Sunday, August 22, 2021

Artnotes: Old Blue Eyes


Two Bonnard Roses in a Vase   Laurie Fox Pessemier  acrylic/canvas 13 x 8"  33 x 20 cm  350.00
I have been proofreading someone’s doctoral thesis -- I am not sure how good I am at it, but every little technical correction helps.   The funny thing is, I have really been enjoying reading it. The subject is how archives make such a difference in the memory of what took place.  More specifically, it deals with how art, as in visual art, poetry, film, gives the remembered event another dimension, another way to be reflected on.  The archive grows.
The Philosophers
1. Epictetus  2.  Posidonius of Apamea3.  Heraclitus of Ephesus  4.  Eratosthenes
Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  16 x 10.5"  27 x 41cm 
Blair has been painting philosophers, as you know.  The information about them is pretty specific and agreed upon, despite the fact most of them have been dead for a couple of thousand years.  Blair looks at how they were depicted in sculptures -- some from their time, but most being copies of earlier sculptures.   He adds his own eye color, as that wasn’t necessarily recorded.  But now Blair’s impression is part of that archive of that philosopher.
Zinnia, Aster, Sunflower    Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/newspaper 25 x 17"  63 x 41cm  320.00 
I immortalize flowers, trees, bugs, or whatever I decide to focus on -- they, too, are a record of what an American in Italy was studying in 2021.  As more butterflies and insects go extinct, it could be a record of what once existed.   The colors of zinnias or asters could change.  I do see a trend in smaller sunflowers, but it might just be this summer.  Certainly our old paintings of Paris are archival – specific buildings, people, events are no longer there.  Blair painted the Kingdome in Seattle, a structure imploded in 2000 -- it will forever be on his canvas.
The Philosophers
1. Diogenes Babylonicus  2.  Herodotus  
Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  16 x 10.5"  27 x 41cm 
At one time visual art was the only way to record what was happening.  Before reading became a skill we all shared, visual and sculptural images were the way to tell the story.  I remember thinking about that when I saw the Cathedral of Monreale, in Palermo, Sicily.  The fabulous wall mosaics depict the entire story of Christianity. Even if I weren’t familiar with certain stories, they seemed obvious.  Whether they were real events or not, they became real in the archiving.    Those murals taught lessons, or at least reinforced them, to a non-literate public, back in 1174 (William II).   Music, storytelling, poetry and drama were important as well.  It is amazing to me that the records of our short human existence are really kind of clandestine.
Still Life:  Demijohns in our Garden    Laurie Pessemier  Acrylic/newspaper 17 x 25"  41 x 63 cm  290.00
The loss of the library at Alexandria sometime between 48 BC and 275 AD (an event the historians can’t agree on) made history even more difficult to define.  The final blow for the library seems to have been the Palmyrene invasion, as in the “architecture of ancient Palmyra” we all cried over when attacked by ISIL in 2015.
Plato   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  16 x 10.5"  27 x 41cm
When we look at history books, or documents from a time, how much of what was “remembered” bears the slant of the recorder, regardless how adept, how erudite?   I mean, honestly, does Plato have blue eyes? He does now.
Last Year's Geraniums    Laurie Pessemier  Acrylic/paper  17 x 25"  41 x 63 cm  290.00

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