Archive for April, 2010

Uncovered and discovered: Maya Angelou

Posted in ART DISCOVERED AND UNCOVERED, POETRY with tags , , on April 30, 2010 by echostains

Maya Angelou

I came across this poet the other day and was very touched and moved by this beautiful poetry.  Maya Angelou (born 1928 USA).  She has been called ‘America’s most visible autobiographer.  She wrote this poem in 1965 and I think it’s as relevent today to our human situation and the things we take for granted – things we think we want and those which shall eventually imprison us.

I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou

A free bird leaps on the back
Of the wind and floats downstream
Till the current ends and dips his wing
In the orange suns rays
And dares to claim the sky.

But a BIRD that stalks down his narrow cage
Can seldom see through his bars of rage
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
Of things unknown but longed for still
And his tune is heard on the distant hill for
The caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
And the trade winds soft through
The sighing trees
And the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright
Lawn and he names the sky his own.

But a caged BIRD stands on the grave of dreams
His shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with
A fearful trill of things unknown
But longed for still and his
Tune is heard on the distant hill
For the caged bird sings of freedom.

Lots of information about this poet here

Lots of her poetry here

Maya Angelou website

Image from here

Watched – Bunny Lake is Missing’

Posted in LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA, WATCHED with tags , , on April 29, 2010 by echostains

Bunny Lake is Missing

I’ve had this DVD for some time, and watched it once a long time ago.  Last night I decided to re watch it.  It’s a very strange atmospheric film.  It stars Laurence Olivier, Keir Dullea, Carol Lynley, Martitia Hunt (the original Miss Haversham in David Lean’s ‘Oliver Twist’)  Anna Massey and Noel Coward among others.  This 1965 film has been billed as a psychological drama, a mystery thriller and was written by John Mortimer, Penelope Mortimer, based on a novel by Marryam Modell.  It was directed by Otto Preminger.

Carol Lynley (Ann) in Bunny Lake is Missing

  It tells the tale of Ann an  American single mother and her daughter Bunny.  They have just moved to London and after enrolling Bunny in school, Anna leaves the girl under the Cook’s care because she has to meet the removal men.  Later when she goes to pick the child up – there seems to be no record of her ever existing.

Laurence Olivier as the Inspector

 The story gets more and more baffling.  Ann’s Brother Steven, (Keir Dullea) a journalist, lends a hand, filling the police inspector (Laurence Olivier) in with details.  An old woman in the attic of the school who plays with the taped voices of children, a dollmaker with a house of dolls and the odd fact that Bunny is also the name of Ann’s imaginary childhood friend are just some of the baffling ingredients of this film.

Anne and Noel Coward

Poor Ann – no one believes that she ever had a daughter.  No one seems to have ever seen her (including the viewer, I may add)  apart from her brother Steven.  Another odd character in this film is the weird landlord, sleazy, nosy and creepy and played by Noel Coward – a strange fellow, but the least of Ann’s worries. 

Keir Dullea (Steven)

   

 Music by 60s band The Zombies provide the background music. This film has now reached cult status even though it had bad reviews at the time of release.  It was re released on DVD  2005.  A very unusual 1960s film, eerie and haunting.

About the director and this film here

Keir image from here

Weird and Wacky Andre Perugia – Strange shoes

Posted in DESIGN, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , , on April 27, 2010 by echostains

Andre Perugia 1920s shoes

We’ve not had any strange shoes for quite a while – so here’s  some new ones I found recently.  Incidently I had half an inch taken off some heels of mine recently.  It may be only half an inch, but they difference this makes to actually being able to walk in these shoes is amazing:)

Andre Perugia homage to Picasso sandel

French shoe designer Andre Perugia  (1893 -1977) is a designer I’ve only just discovered and already I am very much intrigued by these designs.  He worked with many top designers including Hubert De Givenchy.  The shoe above is called ‘Homage to Picasso’, and I think I can see the artist’s  iconic Dove of peace’s influence at work here.

