Art of the Week – ‘Beginning of Life in the Yellow Jungle’ (2003)

  November 23rd, 2016

 
 
 
 
       (click for zoom-in)
Thornton Dial 
 
      Thornton Dial (American)
       Beginning of Life in the Yellow Jungle (detail) (2003)
       Plastic soda bottles, doll, clothing, bedding, wire, found metal, rubber glove, turtle shell, artificial flowers, Splash Zone        compound, enamel, and spray paint on canvas on wood

 
 
 
 
Thornton Dial 
 
      Thornton Dial (American)
       Beginning of Life in the Yellow Jungle (2003)
       

 
 
 
 
      Above is “Beginning of Life in the Yellow Jungle” a work by Thornton Dial (1928-2016), a self-taught U.S. artist who created assemblages on a large scale.
      “Beginning of Life in the Yellow Jungle” (detail of which is shown first): a tremendous, fearsome work. A scaffolding of intertwined, twisted, knotted bedsheets (?) create a criss-crossed webbing through and around which emerge flowers, prints of flowers, plastic pop bottles that resemble flowers, and other floral elements, with the whole of the work dripping mustard & crimson. The title, in conjunction with the visceral nature of the colors and textures, and the frayed edges and slices in the fabric, suggest birth, violence and death. A ghostly infant hovers in the top left quadrant; her patina, posture and draped body seeming to confer an air of classicism and modesty. Close observation of the work’s details amply repay the viewer with an endless fund of visual interest.
      What an achievement, simultaneously chaotic and controlled, capturing the conflation of violence, the birthing process, and nature’s fecundity — and also suggesting a kind of organizing principle or geist observing and animating it all.

 
 
 
 
 

MORE INFO:

For more of Thornton Dial’s works, please check out his profile at www.soulsgrowndeep.org/artist/thornton-dial.



[Posted by C Way on November 23, 2016]

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[file under: paintings/drawings ||| sculpture ||| Visual Arts ]







‘Thank you, Kathleen Hanna’ – by Jess Barnett

  November 20th, 2016

 
 
 
(Following is an excerpt from a great piece on Hanna by artist Jess Barnett, please click-through to her site to read the rest!)
 
 
 
I woke up the other day thinking about Kathleen Hanna, who, for those not in the know, was/is the main force behind Bikini Kill, Julie Ruin, and Le Tigre, in that order (although since 2010 she’s been working on her project The Julie Ruin). Having not yet seen The Punk Singer, I don’t proclaim to know the intimate details of her life — in fact, most of what I know outside of her music comes from Wikipedia and articles I’ve read about her (she grew up with a strict father but loving mother who supported and even joined forces in her interest in feminism at any early age; she has Lyme disease; she’s married to Ad Rock; she had an abortion at age 15 and obtained the money for it through working at McDonald’s; she was a stripper for a while years back; oh, and she might as well be Superwoman, as far as I’m concerned).
 
 
kh 
                                         Vintage Kathleen; image courtesy of Austin Chronicle
 
 
But as any rock fan knows in their hearts, all of these facts are moot points when it comes to the passion such a person can generate thanks to their music. Here are a couple of background facts about me: When I entered my sophomore year of high school, I was having an identity crisis. I didn’t want to be the cute, shy, somewhat dorky blond girl I’d been known as up until then; I didn’t want to be just “pretty” (hell, I no longer wanted to be pretty at all); I didn’t even — at least at certain points — want to be female. (To be clear: I did not harbor thoughts that I should never have been female — I just didn’t want all the baggage that came with being as such.) I surrounded myself with friends who shared similar confusions, mostly girls but with the occasional confused dude thrown into the mix. We snuck out of our houses at night (well, I did) to drink alcohol and cough syrup and listen to moody music such as Underworld’s “Dirty Epic,” Depeche Mode, and, of course, Bikini Kill. 
 
 
(Read the rest of Jess’ piece here.)



[Posted by C Way on November 20, 2016]

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[file under: Music ||| non-fiction & essays ]







“Mar dos barcos” by Allison Carvalho & Cristina Nascimento (2016)

  October 20th, 2016

 
 
 

     I’d like to share with you Brazilian duo Allison Carvalho and Cristina Nascimento playing the song “Mar dos barcos” by Cristina Nascimento:
 
 

 
       Allison Carvalho & Cristina Nascimento, “Mar dos barcos”, 2016

 
 
     I have a hard time counting all the ways this song enchants me. I also have a hard time parsing out its many merits — but only because its virtues all cohere and intermingle so gracefully in this composition and its presentation, become an unparsable unity: the effortless fusion of the vocals, the inter-braiding guitar harmonies, the way in which the supple instrumental passages flow into and out of the sung sections, the breathy close and its trickling, uncertain trail-out guitar figure. Four minutes of such sweet repose. Four minutes that feel like they could go on without rest, without shore, track of time happily lost.
     Perhaps I love this song most of all for how it mixes mourning and gentle sorrow with that sway of waves befitting its title (“Mar dos barcos” = “Sea, two boats”). I am so enamored of this mixture of emotions characteristic of certain Brazilian music — especially Bossa Nova. I’ve always found in this a great spiritual-emotional reconciliation. 
 
