Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Personal U.S. Art History:

Then and Now

I started to do my review of January graphics, and instead, I found “Then and Now” in the oldest folder from this blog, January of 2008. It isn’t a graphic in my mind, and as a viewer it isn’t my favorite of the digital montages though I really like the intent of historical placement. It is an illustrative explication that ties my own and family history to that of the literature, art and politics of the United States. In order to do that, I included photographic references to members of my own family, like the photo of my grandmother with Laddie Boy. No, he was not an Airedale like President Warren G. Harding’s famous first White House pet, though my mother told many stories of her Airedale, "Lad" from the nineteen-teens (my own word), and twenties. I’ve often wondered if she didn’t purposefully tie these together with another famous Lad in her imagination - Albert Payson Terhune,’s Lad, a Dog - a complex memory, part real and part fiction, and an encomium to her childhood pet.

I put the great lesbian expatriate writer of the 1920’s, Gertrude Stein in the background of “Then and Now.” Equally for obvious reason, Walt Whitman, the great American poet stands behind my grandmother. In the most distant background is downtown Manhattan with an artists’ image of the completed(at the time barely begun) One World Trade Center. The cosmology (metaphysical symbolism) of the artwork also includes a splatter of red paint, a male torso with transparent 1920’s garb, a pointing hand, a flying eagle, a Boeing 727, a slaves “Manumission” certificate, a soldier with a semi-automatic weapon, a hand written Whitman manuscript, daisies and oblique lines of various colors that divide the space into several triangular and trapezoidal areas. Some of the lines cast shadows like the abstract illusionist art of the 1960’s to 1980’s. I leave it to the viewer to his/her own understanding of all these, as Post Modern and Metamodern theory pretty much do away with the artist's intent.

So, it would seem that I must review January graphics in my next entry.

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