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
When she was a little girl her father would draw small pictures of animals for her to carry with in her pockets. It was so enchanting that she decided to become an artist when she grew up. But when she got to college, a professor told her that women could not be artists. Fortunately, she ignored his advice.
For Smith, painting is a meditative process. Satire is a tool she uses to highlight stereotypes about American Indians. "My art, my life experience, and my tribal ties are totally enmeshed. I go from one community with messages to the other, and I try to enlighten people." As an example, in one painting of the country she removed the names of states except those American names - 27 of them when translated into English.
Jaune-Quick -to-See Smith (b.1940) grew up on the Flathead Reservation in Montana. She is a member of the Salish and Kootenah Nation. She earned an MFA in Visual Arts from the University of New Mexico. Her work has received numerous awards over the years,
Image: Jaune-Quick-to-See Smith, 2021 acrylic and collage on canvas, courtesy of Garth Greenan Gallery, NYC.