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01 February 2017

Japanese Wabi Sabi Bowl with Arizona Lemon (+ World War I — The Quick. The Dead. The Artists.)

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Read about today's painting below. If you're interested, this is an art review by Holland Cotter in last month's New York Times:

"PHILADELPHIA — The idea lingers that art can be separated from politics. But it can’t. All art — high, low; illustrative, abstract — is embedded in specific political histories, and direct links, however obscured, are always there. Such links are the unswerving focus of “World War I and American Art” at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, a panoramic show that has the narrative flow of a documentary, and the suspenseful, off-kilter emotional texture of live drama.

World War I lasted roughly four years, from 1914 to 1918, with the United States joining the fray in 1917. The brevity of that engagement has led Americans to play down the war, but we shouldn’t. Although politicians at the time spun the conflict — which the public increasingly understood to be a murderous mistake — as the war that would end all wars, it did the opposite. It set the model for World War II, Vietnam, Iraq. And it departed from previous models of war only in ramping up their barbarities with modern technology." [Keep reading]

This is a wabi sabi wood-fired ash glazed bowl from Japan and a lemon generously sent to Philadelphia by my in-laws in Arizona. As part of my ongoing Paintings of Handmade Pottery series, wabi sabi is not easily described in words, but when I teach my workshops and private painting mentoring online, I often share my thoughts on handmade objects, and the spirit and gesture embedded in them. If you're interested, Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers by Leonard Koren is the seminal 1994 classic volume on the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. If you enjoy this painting, you may also like to see another wabi sabi bowl of mine from Patagonia, Arizona, and here's a 2013 post of mine about wabi sabi.

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