Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Gorges in August

Ithaca Falls in August, 2017

Taking some well deserved time off, I drive over to the falls ( don't dare swim there! ) to take a photo or two.  The temperature is just right, and the view is great.  I want to go up to see what it looks like at the Herbert Johnson Museum of Art out on the Cornell Campus, so off I go...

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art
on the Cornell campus

I want to see a view of the lake from the floor that houses the Asian Collection, and while I am there see a few highlights that I have missed before.  The view down the lake is impressive, but I really came in to see the art, and I am not disappointed.

My photo of Lake Cayuga

My monotype of Lake Cayuga

Play a game of compare and contrast, I think about a print I made in my studio last week which reminded me of a view of my favorite Finger Lake.  I use a mathematical formula that I created in my studio, and with my program called Cinderella, I can render the image that I then made into a print on my  etching press.  Even though it is mathematics, it still requires selection, control, skill, and aesthetics of design and composition - plus the good luck of having the print turn out fine.  And like any art this requires practice, practice, and more practice.

Tibetan art at The Hebert F. Johnson Museum

In the Asian Collection I have always admired the Tibetan arts that I see from time to time. Often they represent Tibetan deities, with remarkable clarity and sense of purpose.  These are powerful images and today this painting had the same clouds that I had just seen out the window!  The strength of that vision was cast in a light of strong belief, which is also carried through in other Asian arts, like the painting I found on the lower level titled: " A Symptom of the World's End " by the Taiwanese artist Wu Tien-Chang that you see below.  The painting had elements of Picasso and Jean-Michel Basquiat.  The images in this work imply difficult journeys that the artist took on the path to self-expression.

Wu Tien-Chang
oil on canvas, 1986

Downstairs, on the first floor, I also found a painting that had some of this same angst, and that was Philip Guston's work called: "Key, Wall, Sea".  The Guston had the same condensed space, and the conglomeration of bricks, and horseshoes seems like a self inflicted imprisonment, rather than the effect of a government sponsored crusade that one might expect as a result of Martial Law.

Philip Guston

It is such a lovely day outside, but here inside the museum I find the images haunting.  And then I come across the big wall work by Lee Bontecou, and that seals the deal.  One giant dark eye looking out from the wall which has a resonance with what I have been feeling this month, especially about the mood of our country.  This is an appropriate sign for our times....

Lee Bontecou
An appropriate sign for our times.....

But to end this post on a more positive note
I return to contemplate nature, especially in the simple direct 
way that a flower can attract your attention and respect,
for something so fleeting in life.
Here are the Morning Glories!