Sunday, August 5, 2012

Art doesn't happen in a vacuum

post #97
      While I wait to hear about the visual X, Y and/or Zs seen in your life (email me, please, at, I have some catching-up bits of news to share.  I feel strongly that it is hard to be creative in a vacuum.  In addition to feedback from viewers and readers, artists and writers gain and give support to each other.  This seems particularly true for the statewide Kentucky arts community.  Their good news is also mine.
  • Photojournalist John Flavell, who has been answering my photo questions with patience for all of my fifteen years as a photographer, begins teaching journalism full-time at Morehead State University this month, while continuing his freelance photography work.  I have shared some of his photos on this blog, like here and also here.  Hello, lucky students!
  • George Ella Lyon, prolific hard worker that she is, had her most recent young adult novel, Holding on to Zoe, (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux) reviewed in a feature story July 29 in the Lexington Herald-Leader.  (See also her press release on her website.)  Even though George Ella and I are in the same monthly writing group, I had only read early parts of the book -- until last week when I got to hold on to my own copy and read its compelling words and heard its clear voice!  And here is a blog post correction added midweek:  George Ella's other recent release is a poetry collection from LSU (Louisiana State University Press) titled She Let Herself Go.  This book has been in the works for what feels like a long time, but now LSU let go of it!  (George Ella's picture book released last fall is Which Side Are You On?  The Story of a Song, illustrated by Christopher Cardinale (Cinco Puntos Press), a lively, unique (of course) story, and another gift to us all.)
  • Another prolific and hardworking writer is Kentucky icon Wendell Berry whose birthday today was noted by Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac online:
        ....[He's] the man who said, "Don't own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire." That's writer Wendell Berry, born in Henry County, Kentucky (1934), the son of a lawyer and tobacco farmer. His ancestors on both sides farmed the county for five generations. After going off to college and teaching creative writing in the Bronx for a couple of years, Berry joined that lineage, purchasing a 125-acre homestead near the birthplace of his parents, where he still farms and writes poetry, novels, and essays. From his outpost, Berry tackles the intersection of civic life and the natural world, writing that "essential wisdom accumulates in the community much as fertility builds in the land."
        ....Berry wrote: "The past is our definition. We may strive, with good reason, to escape it, or to escape what is bad in it, but we will escape it only by adding something better to it."
        And: "Every day do something that won't compute [...] Give your approval to all you cannot understand [...] Ask the questions which have no answers. Put your faith in two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years [...] Laugh. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts [...] Practice resurrection.

         Wendell encouraged many of us to write, photograph, and speak out about the terribly destructive practice of mountaintop removal mining.  He is a visionary.  I love his wonderful sense of humor as well and his kindness.  Each part of him makes for one generous soul.  

         Last, an upcoming arts opportunity that interests me, called NEW COUNTRY:

    •      The Claypool-Young Art Gallery at Morehead State University is seeking submissions of artwork for an exhibition titled New Country: Ruralism in Contemporary Art  to be on display from October 24 – November 20, 2012. 
    •       New Country: Ruralism in Contemporary Art is an exhibition featuring works of all media that reference and/or are inspired by current or historical ideas of rural life and the pastoral in American culture.  Artworks depicting real, imagined and symbolic images of the countryside have provided romantic, realistic, and critical views of rural culture throughout America’s art history.  Artists interested in submitting work for consideration are encouraged to creatively interpret issues or imagery related to rural life.
    •       August 17, 2012 is the postmark deadline to apply for the exhibition, which has no entry fee to submit.  All artists, age 18 and older, are eligible to enter New Country.  All media and styles will be considered.  No reproductions will be accepted.  All works must have been completed since 2007 and not previously shown in the Claypool-Young Art Gallery.   (Note: For additional information, find it here on the MSU website.)

    Surely this is enough info for one afternoon.  I want to end by posting a new photo of what our family calls the big waterfalls. I particularly like the leaf shadows on the rocks.  The light down in there can be such a problem, photographically speaking. As much as I would like to claim it, this photo was made by my son-in-law.  Bravo!

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