Melvin Dixon: “We Live Bravely in the Light”

Photographers Unknown, Parva Scaena (Brief Scenes): Photo Set Twenty-Four

They won’t go when I go. (Stevie Wonder)
Live bravely in the hurt of light. (C.H.R.)

The children in the life:
Another telephone call. Another man gone.
How many pages are left in my diary?
Do I have enough pencils? Enough ink?
I count on my fingers and toes the past kisses,
the incubating years, the months ahead.

Thousands. Many thousands.
Many thousands gone.

I have no use for numbers beyond this one,
one man, one face, one torso
curled into mine for the ease of sleep.
We love without mercy,
We live bravely in the light.

Thousands. Many thousands.

Chile, I knew he was funny, one of the children,
a member of the church, a friend of Dorothy’s.

He knew the Websters pretty well, too.
Girlfriend, he was real.
Remember we used to sit up in my house
pouring tea, dropping beads,
dishing this one and that one?

You got any T-cells left?
The singularity of death. The mourning thousands.
It begins with one and grows by one
and one and one and one
until there’s no one left to count.

Melvin Dixon, One by One, Love’s Instruments, 1995, Tia Chuca Press, Chicago

Born in Stanford, Conneticutt in May of 1950, Melvin Dixon was a creative writer, as a novelist, poet, translator and literary critic. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies, and earned a Master of Arts in 1973 and a Doctor of Philosophy in 1975 from Boston University.

Dixon wrote poems, novels, short stories, essays, critical studies, and translated many works from French. Searching for his literary heritage, he traveled throughout the Caribbean, Africa and Europe, and researched such men as Leopold Senghor, the poet and former president of Senegal; the Haitian novelist and poet Jacques Roumain; and author Richard Nathaniel Wright, whose 1945 book “Black Boy” became an instant success and a work of historical and sociological significance.

Melvin Dixon wrote openly about his homosexuality in both his published and unpublished works. As an active spokesman for gay communities and their issues, he incorporated the complexities of gay lifestyle and identity, as well as his identity as a black man, into his work. Dixon’s first collection of poems, “Change of Territory” published in 1983, examined the involuntary journeys of African slavery and the later historical migration of African Americans from the southern United States to the north. In 1987, he wrote a critical study of African-American literature entitled “Ride Out the Wilderness”.

The influence of James Baldwin’s work upon Dixon’s writings can be seen in his two novels, the 1989 “Trouble the Water”, a novel of family reconciliation which won the Nikon Award for Excellence in Minority Fiction, and the 1991 “Vanishing Rooms”, a novel of homophobia and racism revolving around three people who are each affected by the death of a gay man in New York City. “Vanishing Rooms” was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award for Gay Men’s Fiction. Dixon’s final volume of poetry, entitled “Love’s Instruments” published posthumously in 1995, was a tribute to gay men with AIDS-related illness.

Melvin Dixon translated many works from French to English. Included in these works are his translations of Haitian poet Jacques Roumain’s poetry; Professor of American Literature at the University of Paris, Genevierve Fabre’s history of black theater since 1945, entitled “Drumbeats, Masks, and Metaphor” and  published in 1983; and “The Collected Poetry of Leopold Seder Senghor”, published in 1991. This translation of Senghor’s work contains the majority of his poetic oeuvre, including his “lost” poems.

Dixon was an Assistant Professor at Williams College from 1975 to 1980, and a Professor of English Literature at Queens College of the City University of New York from 1980 until 1992. He also taught at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Fordham University and Columbia University. Dixon received a number of awards and fellowships including a Fulbright lectureship in Senegal from 1985 to 1986.

Melvin Dixon was in a long-term partnership with Richard Horowitz, an openly gay man who worked from 1983 to 1987 as a program officer of the Ford Foundation in Dakar, West Africa. Upon Horowitz’s return to the United States, he worked with the Ford Foundation to finance projects for AIDS patients internationally. He died at his summer home in Provincetown, Massachusetts, from complications due to AIDS in July of 1991. He was forty-four years in age.

Melvin Dixon had been battling AIDS since an initial diagnosis in 1989. At the age of forty-two, he died from AIDS-related complications in Stanford, Conneticutt, on October 28, 1992, one year after his partner. The Melvin Dixon Papers, which contain primarily of manuscripts, correspondence, notes, and journals, are part of the Archives and Manuscripts department of the New York Public Library. They are housed at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, located at 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York City.

Note: “this one” in the second stanza of the poem, “One by One”, refers to Dixon’s lover, Richard Horowitz

Emilio Baz Vlaud

The Artwork of Emilio Baz Vlaud

Born in Mexico City in 1918, Emilio Baz Vlaud was a painter whose work mostly included portraiture and scenes in the style of  Costumbrismo, images of local Hispanic life, customs, and mannerisms executed in  both artistic Realism and Romanticism.  Influenced by the Magical Realism movement that spread through the art and literary worlds after the first World War, Vlaud was known for his meticulous brushwork and his trompe-d’oeil technique. 

Emilio Baz Vlaud, at a very early age, had great skill in the arts. He would often watch his older gay brother, Ben-Hur Baz Vlaud, a 1926 graduate of the Academy de San Carlos and twelve years his senior, working on his own precisionist drawings and paintings. At the age of seventeen, Emilio Vlaud executed his first self-portrait, the 1935 “Self Portrait as a Teenager”, a highly refined work that is closely related to a self-portrait painted by his brother in the same year. In his self-portrait, Emilio shows himself with perfectly combed hair and dressed in a white shirt. He is  holding a green pencil at an angle, a position which visually divides the canvas in two,  and is shown gripping his elbow with his left hand. 

Emilio Baz Vlaud entered the Academia de San Carlos in 1938 where he initially studied architecture before changing his vocation to painting. He later took courses at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas, where he studied under the strict training of painter Manuel Rodríguez Lozano, an openly gay artist whose work is often linked to the works of metaphysical painter Giorgio de Chirico. Vlaud made several visits over the years to his older brother who had moved to New York City and was working as a successful commercial illustrator for magazines, such as Newsweek and Time. 

In 1950, Emilio Vlaud relocated to San Miguel Allende, situated in the far eastern part of Guanajuato. He exhibited his work in several collective exhibitions, where he showed his work alongside such prominent artists as painters and muralists Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros. In 1951, Vlaud had his first solo exhibition; his flamenco-inspired technique of applying dry oil paints to surfaces by means of small strokes of a short brush were praised by critics and his fellow artists. During his eight year stay in San Miguel Allende, he received a gold medal for artistic merit from the University of Guanajuato. 

In 1962, Emilio Baz Vlaud entered the Monastery of Santa María de la Resurrecion for the purpose of studying psychoanalysis. After several years, he abandoned these studies to return to his vocation as a painter. Although Vlaud is mostly know for his portraiture and scenes done before 1955, he also went through an intense period of abstraction during the 1970s. In 1984, his work was presented at a collective exhibition entitled “Siete Pintores (Seven Painters)” at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Emilio Baz Vlaud died in 1991. 

Insert Images:

Emilio Baz Viaud, “Self Portrait as a Teenager”, 1925, Watercolor, Pencil and Dry Brush on Board, 60 x 39.7 cm, Private Collection

Emilio Baz Vlaud, “El Coco”, circa 1955, Oil on Masonite, 50 x 40 cm, Blaisten Collection

Emilio Baz Vlaud, “Self Portrait in Blue Shirt”, 1941, Watercolor, Pencil and Dry Brush on Board, 100 x 65.5 cm, Blaisten Collection, Mexico City

 

Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg, “Self Portrait, Black Mountain (1)”, 1952, Gelatin Silver Print, 14.3 x 8.3 cm, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

While studying at Black Mountain College in North Carolina between 1948 and 1952, Robert Rauschenberg focused his attention on mid-century experimental and abstract photography. His exploration of this medium was influenced by the works of photographer Aaron Siskind, whose detailed images created an innovation in abstract photography; Harry Callahan, a prolific photographer who rigorously curated his work; and educator and photographer Hazel Larson Archer, whose work captured life at Black Mountain.

