Monday, October 19, 2020

A Timely Revival

 

A Timely Revival







By Tom Wachunas

 

EXHIBIT: ANIMAL FARM: A 75th ANNIVERSARY APPRECIATION / On view at Stark Library, Main Branch, 715 Market Avenue North, Canton, Ohio / Sat. November 7 through Sat. Dec 5 during regular library hours / For those wishing to attend a socially distanced  PRIVATE OPENING (masks required) on Friday November 6 from 5 to 8p.m.,  sign up for a slot at

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0d4fafa92ea3fac70-animal2  

 

 First, please read this announcement from Craig Joseph:

“Though a more relaxed schedule has been a blessing, one of the things I've missed during the pandemic is having the opportunity to shape and champion the work of other artists - both on stage and through visual art.

So it's with great excitement that I invite you all to ANIMAL FARM: A 75th Anniversary Appreciation. In celebration of this classic novel, I've revived the Translations Art Gallery brand and partnered with Stark Library to host an exhibit of 52 scenes from the book, created by artists from Stark County, Ohio, and around the nation. These are people whose work I treasure and admire and I'm so honored to have them all creating and exhibiting under one roof.

Additionally, I've cherished my opportunity to work with students at Malone University and specifically through Theatre At Malone University, where we'll be presenting an online production of ANIMAL FARM: A Fable in Two Acts, by Nelson Bond. These students have worked incredibly hard to create a "visual radio play" of sorts that you can view online, and I think you'll be impressed by their creativity and skill in still making theatre happen during a pandemic.

Details about all of these events - along with a few more - can be found at

www.animalfarm2020.com

 I hope you'll take the opportunity during the month of November to engage with the arts and support the work of these talented folks.”

 

   I’m thrilled and grateful that Craig invited me to exhibit a new work for this show. In my re-reading of George Orwell’s classic tale about a rebellion of farm animals against their human keepers, I was startled at how the vivid narrative seemed to literally pop off the pages and invade my consciousness, my sense of place in time. While Orwell’s novel was a bitterly satirical allegory of the Russian Revolution and its tumultuous aftermath, I felt the story explode beyond the confines of its time. An ignoble ethos of tyranny and corrupted ideals, the story still lives today, outside the book. A then has become a now.

   My wall piece is an assemblage of found objects (a hardcover book, stones, and plastic toy farm animals). Call it a 3D drawing which I’ve titled, “The fruit of all their struggles.” It addresses the episode in chapter 6 wherein the windmill being constructed by the animals was destroyed. The ferocious leader of the animal community, a boar named Napoleon, blames another banished pig, Snowball, for this treacherous act.

   Here are Orwell’s words describing the scene: 

    “…A terrible sight had met their eyes. The windmill was in ruins.

    With one accord they rushed down to the spot. Napoleon, who seldom moved out of a walk, raced ahead of them all. Yes, there it lay, the fruit of all their struggles, levelled to its foundations, the stones they had broken and carried so laboriously scattered all around. Unable at first to speak, they stood gazing mournfully at the litter of fallen stone. Napoleon paced to and fro in silence, occasionally snuffing at the ground. His tail had grown rigid and twitched sharply from side to side, a sign in him of intense mental activit. Suddenly he halted as though his mind were made up.

’Comrades,’ he said quietly, ‘do you know who is responsible for this? Do you know the enemy who has come in the night and overthrown our windmill? SNOWBALL!’ he suddenly roared in a voice of thunder, ‘Snowball has done this thing!...”

   And so it is that I excerpted some words from this passage for my piece. I wrote them in cursive, quickly. As if writing on a page in a journal, or like a student taking notes. Cursive, after all, remains for me the most urgent if not earnest form of drawing.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

A Reverent Replay

 

A Reverent Replay



By Tom Wachunas

   Another major casualty in this distressed time of Covidemic distancing are the always marvelous live concerts by the Canton Symphony Orchestra (CSO). I will always remember 2020 as the MasterWorks  season that wasn’t.

   Yet I’m happy to report that the CSO has been active in other contexts, including its ConverZations, a free monthly (now virtual) series of lectures. I’m happier still to invite you to attend a particularly special session on Monday, October 12 at noon, on Zoom, featuring CSO Music Director/Conductor Gerhardt Zimmermann on the 40th anniversary of his very first concert in Canton. You’ll hear what being a conductor means to Gerhardt and get the chance to ask him questions.