picasso dove of peace

This heelless shoe is not for those who are scared of heights!  If you want to experience what it’s like to be a ballerina and walk on points – then these must have been ideal!

andre perugia heeless shoe

There’s something fishy about these shoes 😉  What a strange subject matter – even though the leather fish is beautifully designed and worked.  There are lots more of this designers quirky shoe styles  here

Andre Perugia fish

Biography and wonderful rare images here

Beautiful bygone fashion site here (1920s she image)

Picasso shoe from here

Fish shoe image here

Heeless shoe image from here

Art Discovered and uncovered Berlinde de Bruyckere

Posted in ART, ART DISCOVERED AND UNCOVERED, SCULPTURE with tags , , , on April 26, 2010 by echostains

We are all flesh

This is the start of a new category.   Art discovered and uncovered is about artist who are either famous or unknown.  The only criterion for their inclusion is that I have never come across them before and I find them interesting – I hope you will too.

In Doubt

Berlinde de Bruyckere’s  (b. Ghent 1964) work caught my eye a couple of weeks ago.  Her wax sculptures feature the human figure and it’s humanity and suffering.  The media she uses include wool, wax, hair, wood and iron among many.  The figure is distorted and thereby a bit disturbing.  She explores religious  and mythological aspects which put me in mind of one of my very favorite artists (who I shall get around to when I feel can do him justice)  Francis Bacon.

Bacon study 1953 or screaming pope

In some ways her depictions of flesh resemble meat (also Bacon) who depicted the human condition – and some would argue in an  inhuman way.  I like this work, it intrigues me, some of the figures like are very organic.  I have often thought how some trees resemble figures in their natural posture and sometimes obscene gestures – just  naturally.

There are no screaming heads here (like with Bacon) the artist has left them off.  Her intention is not to shock but to empathise with the figure, to discern the humanness in its anguish.  She handpaints layers of wax to make up this very realistic flesh that looks bruised and vulnerable.

Horse

In ‘The Black Horse, the artist covers her casts of the horses bodies with skins and poses them.  this makes them uncomfortably realistic strangely vulnerable and tactile. I will definitely go to see one of her exhibitions if I get the opportunity!

The artist at the Saachi Gallery here

More information about this artist here

lots of info about this artist here

More of her sculpture here

‘We are all Flesh from here

Spray it with art!

Posted in ART, DESIGN, WATCHED with tags , , on April 25, 2010 by echostains

Theres something so relaxing in watching an artist at work.  There are all sorts of artists and all sorts of ways of painting.  Everyone has seen graffiti and knows about the use of spray paint.  But I thought that this way of using the paint was a bit more unusual.  I don’t know which paper the artist is using, but it must be incredibly durable.  The music is by Neu by the way.

Put the flags out – and eat them!

Posted in DESIGN with tags , , , on April 24, 2010 by echostains

 

Greece olives and feta mmmm

A few days ago I did a post on the artist Arcimboldo.  this artist used food, plants, flowers and even book in his paintings.  I thought that these flags of the world would be the perfect complement to the use of food in art, so here’s three I found;-

spicy India

The flags were part of a promotion for the Sydney International Food Festival in 2009.  I like the way they have used the fresh produce from each country to make the flags!

Italy - smell the basil

I wonder what our flag would look like, –  probably fish and chips with mushy peas – though you wouldn’t get the red white and blue…  What could you use for the red white and blue ?

See them all here

More images here

Hiawatha sings

Posted in ART, POETRY with tags , , on April 23, 2010 by echostains

hiawatha book

I used to love the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and used be able to recite some of it.   Quite by accident I was reminded again of it after stumbling upon Mike Oldfields Incantations album (1978).  There is a wonderful track that uses part of this poem, sung  by Maddy Prior, whose voice  soars and swoops.  I’m unsure why the maker has used Van Gogh’s last painting as a focus…. but the music is wonderfully inspiring!

