On Saturday we went to the first opening for at least 6 months. I was in decent shape and the show was a two person one of Natalie Charkow Hollander and Ruth Miller. They are both people in my age bracket. Ruth qualifies as a midwesterner, too. Not only does she come from Missouri, but she graduated from the college of Missouri U. which used to be where the Missouri school of mines was, more recently, in Rolla, a rural town which we know because I was posted to an army camp not far from their during the Korean war.
In the show, Natalie showed a group of carved reliefs. Ruth exhibited still lifes. They were not larger than earlier work of heres I have seen, nor were they more colorful, or much more brushy. But they were often marvelous, this time. All of her pictorial tricks seemed to be there for no other reason than to reach the objects and then pour them out in a wonderful flood of color so that we all became wonderfully wet with genius. No one got wet, just a manner of speaking. The virtuosity for the sake of the motif was really mind bending and a great pleasure for me. There really is no single thing to point to. Everything she tried, eventually [not on the first try] added up to part of a wonderful small world that was busting its boundaries. Natalie's work at the same level as the last time, was miraculous, too. But I have been seeing her miracles for many years, and won't push them harder. She really started the way everyone did, making drawings from Poussin and Claude and others, and learning how to paint and draw, and in her case, how to paint and draw figure groups.
Now, today we went to the Met and saw the Poussin show, and then the Courbet. The Poussin is far and away the largest Poussin show and the finest I have ever seen. It is all about his effort to produce poetry from invented landscapes with roles in them for the Greek Gods and heroes. It was awe inspiring and humbling. I am not even close enough to attempt the things he achieves. I think it is a good catalog to buy. And in paper not too dear. So many of his paintings were meant to celebrate a scene in twilight, or even darker. The light is part of his amazing crew of hard workers. It is hard to talk about, but I will get back to it, before I leave on Wednesday.
I will be going into the hospital for the most major operation I have ever had. My doctors hope, that after they will do it, I will have enough of all the various bodily fluids so they won't have to add any of them regularly. Then they hope that they can find out what else is really wrong and try to cure it. The alternatives were not wonderful. And I do believe I have some very good doctors. So I have to go along with them and let them do what they hope will bring me around.
Doctors are much like everyone else. They are bright and dumb, hard working and lazy, good hearted and crass. But the best ones, besides having good minds are caring and hard working. I think one of them is mad at me right now because I didn't [that is my body didn't] recover from the use of the chemo he had me take for two months. One of my others who used to call us his comic relief [most of his practice was HIV] has stopped doing that. He became a specialist in infectious disease in that short period when everyone was thinking we are about to lock away for good all of the worst such diseases, and we won't be dealing with death causing disease. And then came aids. Doctors, including him, hate to see patients die. They want to cure them, and subconsciously value themselves by how well they are doing that.
Yeah, so this is a major operation, and all of them think the danger is worth the potential for cure. So after Wednesday afternoon, I should be recuperating in the hospital while they all take their best chances at getting more information which will help in future.
But the last thing I want to talk to you about before is a little bit more about Poussin, and then a little about me, that is what I do as an artist and why. Everyone thinks he/she is special and not like any one else in how he/she/they think and how they work things out. Like everyone else I think that too. So I decided I would try to spell out what is different in how my head works in painting. I don't think I ever did that. Like most of us, when I have been writing I have been writing about others and wonderful things I see in art which are out there for all of us. This time, that is not what I want to do.