Three Bored Twosomes

September 2nd, 2017

.

 

.

 

.

 

.

 

 

On the Day of the Eclipse – Looking Down

August 21st, 2017

During the height of the solar eclipse this afternoon in Washington, DC, when the moon occluded 82% of the sun’s disc, a neighbor pointed out to me how strangely the sun’s remaining light was filtering through the foliage of the large Japanese maple tree in my front yard. Openings in the tree canopy were operating as pinhole projectors. The sidewalk became a canvas for dozens of elusive, feather-like crescent shapes. You sensed this was a strange visitation, one that would prove to be ephemeral.

(Click on photo to enlarge its details.)

.

.

.

.

This final photograph, taken after the eclipse had passed and after a brief rain shower, shows the normal appearance of sun on the same sidewalk.

.

.

A friend informed me that Billy Ray Cyrus posted on Twitter his photo of the same phenomenon.

The Tobacco Barns of Calvert County – No. 1

April 9th, 2017

If you travel the country roads of southern Maryland’s Calvert County, you are sure to come upon many tobacco barns. They are remnants of a once thriving tobacco-growing industry. While a few barns survive in good condition, most are falling victim to disrepair and the ruinous forces of nature.

I’m intrigued by these large wooden structures. There is beauty in them. Character, too. Large and simple in form, they command the landscape with a presence somehow both rustic and majestic.

From time-to-time I plan to post photos of favorite examples.

First up:  A tobacco barn located in northern Calvert County at the meeting of Vanous Road and Jewell Road, photographed April 8, 2017, shortly before sunset. The second photograph catches the rising moon, in its waxing gibbous phase, trying to touch the apex of the barn’s western facade.

Click on the photos to enlarge.

.

.

.

Dusk over Chesapeake Bay – Six Photos

January 6th, 2017

.

This is a series of photos of the water and atmosphere of Chesapeake Bay captured at dusk on December 27, 2016, at 4:42 PM.  Click each photo for a full-screen view.

.

Chesapeake Bay 12-27-2016

.

img_2165

.

img_2164

.

Chesapeake Bay, 12-27-2016

.

Thinking about “The Migration Series” by Jacob Lawrence at the Phillips Collection

January 6th, 2017

.

Jacob Lawrence’s “Migration Series” at the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, January 5, 2017.

.

.

.

The Phillips Collection, Washington DC, January 5, 2017 -- Discussing and thinking about Jacop Lawrence's "Migration Series"

.

Nature and Protest in America

November 13th, 2016

.

Washington DC, Glover-Archbold Park, Friday, November 11, 2016 at 2:42 and 2:46 pm.

Washington, DC, Glover-Archbold Park, Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at 2:42 p,.

Washington, DC, Glover-Archbold Park, 11/11/2016, 4:26 pm.

New York City, Fifth Ave. at 30th St., Saturday, November 12, 2016 at 2:16 pm.

NYC, Fifth Ave. at 30th St., 11/12/2016 at 2:16 pm,.

NYC, Fifth Ave. at 30th St., 11/12/2016 at 2:16 pm,.

NYC, Fifth Ave. at 30th St., 11/12/2016 at 2:16 pm,.

 

WONDER at the Renwick Gallery

September 5th, 2016

.

The reopening of the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC, was celebrated over a period of 8 months with an exhibition featuring the work of nine contemporary artists. Five women and four men created site-specific installations that occupied and transformed the museum’s refurbished gallery spaces. Visitors such as myself found themselves immersed in wonders indeed.

Official photographs of the event can seen at the online gallery, here.  To add to the record, below are scenes of three of the rooms that I captured during a visit in April.

[Note: Descriptions of the artists’ works quoted below are taken from the Renwick Gallery’s text found here.]

.

Maya Lin, Folding the Chesapeake (installation, 2015)

 
“Growing up in Ohio in the 1960s, Lin watched her father participate in the fledgling studio glass movement then gathering steam in nearby Toledo. The marbles used in this installation are the same industrial fiberglass product Henry Huan Lin and other glass-blowing pioneers experimented with then, which were soon abandoned by artists as technical knowledge matured. Folding the Chesapeake marks their first use by Maya Lin and a new chapter in her decades-long investigation of natural wonders. By shaping rivers, fields, canyons, and mountains within the museum, Lin shifts our attention to their outdoor counterparts, sharpening our focus on the need for their conservation.”

IMG_0150_2

.

IMG_0164

.

IMG_0170

.

Do you see Philadelphia?

IMG_0167_2

.

Gabriel Dawe, Plexus A1 (installation, 2015)

“Dawe’s architecturally scaled weavings are often mistaken for fleeting rays of light. It is an appropriate trick of the eye, as the artist was inspired to use thread in this fashion by memories of the skies above Mexico City and East Texas, his childhood and current homes, respectively. The material and vivid colors also recall the embroideries everywhere in production during Dawe’s upbringing.”

