Friday, March 13, 2015

March Newsletter

March is a month full of upheavals.  The weather is bitter cold and balmy spring in turns and we bounce from huddling inward for warmth and striding without a coat or hat into the sun.
And so it went for me this month so far, and it is only half over.

First we had a beautiful heavy snow, gratifying in its thorough whiteness.

red maples

In the Barnes garden

St. Joe’s Building

Out my studio window


Today, however, after several days of thawing things are looking a little bit like SPRING!

Long Shadows in Merion Park

A pair of ducks in Marion Park Stream

For my whole walk I was searching for a sign of a crocus.  The park usually has a wonderful display.  Finally on the sunny bank of the stream I spied the first ones to pop their heads through the dead leaves.

My art excursion for this month took me to the Philadelphia Museum of Art where I met three friends to see what we could see.

After lunch in the cafeteria where we discussed art and politics and the politics of art we went to the show - Represent: 200 Years of African American Art
January 10, 2015 - April 5, 2015

It is a very interesting show with some wonderful work.  However, like shows of all Women artists I was left wondering when art will be art regardless of who makes it. I prefer seeing art that is displayed purely on lines of its artistic intent rather than on the accident of birth of its creator.  Forinstance a show of impressionists or a show of artists interested in minimalism. 

This show purports to be about an expression that is particularly African American and some of the work has a political thrust, but the same work could have been made by someone who is not African American, as people often protest causes that they didn’t ‘inherit’.   How does the accident of birth affect the artistic vision and expression of a particular groups IS something of interest.

This would be hard to fathom but worth the effort.  It does seem that more woman are interested in using textiles than men.  Is their color sense different?  Does the experience of being enslaved or discriminated against effect what materials one prefers or what colors one uses?  Do women prefer round shapes? These are interesting questions.  I suspect geography and climate have more to do with shapes and colors than sex or race but it would be interesting to explore the possibilities.

I enjoyed the show but it did not deal with these ideas as the work was all over the place in terms of style and use of materials and I did not come away with any feeling of unity in terms of an African American sensibility.  It is rich in the history of these individual artists however and very worth a visit.

Here are some of the highlights of the show for me.  Much more can be found if you download the TEACHER’S RESOURCE.

 The show begins with this beautiful charcoal drawing of Martin Luther King, Jr, by John Woodrow Wilson. 

Moe Brooker’s PRESENT FUTURES is a delight for the eye.

Horace Pippin’s Outcry against WAR is memorable.  The frame alone is a marvel with all its carved imagery.

and Romare Bearden’s BLIND SINGER feels like a spontaneous outburst of joy.

There are many more wonderful works in the show that I was not able to photograph properly.  The show is up until April 5 so don’t miss it.

What fun it is to share these experiences with friends who care about art and don’t hesitate to think and talk about it. 

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