 Register to attend at

https://www.cantonsymphony.org/converzations/  or


https://ci.ovationtix.com/35381/production/1032045

   MEANWHILE, in honor of the man and the anniversary, I thought it apropos to revisit and share again with you what I wrote here ten years ago. Beyond the many pleasures of watching him through the years make magic from the podium, my lunch with Gerhardt remains among my most thrilling memories. ENJOY.

 

Right Times, Right Places (ARTWACH post from October 11, 2010)

   In the Canton Symphony Orchestra’s 2010 – 2011 Season brochure, Gerhardt Zimmermann is quoted, “This piece literally saved my life…” He was referring to his passion for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, one of the program selections that opens the season celebrating his 30 years with the orchestra. During a conversation over a leisurely lunch in downtown Canton last April, I asked him to elaborate.

  He explained that prior to his studies at Bowling Green State University (begun in the fall of 1963, and where he earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree), he saw himself simply as a band conductor, had never listened to classical music per se, and didn’t even own a record player. “The music department chairman said that would be a nice Christmas present,” he recalled, “and so my parents went into a furniture store and bought me this little baby-blue Voice of America record player, and along with it came five free records.”

   One of the recordings, which Zimmermann still owns, was of Toscanini conducting Beethoven’s seventh symphony. Zimmermann was clearly moved by the memory as he spoke in slow, measured words, “And I took that sucker to bed with me every night for a month and played it. It was, ahhh… I mean the rhythm and the intensity and everything.” With an infectious, hearty laugh he added, “So when I sat in an orchestra after that I was primed and ready to bite the bullet, so to speak.”

   What preceded – and certainly followed - such an inspiring epiphany is, on the face of it, a study in serendipity. Born and raised in Van Wert, Ohio, Zimmermann’s earliest aspirations were anything but musical. “My dream was always to be second baseman for the Cincinnati Reds, because I loved Johnny Temple,” he recalled. “I had Polio when I was seven, but I thought I could get over it all the way until I was in junior high school. I was stubborn about it, even though the doctors said I would never walk again.”

   In the fourth grade, after satisfactorily learning to play the Tonette (at that time a requirement for all elementary school students), he was asked if he’d like to be in band. He was discouraged from taking up his first choice - drums. “You know, you should really take a real instrument first,” he remembered the band director telling him. And here came that infectious laugh again, with just a bit of mischief, as Zimmermann shared an afterthought, “Now, I use that against my percussionists when I need it.”

   As it was, he chose the trumpet, and envisioned himself becoming a band director someday. Fast forward to his audition on second trumpet during a rehearsal with the Bowling Green orchestra. He had never previously heard an orchestra in a live setting – only a handful of recordings. “After that rehearsal, that did it,” he said. “All the colors that you hear with the strings and the winds. That was it. I didn’t want to be a band director anymore. I just fell in love with the string sound.”

   From this point onward, the interview became something of an autobiographical marathon as Zimmermann recalled, with astonishing detail, all the faces and places (too numerous to list completely here) along the winding road that ultimately brought him to Canton. “I guess the reason I say all this,” he explained, “is that I tell my students that finding a conducting job is 90 percent luck. You need to be in the right place at the right time. Once you find that break, then you’d better have that extra ten percent to prove yourself.”

   His college days were peppered with various teaching jobs in elementary and junior high school music programs. In one bewildering and unusual situation (student teaching), he was required to teach elementary school violin while learning it at the same time. “I had to sit on those silly little chairs that the fifth graders sit on. Well, you learn by fire.”

   Zimmermann earned his MFA in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Iowa in May of 1972. Several months later he began teaching at Western Illinois University. In his first year there he tied for second place in a conductor competition in Chicago, overseen by Georg Solti of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He remembers Solti saying, “It is unfortunate that you are a conductor. You will not be able to get enough power out of the orchestra.” A year later, Zimmermann learned that Solti’s comment was meant to convey that his (Zimmermann’s) physical condition would undermine his ability to withstand the rigors of the conductor’s life. One need only peruse his bio on the Canton Symphony website to see vigorous evidence to the contrary. Reflecting on Solti’s assessment, Zimmermann said, “That’s when you learn about prejudices. Not skin-color prejudices, but other kinds of assumptions.”

