, and look again, and see how the work has changed. You have to believe that you can have an ongoing, evolving relationship with something that is unchanging. Many people might say that is impossible."
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Sonnet to a "Western Motel "
By Margaret Kieweg, Portland Art Museum Docent
In honor of the art/life partner-commitment made by Stephanie Parrish on October 15, 2010
Art thou a lovely work of art?
Entombed within museum walls
How capture thus a maiden's heart
While yet thou makest my skin crawl!
The dirt and grime are shine enshrined
Old shoes or slippers over used
Alas the ice cream smears are primed
Liquor bottles strewn, confused
The soft red neon makes the plea
A vacancy is there within
My heart is cold, desires to flee
Or grab a mop, paint brush and bin.
Despite my own reluctant dread
She makes her vow, “Motel” to wed.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I ask questions, and then ask them to answer themselves.
I can't help it. I'm human right?
Upon seeing Water and Moon Bodhisattva, (a collaborative of) the Song dynasty, I knew I was looking at a representation of an answer.
Sattva; a being, or an existence.
My Bodhisattva is an enlightened being.
One who chose to forgo Nirvana, or Buddhahood, to help me get the answers I need.
To help anyone who beg the question, to answer itself.
And like I said, I ask a lot of those.