Key to Life

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I wrote down ‘happy’.
They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
–John Lennon




Discord everywhere I turn is leaving me speechless.  I’ll stick to looking for harmony in painting and music and hope that this will pass.

In the seasons of tumult and discord bad men have the most power; mental and moral excellence require peace and quietness.

Publius Cornelius Tacitus

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.


Art – overload?

Do you realize how much art is out there?  I would love to see statistics: ratio of population to product.   How many of us create or do art formally?   There is a huge body of work out there – people are speaking, writing, painting, sculpting, dancing, composing – expressing.   (Why? Because they have to) Is it all art?  I think so.

“Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known”   –  Oscar Wilde

As individuals, we may not like everything we see or hear. We may be partial to a genre and within that genre have our own preferences.  We like what communicates to us something that may have gone on in our own brain.  We connect with the artist in that way and the artist connects with us.

Art is symbol of thought.  Art is communication of thought.   Some of it is recognized with universal interest. 

I am on my way to visit “Huong’s Peace Mural”, 3336 M St., NW, Washington D.C.  The video captures the artist talking about why she created this body of work.  She made me cry.  I have to see it.

Art – affecting a response

Certain art has a way of overtaking your brain like water laden acrylic drippings, filling crevaces.  I found this happening to me with the works of Iona Rozeal Brown. 

I did not expect it to happen.  This is not the art to which I usually gravitate.   Yet, it makes me think again and again.  She combines the delicacy of Asian artistry with gangsta graffiti pop.  For example, “Shapeshifta” is a Samurai with an Afro making sexual gestures, has bold clean lines on a delicate backdrop – blue and brown and gold.  There is no grit, only juxtapositions of a harsh subject matter and delicate style.  Let’s face it, words are inferior.  That is exactly why we have people making art like this.  Look for yourself.  This work and others are exhibited at G Fine Art in Washington D.C. :

Ms. Brown has expressed a sore place of confusion with mixed races, making it beautiful.  I would love to meet her.

Art – depression era

I realize that I am all over the place in my discussions.  The Arts and Humanities are broad subjects.  I go where the spirit moves me. Won’t you join me?

Today, I read that the National Gallery of Art has obtained a collection of depression era prints from Dave and Reba Williams.  Included in the collection are works by Jolan Gross Bettelheim and Louis Lozowick.  They capture an essence of the time in which they lived.  One female, one male – both were immigrants to the U.S. from Eastern Bloc countries.

Bettelheim’s work created in the late 1930’s can be compared to images you might see in an “Alien” film; very dark, some simultaneously bulbous and sharp, with tentacle like features;   Less industrial, more oppressively militaristic, very rich imagery that comes from the darker mental recesses.

Many of Louis Lozowick’s works are gritty with industrial machine soot, yet, his lines are clean and orderly.  In “Winter Fun”, Central Park, 1941 lithograph, is wonderful contrast of light and dark – technically and subjectively.  Children sledding in the foreground on newly fallen white snow against a backdrop of a gritty New York skyline, settled in a bleak grey sky.   I see hope in this one, which is interesting, considering that around the time he made this work, December, 1941, the U.S. was pulled into the war and Moscow was being surrounded by German forces. Lozowick emigrated from Kiev to the U.S.  around 1907.

His “Coney Island”, 1935 casein on paper, renders a darkly frightening composite of carnival machinery.  It doesn’t make me happy – more like being in the presence of a scary clown.   

We live in different times, although world economic woes, wars, fear, poverty, inhumane acts of aggression against humanity are not happy places either.  I am interested in the art that will come of this.

How’s this for dark and gritty?

copyright 2008 d pomeroy

copyright 2008 d pomeroy