   During the summer after his first year at Western Illinois he actually turned down an offer to be assistant conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. “I didn’t have the guts to go into the head of the music department at Western and say I’m resigning, since I was the fourth conductor in four years, and the school year would begin in six weeks” he mused. But several months later he was persuaded to reconsider. He went to St. Louis to hear a concert and discuss the job, accompanied by his fiancée, Sharon. The story prompted another observation about his life journey. “She’s still my wife, which is another unusual thing for a conductor,” he said proudly. “I’ve been married for 36 years to the same woman.”

   Zimmerman’s eight-year tenure as assistant conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra began in the summer season of 1974 and was comprised of one year under Walter Susskind, three years under Jerzy Semkow, and four years as associate conductor under Leonard Slatkin. During his seventh year, 1979, his manager found out that Canton was looking for a conductor and was interested in hiring Zimmermann. Reluctant at first, Zimmermann came here to hear the orchestra. After the concert he went out with Linda Morehouse and Bill Blair (who had gone to St. Louis to hear a concert that Zimmermann conducted), talked until 2 a.m., and accepted the job.

   Looking back at that time, Zimmermann observed, “I needed to make the next step from being an associate. I needed to have an orchestra of my own. They wanted the best orchestra they could have and I felt there wasn’t any of the board politics that can muddy up the works. It was a good fit. I think this orchestra, like the North Carolina orchestra when I went there in 1982 (where, concurrent with his position in Canton, he was Music Director and Conductor for 21 years), was hungry. They were hungry to play well and they wanted someone to demand that they play well.”

   Is there a philosophy behind the chemistry between conductor and orchestra? Zimmermann has told every orchestra he’s ever worked with, “The better you get, the more I’m going to demand from you. There’s only one sound I have in mind, and that’s the sound of the Cleveland Orchestra, the sound of the Vienna Philharmonic… I don’t care whether you’re students or not. That’s the ideal you should always work toward.”

   The Maestro acknowledges that in pure technique, there are orchestras that give “cleaner performances” than he might offer. But he’s not willing to settle for technical excellence alone. “I would hope my performances at least bring some excitement to the table,” he said. “So most of the time in rehearsal, I work a lot on musical ideas – the sound. I have found that if you start there, fifty percent of the technical problems will take care of themselves, instead of wasting too much of your time on just that (technique), and then you don’t bring it up to that higher level.”

   He added that beyond the remarkably disciplined and gifted individuals who actually perform the music, there is another vital component to the healthy working atmosphere of the Canton Symphony Orchestra. “It’s amazing how much an orchestra depends not only on who’s sitting in those chairs, but the leadership from the board and the management.”

   So, really, how is it that a boy with Polio goes from dreaming of playing professional baseball in Cincinnati to showering Canton with the glorious music of the masters for 30 years? Only serendipity? Just the random vagaries of luck? Or something of a higher order? Late in our talk, Zimmermann at one point paused and, with a look of genuine wonderment, said, “My career has been very unorthodox. Someone somewhere helped me, was taking care of me.” And for all of that, we’re blessed that he had his extra ten percent well in hand, proved and multiplied now beyond measure, as he continues to regale us with the rhythm and the intensity and…everything.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Grateful Again to be Included

 

Grateful Again to be Included 





By Tom Wachunas

 

   I’m thrilled and grateful that one of the fruits of my Covidian labors will soon be available for your in-person tasting. Writes of Passage, a mixed-media assemblage/collage I completed in May, was accepted into the upcoming annual Stark County Artists Exhibition. I originally wrote about this piece in an early June post at

http://artwach.blogspot.com/2020/06/writes-of-passage.html

 

    Here’s the shorter statement I submitted with my entry:

I’m feeling battered by media images of urban crowds on the march, waving protest signs scrawled across chunks of corrugated cardboard, brandishing angry words like so many swords raised high.

   Amidst such verbal chaos, I savor the transfixing experience of reading the Bible. The book of all books, God’s words. Books are codified rites of passage through time - accumulations of 2D planes imprinted with symbols of the writer’s intentions, desires, perceptions.

    In Writes of Passage, my appropriation of four of Michelangelo’s Sibyls  – females  from the Classical world who were thought to prophesy the coming of Christ – presents the figures in varying states of clarity. My incorporation of Biblical texts (in English and Greek) is a meditation on the  immutability of Scripture, and a consideration of Jesus’ words spoken in the book of Matthew, “Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

 

   And here’s the info (submitted by Massillon Museum) about the exhibit:

The Massillon Museum, 121 Lincoln Way E, will display the Stark County Artists Exhibition from Sept. 26, 2020, through Jan. 17, 2021, in the Aultman Health Foundation Gallery.

