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Susan Jane Walp

Matt Klos invited me to sit in on a group Zoom last week with Susan Jane Walp, hosted by Klos and Candice Hill, who teaches in the English Department at Anne Arundel Community College, where Matt teaches painting. Walp has a quiet, distinguished career, living in Vermont, studying Tibetan Buddhism and painting and doing little […]

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Lydia, oh Lydia

The ultimate tramp stamp. Amazing work from a young Polish artist, evoking both Bosch and Richter, with a cautionary twist to the allure it conveys.

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The famous little patch of yellow

I find it encouraging that the greatest philosopher and the greatest novelist of the 20th century agreed about some fundamental, crucial things, at about the same time, early in the century. It seems everyone else except maybe T.S. Eliot were heading in the opposite direction—Nietzsche a bit earlier, the modernists in art, Einstein in physics, […]

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Two girls at dusk

From Jim Mott, this little passage from a short story about a painter by Chekhov. It conveys to me, like many landscapes described by Proust in his novel, exactly why someone would develop a passion for landscape painting: Doomed by fate to permanent idleness, I did positively nothing. For hours together I would sit and […]

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Evelyn Waugh

From Brideshead Revisited: Restrained by this wariness I asked him nothing of himself, but told him, instead about my autumn and winter. I told him about my rooms in the Ile Saint-Louis and the art school, and how good the old teachers were and how bad the students. ‘They never go near the Louvre,’ I […]

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3D color field

I’ve been frustrated for years by my fruitless search for a catalog of Frank Stella’s work that gives the reader a comprehensive view of his gorgeous protractor series of minimalist abstractions in the 60s. I long to see the colors of those paintings reproduced as accurately as possible in a book, and especially in a […]

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Objectivity and the good

C.S. Lewis, from The Abolition of Man, a passage that serves as a commentary on post-modernism, before there was such a thing, and how all moral imperatives ultimately are based on values that are accepted as “given” rather than individually chosen or invented, or culturally determined. What’s good is ultimately good in and of itself […]

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Wit and beauty

Back when an office copier seemed to be something almost large enough to step into and drive, there was a gag familiar to most people who ever used a big Xerox machine. Someone would inevitably hop up onto it and moon its flashing light to duplicate their naked rear end. It was a trending gag […]

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Mediums: chicken feathers, nutshells and unfinished boats

From Cannery Row: Henri the painter was occupied, for Holman’s Department Store had employed not a flag-pole sitter but a flag-pole skater. On a tall mast on top of the store he had a little round platform and there he was on skates going around and around. He had been there three days and three […]

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BLM vs. MLK, spiritual art, apple fritters

Jim Mott came by this weekend for a conversation after a long absence, and we picked up more or less where we’d left off last time, talking partly about spirituality, art and God, BLM vs. MLK, his new art project, and some other things I ordinarily don’t talk about, like apple fritters. Though Jim is […]

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