.

IMG_0191_2

.

IMG_0182_2

.

IMG_0180_2_2

.

Tara Donovan, Untitled , 2014, © Tara Donovan, courtesy of Pace Gallery

“Employing mundane materials such as toothpicks, straws, Styrofoam cups, scotch tape, and index cards, Donovan gathers up the things we think we know, transforming the familiar into the unrecognizable through overwhelming accumulation. The resulting enigmatic landscapes force us to wonder just what it is we are looking at and how to respond. The mystery, and the potential for any material in her hands to capture it, prompts us to pay better attention to our surroundings, permitting the everyday to catch us up again.”

.

IMG_0199

.

IMG_0205

.

IMG_0203

.

What Man Says, What Nature Says

January 30th, 2016

.

Photos of Glover Park yesterday at dusk: a hand-printed sign guarding a shoveled-out parking space, and a sunset view from the edge of the park.

.

Hand-printed warning sign, guarding parking space cleared of snow

.

Sunset over Glover Park in Washington, DC, January 29, 2016 at 5:05 PM

.

More examples of parking-space “dibs” signs, made by city folks in DC and Philadelphia as they dug their way out of the blizzard of 2016, can be found here.

Signal From a Galaxy Far Away? Or Merely “Oil Film Interference”? You Decide.

December 23rd, 2015

.

The time: December 22, 2015, 10:48 am. The setting: Intersection of Pennsylvania Ave. and 18th Street NW, Washington, DC.

.

Intersection of Pennsylvania Ave. and 18th Street, NW, 12-22-2015, 10:48AM

.

In the wake of a light rain shower, two spots of colorful efflorescence appear on the surface of the asphalt.

.

Oil blooms on wet street

.

Are these not astronomical images, the one suggesting a spiral galaxy and the other an eclipsed star?

.

Oil stain on wet street

.

Oil stain on wet street

.

More about oil blooms on wet streets, here. The phenomenon–known in physics as oil film interference–is exhaustively explained here. Check out this brilliant Instagram shot of what looks like a furry jellyfish floating through space.

For a previous post of mine discussing another instance when mother nature displays her art on man’s concrete, click here.

Paintings from the defunct Corcoran Gallery of Art integrated into National Gallery of Art Collection

December 20th, 2015

.

Earlier this evening while visiting the National Gallery of Art I saw how smartly the museum has integrated a few of the thousands of American works of art it acquired last year from the defunct Corcoran Gallery of Art (founded 1869, dissolved 2014).

For example, the pinnacle of the Corcoran’s collection of Hudson River School paintings, Niagara (1857) by Frederick Edwin Church (1826-1900), has been given pride of place in this room at the National Gallery of Art — where it has become the painting people invariably stop to admire:

.

"Niagara" (1857) by Frederic Church, now at National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

.

"Niagara" by Frederick Church, now at National Gallery of Art

.

(For a memento of how the painting looked when it used to hang at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, click here.)

A strength of the Corcoran museum, and an element that in my personal experience over the years turned that institution into an enlightening museum of American history as well as a fine museum of American art, was its collection of genre paintings — depictions of everyday life in our nation. Here are four gems belonging to that category, newly huddled in a corner where they are adding vitality to visitors’ experience of the National Gallery of Art.

.

Four American genre paintings, Corcoran/NGA Collection: RIchard Norris Brooke, William Sidney Mount, Richard Caton Woodville, Frank Blackwell Mayer

.

The large canvas on the left is a picture I made certain to pay my respects to on dozens of visits (starting in the 1970s) to its former home. Titled A Pastoral Visit, it was painted in 1881 by Richard Norris Brooke (1847-1920). A powerful narrative executed with controlled sentimentality, the painting succeeds in a way that Norman Rockwell — our most beloved genre artist — all too often does not.

On the right side of the photo, the three other paintings that came to the NGA from the Corcoran share Brooke’s ambition and achievement. But these are scenes of more modest scale, with a tone unique to each artist. From left to right: The Tough Story–Scene in a Country Tavern (1837) by William Sidney Mount (1807-1868); Waiting for the Stage (1851) by Richard Caton Woodville (1825-1855); and Leisure and Labor (1858) by Frank Blackwell Mayer (1827-1899), an early political commentary conveyed via posture and dress (while beautifully composed and painted, too).

Now I look forward to the NGA hanging on its walls additional, equally bold works from the Corcoran trove. Two suggestions, if I may: The Longshoreman’s Noon (1879) by John George Brown, and Nearing the Issue at the Cockpit (1879) by Horace Bonham.

.