26 March 2015

Onitsura 1661 -1738 (Germanwings)



Above the young barley
see the skylark ascending
oh no! descending!

This is a mountain over which I flew many times when I was hangliding. And, it has swallowed up the lives of a few hanglider pilots, ingloriously spitting them out into the steep dark canyons below.
Better to die that way than free falling ten long minutes in an aircraft. How sad for everyone.

 

22 March 2015

Villa of Mysteries (restored) ouch!












So, they have restored the infamous Villa of Mysteries in Pompeii. Above, are old photos of several famous scenes painted in Pompeii. Note that they had already been restored at least on several occasions over the years. But these images are what we are left with until now. They have just re-opened the site and are proudly displaying new restorations of those iconic images. Just from the one image (below) it seems to be a great tragedy! The  light is skewed, and all wrong in the detail below exhibiting lighting instead of Light. All the subtly is gone, and  what a great shame because now it is gone forever! But, I am curious to see what they have done to the others before I really get mean.
Heavens....



20 March 2015

Matisse (forever) and terror in Tunis




This is such a marvelous painting which I believe opened so many doors into the latter half of the 20th century. I saw it two years ago in Marseille; a simple, tall French window, the kind one finds anywhere in France. Matisse made so many views from this kind of window, in the south, mostly in Nice. Colorful, and (cheerful), things that make one smile just being in front of them. It's a little like the effect of late Spring when birds and flowering trees reassure us that Life is inherently quite lovely for so many of us. I love the audacity in this picture, the chance he took by just seeing something a little different in this typical window, something he had painted hundreds and hundreds of times already. He then sought to make it in a simple Japanese kind of way, perhaps at dusk even. He brought this picture right up and into our pictorial lives eliminating all distance save for a small bit of architrave at the base. 
And so, what Cezanne began, Matisse takes further. The scraps are picked up by Rothko, Barnett Newman, Diebenkorn and so many others. It took the Americans to fully exploit this idea of flattening out the picture plane. Personally, I am not so sure about the results, but its a large portion of History now, so who cares? 
The other notable quality which moves me in this Matisse is the color. Its perfect, as well as being completely original, almost idiosyncratic. 

So, they have finally attacked visitors in a museum! I half expected it from these primeval neanderthals who hide behind the cloak of religion. 
There is Art, and then there is madness. Sometimes they overlap, but only in the act of creation. 





19 March 2015

Bashō (forever)


More than the dream
The hawk of reality
Heartens me


17 March 2015

life in the undergrowth...


Sliding into my sofa earlier than usual I watched this remarkable BBC show presented by David Attenborough. Of course, I had seen   small pieces of his things over the years; his comfortable, easy-going voice isn't hard to miss if one watches the BBC from time to time. 

What really knocked my socks off this evening was a show about certain types of ants and certain termites which live just inches under our feet. The footage from these shows reveal just how marvelous photographic technology has truly become. Inside their nests one can witness the frenetic movement of these tiny creatures which seem to be guided by some very mysterious force. Millions of legs and claws move like giant rivers through the undergrowth and work in complete harmony. How do they know these things? What intelligence guides them? 

The segment on the termites of South Africa showed us tall, thin, sail-like mounds dotting the landscape as far as the eye could see.  They appeared like sailboats all running the same sea. Attenborough explained that they were all, in fact, oriented on a north/south axis and built using magnetic fields by these particular termites. The large sail-like sides are exposed to morning sun which heat the colony deep inside after a cold desert night. As the sun drifts overhead into the scorching mid-day, the sail-like home provided little surface overhead so as to keep the colony cool during the daytime heat.
Another type of termite builds large mountainous homes, the walls of which are porous allowing wind to pass through them  which circulates the stale air deep down inside, pulling it up to expel it on the other porous side.  All this remarkable wisdom utilized by some of our tiniest neighbors here on earth. Its a world of eat and be eaten for sure, (devour and brutalize really), but its a world of the mysterious and collective wisdom which somehow seems to elude us humans beings. What happened in Evolution that we have missed something so special?
Or, am I just too naive?




14 March 2015

Issa (forever)


the cow comes
Moo! Moo!
out of the mist


10 March 2015

winter's end (Onitsura 1660-1738)



 why are some long
and some short?
 icicles


06 March 2015

great books #6 (Anna Karenina)


This a big book in every sense. Its a newer translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, and it is Tolstoy at his very best.


03 March 2015

one haiku (Shöhaku, 1443 -1502)




   after all this time
don't you feel that 
   you are all alone?



02 March 2015

Nonoguchi Ryūho, 1595 -1669 (three lovely haiku)

   


         while sleeping
the moon in his heart
     is his inner mind


     as my heart travels west
the moon in the sky
     is my boat


     pouring 
moonbeams
     into the washbasin


28 February 2015

children and adults misbehaving (wisdom lesson #1)


There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.





19 February 2015

three great Donatellos!









Reading the news these days can be an exercise of despair so when I found these images from a current exhibition at the Museum of Biblical Art I found solace of sorts. Humanity's daily struggle with itself is an old theme tackled by the great, and the less great. But these are truly great.


15 February 2015

light and dark: eyes as big as plates


A friend sent me the lien to these wonderful images of a project entitled Eyes as Big as Plates created by two Finish photographers Karoline Hjorth and Riitta Ikonen. This is a Humanity which speaks to something great and light-filled during our (still) short and ongoing human history on earth.

Today, I read that ISIS or ISIL has beheaded 21 Christians in Libya in recent days. In sharp contrast does this not express the  darkest of humanity? 




 


























 



























14 February 2015

Madonna Staunton, Out of a Clear Blue Sky




































On a recent visit to the Queensland Museum of Art in Brisbane I stumbled on a small show by the work of Madonna Staunton of whom I had never heard. It was a pleasant surprise to see her work which is varied but interesting and original.