Archive for the 'art' Category

06
Nov
16

…be counted on to stand up.

1961

Although this quote by Chuck Jones was written  in January of 1961, it is particularly pertinent to today.

“Today, we cannot envisage a protected world that does not include them all, and so [my] hope this year to all people everywhere is for a future–sheltered by the stars, sweetened by clean air, and above all fostering a climate in which no man can be commanded to stand up and be counted–but where every man can be counted on to stand up.” –Chuck Jones

27
Mar
16

use a bigger brush

met an esteemed doctor of neurology the other day when we interviewed him for a work project about creativity.

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after we were through, he asked me if i painted. when i demurred and said, “not often, i have to think too hard about it.” he said, “use a bigger brush.”

a piece of advice that i just can’t seem to forget.

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this work is something i have painted for an upcoming silent auction. when it goes online for pre-bidding, i’ll let you know.

let’s all remember, when things get rough, complicated, difficult, or seem out-of-reach, just “use a bigger brush.”

18
Jan
16

as you do (adventures in eating and viewing)

it seems that anymore our “adventures” always involve eating and viewing. yesterday was no exception.

we headed up the freeway to the bluff park/museum district  in long beach (405 north to 7th, over to junipero and left to ocean blvd. and left again, down two blocks and left again, and right where we parked on 2nd in front of a stunning craftsman residence (we believe circa 1912 — 1914. some houses had ‘historical markers’ designated this house or that one a “_____” or a “______”. to have read them correctly, we would have had to trespass and in these days of concealed carry, the last thing you need is an armed resident greeting you with the barrel of a gun while you satisfy your need to know. but i digress.)

i think this house suits him, don't you?

i think this house suits him, don’t you?

after some oohing and aahing over the merits of living in a historic home, m. & i tottered over to the long beach museum’s outdoor cafe, claire’s, where we met up with his ex, a., who was ‘in town’ (which means agoura hills) from chicago visiting his sister; long beach being the halfway point between us. m. & i have been together for 34 years, so that should give you an idea of our relative ages…a bunch of old men.

oceanside at claire's.

oceanside at claire’s.

we had a lovely brunch at claire’s, even though we left the “br” out of our menu selections and settled to a person on the “unch” parts. turkey club on pumpernickel, tuna salad (grilled rare and sliced thin over baby greens), and claire’s cobb salad, with freshly grilled chicken breast, gorgonzola, avocado, bacon, baby field greens, hard-boiled egg, and mustard vinaigrette. finished with a flourish of banana bread pudding.

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but to the ‘viewing’ — i can honestly say, m. & i don’t need a museum to be in ‘viewing’ mode. we are of a mind to find the beauty (and the ugly) of our surroundings and to frame each ‘view’ with commentary and perceptive understanding, citing references to other ‘views’ and admitting honestly that “i don’t believe i’ve ever seen anything quite like that.” our storehouse of references inexhaustible it seems, thank the god of mental facility. although admittedly, there’s sometimes a moment of silence as one of us waits for the other’s file retrieval system to kick into gear.

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we were fascinated and captivated by the works of terry braunstein, who explored time, memory, and feminism in carefully constructed collages, installations, and photography.

collage by terry braunstein at the long beach museum of art.

“who is she? dancing to kerouac” a collage by terry braunstein at the long beach museum of art.

we took the elevator up to the second floor in deference to m. and viewed a handful of examples from the museum’s permanent collection before we fell into the barbara strasen exhibit, “layer by layer”.

i have to say, it was a bit confusing at first. the work is complex and reminded me of the pattern & decoration movement of the late ’70s and early ’80s, so to sort through all of the dense imagery took some visual adjustment, but once you fell under her spell (not too trite, is that?) you could begin to understand and appreciate the journey she was taking you on. her use of lentricular lenses was particularly fascinating. i believe her commentary on the overload of images we are subjected to each and every day was precise and revelatory. we all enjoyed her work immensely.

possibly the most fab of all the homes we saw.

possibly the most fab of all the homes we saw.

the museum is small, so an hour later we were back out on the street and walking the avenues of bluff park. many of the homes had been fully renovated and brought back to (or maintained) their original glory, but there were a few that could’ve done with a coat of paint and a bit of tidying up–said the gay man. (i hate stereotypes, don’t you? but really, it is a marker, don’t you agree, that gay man like to prettify their surroundings? i’m sure there’s the exception to every rule…but none who would admit it.)

who wouldn't want to live in a neigborhood with a honor library?

who wouldn’t want to live in a neigborhood with a honor library?

we decided that even though it was suggested that everyone in the neighborhood helped maintain the ‘neighborhood book swap’, the reality was that the owners of the home this cart and sign sat in front of did all the heavy lifting. still and all, a sign of community such as this, is a blessed thing in our world today.

hollywood regency plopped into the middle of arts & crafts--perfection!

hollywood regency plopped into the middle of arts & crafts–perfection!

we plotzed when we saw this hollywood regency home cheek and jowl next to a queen anne on one side and a greene & greene on the other. <3!

and finally...

and finally…

i’ll leave you with our favorite of all of the homes we saw yesterday. if you look closely, you’ll see me waving to you from the second story window on the left.

 

03
Jan
16

notes on gardening in the new year

we’ve been through a lot, she and i.