Death-Of-Minnehaha William de Leftwich Dodge 1892

Here’s the first part of this lengthy poem.  Hard to believe it was written in 1855!

Hiawatha’s Departure
from The Song of Hiawatha

By the shore of Gitchie Gumee, 
By the shining Big-Sea-Water, 
At the doorway of his wigwam, 
In the pleasant Summer morning, 
Hiawatha stood and waited. 
All the air was full of freshness, 
All the earth was bright and joyous, 
And before him through the sunshine, 
Westward toward the neighboring forest 
Passed in golden swarms the Ahmo, 
Passed the bees, the honey-makers, 
Burning, singing in the sunshine. 
Bright above him shown the heavens, 
Level spread the lake before him; 
From its bosom leaped the sturgeon, 
Aparkling, flashing in the sunshine; 
On its margin the great forest 
Stood reflected in the water, 
Every tree-top had its shadow, 
Motionless beneath the water. 
From the brow of Hiawatha 
Gone was every trace of sorrow, 
As the fog from off the water, 
And the mist from off the meadow. 
With a smile of joy and triumph, 
With a look of exultation, 
As of one who in a vision 
Sees what is to be, but is not, 
Stood and waited Hiawatha. 
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

To read it in full here

Hiawatha book cover link

Behind the paint ‘Susanna and the Elders’ by Artemisia Gentileschi

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, BEHIND THE PAINT with tags , , on April 22, 2010 by echostains

Artemisia Gentileschi self portrait

It’s about time we had a woman painter in the ‘Behind the Paint’ category – and who better than Atremisia Gentileschi the daughter of Orazio Gentileschi (1563 – 1639) an Italian Baroque painter, very much influenced by Caravaggio.  He was  quite an important painter at the time and admired.   Orazio Gentileschi went to Paris where he appeared at the Medici court and remained in London from 1626 until the rest of his life working for Charles 1.  He died there in 1639.

St Francis and the Angel by Orazio Gentileschi

Artemisia Gentilileschi (1593 – 1652) was a very talented painter.  She created powerful and very expressive work.  She had a turbulent life and drew upon this for her inspiration and probably for the cathartic benefits.  She was only 19 when she was raped in her home by her father’s friend Agostino Tassi (c.1580 – 1644) and had to undergo further torture of the legal proceedings which followed.

She won the case and despite this setback she became one of the greatest painters of her day.  A native Roman, she left for Florence where she married a minor Florentine artist Pietro Stiattesi.  She became the first female member of the Florentine Accademia del Disegno and had a lot of support from the Medici family.

17th century Medici family

The painting ‘Susanna and The Elders’ is the artist’s earliest signed painting and was painted before her own traumatic experience.  Susanna, the biblical heroine, owing to a false testimony was destined to die, but was saved by Daniel’s timely intervention.

Susanna and the Elders

Susanna is at her bath when  the two Elders accost her, threatening her with false accusations of adultery if she doesn’t agree to their wishes.  Adultery was punishable by death.  In the artist’s own case, Artemisia claimed that her own attacker conspired with a papal orderly, and just like Susanna, she was  publically accused of adultery.

susanna crouches in fear and repulsion

The isolated figure crouches whilst the two Elders threaten.  her head is turned in disgust and fear.   The woman is cornered and victimized.  She is threatened with slander if she does not give into the wishes of these men.

Michelangelo's expulsion

Michelangelo ‘ Adam in the Expulsion scene in the Sistine Chapel is the reversal of Susanna’s dramatic gesture.

susanna and the elders detail

Artemisia borrowed the technique of foreshortening from Caravaggio, seen clearly on the dark-haired elder.

Although Artemisia’s work show her teachers influence (her father) her work grows more and more expressive and dramatic, whilst her father’s stays very graceful and even lyrical.

Great website with lots of paintings here

Nice website about this artist and lots of her work here

A wonderful short biography of the artist here