A Country Cried
THE RAIN, THE SEA, AND NINOY
She took everything she could carry when she left Japan
She didn’t know where she would find it
But she knew where she was going
On her way back to the islands
It had been a rich experience living in Japan
Lots of experiences
Too many to think about
She keeps flashing on the image of Junji
She said good bye
She had become very Japanese after four years
Living outside Kobe
In a small fishing village
She reached the islands
Came looking for a some brand new music
Something was out there
She could feel it drawing her there
This country and the people had become part of her
It was hot in Manila
Everyday it was hot
She was still living in Japan when he was killed
He was returning home
He was going to run for President
Democracy would return at long last
They really did believe in our democracy
The people embraced our values
They were thankful to us for saving them
She read about it one morning in Suma-ku
He was gunned down as he was leaving the plane
By some lone gunman
The gunman was seen in all the newspapers
Laying on the tarmac
Laying in the hot sun
For 12 hours
No one moved the body
But she knows that is not the truth
She was her way back to the island
He was walking down her dream path
When she saw him walking by
He walked on
She took her dreams
Down to sea
And she dove in to the water
Her skin turned to bronze
Her hair turned golden blond
But he walked on
She saw his silhouette
As he sat beside the cave
His flute carried his feelings on the wind
And as his eyes secretly watched her
She took off all her covering
And she dove down
Into the sea of dreams
The girls began to gather around the fire
But still he avoided her
Until they told him of her music
Then the pain began
She watched his defenses grow
But on that first night
After the moon was full
They walked on down along the sea
They both lacked the strength
To leave it alone
And in their hearts
They pledged to all the stars above
That the music was their way
Of turning all that love on
They dove down
Into the sea of dreams
She brought the music back to the city
A Country Cried
When Ninoy Died
He was just trying
To right what was wrong
Put his people back on track
To where they once belonged
To where they once belonged
But they wouldn’t accept the changes
So they quickly rearranged it
When they killed this man
They thought it would
Oh what a shame
Tell me brother
Who’s to blame?
A Country Cried
When Ninoy died
The recording was done in a studio in Manila
Upstairs the producer was meeting with the
Of the Supreme Court
To discuss the truth
Around Ninoy’s death
He would prove
That it was not Galman
Who shot Ninoy
But rather Galman
Had been killed the night before
In a refrigerated truck
Then he was thrown out
Onto the tarmac
Who killed Ninoy?
For 12 hours Galman lay there
After Ninoy’s death
To allow him
To thaw out
It was surreal
All of it
The song was banned on government radio
But they played it on opposition radio
She had to leave the country
She was passionate
About his death
About the people
About the fact that
We were about to send
In military aid
To Ninoy’s country
She came back to her country
Everybody looked at her
Like she had already died
No one wanted to listen
She heard they were going to try and defeat him
So many candidates running
It was a circus
And in the end
It was Ninoy’s wife
Who was elected
She left not of her own choice, but because it was the safer choice.
Following the movement of the people after Ninoy’s death, there was an effort by the govenrnment to frighten the people. Each individual or group of individuals that participated in this People Power Movement, was subject to their homes and businesses being burned down.
The oppressed rose up, fought back and won their country back.
The readings this week we raise the questions about the price of ART. About how we are schooled in art and how our creative content is marketed and we become embedded in the contemporary art market. How much is a painting worth? Who decides this? How do we as aspiring artists, who have committed to the higher education degree that will certify that we are professional artists, manage the art market? What connections do we need? Who are the collectors? And for those of us who are not partaking in the dance, where does that artist who creates for the sake of creation, fit into this market? Does art have meaning if it remains hidden from the rest of the world? And how is the market structured, who fuels the prices? An interesting story is the art of Kazuo Shirage.
The Art Market has rediscovered the work of the Japanese artist Kazuo Shiraga, pushing the market prices for his work from $300,000 in 2003 to over $1,000,000 in 2007, after a group of collectors visited Japan in the last few years (2005) and purchased every piece of art they could find on Shirage. His work is now sought after, due to the collectors and their desire to make their own purchases of his work more valuable.
Action Painting Jackson PollackJackson Pollack
The work of Kazuo Shiraga and Jackson Pollack are linked together by their common desire to incorporate the entire movement of the body in the work itself. Jackson Pollack’s style of painting,was referred to as ‘Action Painting’, Abstract Expressionism. When we study the work of both artists, we see a connection both in the methodology and execution of the paintings. The images of the back and white works, side by side, reflect the commonality of their work. Finding the books of the art and practice Kazuo Shiraga in Jackson Pollack’s studio, after his death, indicates that Pollack was interested, and perhaps very influenced by the style of the ‘Gutai’ artists in Japan. Shiraga was part of this group, and was also interested in the work of Jackson Pollack. “Gutai’ refers to the post-war art movement of abstract artists in the Osaka area, in the 1950’s. Inspired by the Japanese style of ‘Shodo’, a version of Japanese ink painting, using very large brushes, and using the art of meditation to ‘find’ the image in the blank paper, bith artists work intuitively. Working on the floor like Pollack, these paintings are very reminiscent of the work of Pollack. Shirage was sometimes suspended from ropes above his work, using only is feet to paint the image. These two artists, East and West, have a connection that I find very interesting.and each of them has seen a huge rise in the value of their work, after the deaths.