Rauschenberg used a bold mixture of abstraction, double exposures, experiments with light and shadow, and used blueprint paper to produce photographs with a camera. Many of his earliest photographic experiments were portraits of close companions and people he met in conversations; these include artists such as choreographer and dancer Merce Cunningham and painter Cy Twombly.

A recurring subject of his experimental work was the self portrait, of which the double-exposure image above, “Self Portrait, Black Mountain (1)”, is an example. Shot in 1952, it features Rauschenberg seated on a wooden chair with his hands folded. Ghostly images of weeds and chairs are superimposed over his body.This photograph is a singular work in a portfolio edition of seven related photographs taken during the summer of 1952 at Black Mountain College near Asheville, North Carolina.

Digby Mackworth Dolben: “For Should He Ever Pass. . .”

Photographers Unknown, For Should He Ever Pass

My sister Death! I pray thee come to me
 Of thy sweet charity,
And be my nurse but for a little while;
 I will indeed lie still,
And not detain thee long, when once is spread,
 Beneath the yew, my bed:
I will not ask for lilies or for roses;
 But when the evening closes,
Just take from any brook a single knot
 Of pale Forget-me-not,
And lay them in my hand, until I wake,
 For his dear sake;
(For should he ever pass and by me stand,
 He yet might understand—)
Then heal the passion and the fever
 With one cool kiss, for ever.

Digby Macworth Dolben, Sister Death

Born in Guernsey in February of 1848, Digby Augustus Stewart Mackworth Dolben was an English poet. His father, William Harcourt Isham Mackworth, was the younger son of the Third Baronet, Sir Digby Mackworth, and his mother Frances Dolben was the daughter and heiress of Sir John English Dolben, the Fourth Baronet. Digby Dolben was raised, under a strict and uncompromising Protestant discipline, at Finedon Hall, his mother’s family estate in Northamptonshire, England.

Digby Mackworth Dolben was educated at Cheam School, a mixed preparatory school in Hampshire, and, starting in 1862, at Eaton College, where he studied under Headmaster and poet William Johnson Cory. William Cory’s method of teaching and his collection of verses, “Ionica” were sources of inspiration for Dolben in his own poetic writings. While at Eaton in the early 1860s, Dolben met his distant older cousin, Robert Bridges, who became his mentor and introduced him to his circle of high church friends. During his school years, Dolben seemed abstracted and other-worldly to his college friends; by his activities, he appeared to his headmaster as an agitator who was dangerously misguided.

In 1863, Dolben started to cause considerable scandal at Eaton College with his eccentric and exhibitionist behavior. Defying his strict Protestant upbringing, he became a novice in the English Order of Saint Benedict and began to sign his letters ‘Dominic’. By associating with the new ritualistic, religious revival of that time and wearing a monk’s habit, Dolben would cause scandal by walking, often barefoot, through the streets of the city. He also began to mark his romantic attachment to fellow student Martin Le Merchant Gosselin, a year senior, with written love poems. It was during this period that Dolben destroyed by fire all his previous written poetic work.

In July of 1863, Robert Bridges left Eaton to attend Oxford College. Several weeks later on July 30th, Digby Dolben was dismissed from Eaton after engaging in secret meetings with Jesuit priests. He maintained his communication with Bridges through letters sent to Oxford; however, there is no evidence of any poems being written since the destruction of his earlier work. It was not until the Lenten season of 1864 that Dolben resumed his poetry writing. At the age of sixteen, he wrote his first mature poem “Homo Factus Est” and had six poems published in the Union Review.

On his seventeenth birthday in 1865, Digby Dolben was introduced by his cousin Robert Bridges to Gerald Manley Hopkins, a fellow poet who was attending Oxford’s Balliol College. In accounts to his biographer, Hopkins stated that meeting Dolben, who was four years his junior, was the most emotional event of his undergraduate years, and probably his entire life. After Hopkins was forbidden by his High Anglican confessor to have any contact with Dolben, Hopkins and Dolben maintained their communication through letters; Hopkins wrote, during this time, two poems about his love for Dolben, “Where Art Thou Friend” and “The Beginning of the End’.

In 1865, Dolben’s work began to mature as he turned from writing Christian themed poetry to poems portraying a more Greco or pagan ideal of beauty. By 1866, he had moved to the Welsh village of Boughrood and studied there under tutor Henry de Winton for his Oxford entrance exams. Dolben took his entrance exams on May 2nd of 1867; however, he fainted during the exams and received a failing score. Thirteen days later on June 28th, Digby Mackworth Dolben, at the age of nineteen, drowned in the River Welland.

In 1865, Dolben’s work began to mature as he turned from writing Christian themed poetry to poems portraying a more Greco or pagan ideal of beauty. By 1866, he had moved to the Welsh village of Boughrood and studied there under tutor Henry de Winton for his Oxford entrance exams. Dolben took his entrance exams on May 2nd of 1867; however, he fainted during the exams and received a failing score. Thirteen days later on June 28th, Digby Dolben, at the age of nineteen, drowned in the River Welland.

Digby Dolben had taken Walter, the ten year old son of his tutor, Reverend C. E. Pritchard, on his back across the deep river. Upon the return swim, Dolben sank within several yards of the shoreline. Walter Pritchard, only able to float on his back, made it to shore with the assistance of men who came to the rescue. Dolben’s body was found several hours later when it surfaced further down the river. He was buried under the altar at Finedon Estate on July 6th of 1867.

In 1911, Robert Bridges, who would become poet laureate of England two years later, published the poetry of his cousin Digby Dolben, all of which had been written in the last three years of Dolben’s life. Approached by Gerald Manley Hopkins as to whether the Dolben family would publish Dolben’s work, the independently wealthy Bridges decided he would finance the publishing of both Dolben’s and Hopkins’s collectibe poetry. Published in a single volume entitled “Poems”, Digby Dolben’s work is considered to be among the best poetry of the Oxford Movement.

In 1981, “The Poems and Letters of Digby Mackworth Dolben, 1848-1867”, compiled by Martin Cohen, was published by the Avebury press. In 2017, author Simon Edge published his historical fiction novel “The Hopkins Conundrum”, a story about Gerald Hopkins’s infatuation with Dolben.

Note: A journal article on the life of Digby Mackworth Dolben, written by Liam Brophy, can be found at the JSTOR site located at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/20513622

An online copy of Robert Bridges’s 1911 “Poems of Digby Mackworth Dolben”, published by Oxford University Press, can be found on The Internet Archive located at: https://archive.org/details/poemsofdigbymack00dolb_0/page/n3/mode/2up

Amadeo de Souza Cardoso

The Artwork of Amadeo de Souza Cardoso

Born in November of 1887 in the town of Manhule, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso was one of the first generation of Portuguese modernist painters. Known for the exceptional quality of his work, his short career covered all the historical avant-garde movements of the early twentieth=century. 

The son of a wealthy landowner and vintner, Amadeo, at the age of eighteen, traveled to Lisbon and entered the Superior School of Fine Arts where he developed his skills as a designer and caricaturist. In November of 1906, he traveled to Paris with his friend and painter Francisco Smith and lived in an apartment on the Boulevard de Montparnasse. After a caricature he had drawn during a dinner was published  in Portugal’s “O Primerro de Jameiro” newspaper, Amadeo decided to devote himself to painting. 

In 1908, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso established himself at a studio located at 14 Cité Falguière , which became a social gathering place for Portuguese artists including Manuel Bentes, Eduardo Viana, and Domingos Rebelo, among others. At this time, Amadeo began to attend the ateliers of the Académie des Beaux-Arts and the Académie Viti, where he studied under the Spanish painter Angalada Camarasa, whose use of intense coloring presaged the arrival of Fauvism. 

In 1911, Amadeo exhibited his work in the Salon des Indépendents and soon became close friends with writers and artists such as Gertrude Stein, Amedeo Modigliani, Alexander Archipenko, Robert Delaunay, and the Italian Futurists Umberto Boccioni and Gino Severini.  In 1912, Amadeo published his album, “XX Dessuab”, containing twenty drawings with a forward written by author Jerome Doucet, and republished Gustave Flaubert’s “La Légende de Saint Julien to l’Hospitalier” in a calligraphic manuscript with illustrations. Amadeo de Souza Cardoso participated in two important exhibitions in 1913: the Armory Show in the United States that traveled to New York City, Boston and Chicago, and the Erste Deutsche Herbstsalon held at the Galerie Der Strum in Berlin. These two exhibitions were the first to present the new wave of modern art to the public. Seven of the eight works Amadeo displayed at the Armory show sold; three of these were purchased by lawyer and art critic Arthur Jerome Eddy, a prominent member of the first generation of American modern art collectors.