The exhibition will be displayed during regular museum hours from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and from 2 to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Stark County residents whose artwork will be exhibited include Seth Adam, Rodney Atwood, Diane Belfiglio, Jess Bennett, Todd Bergert, William Bogdan, Chris Borello, Lindsey Bryan, Heather Bullach, Therese Cook, Ann Cranor, Frank Dale, David Dingwell, Laura Donnelly, Drew Dudek, Kathleen Gray Farthing, Gerald Fox, Sharon Frank Mazgaj, Pamela Freday, Rob Gallik, Charity Hockenberry, Bruce Humbert, Judi Krew, Timothy Londeree, Priscilla Sally Lytle, Nicole Malcolm, Tina Myers, Patricia Zinsmeister Parker, Mark Pitocco, Kathy Pugh, Sydney Richardson, Priscilla Roggenkamp, Sari Sponhour, Mischief Tish, Stephen Tornero, Christopher Triner, Tom Wachunas, Jo Westfall, Gail Wetherell-Sack and Dyanne Williams.

A VIRTUAL RECEPTION will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 via Facebook Live. Exhibition award winners, including Best in Show, second place, third place and honorable mentions, will be announced during the event. The People’s Choice Award will be announced at the end of the exhibition.

Artwork submitted for consideration must have been created within the last two years. The panel of independent jurors selected 57 works by 40 artists from 164 works submitted by 66 artists.

The Stark County Artists Exhibition has been held at the museum since 1934.

For information: 330-833-4061

Monday, September 14, 2020

Mulligan's Curiouser Elsewhere

 

Mulligan’s Curiouser Elsewhere


Let Us Die Together


Intergalactic Creature Control


The Emperor


In the Skies Above Japan


Cumulus Ascension


Mother Nature

By Tom Wachunas

 

  “Fantasy, abandoned by reason, produces impossible monsters; united with it, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of marvels.”  - Francisco de Goya

 “Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory.”  - J. R. R. Tolkien

 “Everything you can imagine is real.” – Pablo Picasso

   “If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

 

   EXHIBIT: Work by Erin Mulligan, at The Hub Art Factory, 336 Sixth Street NW, downtown Canton, THROUGH SEPTEMBER 22, 2020 / viewing hours on Tuesdays 7:30p.m. to 9:30p.m., or by appointment – contact email thehub@gmail.com / (330) 451-6823

   Erin Mulligan is an astonishing observer of… the world. She’s an ardent and prolific reporter on its animate and inanimate forces. The question is: What world is she reporting, and were exactly is it?  

   You could call her an ardent visual journalist, telling stories about places and circumstances where communing with heretofore preposterous creatures and circumstances is a way of life. In her hands, a paintbrush is practically a mythical tool - the proverbial sorcerer’s wand. With it, Mulligan doesn’t just render familiar realities, albeit with her remarkable command of Flemish technique. She calls the impossible into being. She deconstructs rational, common worldliness, and conjures spectral realities from the intoxicating ether of her robust imagination.

   Her paintings are often tiny windows with a view on large incongruities. In this place – call it Elsewhere - rabbits might have fangs, breathe fire, or morph into frogs. Cats might grow wings; fish swim in the air or parachute into fiery battles; humans could have spider legs, or birth alien parasites. Or they might even grow lichen on their faces in a symbiotic bonding with the natural world, as in Mulligan’s recent Mother Nature. The gently smiling woman cradles a cute brown bunny. Another eerie Elsewhere? Even the air itself in these locales can seem like equal parts sparkling fairy dust and smoky ash.

   And speaking of smoky, among the more recent pieces included in this compelling mix of old and new paintings are “pyrographs” – drawings on wood panels made with a heat pen, such as the lovely portrait, Let Us Die Together. The sheer manual skill required for carefully burning marks into the wood surface with such a device must be especially daunting. Mulligan’s remarkably sensitive handling of the tool produced exquisite, pastel-like subtleties of tone.  

