Saturday, May 8, 2010

San Francisco Ballet, Romeo and Juliet

I took my best friend, Pedro Moreno, to the San Francisco Ballet again. This time, how lucky we were to see the Helgi Tomasson choreographed production, danced by Prima Ballerina Sarah Van Patten as Juliet, and Primo Ballerino Pierre-Francois Vilanoba, as Romeo. How thrilling to see the pair embodying the tragic lovers.
How gorgeous to revisit through exquisite dance, perhaps well-meant but nonetheless cruelly consequential and misguided parental skills, as danced by Mariellen Olson as Lady Montague, and Jeff lyons as Lord Montague.
How delicious to once again partake of Shakespeare's supreme psychological insight into the desructive meddling goodness of the perfectly beautifully danced parts of Nurse, and Friar Lawrence by Anita Paciotti, and Ricardo Bustamante, respectively. How horrifying to realize yet again the cruelty and ignorance of human existence through the barbaric testosteronic ego and body slaying antics of the supreme athletic grace in the dance of Damien smith as Tybalt, Pascal Molat as Mercutio, and sad to say, Romeo.

All, all, all, were as great as can be expected from a world-class ballet company, and much greater than that. Ask me if I am a fan of the ballet, and I shall tell you truthfully that as an artist, and the artist that I am, I am in a position to appreciate as much as any, all of the higher arts. I should have been partaking my entire life, but the cruelty of economics in this country prevented me from going as often as I most assuredly would have preferred. Ballet, Opera, Classical or any other musical form should not be only for the wealthy. Theater was intended by the greatest playwrights, including Shakespeare, for the masses. I rue the day when art museums began to charge for admission, and then to prohibitively increase those charges, year by year. Volunteering is an option, but competition for placement are fierce, and people must work to earn a living, so time is short.

I do know this. I was afforded much time my entire life to make art by the fact that I could rarely attend the art of others. I was rendered poverty-stricken by the fact that as a teacher of art I was very poorly paid, and the better jobs went from scarce to nearly non-existant. So work as an artist I did, long hard, rigorous hours. It's a bit different for me now, in so many ways; that is all subject for other blog entries, other times in the future.

Juliet is one of the Three Sisters of Hope and Fear, You may know her by her cap, and by the fact that her Shakespeare written words emerge from her youthful lips as jewels. She is created from found objects, fix-all, pigmented resin, texture gel, and vintage and antique jewelry. The assembled tiny hands in the panels behind her are cast from the hands of my five year old friend of several years ago, Heather Bui, daughter of Rebecca and Thai Bui.

Romeo and Juliet are in reality Adam and Eve, playing the roles for just this blog entry. They inhabit their 5 and a 1/2 X 4 foot canvas, swathed in their nakedness by acrylic and oil paints, various secret and hidden textural drama, and a fig-leaf (or two), symbol of repression (in this case), but more hopefully also symbolic of sharing, and fruitfulness (fruitility?). they are owned by Maureen Anglin.

Pyramus and Thisbe, owned by Barry Ress, are also stand-ins and early inspirations for Romeo and Juliet. They are created on the backs of wooden drawers, each 21"x 21" from tin, wood shavings, vintage can labels, and layer upon layer of acrylic I painted using dual tools of concentration and love, wielded from faith in my own universe.

The jewels in the black table I began to make in the tiny apartment I now inhabit, my studio being much smaller than in years past, and across town, an hour and a half away by bicycle, as opposed to the short trip downstairs that I made in the past to produce my work. They are comprised of Turquoise, Coral, various quartzes, aquamarine, garnet and other jewels fit for young Juliet.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Deep Green is Not the Same as Dark Green... Gushing Oil Blues

A prominent theologian recently wrote a book detailing the green movement as a religion, which he calls "dark green religion." Another who conflates ecology with religion because she grew up in a forest with a father who was both fundamentalist Christian and a forest ranger says that both fundamentalist Christianity and the Green Movement have in common a dearth of humor. She asks if anyone has ever heard of stand-up comedy performed by the proponent of either.

Well, I have also never heard of stand-up comedy about the Holocaust, slavery, child abuse, rape, or mass murder. I have not heard a whole lot of stand-up about war, which generally along with greed and the corrupt usurpation of land and power practiced by nearly all nations and peoples throughout history, is widely glorified and celebrated.

I am deeply green. This is not a religion for me, although I do hold life as sacred. I am aware every day of my duty toward preservation of the planet, including our atmosphere and our oceans. As such I do not drive. I happily walk, ride a bicycle and public transportation everywhere I go. I proudly state for all to hear that I have brought no child into this world to exponentially increase my carbon foot-print in perpetuity. I do not use heaters or air-conditioners, or excess electricity (I keep all plugged into power strips which I regularly turn off when not in use), and I use CFL bulbs. If I owned the place where I live I would go solar. I have not eaten meat, neither chicken or fish, for almost two thirds of my life. I get my Omega 3 fatty acids from Flax Seed Oil. I never fly in a plane.

I deeply mourn for the Gulf of Mexico off of four states, and who knows how much by the time this finally ends, who's coastlines and wetlands will be devastated by the gushing British Petroleum rig sunk more than a mile deep into the waters where perpetual oil bleeds from a major artery without end until it is capped (???), or until our earth is a suffocated, poisoned, dried up little wrinkled raison of a planet forever doomed by threat from nuclear annihilation from the dual catastrophic hazard of both weaponry and energy.

Originally the piece photographed and presented here was made in compassion for the child victims of the Catholic Church. It is part of an installation presented at ProArts Gallery in Oakland, California in which I exhibited over two hundred artworks detailing my feelings about human on human cruelty, called Insomnia (Awakening). It is now time for humanity to awaken from it's long slumber with dreams attending of money, lust, and power; there is still hope that we can save ourselves yet. I recommend knowing how you truly feel and allowing yourself to feel it, for starters. I am talking about deep greening of yourself.