Returning to Portugal in 1914, Amadeo began experimentation in all the new forms of artistic expression, and married Lucia Pecetto, whom he had previously met during his 1908 stay in Paris. In April of 1914, he sent three new works for an exhibition at the London Salon; however, due to the outbreak of World War I, the show was canceled. During the war years, Amadeo maintained contact with other Portuguese artists and poets and reunited with Robert and Sonia Delaunay who had relocated to Portugal. In 1916, he published his “Twelve Reproductions” through Tipografia Santos in Porto and exhibited a collection of one hundred-fourteen works at a solo exhibition in Oporto and later in Lisbon, entitled “Abstraccionism”. 

At this time, the Cubist movement had  expanded throughout Europe and was an important influence to Amadeo de Souza Cardoso’s  style of analytical cubism. He continued to explore expressionism and, in his last works, experimented with many new techniques. In 1918, Amadeo was stricken with a skin disease which impeded his painting. On the 25th of October in 1918, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso died, at the age of thirty, in Espinho, Portugal, of the Spanish influenza, a pandemic which savaged the world at the end of World War I. 

After his death, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso’s work was shown in a 1925 retrospective in France which was well received by both critics and the public. Ten years later, the Souza-Cardoso Prize was established in Portugal to distinguish modern painters. Amadeo’s work remained relatively unknown until 1952, when a exhibition of his work in Portugal regained the public’s attention. Since then, only two retrospectives have been held, one in 1958 and one in 2016, both at the Grand Palais in Paris.

Tope Insert Image: Amadeo de Souza Cardoso, “The Hawks”, 1912, India Ink on Paper, 27 x 24.3 cm, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

Bottom Insert Image: Amadeo de Souza Cordoso, “Self Portrait”, 1913, Graphite on Paper, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

Carl Phillips: “How They Woke, Finally, in a Bed of Ferns”

Photographers Unknown, Twelve Men Seated

How they woke, finally, in a bed of ferns — horsetail ferns.
How they died singing. All night, meanwhile, as if somehow
the fox’s mouth that so much of this life has amounted to had
briefly unshut itself — and the moth that’s trapped there,
unharmed, gone free — a snow fell; the snow-filled street
seemed a toppled column, like the one in the mind called
doubt, or that other one,
                                              persuasion, the broken one, in three
clean pieces …Well, it’s morning, now. Out back, the bamboo
bows and stiffens. Thoughts in a wind. Thoughts like (but
nobody saying it): Nobody, I think, knows me better by
now than you do. Or like: The bamboo, bowing, stiffening,
seems like nothing so much as, in this light, competing forms
of betrayal that, given time, must surely cancel each other
out, close your eyes; patience; wait. Maybe less the foliage
than the promise of it. Less that shame exists, maybe, than that
the world keeps saying it does, know it, hold on tight to it, as if
the world were rumor, how every rumor
                                                                           rings true, lately.
When I’m ashamed, I make a point of reminding myself what
is shame but to have shown — to have let it show — that variety
of love that goes hand in hand with having wished to please
and, in pleasing, for a while belong. So shame can, like love, be
an eventual way through? There’s a minor chord sparrows make
with doves that’s not the usual business — it’s not sad at all, any of it:
this always waiting for what I’ve always waited for; this not being
able to assign to what’s missing some shape, a name; this body
neither antlered nor hooved — brave too, this body, unapologetic…

Carl Phillips, Blow It Back

Born in Everett, Washington in 1959, Carl Phillips is an American writer and poet. As a child of a military family, he moved frequently around the United States in his formative years until his family settled in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Phillips earned his Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University and Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Massachusetts. He continued his education at Boston University, where he earned a Master of Arts in Creative Writing.

Along with other black poets such as John Keene, Natasha Trethewey, and Major Jackson, Carl Phillips was a member of the Dark Room Collective. Founded after the funeral of James Baldwin in 1987, this collective began as an intergenerational reading series which hosted and cultivated the work of black poets of various aesthetic movements. Many of the current leading figures in the poetic movement had their beginnings with the Dark Room Collective.

Beginning as a teenager, Phillips wrote poetry until his entry into Harvard University on a scholarship, where he began to study Latin and Greek. It was not until 1990, while coming to terms with his gay identity, that he resumed his poetic writing. A classicist by training, Phillips often uses classical forms in his work and often references classical art, music, and literature. He received critical acclaim early in his career with the publication of his debut collection, “In the Blood”, which won the Samuel Morse Poetry Prize in 1992.

Carl Phillips’s second collection, “Cortège”, was nominated in 1995 for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Six years later, his collections, “Pastoral” in 2000 and “The Tether” in 2001, were both well received, with “Pastoral” winning the 2001 Lambda Literary Award for Best Poetry. Two of Phillips’s works, the 2009 “Speak Low” and the 2011 “Double Shadow”, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry, were finalists for the National Book Award.

In addition to over a dozen volumes of poetry, Carl Phillips has published works of criticism and translation. Two collections of essays, “Coin of the Realm: Essays on Life and the Art of Poetry” and “The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination”, were published by Graywolf Press in 2004 and 2014, respectively. Phillips’s translation of Sophocles’s “Philoctetes” was published in 2003 by the Oxford University Press.

Before teaching English at the university level, Phillips taught Latin at several high schools in Massachusetts. He is currently a Professor of English at Saint Louis’s Washington University, where he also teaches Creative Writing. Phillips was elected a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2006 and, since 2011, has served as a judge for the Yale Series of Younger Poets.

Carl Phillips’s honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Library of Congress. He is the recipient of the Academy of American Poets Fellowship, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Academy of American Poets Prize, and a Pushcart Prize, and he has been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Mati Gelman

Mati Gelman, “Joel”, Date Unknown, Trending Deities Series, Photograph, Computer Graphics

Born in Hungary, Mati Gelman is a commercial and fine art photographer who spent his early years living in Israel. Interested in the processes of nature and humans’ interaction with them, he initially pursued a vocation in the field of science and earned a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry from the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa and a Masters of Science in Chemistry from the Bar Han University in Tel Aviv. Upon moving to New York City in 2015, Gelman decided to enhance his self-taught photographic skills with technical courses at the International Center for Photography and the Pratt Institute, both located in Manhattan.

Gelman’s work aesthetic focuses on the connections between the forces of nature and the human body. His images explore the issues of human integration with nature, sexuality, and queerness; they are heavily influenced by legends and fairytales, which have had a lasting impact on human society. Gelman tends to create scenes which provoke an ominous sensation in order to induce a sense of the unknown. As human beings are pattern recognizers and often prescribe meaning to unaccustomed phenomena, the elements of Gelman’s works are intentionally left open to the viewers’ interpretations.

Mati Gelman creates stories and shapes his characters through both his imagination and his life experiences. His work is a blend of photography and computer graphics. Using a Sony a7R11 with a 24-70 lens, Gelman photographs his posed subjects and continues his work with Lightroom for minor adjustments and Photoshop for the basic effects. Gelman won the ViewPoint Gallery International Photography competition for his work entitled “Flight”, an image of a figure mid-air surrounded by billowing cloth in the light of a sunset. His “Entangled”, a figure seemingly suspended by strips of white cloth, won first place in the 2018 Chromatic Awards. Gelman has also won awards at the Annual Fine Art Photography Awards, FAPA, in 2019 and 2020.

Besides his fine art photography, Gelman has executed photo shoots for off-Broadway theater productions. He shot the promotional images for playwright and director Asher Gelman’s 2018 theater production, “Afterglow”, a character study which explored the dynamics of an open gay relationship involving three personality archetypes. Mati Gelman’s work also includes photo shoots for the following plays: “Diaspora”, “Safeword”, “Eco Village”, “Counting Sheep”, “We Are the Tigers”, and “Medusa”.