Truth or Fiction?
We encountered para fiction in many different practices in our readings. I begin to think about the idea of truth, fiction, deception, exaggeration, and the LIE. In thinking about these concepts in creative work, I am thinking about how to create something that is not quite either…but perhaps both.. with TRUTH embedded within the work…
The Art Institute of Chicago
“Woman and the Painted Spirit”
An Exhibition of Women Painters 1910-2010
100 Years of Art
Patricia Rain Gianneschi
Hilma af Klint
Art History Professor
The School of The Art Institute of Chicago
Thursday September 2, 2012
New Women’s Gallery Theater
Marion Mahony-Griffin Wing
We begin this evening’s lecture tour by looking at three women featured in this exhibition.
Why these women?
Each painter featured, in this exhibition, pioneered a life-style and a style of Art that was, either rejected, misunderstood or left unrecognized by the establishment of the so-called Art World, with the exception of O’Keeffe. Why?
This is what we will investigate this evening.
Perhaps the greatest dilemma we have is coming to terms with the forgotten artist, Marion Mahony-Griffin. Dying alone, in Cook County hospital, Marion was cremated and placed in an unmarked grave in Chicago.
Until the late 1900’s, Marion lay forgotten in Grace land cemetery, in Chicago. It was the work of a fellow artist in this exhibition, also a Chicago artist, Patricia Rain Gianneschi, that helped to establish Marion’s place in this museum as the genius behind the Prairie School Style of Architecture. Gianneschi brought to light her story, creating a performance Art piece that combined, ballet, drama, painting, historical research, and a bit of revelation, with the students of George B. Armstrong School of International Studies in Chicago’s Roger’s Park in 1999. The piece will be performed for the first time since the children’s performance, this evening as part of the opening of this newly built theater, honoring the artist, Marion Mahony-Griffin. This Performance Art piece, a two year collaboration between The Art Institute of Chicago, The Chicago Public Schools, The Chicago Conservation Center and The Polk Brothers Foundations was part of ‘The City In Art Project “ from 1999 – 2002, and was mainstreamed on the web site of The Art Institute in 2000. It remains there today, as one of the highlights of early technological advances in Museum Education at the turn of the new millennium, prior to the creation of the Art Institute’s New Modern Wing. I was the coordinator for that project. This piece featured one of the only surviving murals by Marion Mahony-Griffin. It is the feature painting of this exhibition. It was restored in 1998. It features a nest of blue heron, being fed by their mother with several woodland fairies assisting. In the second panel, we see the father heron “winging his way”, with more fish to feed his babes, while two water fairies assist him. Marion’s belief in fairies captivated Gianneschi and her young students, and it was through her research she discovered an unpublished manuscript here at the Burnham Library entitled “The Magic in America”. Here Marion described her mural at Armstrong,
“standing on a table in the hallway to paint it”, and her belief in fairies.
Gianneschi eventually wrote a children’s book, and some of these some of the paintings are featured in this exhibition. One painting in particular, created in the summer of 2002 at Ox-Bow in Saugatuck Michigan, where she was Artist In Residence, was used as the illustration for the page that told of the year of Marion’s birth, 1871, the year of the Great Chicago Fire. Instead of a cow, as the story goes, we see a horse, as the animal who “kicked the lantern and started the fire”. Upon closer examination, we see that the horse in the painting was inspired by the Mexican Muralist, Diego Rivera. It was after the painting was completed that she realized she had confused the story and remarked,
“It was the horse who kicked the cow, who kicked the lantern, that started the fire! We’ll tell a new story!”
The painting is full of images reminiscent of Kandinsky. Rain studied the writings and paintings of Wassily Kandinsky both as an undergraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, and as a graduate student at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His writings compliment the writings of Rudolf Steiner, and together these spiritual artists influenced the early development of her work. She is a spiritual painter with influences from Rudolf Steiner, and Arthur Dow, to Peter Voulkos and Hans Hoffman. Two of these influences we know O’Keeffe shared, Arthur Dow and Rudolf Steiner.