   So now, let me dare to go down the rabbit hole of finding meaning and relevance. Is all the Baroque-ish, chimerical whimsicality in so many of the paintings here really a metaphor - an embrace of the dualities, the non-sequiturs, the absurdities (whether delightful or vexing) in our current world? In the end, Mulligan’s Elsewhere - even at its most uncanny - and our Here and Now, may well be one and the same. Curiouser and curiouser.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Changeable Weather in a Shifting World

 

Changeable Weather in a Shifting World


Tender Rescue


Eternal Management Program


Slumbering Monk


Hero Earth


Approaching the Shift


Aftermath

By Tom Wachunas

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”  - Albert Einstein

“If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees.“ - Rainer Maria Rilke

“In order to make progress, there is only nature, and the eye is turned through contact with her.” - Paul Cezanne

“… Everything has a vibration, thoughts have a measured frequency and everything around us started as a thought. … We are connected to everything and everyone as a conscious part of nature. The shifting world of 2020 is flooding our conscious and unconscious lives…Ultimately, the work is my service to make known the natural world’s spiritual and energetic connections to us.”  - excerpted from the artist statement by Judith Brandon

 

   EXHIBIT: APPROACHING THE SHIFT- DRAWINGS BY JUDITH BRANDON /   THROUGH OCTOBER 25, 2020 / at the Canton Museum of Art / 1001 Market Avenue North, Canton, Ohio 44702 / 330.453.7666 /  Hours: Tues. – Thurs.  10:00am-8:00pm, Fri.-Sat. 10:00am-5:00pm., and Sun. 1:00pm-5:00pm /  Timed ticket reservations required in advance to visit the Museum.  Get your ticket reservations  at

  https://www.cantonart.org/reservetickets  

 

   Judith Brandon’s statement (excerpted above) that “…everything around us started as a thought…” speaks volumes about the arc of her aesthetic.  Her words brought me right back to Genesis, and the consideration that all of nature – earthbound and celestial - was thought, then spoken, into being: “Let there be…”

   There’s a palpable spirituality resonant in Brandon’s drawings, written, as it were, with ink, charcoal, and pastels on incised printmaking paper. These sprawling, dramatic panoramas are compelling visual meditations. On one level, they speak of dynamic energies and powers at work on land, in the sea, and across the sky, all caught up in spectacular states of variable light and weather. On another level, you could rightly think of that variability as a metaphor for the forces at work in the realm of human consciousness – and conscience. As nature is the sublime deliverer of forces that can afflict or heal, destroy or grow, so too the changeable weather of the human soul, particularly in this current season of societal tension and distress.

   The considerably large scale of these drawings effectively imbues them with an immersive, even transcendent lyricism. So yes, come close enough to read the Brandon’s written thoughts provided for each piece. Then come closer still to read, to connect with, all those marvelous subtleties of rendering – the earthy textures, the luminous hues, the rippled layers of  atmosphere, both transparent and opaque. Gravitas and grace, turbulence and calm, harmony and dissonance.

   All the visual elements in Brandon’s works seem to vibrate, as if possessing the mesmerizing tremolos of an operatic aria. You might even hear their stories as well as see them. I don’t believe they’re only drawings. They’re songs.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Process and Product: Feeding a Hunger

 

Process and Product: Feeding a Hunger

By Tom Wachunas

 

   “Instead of just looking at the finished product, I want people to have a look at the process…I selected artists where you can see the specific building blocks better.”  -exhibit curator Michele Waalkes, from an article by Dan Kane for The Canton Repository 

   EXHIBIT: Parts to the Whole – works by Jacques P. Jackson, Liz Maugans, Jennifer Omaitz, and Stephen Tornero – curated by Michele Waalkes / at The Hub Art Factory, 336 Sixth Street NW, downtown Canton, THROUGH August 28, 2020 / viewing hours on Tuesdays 7p.m. to 9p.m., or by appointment – contact email thehub@gmail.com / (330) 451-6823

Canton Repository article:

  https://www.cantonrep.com/news/20200806/hub-welcomes-masked-visitors-to-friday-opening?fbclid=IwAR2dg75c7Dz4P8QMkf6B-Ol7Ck6jw9orpdrkrwSclMu8jNOq5GKWBD1YkWg

"Hi" Split, by Jacques P. Jackson

The Sash, by Jacques P. Jackson

Miami Beach House, by Jennifer Omaitz

Forced, by Jennifer Omaitz

GLOW, by Stephen Tornero

Fruit Punch, by Stephen Tornero

Apathy Parade: Mediocrity, by Liz Maugans


https://www.facebook.com/TheHubArtFactory/

     Lately I’ve been starving. As in greatly missing what was once a lively art gallery scene in downtown Canton. While that scene was already experiencing a slow but sure diminishing long before the pall of COVID19 settled on us, the pandemic has only made matters worse in terms of regularly accessing what few art venues remain. In any case, THANK YOU to The Hub Art Factory for continuing to provide some aesthetic nourishment. My only regret is the lateness of this post, and for that I sincerely apologize.