The title image “Joel” and the middle insert image, title unknown, are from Mati Gelman’s “Trending Deities” series which explores the parallels between ritual and worship in both religion and social media. Using both modern and traditional references throughout the series, Gelman’s work uses cinematic proportions as a reference to smartphone screens and, by multiplying the characters and placing them in ritualistic activities, depicts the virtual cult-like following that is adherent on social media platforms. The color palettes and compositions were inspired by Renaissance, Greco-Roman, and Medieval art.

The work of Mati Gelman can be found at the artist’s sites: https://www.matigelman.com and Instagram @matigelman .

Denis Dailleux

Photography by Denis Dailleux

Born in Angers, France in 1958, Denis Dailleux is a portraiture photographer who has been documenting life in Egypt for the past thirty years. His works, done in classical black and white as well as in subtle colors, equally capture Egypt’s famous residents and the anonymous subjects in the slums of Cairo with the same passion and the same distinctive sensitivity.

Dailleux has published a series of photographic books, all of which  portray the settings and people of Egypt, the city of Cairo, and his impressions of the 2011 January Revolution in Egypt. After the publishing of his 2008 “Fils de Roi: Portraits of Egypt”, Dailleux took an exploratory trip to Sub-Saharan Africa in search of new sources of inspiration. This expedition led to a portrait series on the village residents in the country of Ghana.

Denis Dailleux has been awarded several international prizes, including the 1997 Monographies Award, the 2000 World Press Photo Award in the portraits category, the 2000 City of Vevey Hasselblad Award in Switzerland, and the 2001 Fuji Film Award given at Biarritz’s Festival Terre d’Images. Dailleux’s series “Egypt, Mother and Son”, portraits of Egyptian bodybuilders with their mothers, won second prize at the 2014 World Press Photo Awards in the staged portraits category. 

A member of Agence VU, Denis Dailleux currently lives in Cairo, Egypt, where he works as a portrait photographer. His website is located at: https://www.denisdailleux.com/index.php?/

The images above contain photographs from several of Dailleux’s series: “Ghana” and “Egypt“; “Egypt, Mother and Son”,  and “Les Conducteurs de Tuk-Tuk du Cairo”.

John Giorno

 

Photographers Unknown, Thirteen Men Who Traveled Here

An unemployed
machinist
An unemployed machinist
who travelled
here
who travelled here
from Georgia
from Georgia 10 days ago
10 days ago
and could not find
a job
and could not find a job
walked
into a police station
walking into a police station
yesterday and said
yesterday
and said:

“I’m tired
of being scared
I’m tired of being scared.”

—John Giorno, An Unemployed Machinist, Balling Buddha, 1970

Born in New York City in December of 1936, John Giorno was a poet and performance artist. Raised in both Brooklyn and Roslyn Heights, Long Island, he graduated from New York’s Columbia University in 1958. In his early life, Giorno was a muse to and entered into romantic relationships with other artists, among them Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol, whom he met in 1963 during Warhol’s first solo exhibition at the Stable Gallery in New York City. Giorno starred in Warhol’s 1963 four-minute film entitled “John Washing” and also appeared in Warhol’s eight-hour 1964 silent film, “Sleep”, the plot of which entailed Giorno sleeping on camera.

Inspired by his associations with Rauschenberg, Warhol, and Jasper Johns, Giorno began to appropriate found textual imagery to his poetry. An example of this can be found in the1964 poem “The American Book of the Dead”. Portions of this poem were used in works contained in Giorno’s first full collection “Poems”, published in 1967. Later meetings with sound poet and performance artist Brion Gysin and writer William S. Burroughs led to Giorno applying cut-up and montage techniques to found texts, and, influenced by the work of Gysin, the recording of his first audio poem pieces.

Established as an active presence in New York’s art scene, John Giorno collaborated with Brion Gysin on “Subway Sound” in 1965, and with Robert Rauschenberg in 1966 on “Nine Evenings of Theater and Engineering”. From 1967 to 1969, John Giorno presented his “Electronic Sensory Poetry Environments”, a series produced in collaboration with synthesizer creator Robert Moog and other artists. These psychedelic happenings and poetry installations were shown at St. Marks Church in Manhattan. In 1965, Giorno founded Giorno Poetry Systems, a non-profit production company that connected new audiences to poetry by the use of new technologies, engaged in political organizing, and created new artworks.

Giorno organized the first Dial-A-Poem event in 1968 at the non-profit Architectural League of New York. This poetic event was repeated at the Museum of Modern Art from 1969 to 1970, and resulted in a series of long-playing records issued by Giorno Poetry Systems. Poets who participated in these events included Patti Smith, William Burroughs, Eldridge Cleaver, and Bobby Seale. John Giorno was unapologetic in his use of politically-charged and sexually salacious content; he used his work to draw attention to his own status as a gay man, police violence in America, and the countless deaths caused by the war in Vietnam.

In the late 1960s, John Giorno’s work evolved to include the appropriation of entire texts from newspapers, the development of double-column poems, montages of diverse and often radically different texts, and the extensive use of repetition both across and down the page.This use of repetitive words and phrases reproduced textually the echos and distortions which occurred in Giorno’s vocal performances. Several of these poems were included in his 1970 “Balling Buddha”.

After traveling to India in 1971 and meeting His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, Giorno became one of the early Western students of Tibetan Buddhism, a practice in which he participated for several decades. His early poetic works occasionally reflect Asian religious themes; but those after the 1970 collection, “Cancer in My Left Ball”, are a mixture of Buddhist and Western practices and poetic techniques seen through Giorno’s original interpretation. For instance in his 1970-72 poem “Guru Rinpoche”, Giorno mixed pop imagery with sacred sutras and portrayed gay eroticism as a form of spiritual devotion.

In 1972, John Giorno began releasing compilation records under the newly incorporated Giorno Poetry Systems media label. Presented through cassettes, long-playing records and compact discs, these audio works included new wave and punk music, and an assortment of vocal artists, musicians, and poets. Giorno Poetry Systems expanded in 1984 with the establishment of the AIDS Treatment Project, an emergency response to the impacts of the epidemic on artists’ lives. This project provided funds for artists living with AIDS through the early 2000s, when it was officially transformed into the Poets and Artists Fund.

Retired from performing in 2017, Giorno spent the last two years of his life in meditation, composing his poetry, and editing his memoir “Great Demon Kings”. John Giorno died of a heart attack at age eighty-two in October of 2019 at his home in Lower Manhattan. At the time of his death, he was married to Swiss-born Ugo Rondinone, a mixed-media artist known for his paintings and large-scale land-art sculptures.

Notes:
The john Giorno Foundation can be found at: https://www.giornofoundation.org/the-foundation
There are two interesting reads for those interested in John Giorno and his work. The first is an interview between journalist and essayist Marcus Boon and John Giorno, which is presented by Bomb Magazine, It can be found at: https://bombmagazine.org/articles/john-giorno-1/

The second is an article, written in 1994, by journalist and author Robert Coe and entitled “Becoming Buddha: John Giorno”. This more extensive biographical piece can be found at The Buddhist Review, Tricycle, located at: https://tricycle.org/magazine/becoming-buddha/

Oscar Santasusagna

The Artwork of Oscar Santasusagna

Born in Barcelona in 1973, Oscar Santasusagna is a self-taught Spanish artist who began drawing and painting at an early age. The style and techniques of his work have been influenced by the many artists he has studied, including illustrators and painters Andrew and Newell Conners Wyeth; narrative painter Hernan Bas, best known for his scenes of dandies and waifs; painter and draftsman David Hockney; and printmaker and landscape painter Winslow Homer, among others.

Santasusagna believes that a well-executed painting must make a connection with the viewer and produce an emotional response. His work is narrative in style, with each painting accompanied by  a poem or text that relays a personal message to the viewer. The source of these messages are derived from either a song heard, an image seen, or a personal  experience he has had. The subjects most often presented in Santasusagna’s work are the issues of loneliness, friendship, freedom and equality, homosexuality, and man’s relationship to the natural world.