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she stood on a globe with shooting stars circling it, a butterfly perched on her right hand, offered up to the gods like a tithe, the astral winds pulling at her gown, defining her voluptuousness. it would have been easy to walk right by her, many had, but she drew me to her with her simple, pleasant expression, her rather demure demeanor, eyes downcast, hesitant and hopeful as if at the next moment she would lift her face to you and speak.

she came home with me from an antique store on clark st. just north of fullerton in chicago on a rainy day in 1975 when i was on one of my long walks. i think i paid $95 for her (a lot of money then) and was told she was made around the turn of the century (20th) and was composed of ‘white metal’–which, at the time, i was too afraid of not knowing what it meant, that i didn’t ask what ‘white metal’ was–it was years later that i found out, but many years before wikipedia. i set her on the top of an old wooden secretary desk in my high-rise studio apartment and she resided there, close to the ceiling for a few years, taking note of my failures (many) and triumphs (few) and then followed me from one encampment to the next, losing the butterfly along the way, (was it 18th st., wolfram st., wolcott ave., piiholo rd.? idk.), until i landed in california (amethyst ave., crystal sands dr.) where she became a garden ornament.

she didn’t weather well. an arm fell off. i saved it for a few years, then threw it away when she separated from the globe she’d been standing on. i kept the globe and stuck her one foot into the ground and watched the ivy claim her, and then i would pull that away, but the ivy had different plans and the next time i found her she’d been embraced once again by it’s tendrils and intentions. the globe on its art nouveau base still exists and is sitting next to her, just out of view to the left. the gilt has long disappeared and she’s been pock-marked from the heat, the dry, the rain, and the sun until her surface is rough and uncomfortable to touch.

a few months ago, i rescued her from laying upright against the base of the birdbath where she’d taken up residency a few years before. protected from the bird’s droppings by the overhang of the clay bowl, but still majestic in her own way. this ‘rescue’ involved laying her on a patio table and ignoring her for months, not sure what to do with her. i’ve been slowly ‘de-accessioning’ the garden: when plants die, i’m letting the ivy take over, when the honeysuckle needed removing, i pulled out the trellis and threw it away; the decorative birdhouses that housed hummingbirds and wrens, but fell on hard times, have been tossed, my intention is less time devoted to maintenance, although my gardening motto is “benign neglect”. it’s just too much anymore–as long as the garden’s schedule conflicts with my own. there may come a day when i’ll “re-up” and have the time to devote to it, but that’s not now.

but what to do about her? and her companion, whom i’ve not even mentioned–she once held a round walnut clock in her outstretched art deco hands, perky breasts and luxurious thighs sitting on a walnut base, but somewhere along the line, she lost those and became a sister to the goddess. she, too, has stories to tell, but she’s the soul of discretion, you’ll not get a word out of her.

for now, they’ll lay here, moldering, but not unloved. one day, i may have the heart (and the courage) to toss them, but not yet, i’m not quite ready to let go of those times and motivations, those yeses and nos, the glitter and the tarnish.

07
Oct
14

chelsea station magazine (published)

a chapter, “sic gloria transit [jason]”, from my memoir, “evelyn & son, ltd.” has been published in today’s chelsea station magazine. click through to read. as a bonus, the art illustrating the piece was created by yours truly in 1980 — contemporary to the story.

"allegory of fortune" by dosso dossi--image courtesy the getty center

“allegory of fortune” by dosso dossi–image courtesy the getty center

02
Dec
13

getty center, 1 (a day with/without art)

DSC08086we spent the day at the getty center in l.a. yesterday, consciousness of “a day without art”  filtering in and out of our time with an old friend from chicago. it’s hard to live life without realizing that art is all around you, all of the time; it’s our job (or the job of artists) to make you/us aware of art’s presence in our everyday lives and it’s power to evoke passion, thought, and action.

DSC08087what to do then at the getty center? even the most callous among us would be hard-pressed to not see the beauty in the setting, the buildings, the gardens, the art. it is such a grand meeting place, whether or not you’re there for the art–which i believe most people are–but also for the ease of sociability, a rare commodity in l.a.

DSC08090 in a brief essay on the getty.edu website, artist and educator, david gere, shares how art can transform the world, “MAKE ART/STOP AIDS demonstrates how art can make things happen in the world, how it can teach and goad and shift and protect us. It’s a reminder, on World AIDS Day, of the most exceptional thing that art can do: save lives.  [italics, mine] you may read the full essay here.

20
Nov
13

a confession

it’s been a long time coming.

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i really should have said something sooner.

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but i’ve come to the realization that i can’t be silent any longer.

i have heterosexual friends. yes, i know, you’re probably surprised, but the fact remains that i’ve always known heterosexuals. in fact, my mother’s brother’s son is heterosexual. when i worked at the golf course, it was just loaded with heterosexuals. so many, in fact, you’d think i’d be one myself, just because of proximity. i know you can’t choose to be heterosexual, so what’s the big deal about it, anyway? live and let live, right?

you know, it’s like, when they say, “oh, i’m not a racist, i have black friends, after all.” so i can imagine your shock when i say i have straight friends; i don’t want you to think i’m a bigot or that i compartmentalize people by color or sexual orientation, because, you see, i have heterosexual friends, some of whom are black.

do you have them, too? i thought so.

(top image: a reprint from a georges barbier wood block, hand-colored watercolor and ink on paper. lower image, late 18th century book plate depicting a greek vase painting–gouache on vellum)




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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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