Marion Mahony-Griffin was a Theosophist, and a follower of Rudolf Steiner. Her architectural genius is evident in the work she did in Australia and India, illustrating their common belief in the spiritual aspect of architecture. The work that is included in the text, ‘THE GRIFFINS IN AUSTRALIA & INDIA”, by Turnball & Navaretti, documents her architectural genius. She did in fact, create the first modern architecture on the continent of Australia. Her renderings of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Architectural drawings, most of which have not been seen until this exhibition, are executed on silk. These beautiful renderings lead one to believe, that she too was aware of the teachings of Arthur Dow and his compositional exercises known as Notan, a concept in Japanese Art. Notan is a Japanese word that means, “dark, light”. It refers to the quantity of light reflected, or the massing of tones of different values. Notan beauty means the harmony resulting from the combination of dark and light spaces – whether colored or not – whether in buildings, in pictures or in nature. Certainly we can make a strong argument that Marion was aware of these concepts, and that after Frank Lloyd Wright visited Japan, these concepts influenced the development of The Prairie School Style of Architecture. We know today Marion is the second most important founding member of The Prairie School. The idea of enclosing sacred space, of being in harmony with nature, utilizing the elements of ‘Notan”, and a search for spiritual truth, are themes that are repeated in the work of all three artists in this exhibition of many, we have chosen to focus on this evening.
What was different about O’Keeffe that allowed her work to be seen and her success celebrated for most of her artistic life. Was there a struggle for O’Keeffe? Unlike Marion, O’Keeffe enjoyed success at an early age, and certainly was not forgotten. Was Alfred Steiglitz the reason for her success? Would O’Keeffe’s work be as well known had it not been for her association with the most important curator of early Modern Art? We can never know. What we do know is that she was fortunate to have the luxury of a rich artistic career, with the time and money to focus on the development of her artistic philosophies. She had no children, but did teach in her early career. Marion Mahony-Griffin, like Gianneschi, spent her later years , after the death of her husband, in the nurturing and raising of children. Marion took her three orphaned grandnieces and nephews in, and raised them as her own, donating the materials documenting her career to the Art Institute of Chicago.
Patricia Rain Gianneschi, raised two adopted children and taught Art at the same school as Marion Mahony-Griffin’s sister taught art in the 1920’S, the home of “The Woodland Fairy Mural we looked at on this evening’s tour. Their choice to become the caretakers of children, certainly affected the time spent making art and the time spent developing philosophies of their Art. But both artists managed to develop strong platforms based on their mentors and the philosophies set down by the spiritual artist, Rudolf Steiner. O’Keeffe’s spirituality was enriched by her life in the high desert of New Mexico and the spiritual environment surrounding her in that Native-American landscape. Her love of polished bones and smooth rocks, which she collected and are still on display at her home in Abiqui, New Mexico, I feel, connect her to the spiritual beliefs in early Japanese Shinto. Gianneschi lived and worked in Japan for four years, and all three artists had a connection to the spirituality of Japan and the art-forms developed from eastern spiritual belief systems. We know that Gianneschi was influenced also by the work of Hilma af Klint, and the work of her teacher Alice Babers, wife of Paul Jenkins. She also studied with and was mentored by Peter Voulkos at University of California Berkeley, where she earned her first degree in Art. Her connection to Judy Chicago was during her studies at UC Berkeley where she Judy at the opening of “The Dinner Party” in San Francico in the mid-1970’s. The influence of Klint, led her to investigate many of the symbolist painters and the era of the Spiritualists in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s in America and around the world.
These women painters were responding to their environments and the influences of modernity and the spirituality of the times.
Alice Babers “Through Sleep to Orange”
Hilma af Klint (October 26, 1862-October 21, 1944) was a Swedish artist and mystic whose paintings were
amongst the first abstract art. These were painted 1902-1907
“The Dinner Party”
One of the most, if not the most, important creative work done on the history of women.
In the 1970’s Chicago was part of the founding of “Woman House” in L.A.
She was at the forefront of the Women’s Movement.
“I & I”
RECORDED APRIL 2015
My work is a desire to bring the viewer into a space where they become open to the forces of Imagination and Spirit. I believe Art can transform us, Art can awaken in us a new awareness, create new sensations, and even new revelations, through Color and Form. For me, the act of painting is an act of spiritual practice, because I enter the painting with body and mind, searching for the images as I wander through the Canvas.
In my effort to create an environment that would induce AWE in the viewer, and in myself, I have not yet abandoned the figure. In my desire to elicit a response from the viewer, I employ the basic compositional elements of narrative, in Abstraction, inviting the viewer to “take in” Color and Form, Creating a visual vocabulary, allowing the viewer to form their own narrative, and there by gaining an insight into my investigation of the Spiritual in Art.