Since 2015, Oscar Santasusagna has exhibited his paintings at many solo exhibitions throughout Spain. These include his 2015 exhibition “Desperta de la Realitat” and his 2016 “Apunts Dispersos” , both of which were held at Barcelona’s Galeria Moraima. In 2018, Santasusagna had a solo exhibition, entitled “Wanderlust”, at the Galeria Departure located in Barcelona and, in 2021, an exhibition in the United States,  entitled “Fables Keeper”, at the Contemporanco Art Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina.

Santasusagna has exhibited in several collective exhibitions, including  the 2015 Seleccio d’Artistes held at Galeria Escolà in Barcelona, the 2021 Una Mirada LGBTI+ exhibition held at the Taller Balam Gallery in Barcelona, and the 2021 Fundació Barcelona Olimpica, where he won third prize for his painting “Sempre hay un Comienso para cada Historia”. He  has also been finalist at the Sanvicens Painting Contest in Sitges, the Concurs FMPC held in Tarragona, and the annual Premium Painting Contest held in the city of Centelles.

Oscar Santasusagna collaborated with theater playwright Bill Lattanzi on his musical comedy production “Jenny Must Die”, which was premiered at the Providence, Rhode Island, Fringe Festival in 2020. He also painted the book cover illustration for “Projecto Wemen”, published by Madrid’s Editorial Silex in 2018. Santasusagna’s paintings on in many private collections in Spain, Belgium, Canada and the United States.

Top Insert Image: Oscar Santasusagna, “Ode for Tenderness”, 2015, Acrylic on Paper 

Oscar Santasusagna’s work can be found at his website located at https://www.santasusagna.com and at https://www.flickr.com/photos/santasusagna .

Peder Severin Krøyer

Peder Severin Krøyer, “Hunters of Skagen”, 1898, Oil on Canvas, 85 x 139 cm, Private Collection

Peder Severin Krøyer, “Italian Field Laborers, Abruzzo”, 1880, Oil on Canvas, 124.3 x 186 cm, Funen’s Art Museum, Odense, Denmark

Born in July of 1851 in Stavanger, Peder Severin Krøyer was one of the foremost Impressionist painters from Denmark. After moving to Copenhagen at a young age, he began studying painting at the Royal Danish Academy, under realist portrait painter Frederik Vermehren. Kreyer completed his studies in 1870. 

Krøyer had his first exhibition in 1871 at the Charlottenborg Palace, where he presented a portrait of his friend, painter Frans Schwartz. In 1873, he was awarded a gold medal for his work and also received a scholarship. Establishing a long-standing patronage, Danish art collector Heinrich Hirschsprung bought in 1874 the first of many paintings by Krøyer.

From 1877 to 1881, Peder Krøyer traveled throughout Europe where he studied, met artists and developed his skills at painting. Staying in Paris under the patronage of Hirschsprung, he studied under portrait and religious painter Léon Bonnat and exhibited his work in Denmark. Krøyer, during his stay in Paris, became acquainted with the works of the impressionists such as Edouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, Paul Cezanne, and Georges Seurat. Impressed with their work, he kept his palette light in tones and loosened his brushstroke. 

Returning to Denmark in 1882, Krøyer became associated with the Skagen artist colony, a group influenced by the French Impressionists. The colony’s artists placed an emphasis on the effects of light and open-air scenes of local life. Krøyer divided his time between Copenhagen, where he continued his portraiture work, and Skagan, where he painted the artist colony and local landscape.

Peder Krøyer encountered painter Marie Martha Triepcke on a trip to Paris in 1888. They married in July of 1889 at her parents’ residence in Germany. Settled with his wife in the Skagen colony, Krøyer executed his first major oil painting, the 1888 “Hip Hip Hurrah! Artists Party at Skagen”. Inspired by a gathering at painter Michael Ancher’s residence, the painting depicts men and women toasting with champagne amid lush trees; gentle sunlight is seen being cast upon the participants and their table.

A champion of plein air painting, Krøyer is best known for his carefree images of life in Skagen. He was fascinated with the depiction of light; his main study was the depiction of the “blue hour”, that point as the day becomes evening when the sky and sea merge in the same tone of blue. Examples of this light depiction are the 1892 “Summer Evening at Skagen” and the 1893 “Summer Evening on Skagen’s South Beach with Anna Ancher ad Marie Krøyer”. 

Over the last ten years of his life, Krøyer’s  eyesight gradually failed him until he was totally blind. He painted almost to the end, even executing masterpieces while half-blind. One of his last important large-scale works was the 1906 “Midsummer’s Eve Bonfire on Skagen Beach”, now in the Skagens Museum. After many visits to the hospital suffering from bouts of mental illness, Peder Severin Krøyer passed away in Skagen at the age of fifty-eight in November of 1909.

Peder Krøyer achieved many prestigious awards during his lifetime, including induction into the Legion of Honor in 1888. The largest collection of Krøyer’s work can be found in the Skagens Museum; other museum collections include the Danish National Gallery, the Frederiksborg Museum, the Musée d’Orsey in Paris, the Philadelphia Museum, and the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen.

Insert Images: Peder Severin Krøyer, “Self Portrait”, 1897, Oil on Panel, 40.9 x 31.6 cm, Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen, Denmark

Peder Severin Krøyer,, “The Artist’s House”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas

Photographer Unknown, “Peder Severin Krøyer:, Date Unknown

Küçük İskender: “You Should Have a Macedonian Name: Nicola”

Photographers Unknown, Parva Scaena (Brief Scenes): Photo Set Twenty-Four

you decerebrate the rose, don’t do this
verses, cannot find the poems they deserted
you become a humiliated evening
your hair wet to your waist
your eyes
turned away and fixed on a couple of cracked glasses
left on a claret, velvet coverlet
almost exploded. Soon to blow
before the storm
closely shielding your face, poor and lonely child
storyless, bashful and amicable
you should have a macedonian name: nicola
I sat on your balcony, drank Choπcko beer,
over the way were
grand men wounded by the earth
grand women are sleeping
grand women wounded on account of grand men
turned into tramps by grand men
a pen knife, holds its blade inside like a secret
the pen knife I put on the table on leaving
a perfect portrayal
if it were nicola what would appear
somehow, not far away
was a beautiful graveyard where songs are laid

Küçük İskender, Nicola, Ascaracus Journal of Gay Poetry, February 2016, Translation by Caroline Stockford

Born Derman İskender Över in Istanbul in May of 1964, Küçük İskender was a Turkish critic, actor, and one of Turkey’s few openly gay poets. He studied at Istanbul University’s Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine, where he left in his last year. İskender later studied for three years at the university’s Department of Sociology. After leaving, he pursued his passions: cinema, theater and poetry.

Starting from the 1980s, İskender published poems, essays, and criticisms in various literary magazines, including the National Young Art Magazine where they appeared under the name Alexander Över. His first poem, “Milliyet Genç Sanat (National Young Art)”, was published under the name İskender Över. His poetry began to be published professionally in 1985 when Adam Sanat Magazine accepted his work.

Küçük İskender was one of the top ten poets in Italy’s 2000 European Young Poets Competition, and in the same year, was awarded at the annual poetry, film, and photography competition held in honor of Turkish poet Orhon Murat Ariburnu. Between 2001 and 2002, he was a speaker at poetry performances in Germany and the Netherlands, and at Berlin’s 2003 First Gay Turkish Congress. In 2004,  İskender lectured and read poetry at universities in New York and North Carolina; he also joined panels and workshops at various educational facilities in Turkey.

Reminiscent of the poems of García Lorca and Arthur Rimbaud in their urgency, İskender’s work is close to the clarity of expression found in the works of Spanish poet Luis Cernuda. His poems contain many sensual affirmations of gay life, but they also contain political and cultural commentaries. Many of his poems, written outside the traditional style of Turkish poetry, were polemic and abrasive in their language and spoke of injustice, the arrogance of those who plunder others, and intolerance in regard to sexual identity.

In additional to his poems and poetry collections, İskender wrote three novels: the 1998 “Flu’es”, “Cehenneme Gitmo Yöntemleri (Gitmo: Methods in Hell)” published in 1999, and the 2000 “Zatülcenp”. He also acted in two of director Mustafa Altioklar’s movies, the 1997 “Agir Roman” and the 2002 “O Simdi Asker”. 

