Jim Dine arranges tools within his composition to create larger symbols, allowing his work to be both moderately autobiographical and open to interpretation. Untitled (2000) uses a hammer, wrench, pliers, blow torch, drill and bolt cutters which create what looks like a phoenix rising from ashes. The bolt cutters serve as its legs and the drill, handle, and blow torch as its wings. At this time in his career, Dine was creating different bird motifs. The phoenix—a symbol of rebirth—relates to themes in Marcus Jansen’s work that respond to a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from his time in the United States Army. He used painting as a therapeutic release and as a way to re-emerge from the challenges and suppression of PTSD.
After the Rain in the Salt Marshes
Martin Johnson Heade
Oil on canvas
'Martin Johnson Heade was best known in his lifetime, as today, for his marsh paintings, a subject he first undertook in the 1860s. Although Heade painted marshes in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and Florida, he captured the overall character of marsh life, rather than recalling specific locales. After the Rain in the Salt Marshes incorporates hallmarks of Heade's marsh compositions: a strongly horizontal view of the landscape, cut by a winding ribbon of water and dotted with haystacks receding into the distance. Heade also often added strong directional light effects to create dynamic patterns of shadows that animate the otherwise calm scene.'
It Happens Like This
I was outside St. Cecelia’s Rectory
smoking a cigarette when a goat appeared beside me.
It was mostly black and white, with a little reddish
brown here and there. When I started to walk away,
it followed. I was amused and delighted, but wondered
what the laws were on this kind of thing. There’s
a leash law for dogs, but what about goats? People
smiled at me and admired the goat. “It’s not my goat,"
I explained. “It’s the town’s goat. I’m just taking
my turn caring for it.” “I didn’t know we had a goat,"
one of them said. “I wonder when my turn is.” “Soon,"
I said. “Be patient. Your time is coming.” The goat
stayed by my side. It stopped when I stopped. It looked
up at me and I stared into its eyes. I felt he knew
everything essential about me. We walked on. A police-
man on his beat looked us over. “That’s a mighty
fine goat you got there," he said, stopping to admire.
“It’s the town’s goat," I said. “His family goes back
three-hundred years with us," I said, “from the beginning.”
The officer leaned forward to touch him, then stopped
and looked up at me. “Mind if I pat him?” he asked.
“Touching this goat will change your life," I said.
“It’s your decision.” He thought real hard for a minute,
and then stood up and said, “What’s his name?” “He’s
called the Prince of Peace," I said. “God! This town
is like a fairy tale. Everywhere you turn there’s mystery
and wonder. And I’m just a child playing cops and robbers
forever. Please forgive me if I cry.” “We forgive you,
Officer," I said. “And we understand why you, more than
anybody, should never touch the Prince.” The goat and
I walked on. It was getting dark and we were beginning
to wonder where we would spend the night.
Hôtel de France, 1928
Hôtel de France is the first painting Stuart Davis completed during a 14-month stay in Paris beginning in 1928. The bright palette, jaunty composition and picturesque street scene convey the American artist's delight in the city's unique sights, particularly in the area of Montparnasse, where he settled. Vertically oriented, the composition calls particular attention to the white hotel façade, red pissotière (public urinal), green advertising kiosk and black lamppost. Signs of the influence of French Cubism are evident in the interplay between two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional space as well as in the inclusion of prominent textured forms. The visual rhythms of Davis' work approximate the syncopation of American jazz, which enjoyed international popularity for its rebellious and youthful spirit.
“In China, the azalea flower is thought to be a strong symbol of womanhood. In other parts of the world they are thought to represent passion and fragility; however, these flowers are best known for their expression of “take care of yourself.” These flowers are frequently given as gifts to pass along the wish that the recipient be good to himself – especially during illness or trying times.” *
“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.”
— Pablo Neruda
May, queen of blossoms,
And fulfilling flowers,
With what pretty music
Shall we charm the hours?
Wilt thou have pipe and reed,
Blown in the open mead?
Or to the lute give heed
In the green bowers.
Lord Edward Thurlow