Art Comment Quarterly
Our Wobbly World
Welcome to Art Comment Winter 04/05.
Our ArtVitae.com offices are located in splendid isolation in an abandoned and antique creamery building adjacent to a mountain stream - connected to the world via the miraculous conflict of cold copper wires and hot electricity. Every November the trout from the deep River Suir are attracted to the fresh sweet cold oxygenated water that courses down our little stream in increasing flows as Winter tries to reclaim and tidy the natural order of things. Spawning occurs and life is reborn in the thaw of Spring.
After a frenetic weekend at the Art Ireland Exhibition in the RDS in Dublin (more about that below), I take great solace in our happy idyllic location, and no more so than during this changing of the seasons. Winter, with Her gentle cold fingers, caresses and calms the bruised orange vestiges of an exhausted Autumn landscape. Much like the Symbolist Painters of the last century, I too am drawn, like those eager fish, peacefully and inextricably, as if to death itself, into Lady Winter's pure white bosom.
And to what do we owe our wonderful seasons? The answer is found in the simple fact that our little planet is eccentric. It wobbles. Unique among our neighbors in our solar system, Earth is titled on its axis. Therefore we have seasons and indeed the stir of life itself. This eccentricity sets the stage for the life engendering battles between Winter and Summer, Fire and Ice, Sun and Moon, Male and Female, Yin and Yang, Good and Evil, God and the Devil and on and on as we spin our humanistic and religious interpretations of our existence in infinite microscopic mirrors of our world's own eccentric spin. When we stop wobbling, when we stop reflecting, we stop living.
You readers, artists and art lovers - eccentrics all, are among the few of humanity who can stand back from your everyday selves and can appreciate this world in all its multitudinous variations with fresh vision and without prejudice. To you all I wish a happy and wondrous Winter celebration.
. . . your humble Editor
Art Ireland 2004
As in all trade fairs, exposure is the name of the game. From among the hundreds of exhibitors the name ArtVitae.com was represented and headlined brilliantly. ArtVitae.com received numerous reviews in the Irish press during our first experience as an exhibitor at the annual Art Ireland international art fair which took place in the Royal Dublin Society Hall in Dublin from November 19 to 21 of 2004. For a fine example, see our review in the Sunday Tribune. We were also reviewed by influential art critic Aidan Dunne in the Irish Times.
Pictures of ArtVitae.com Art Ireland:
Many thanks to the fair management, and the press, and all the artists involved in making our effort a success. We learned a lot from this year's experience, and hope to make next year's presentation even better.
'Poitín' and Snowmen
As I have started with a theme of Irish local colour, perhaps I can get away with another eccentric Irish Winter's tale contributed to me by composer and painter C. S. L. Parker.
"I'm looking at a Skull and Crossbones... chiseled out on a tomb stone in a cemetery North of the river Lea in County Cork. A stone warning for the Black Death - for the protection of spirits." says Stephen Parker.
Not far away in Croom, County Limerick, Dr. Niall Gregory based in Cashel, County Tipperary, was making a report on a medieval windmill site. The height of the windmill which ground corn... was by calculation determined to be.... 12.24m high with a radius of 6.8m. A staple ingredient of the local Irish 'fire water' called 'poitín' was and still is corn.
"I don't fancy being excavated by an Archeologist" says Stephen Parker ... as he recalls the local story of the concert pianist Franz Lizt whose only concert in Ireland took place in a room most likely in Anne's Street in Clonmel ,County Tipperary, during the 19th century. Even by coincidence... "It may have been the house where 19th century writer Anthony Trollop lived. He wrote the famous then soap "The Pallisers" which was eventually made into a BBC twenty five part series in the seventies.
Franz Lizt probably travelled on a Bianconi stagecoach to Dublin. Possibly stopping at New Inn or Cashel for a change of horses and refreshment. [Or most certainly he stopped next door to the old creamery mentioned in 'Our Wobbly World' above, as it was the staging post there that was used to change horses before the coaches made the steep climb up the Glen Road ('Glena Bothar' in Irish and later Anglicized into Glenbower, the present name of our little townsland) and over the mountains toward Dublin. - Editor] It is said the great genius of the pianoforte insisted on traveling all the way to Dublin on top of the stage coach sitting next to the driver. It was snowing hard that Winter's night. When he arrived hours later in Dublin he resembled a snowman.
I gave a recital of Lizt's work in St. John the Baptist's Cathedral Cashel in 1984. Seldom performed works of his that were his own arrangements of Christmas Carols. A grand piano was brought from Limerick for this concert. One of the Irish concert pianists then was Charles Lynch. He used this piano for relaxation. Charles was notorious as a "steady" pianist - he could smoke a cigarette without dropping the ash - whilst playing any major classical piano work.
So ghosts of Windmill handy men, and archeologists who excavate their past reveal more than just the colour of the earth for chemical analysis of toxicology. A good stiff drink for a frozen pianist among the Christmas Carols of Cashel is possibly the best answer to a fine Winter Blues."
From Mississippi . . .
"[Your Editor] writes well. He should consider becoming a novelist. His descriptions are quite good." - Jerry Rodriguez PhD
From New York . . .
A brief note of appreciation to say thanks for the invaluable and always thought-provoking arrival in my mailbox of ArtVitae. May you continue to thrive and prosper. - Theo Dorgan
[If any of you readers have art related stories or notes that they think might be of interest to our readers, please email them to us.]
From Adventures in Aesthetics with Cardinal Ratsael
As a closing note, let me remind you of a couple of 'thought-provoking' quotes from our occasional contributor, our very own Cardinal Ratsael -
"What notion do humans have that make the gods laugh out loud? - self-expression."
"Art holds nature up to a mirror."
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