Küçük İskender was diagnosed with cancer in June of 2018. His last year was spent in the intensive care unit of the state hospital in Istanbul. He died on July 2nd in 2019 and is buried in Zincirlikuyu Cemetery in Istanbul.

Hector de Gregorio

Paintings by Hector de Gregorio

Born in Valencia, Hector de Gregorio is a Spanish painter and digital artist. He had his foundational fine art taining at Camberwell Art College in London. Between 2004 and 2007, De Gregorio studied Fine Art at London’s Central Saint Martin’s, where he earned his BA in 2007. He later earned his MFA in Printmaking at the Royal College of Art in London in 2009. 

Hector de Gregorio was influenced in his formative years by his Catholic upbringing, which furthered his interests in devotional art from different religions, and by his mother, a dressmaker who taught him the skills of design and tailoring. He was also interested in European art: the sensuality of Filippo Lippi’s figures, the realism and dramatic lighting of Caravaggio’s work, the religious narrative works of Hieronymus Bosch, and the surrealist work of  Salvador Dali. All these elements combine to give de Gregorio’s work, although contemporary in appearance,  a familiar medieval atmosphere with overtones of a mythological or religious nature.

De Gregorio’s work is both meticulous and labor intensive. Each image entails extensive costume design research, photographic shoots, digital imaging, and hand finishing of the final image. De Gregorio begins by photographing his friends, dressed in personally made elaborate costumes, at his studio. Taking a number of photos from the shoot, he fashions a collage that distorts the perspective of the image. To these images, de Gregorio digitally adds elements such as colored backdrops, Latin phrases, and other motifs with either mythical or religious references. This finished product is printed on either canvas or fine art paper, and overlaid with waxes, oil paints, gold leaf and varnish.

Hector de Gregorio has exhibited widely, with exhibitions in London, Berlin, Milan, New York, Miami and Chicago.  In November 2009, he won the prestigious annual Young Masters Art Prize for his inspiring contemporary portraiture. In 2012 Hector de Gregorio exhibited his “Absinthes” in  “The Perfect Place to Grow”, an exhibition of work by the alumni of the Royal College of Art to celebrate its 175th anniversary.

Imre Szobotka

Imre Szobotka, “Fiatalkori Onarckép (Self Portrait as a Young Man)”, 1912-14, Oil on Canvas, 45.5 x 38.2 cm, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

Born in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary, in September of 1890, Imre Szobotka was a painter and engraver. Between 1905 and 1910, he studied at Budapest’s School of Design under painter Ignác Újváry. Szobotka traveled to Venice in 1908 for a study trip and traveled to Rome in 1909, this time accompanied by his friend Ervin Bossámyl. He relocated to Paris in 1911, where he lived at the residence of avant-garde sculptor and graphic artist József Csáky, one of the first Parisian sculptors to apply pictorial Cubism to his art.

Szobotka attended the 1911 Independent Salon in Paris, where he viewed the works of the Cubist painters. Inspired by their work and with the encouragement of his friend, the Cubist painter József Csáky, he enrolled at the La Palette School of Art in 1912, where he studied under Cubist painters Jean Metzinger and Henri Le Fauconnier. By the spring of 1913, Szobotka’s works, exhibited in the Independent Salon, were already noticed by the French critics, including writer and critic Guillaume Apollinaire. 

During World War I, Imre Szobotka was interned as a prisoner of war, starting in 1914 in Bretagne and later, at Saint Brieuc, France, until his release in 1919. The landscapes, still lifes, and portraits made in the internment period were experiments in cubism, symbolism, and orphism, a cubist offshoot that focused on abstraction and bright colors. These works, rare examples of Hungarian Cubism,  included his 1914 “Pipe Smoker”, the 1916 “Sailor”, and watercolor illustrations he produced for poet Paul Claude’s “Revelation”.

After his return to Paris in 1919, Szobotka’s paintings contained a more naturalistic expression. He exhibited this new work first in 1921 in Belvedere, a commune in the Vesubie Valley north of Nice, and, between 1929 and 1944, in shows at the Tamás Gallery, the Fränkel Salon, and the Mária Valéria Street gallery. The solid, defined construction of these landscape works by Szobotka insured him a place among the Nagybánya artists, whose work was focused on plain-air painting.

Imre Szobotka was a founding member of Képzőművészek Új Társasága, the New Society of Fine Artists, and presented his work in its exhibitions. For his 1929 “Mill in Nagybánya”, he won the landscape award presented by the Szinyei Society, an artistic association founded after painter and educator Pál Szinyei Merse’s death to promote new artists. Szobotka would later enter the “Mill in Nagybánya” at the 1938 Venice Biennial. In 1941, he won the Szinyei Society’s grand award for his exhibited work. 

From 1945 onward, Szobotka produced some graphic work; however, his main concentration was on his landscapes. He spent his last summers in the countryside near the village of Zsemmye where he painted pastoral landscapes. Szobotka became president of the painting division of the Fine and Applied Arts Alliance in 1952. For the body of his work, he received the Munkácsy Award in 1954 and the Socialis Work Order of Merit in 1960. Imre Szobotka died in March of 1961, at the age of seventy, in the city of Budapest.

Imre Szobotka’s “Self Portrait as a Young Man” is one of the key creations of his Parisian years. It shows his embrace of the elements of cubism, particularly the coloring and abstraction of its orphism branch. The main emphasis of the work is not the formal structure with its conventionally postured figure, but rather the way the light breaks its components into prisms of color. Szobotka emphasized his sense of light value and his translucent colorization to form a refined play of reflections, which cut the painting’s solid forms into colored shards.

Insert Images:

Imre Szobotka, “Sailor”, 1916, Oil on Canvas, 35 x 29 cm, Janus Pannonius Museum, Péca

Imre Szobotka, “Gathering Apples”, 1930, Oil on Canvas, 55 x 76 cm, Henman ottó Museum, Miskolc

Imre Sobotka, “Self Portrait”, 1912, Oil on Cardboard, 53 x 45 cm, Private Collection

Lucien Freud

Lucien Freud, “Rabbit on a Chair”, 1944, Pencil and Crayon on Paper, 48 x 31 cm, Private Collection

Born in Berlin in December of 1922, Lucien Michael Freud was a British painter and draftsman. He was the son of British architect Ernst L. Freud and the grandson of the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. Lucien Freud’s “Rabbit on a Chair”, a pencil and crayon drawing executed in 1944, is one of his most refined and charming early works. It is a good example of his fascination with nature and his ability to express tone, texture, and shape.

Due to his upbringing and studies at London’s Central School of Art, Freud was probably familiar with Jean-Baptiste-Saméon Chardin’s finely executed watercolor and gouache depictions of rabbits or hares. and Albrecht Dürer’s 1502 “Young Hare”, widely produced in the early twentieth-century as a print. Dürer gradually animated his hare’s body by the use of a dry, small paintbrush to slowly build up the hair. Freud’s rabbit is executed with clean lines outlining the body of the animal and small pencil marks which move and curtl in the various directions of real fur.

Every fine detail of the rabbit, from its black whiskers and white tail to its mottled, golden-brown pelt, is a testament to Lucien Freud’s skilled draftsmanship. He used equal care in the execution of the rabbit’s resting place, a cane chair with its broken cane fronds and fallen shadows. Completed in two tones of mustard yellow and brown, the chair seat makes a geometrical and patterned backdrop for the rabbit. The seat’s vertical and horizontal lines fix the rabbit in place and draw the viewers’ eyes to the center of the picture plane. This use of background pattern also appears in Freud’s 1987 “Blonde Girl on a Bed”, in which the figure is depicted resting on a patterned bedspread.

Note: A short biography on the life and art of Lucien Freud, which included an image of his 1967-1968 “Two Men”, was published on this site in October of 2020. 

Insert Image: Clifford Coffin, “Lucien Freud”, March 1947 Studio Shoot, Silver Gelatin Print, Vogue Online September 2019

Felice Casorati

The Paintings of Felice Casorati

Born in December of 1883 in Novara, Felice Casorati was an Italian artist known for his sculptures and paintings, which were rendered from unusual perspectives and often featured obscure symbols. He spent his formative years in the northeastern city of Padua where he developed an interest in literature and music. Casorati studied law at the University of Padua, graduating in 1906, and frequented the atelier of  painter and sculptor Giovanni Viannello.  

