Learning to Talk, originally published in Great Britain in 2003, is likely to be the last book we will ever have from Hilary Mantel. Mantel died suddenly in September of 2022. Her publisher described her, accurately I think, as one of Britain's greatest novelists.
26 October 2022
18 October 2022
"Look how white everything is," Sylvia Plath marveled in her poem "Tulips." That's what I think when I look at paintings by Raymond Han. Of course these shades of white contain colors as you will know if you have ever watched white paint being mixed in a store.
An embroidered cloth gives structure to the china arranged on the table. A cream pitcher is the focus of the picture. A blue and white teapot is decorated with japonisme; opposite is a Japanese cup. Greenery in a small cup is a touch of unruly nature in the midst of order. A spoon, a fork, a desert plate, and a few other small items complete the tea table. Why does that teapot seem subservient to the cream pitcher?
I have looked at Still Life with Rose Geranium in person several times. Fittingly, a print of it hangs in the Terrace Cafe at the museum. It was my introduction to Raymond Han whose bravura handling of shades of white is the signature of his still work. A gentle version of photorealism, in contrast to the sharp edges in the work of Janet Fish or Richard Estes.
The term still life appeared in late 16th century Netherlands; in French it is nature morte or 'dead nature'. Intriguingly, the objects in a still life often appear to have individual personalities.
Raymond Han was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and lived near Oneonta in upstate New York for several years before his death in 2017. Han was one of seven children born to Korean immigrants. First he earned a scholarship to the Honolulu Museum of Art; then he moved to New York City where he studied at the Arts Students League.
Image: Raymond Han - Still Life with Rose Geranium Sprig, 1980, oil on canvas, Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute, Utica
08 October 2022
"Where we lived, the settlers built their houses. Where
Jaune Quik-to-see was born on a reservation in Montana. Smith's first memory of making art was of dragging a stick through the dirt when she was three years old. As a small child, she treasured animal drawings of Growing up in poverty the girl found a way to create her own, more satisfactory world. Her pictures were a way she could share something with her father, an illiterate horse trader. Like many Native children of his generation, he had been taken from his family and sent a boarding school for deracination; when he spoke Salish, his mother tongue, the boy was beaten.
As a teenager, she was told by a counselor that "Indians don't go to college." When she persevered and enrolled at a college in Washington State, a professor told her that women couldn't be artists. She eventually earned an MFA in Visual Arts from the University of New Mexico. Fortunately, she ignored the advice. Smith only began to show her art in New York at age thirty-nine. Her work has received numerous awards over the years.
mage: Jaune-Quick-to-See Smith, 2021 acrylic and collage on canvas, courtesy of Garth Greenan Gallery, NYC.