   The artists in this eclectic gathering have provided written statements regarding the conceptual thrust and/or process involved in the making of their pieces, and in a few instances, framed shadowboxes containing samples of their raw working materials.

    Jacques Jackson makes his charming mosaics with various sorts of glass glued to plywood substrates. He’s interested in fashion design among other things, and often inserts bits of patterned fabric behind the glass shapes. The contours of the mosaics are cut to suggest figures with softly curving torsos, as if moving in an exotic dance.

   The mixed-media assemblages by Jennifer Omaitz, at once dense and airy, are examinations of stacked architectural structures. She tells us in her statement that they’re inspired by architects who “…address space constraints, refocusing the design of living environment to create a sense of community and reduce the environmental footprint.”  From this theoretical starting point, Omaitz’s constructions further explore “…questions surrounding climate change, and post-modern architecture, modular architecture, and psychological spaces.” Complex conditions indeed, these are intriguing maquettes – models of buildings precariously balanced or teetering in midair, and seemingly on the verge of tipping over.

     The hand-woven linen yarn weavings by Stephen Tornero are exquisitely crafted, shimmering abstractions that might be transparent organisms or perhaps shifting landscapes. “I am inspired by the colors I find in nature,” he says in his statement, “and how they interact with artificial colors of electric light.”  His mesmerizing pieces are a dynamic tour-de-force of myriad threads that seem to breathe through undulating hues and patterns.

   Liz Maugans’ “Apathy Parade” series of wood intaglio relief prints is her response to the extreme sociopolitical divisiveness that emerged during the 2016 elections, and which has certainly become even more intense these days. The banner-toting “people” in her images have been reduced to anonymous pixelated blurs – clusters of amorphous Ben-Day dots. What exactly they’re supporting or protesting isn’t all that clear either. Maugans explains the words on their signs this way: “…I lifted rants and responses from social media debates where people were clearly not doing their own research and co-opting others’ arguments that don’t stand up to credibility…”

   Maugan’s images are – pardon the pun – arresting and timely. They make me wonder about the identity of American society. Who are we really, and where are we going? Maybe we need to be concerned with a pandemic of another sort – the kind that has blurred us into a viral meme culture, entrenched in the scene-and-herd mentality of the social media masses.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Remote Yearning: Prompt and Circumstance




Remote Yearning: Prompt and Circumstance 



By Tom Wachunas 

 

"Drawing is putting a line (a)round an idea."  - Henri Matisse

 

          γρ σοφία το κόσμου τούτου μωρία παρ τ

       Θε στιν γέγραπται γάρ δρασσόμενος

       τος σοφος ν τ πανουργί ατν  - 1 Corinthians 3:19

 

    Here’s a new drawing of mine called Remote Yearning: Prompt and Circumstance (graphite and acrylic on sketchbook paper). At first, I regarded this return to a black-and-white dynamic as a possible starting point for a more elaborate work replete with lots of painterly textures, along with some robust color and collage elements, and not too unlike a few of my recent Summer pieces on wood panels. Some day, perhaps, but not yet.

    I’m satisfied at the moment to offer it simply as a work of abstract writing -  a codified reaction to the vexing challenges of designing an online version of the course I’ve been teaching at Kent Stark (“Art as a World Phenomenon”) for the past 13 years. For most of this Summer I’ve been reluctantly navigating the technological muck of tutorials and webinars on using digital media platforms and tools for remote teaching. Thanks to the necessary practices that Covid19 has wreaked upon our schools and universities, we’ve become dependent on the Internet, like never before, to facilitate education. I remain unenthused, even questioning the efficacy of “distance learning,” all the while missing the hallowed (and still wisest) traditions of  real, face- to- face teaching…teaching as a true performance art.

   So this drawing is by a complainer. He’s temporarily floating and aimless, cut, dragged, pasted and downloaded (or is it uploaded?) into a sea of infection connections - icons, tabs, hyperlinks and prompts, screens within screens within screens. In the end maybe it’s all just an exercise in remote yearning.