Casorati began painting in 1902; his earliest paintings were influenced by the symbolism of the Vienna Secession, a movement, closely related to Art Nouveau, which sought to unite all the disciplines of art into one movement. These early works of Casorati were exhibited at the 1907 Venice Biennale. Casorati’s adherence to symbolist ideals was reinforced after meeting and seeing the work of Austrian painter Gustav Klimt, one of the founders of the Vienna Secession, at the 1910 Vienna Biennale. 

Felice Casorati spent the years between 1908 and 1911 in Naples, where he often visited the Museo di Capodimonte and viewed the work of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, the Dutch Renaissance painter whom he particularly admired. Casorati relocated to Verona in 1911, where, along with poet and engraver Umberto Zerbinati and painter and graphic artist Pino Tedeschi, he founded the periodical “La Via Lattea (The Milky Way)”, for which he executed several symbolist woodcuts. For a brief period between 1914 and 1915, he abandoned his secessionist style and made expressionist woodcuts in the manner of Tuscan artists, such as Lorenzo Viani and Moses Levy.

Casorati’s first solo exhibition of his symbolist-influenced work was at the 1915 Secession III show held in Rome. Before being drafted into the Italian Army in 1915, he also executed his first sculptures in varnished terra cotta, a medium also favored by his friend, the sculptor Arturo Martini. After the end of World War I, Casorati settled at Turin in 1918 and became a prominent figure in the intellectual and artistic circles, including the conservative Return to Order movement which called for the rejection of the avant-garde in favor of a more traditionalist approach. 

In Turin, Felice Casorati established friendships with composer and pianist Alfredo Casella and with the anti-fascist, political activist Piero Gobetti, who founded in February of 1922 the weekly magazine “De Rivoluzione Liberale”. Casorati supported the magazine and Gobetti , in return, championed Casorati’s work in Marxist writer and journalist Antonio Gramsci’s weekly newspaper, the “Ordine Nuovo”. Due to his radical associations, Casorati was arrested with an anti-Fascist group by the authorities for a brief period in 1923 and, subsequently, avoided antagonizing the regime.

The work Casorati produced in the 1920s was radically different from his pre-war work, which he now considered to be immature. The figures in his new work were solidly constructed and set securely in spaces organized by linear perspective theories established in the Italian Renaissance period of the fifteenth-century. Casorati was also influenced by Italian painter Andrea Mantegna’s work with its dramatically foreshortened figures, and the work of painter Piero della Francesca, known for his mathematical treatises and geometrically-composed paintings. 

In 1922, Felice Casorati painted what is considered his most famous work “Silvana Cenni”, a portrait inspired by the work of Piero della Francesca, which features a stern woman in a seated, symmetrical,  frontal view positioned in front of an open window. This tempera work on canvas, composed of carefully rendered volumes, became an iconic portrait of the traditional and period art of Italy which is now known as Magical Realism. 

Beginning in 1923, Casotati opened his atelier to young art students in Turin, many of who would form Torino’s Group of Six, and emerging artists such as self-taught artist and writer Quinto Martini. He was also the co-founder of the Antonio Fontanesi Fine Arts Society, which organized exhibitions of both nineteenth-century and contemporary Italian and foreign art. Casorati was appointed a Professor of Interior Design in 1928 at Turin’s Accademia Albertina, a post he held until appointed as its Chair of Painting in 1941.  

Felice Casorati was commissioned by his patron, Turin industrialist Ricardo Gualino, to work with architect Alberto Sartoris on the Piccolo Teatro in Milan and other decorative works. Casorati also designed costumes and sets for Milan’s Teatro alla Scala and the Maggio Musicale, the annual arts festival in Florence. Once again working with Sartoris, he  designed a building for part of the Piedmontese Pavilion at the 1927 International Biennale in the city of Monza. Casorati  exhibited his work widely throughout Italy and won the First Prize at the 1939 Venice Biennale.

The majority of Casorati’s later paintings were done in a softer palette with  a more gentle perspective. He produced over one hundred-fifty prints in his lifetime, in which he experimented with a variety of techniques that incorporated slate, papyrus and terra cotta matrixes. The simplified mannequin-like figures, which featured in Casorati’s prints of the late 1920s, remained in his etchings, linocuts, and lithographs for the length of his career.

Felice Casorati passed away on March 1, 1963. Most of his important works are in Italian private and public collections, including Trieste’s Modern Art Revoltella Museum and  Rome’s National Gallery of Modern Art. Museums holding Casorati’s art in their collections include the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Musrum of Fine Arts in Boston, among others.

 

Enrique Toribio

Enrique Toribio, Red Series, Limited Edition Series, Model Unknown

Enrique Toribio is a Spanish photographer who currently lives and works in Madrid. He studied Design at Madrid’s School of Arts and Crafts and later earned a degree in Industrial Pattern Design. Since the mid-1980s, Toribio has been involved in couture costume design for theatrical productions of work by Chekhov, Ibsen, and Tennessee Williams. He has also designed costumes for cabaret and dance productions, both Spanish and classical. 

Beginning in 2003, Toribio has concentrated on his photography with an emphasis in figurative and portraiture work. Particularly interested in the aesthetic treatment of body and facial expressions and textures, he endeavors to recreate the appearance of mid-twentieth century photography with the use of digital technology.

Enrique Toribio has participated in several international photography exhibitions, including the Second Great LGBT Photo Show at Leslie & Lohman in New York City, and multiple exhibitions in Spain, including “ABRAZOS” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Conde Duque in Madrid. He has received recognition for his work at Argentina’s FotoRevista competitions in both 2017 and 2018, and received Third Prize at FotoRevista in February of 2018. Toribio’s work has also appeared in several digital photographic magazines and has been included in Joris Buiks’ 2011 phtotographic anthology “Turnon: Tattos”, published by Bruno Gmunder.

Enrique Toribio’s photographic work is available through Saatchi Art: https://www.saatchiart.com/etoribio

The artist’s website is located at:  https://etoribio.com

 

Étienne-Jules Marey

Motion-Analyses by Étienne-Jules Marey

Born in March of 1830 in Beaune, Étienne-Jules Marey was a French scientist, physiologist, and chronophotographer. The results of his work were significant for the development of aviation, cardiology, laboratory photography, cinematography, and instruments for precise measurement.

Étienne-Jules Marey traveled to Paris in 1849 and enrolled at the Faculty of Medicine to study surgery and physiology. After qualifying as a doctor in 1859, he established a small Parisian laboratory in 1864 where he studied the circulation of blood in the human body. From these studies, Marey published the 1868 “Le Mouvement dans les Fonctions de la Vie”. This book discussed the importance of recording devices in biology, Marey’s graphic method, the origin of movement, muscle contractility and elasticity, artificial stimulations of movement, and descriptions of many medical recording devices.

Beginning in 1862, Marey perfected the first elements of his graph methodology, which studied movement using recording instruments and graphs. He succeeded in analyzing through diagrams the walk of man and a horse, and the flight of birds and insects. The published results of this work, the 1873 “La Machine Animals”, led Eadweard Muybridge and Leland Stanford to pursue their own photographic researches into animal movement. 

Although Étienne-Jules Marey admired the results of Muybridge’s work done at the Palo Alto studio, he was dissatisfied with the lack of precision in Muybridge’s bird movement images. Inspired by previous photographic work done by astronomer Jules Janssen, Marey, in 1882, perfected the ‘photographic gun’ with a revolving cylinder containing photographic plates that was capable of taking twelve exposures in one second. Using this instrument, he was able to shoot multiple images of a subject quickly from different angles. Later in the same year, Muray invented the chronophotographic fixed-plate camera which was equipped with a timed shutter. 

