Posts Tagged ‘Mozart’

“There is only one valuable thing in art: the thing you cannot explain.”

 — Georges Braque



This is a quote from artist Georges Braque that I used on the first artist statement I ever wrote many years back. It still pops up in my mind on a regular basis, especially at times when I find myself looking at a just finished painting, wondering what is there that is triggering my emotional response to it.  These words from Braque reminds me that what I am trying to capture is not the subject matter, not a mere representation of reality.  I am trying to capture an indefinable feeling or spirit that is not calculable or even visible.

Definitely beyond the reach of my words.

It is the sum of color and light.

And texture and line.

And the spaces in between.

It is of the spirit and the life force.   When it is there, it is obvious and undeniable. And though I can’t explain it, I can see the purpose and value of that work.

And that is a good day…


I have never really focused here on the work of George Braque (1882-1963) who is mainly known as one of the major artists, along with Picasso, of the Cubist movement. His work, through all the differing phases of his long career, is always impressive. I thought I’d share the video slideshow below of his work. It’s set to Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21, better known as the Elvira Madigan concerto, which makes it a most pleasant and calming thing to spend a few minutes with on the first cool morning of November.


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Since this is a busy morning, I was going to play a video of the paintings of a favorite artist of mine, Charles Sheeler. I thought I’d add a replay of a post from several years back that I wrote in case some of you were not familiar with his work. The video at the bottom features his work and Pamina’s Lament from the Mozart opera The Magic Flute.

166_1934_CCI find it hard to believe that I haven’t mentioned the work of Charles Sheeler here, outside of a mention of his collaboration with Paul Strand on  Manhatta, a landmark American art film from 1921.  Sheeler (1883-1965)  is one of my favorite artists who as  a pioneer in photography and painting in the early decades of the 20th century is often called the father of Modernism.  Oddly enough, I am particularly drawn to his industrial imagery which replaces almost all evidence of things natural in completely man-made factoryscapes.  This  might seem to be the antithesis of my own work,  which often omits all evidence of human intervention in my landscapes.

Charles Sheeler River Rouge PlantSome of his most potent work came from an assignment where Henry Ford hired Sheeler to photograph his factories, wanting him to glorify them in an almost religious manner, as though they were cathedrals for the new age.  As Ford had said at the time, “The man who builds a factory builds a temple. The man who works there, worships there.”  Sheeler was impressed with the factory complexes and felt that, indeed, they represented a modern form of religious expression.  His painted work from this time glorified the machine of industry in glowing forms and color.

Charles Sheeler Shaker BarnHe saw the factory as a continuation of the American idea of work as religion, one that was rooted in the sense of  reverence and importance of the barns and structures of the farms of the earlier pre-industrial age.  He   painted many scenes of farms and barns, abstracting the forms as he had with the factory scenes.

Charles Sheeler Classic LandscapeI don’t know that I completely agree with Sheeler on his idea of the factory as cathedral but I do have to admit to being awestruck in the presence of large factory structures.  I remember working in the old A&P factory, a huge building with a roof that was somewhere around 35 acres in size. It was said to have the capability to produce enough product each day to feed everyone east of the Mississippi.  It no longer exists. A large shopping center now stands in its place.

Some of the huge rooms in the building were amazing to stand in, as the machines hummed and throbbed while workers hustled about servicing their needs.  I particularly remember the tea room which was a huge cavernous space with row after row of steampunk looking machines from what looked to be the 1920’s that bagged the tea then sewed it shut.  I cleaned these machines for several weeks and, standing in the grand space in silence after most of the workers had gone and the machines turned off, felt that feeling of awe.   I would sometime walk around from area to area, just taking it in.  I didn’t necessarily adore it in the manner of a religious zealot but there was no denying the  power in its magnitude and the power of the machine.

Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to Sheeler.  Maybe its his use of form and color.  I don’t know.  I guess it doesn’t really matter.  I just like his work. Period.

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I’ve been very busy recently and haven’t had chance to write as fully as I would like.  I’ve been doing this long enough that writing the blog has become habit and I feel a little guilty when I think I’m not attentive enough.  But I have tried to alleviate some of my guilt by sharing some things that I do like. Like the video below of the work of Marc Chagall set to the music of Mozart’s Piano Concerto #23 Adagio.

I’ve always been a fan of Chagall’s work. It’s hard to not let myself get caught up in the world of Chagall’s paintings. It’s easy to happily absorb yet you’re never quite sure what it is that you’re taking in. Something magical and mystical there.


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GC Myers- Adagio in BlueWow.

That’s about anyone can say after these last few days, days which may go down as some of the craziest ever seen in the history of our nation.  I am not going to say much here on the subject of candidate Trump.  There’s not much to say except that this is not a big shocker to me.  I’ve said it before: Trump has shown us who and what he is repeatedly over the past decades.

If you are surprised by any revelation about this creature– I hesitate to use the word man in this case– that has come out (or any that is bound to emerge because I have to believe there is plenty more in the bullpen just waiting patiently to be unleashed) then you haven’t been watching closely enough.  Either that or you are, as my father likes to say– even in his current state of Alzheimer’s–among  the most gullible people on the face of the earth.

And for those out there waking up this morning still believing that Trump is some kind of positive answer or agent of change, I feel pity for them.  That kind of denial of reality can only point to a life that will be further filled with anger, hatred and discontent.

And that is a sad thing for them. And for those around them. And for this country.

Okay, enough said on that for now.  I need some comforting on this ominously quiet Sunday morning.  The painting at the top is a new 9″ by 12″ canvas that is part of my upcoming show at the Kada Gallery which opens October 29.  I call this piece Adagio in Blue.  It has a calming presence in its colors and composition that fulfills my needs this morning.  I am coupling it with a classical piece this morning, the Adagio from Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 as played by French pianist Hélène Grimaud.  It’s a beautiful piece and a well produced video presentation.

Think of it as a peaceful respite from the crap storm cutting through our political world at the moment.  Relax and try to have a good day.

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