 
 

MORE INFO:

For more music by Carvalho and Nascimento, please check out Carvalho’s youtube channel here.



[Posted by C Way on October 20, 2016]

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[file under: ABOUT ART ||| Music ]







Song: C. Way – “Lagrimas Negras” (Trio Matamoros Cover, 1929)

  April 24th, 2016

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     Here’s my take on a beautiful, legendary tune, “Lágrimas Negras,” composed in 1929 by Miguel Matamoros of the Cuban group Trío Matamoros. The Trío Matamoros composed and performed Cuban Son and Boleros (two Cuban styles of music & dance) from 1925-1969, achieving international fame, touring not only in their native Cuba, but also Europe, and eventually recording in New York. I love their rhythms and compositions, and hold them in high regard; they remind me of another famous Latin American trio, Los Panchos
     My grandmother loves this song, she turned 92 recently. For her birthday, I presented her with this tune. My interpretation is directly copied from this 1931 recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-HNOcWWzLg. It’s rough & lo-fi, but the spirit and urgency are there. Enjoy!:
 
 

 
 
 
Also, check out this alternate version, which I liked some, and is cleaner, but which doesn’t seem to have as much soul as the rougher version presented above:
 

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Also, check out my records “Needle Out” and “Some Songs, Vol.1″ on iTunes

And as always, buy CDs direct from me here

My main music page is here



[Posted by C Way on April 24, 2016]

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[file under: Music ||| Music ]







On J. Krishnamurti’s Brockwood Park Seminars, 1979 (Part 1 of 2)

  November 8th, 2015

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
    Jiddu Krishnamurti (b.1895 – 1986) was a philosopher, author and public speaker. He traveled the world and held seminars and discussions regarding his teachings, presiding over groups large and small. I’m still getting a sense of his teachings as a coherent body, but as of this writing I think I can summarize at least some of his worldview and major concerns as follows: a) to realize peace and to attain freedom from suffering for him/herself and for the world, a human being must focus first on improving his or her internal psychological processes; b) an important aspect of this is to observe with total freedom: to examine the self and the world outside the self as free from emotion, bias, and prejudice as possible; c) this kind of observation can help one realize the inseparability of self and World, which itself is a necessary realization for human betterment and advancement; d) all of this, and Krishnamurti’s other teachings, occur outside of established creeds, religions or spiritualities.
    Another way to summarize his philosophy, in his own words: Truth can only be found “through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection.” And that observation, in its most unbiased form, is Freedom: “Freedom is pure observation without direction, without fear of punishment and reward. Freedom is without motive; freedom is not at the end of the evolution of man but lies in the first step of his existence.” Krishnamurti wrote very little, believing the kinds of insights he promoted could best come to humankind through the immediacy of discussion, but in 1980 his biographer asked him to summarize some of the main tenets of his thinking; both of the quotes above come from this summary, called “The Core of the Teaching”.
    I stumbled across Krishnamurti’s teachings in the last few months, and have been working through audio transcriptions of the “Brockwood Park Seminars”, a series of six seminars given in 1979 and which attempted to systematically wrestle with the question: “What is one to do with the increasing violence in the world?”. By all accounts these seminars summarize Krishnamurti’s teachings fairly well, which is why I chose them as a primer. They are available in the audio section of the online repository of his teachings, found here. Each seminar’s about an hour and twenty minutes.
    Now I don’t know who the Brockwood attendees were, and I don’t know the context of these talks (who funded them, how much did it cost to go, were they open to the general public, what is the relationship between the speaker and Brockwood, etc.). But what I do know is that I’ve found the seminars I’ve heard so far to be very compelling opportunities to sit in on charged, unfolding dialectic between a rigorous and passionate thinker and his active, sometimes contentious, sometimes stubborn audience. People during these seminars question Krishnamurti openly (as they should), struggle with concepts, go on tangents, exasperate the speaker. Sometimes this says something about Krishnamurti’s method — he’s going into this with what feels like a clear step-by-step progression that he’s trying to impose on his audience — and sometimes this says something about the difficult and at times revolutionary (intellectually, spiritually) content of his material. Sometimes this just suggests that any attempt to discover, rattle and then modify one’s core assumptions, in a live setting, with other intelligent humans, is going to be fraught, full of false starts, relapses, collapses, etc.
    Listening to these seminars has convinced me that a live participatory forum is maybe one of the most invigorating means to not just convey philosophical teachings but enact actual thought and spirit-change. Which is perhaps why you find it repeatedly (though not often enough, to my tastes) in the literature, from Plato to Hume to Wittgenstein. The back-and-forth, the slow building of concepts, the interplay, the suggestion of thought being born right there, of being arrived at, not pre-codified and merely set down as law, stimulates the mind to better accept challenging notions.    [CLICK TO READ MORE . . .]



[Posted by C Way on November 8, 2015]

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[file under: non-fiction & essays ]