Unlike the motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge, who depicted movement as a series of discrete moments on separate, sequential negatives, Marey’s analyses of motion, captured by his chronophotographic camera, are characterized by multiple exposures on a single photographic glass plate. He made improvements to his invention in 1888 by replacing the glass plate with a long strip of sensitized paper. Marey’s first multiple-exposure “film” on paper, produced by moving the strip intermittently in the camera by an electromagnet at the speed of twenty images a second, was presented at the Academy des Science on October 29th in 1888. 

Two years later, Étienne-Jules Marey replaced the paper strip with a transparent celluloid film ninety millimeters wide with a length of one meter or more. A pressure-plate immobilized the film; a spring restarted the film when the pressure was released. All following cameras produced were based on the principles first applied by Marey: the intermittent movement of a sensitive film behind an objective lens  and the film’s static moments corresponding with the opening of the shutter. 

Between 1890 and 1900, assisted by inventor and photographer  Georges Demenÿ, and later by photographers Lucien Bull and Pierre Nogues, Marey made a large number of motion analysis filmstrips of high aesthetic and technical quality. These filmstrips were subsequently  processed and archived by the Cinématheque Francaise, the French non-profit film organization founded in 1936, and totaled over four- hundred original negatives, a collection which included the recording of a moving hand, self-portraits of Demenÿ and Marey, and the now-famous falling cat filmstrip, taken in 1894. 

In 1894, Étienne-Jules Marey published his collective research work under the title “Le Mouvement”. Towards the end of his life, he returned to studying the movement of more abstract forms. Marey’s  last great work was the observation and photography of smoke trails, partially funded by American astronomer and inventor Samuel Pierpont Langley under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institute. In 1901 Marey built a smoke machine with fifty-eight smoke trails; this machine became one of the first aerodynamic wind tunnels. 

The founding father of technical cinematic photography, Étienne-Jules Marey died on May 15th of 1904 in Paris. His research was continued by his assistants Lucien Bull and Pierre Nogues at the Marey Institute, built at the request of the International Society of Physiology by Marey to house a commission for the control of graphic instruments dedicated to physiology.  At this institute, Bull and Nogues made microscopic, X-Ray and high-speed analysis films.

Gabriel Morcillo Raya

The Paintings of Gabriel Morcillo Raya

Born in Granada, Spain, in February of 1887, Gabriel Morcillo Raya was a painter and teacher. His oeuvre is composed mainly of figurative works and landscapes influenced by Orientalism, a movement which was particularly influential in Spain, due to Spain’s exceedingly dense and complex  relations with Islamic culture.

Gabriel Raya initially studied painting under the tutorage of his aunt Paquita Raya. He later attended Granada’s School of Fine Arts, where he studied under landscape and genre painters Miguel Vico Hernández and José de Larrocha González. In 1907, Raya relocated in Madrid to continue his studies under Valencian painter and illustrator Cecilio Plá y Gallardo: however, due to financial reasons, he was impelled to return to his hometown of Granada. In 1910, Raya received a grant from the Granada Provincial Council which enabled him to travel back to Madrid for further studies. 

Raya exhibited his work during his years in Madrid and earned in 1912 an honorable mention for the work he presented at National Exhibition of Fine Arts. In the same year, he was appointed director of the Residence of Painters of the Alhambra. Two years later, Raya returned to Granada and, in 1918, was awarded a scholarship to the Academy of Painting in Rome, which he did not accept. His work began to challenge the pictorial content of the time with its more concrete detail and use of movement and color.

In 1925, Gabriel Raya became an academician of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Granada’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts at San Telmo. He accepted the position as Professor of Decorative Painting and Natural Figure in 1927 at Granada’s School of Arts and Crafts, where he influenced several generations of local artists, among whom was the painter José Guerrero whose later work  became known for its chromatic masses of color, and Miguel Pérez Aguilera, whose development of his own pictorial language played an important role in contemporary Spanish art.

Raya had his first exhibition of his orientalist works in 1944 in Granada and achieved great success at exhibitions held in Buenos Aires, New York City, and Venice, Italy. During the period from  1955 to 1960,  he traveled to Madrid to paint portraits of Francisco Franco and his wife, and Admiral Carrero Blanco and other members of Madrid’s high bourgeoisie. Raya received the Silver Medal of the Red Cross, a decoration for those people whose voluntary actions supported the Spanish Red Cross, and, in 1951, the Grand Cross of the Order of Alfonso X the Wise for merit in the field of culture. 

Gabriel Morcillo Raya passed away in Granada in December of 1973, at the age of eighty-five. Several of his works, including the 1916 “Dwarf El Puerto Real”, can be seen in the collection of Granada’s Museum of Fine Arts. 

Note: An interesting article on the orientalist movement is “Editorial: Spain and Orientalism” by Anna McSweeney and Claudia Hopkins which is located at Taylor & Francis Online:  https://doi.org/10.1080/17561310.2017.1316039

Insert Images: 

Gabriel Morcillo Raya, “Muchachos”, Initial Stucy, Date Unknown, Watercolor on Paper, 57 x 47 cm, Private Collection

Gabriel Morcillo Raya, “Self Portrait”, Date Unkonw, Oil on Canvas, Private Collection

Christoper Soden: “Dionysus”

Photographers Unknown, Dionysus

i am wielder of chaos
bearer of cozy poison
hidden son of jupiter
gestated from his thigh
supple strapping boy
follow the crooked
steps of spontaneous
capering i will soothe
your terrified gaze
summon frantic defiant
nymphs to slake
your thumping skull
with tender anarchy
my fierce priestesses
in robes of moonlight
diaphanous cobweb
will sing lilting implacable
spells to wreck
planets in their courses
wine and feral milk spouting
from tap of hyssop branch
i will swaddle you
in mother night caress
you with snake tongue
drizzle silky
secret language
of the rapacious
in your ear nudge
succulent fissure
yearning for arc
of scalding bliss
sap of brief
delectable death

Christopher Soden, Dionysus

Born in Texas, Christopher Soden is a poet, playwright, and a critic of film, literature and theater. He attended the Vermont College of Fine Arts where he received in January of 2005 his Masters of Fine Art in Poetry. Soden has taught classes on the craft and theory of poetry, English literature, and the process of publication; he currently teaches literature in the Continuing Education Program at the Dallas College Richland Campus.

Soden’s first full-length poetry collection, “Closer” was published by Rebel Satori Press in June of 2011. While realizing that one can get only so close to another being, the works in this collection, written mostly in free verse, display the persistent sense of longing that one has for another. Soden’s collection of confessional narratives present an honest look at same-gender sexuality, maleness, loss and regret, and the complexity of the human condition.

Christopher Soden’s “Queer Anarchy”, a collection of short plays, monologues and performance pieces, dealt with gay and lesbian life in America; it received the Best Stage Performance award from The Dallas Voice, the first newspaper to represent Dallas’ LBGTQ community. Two of his plays, “Water” and “A Christmas Wish” were staged at Dallas’ Bishop Arts Theater Center. Other plays written by Soden include “All That Glitters Ain’t Goldie”, “Lizards Need Love Too”, and “Space Cowboy, Aunt Velma and the Macaroon”.

Soden received a Full Fellowship to Lambda Literary’s Retreat for Emerging LBGT Voices. He is a member of the Distinguished Poets of Dallas, the Poetry Society of America’s Poetry in Motion Series, and is a Founding Member and President Emeritus of the Dallas Poets Community. Soden’s poetry has appeared in many print and online magazines, including G&L Review and Chelsea Station; he currently writes for the Dallas Art Beat, the Examiner.com, and the online theater review, sharpcritic.com.

“I remember the first time I heard Sylvia Plath’s ‘Lady Lazarus’ in a writer’s workshop I was taking. Our teacher, Jack, read it aloud, and I was unacquainted with Plath and her poetry. Didn’t even know she was dead. As anyone who knows the poem can tell you, it gathers steam and just continues to escalate by way of rage and audacity. Plath just keeps pushing and pushing until you think she couldn’t possibly go any further, and yet she does. By the time Jack finished with those three lines, ‘Herr God, Herr Lucifer, Beware. Beware. / Out of the ash I rise with my red hair, / and I eat men, like air,’ I could feel deep shudders traveling up my back. My scalp was ablaze. Until that moment I didn’t even know such poetry was possible. That was when I knew I wanted to be a poet.”

– Christopher Soden