A few notes and comments:

From the web

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Norkae 1, mixed media on wood panel

My work is being featured on Design Squared, a visually stunning blog written by Barbara Ashfield and David Hansen. Located in San Francisco, Ashfield and Hansen are both designers who possess fine sensibilities, and I am honored to be covered by them.

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John the Baptist Preaching to a Levite and a Pharisee, 1506-11

My daughter Kellin, art historian by training, has guest posted on a smart and well crafted art history blog, The Art Daily with Lydia. She has written about Renaissance artist Rustici (in two parts), titled John the Baptist Preaching to a Levite and a Pharisee.

Part I and Part 2.

From print

From Karl Kirchwey’s New York Times review of Derek Walcott’s latest publication, White Egrets:

But the kinship with Eliot, for Walcott, extends beyond genre. In his essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent” (1919), Eliot opined that “the more perfect the artist, the more completely separate in him will be the man who suffers and the mind which creates.” Walcott has deliberately avoided the confessional path pioneered by his early friend and supporter Robert Lowell, choosing instead a post-Romantic voice, closely allied with landscape, in which the particulars of a life are incidental to a larger poetic vision, one in which the self is not the overt subject.

Refreshing thought, especially in our current era of overdone memoirs and unchecked confessional forays.

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From Peter Kramer’s review of Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, by Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee:

Hoarding has been linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder and its variants, and Irene, who displays contamination fears, probably meets criteria for O.C.D. But studies show that the genetics of hoarding differ from the genetics of obsessing. And while obsessionality is painful, Irene [a hoarder] finds enjoyment in acquiring and revisiting her holdings. It is this pleasure in objects…that distinguishes hoarding, in Frost and Steketee’s view. They suggest that hoarders may “inherit an intense perceptual sensitivity to visual details,” and speculate about “a special form of creativity and an appreciation for the aesthetics of everyday things.”

This upbeat account of hoarding’s basis has a humane ring: hoarders are discerning. But then, Irene can be indiscriminate, according every possession equal worth, whether it’s a newspaper clipping or a photograph of her daughter. Frost and Steketee are too thoughtful to give a simple account of what drives Irene. Possessions help her preserve her identity and relive past events. The objects make her feel safe and allow her to express caring. Newspaper clippings point outward, speaking to Irene of opportunities in the wider world. Irene is depressed; collecting promises relief. Irene displays perfectionism and indecisiveness, character traits that have been linked to hoarding. When there are so many motivations, no single one seems central.

I read this and had to wonder: So many artists, like me, have an “intense perceptual sensitivity to visual details”, with a “special form of creativity and an appreciation for the aesthetics of everyday things.” Is something keeping us tethered from crossing over into the zone of reality shows and shock value? I can only hope so.

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