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Why we do this

this week my friend Linda Stillman shared a poem by Marge Piercy about making art, well, it's about writing but it goes for any art making I think. Here's a link but don't read it all now.

Piercy asks what is talent? What is genius? What is work? Why do we do it? Do we need recognition? Validation? Are you a writer only when you're published and well-reviewed? Can you call it work if you don't get paid? Her conclusion in the last verse begins;

"The real writer is the one who really writes...Work is its own cure. You have to like it better than being loved."

Piercy writes beautifully about work. Here's another one of her poems I like even better;

These thoughts about work, its applications and its rewards makes me think of two friends, artists who have spent their lives creating beautiful work and are now enjoying some well deserved recognition.

Barbara Rachko is the subject of a short film titled "Barbara Rachko; True Grit" which will be screening at the Montreal Women Film Festival and is an Official Selection of the Newport Beach Film Festival! As soon as it's available to see on line I'll let you know.

Barbara works in pastel on sandpaper; the depth of her colors and the texture is mesmerizing. Here is "Myth Meets Dream," from her Domestic Disturbances series--an encounter between hand puppets and Oaxacan folk art figures.

Barbara Rachko, Myth Meets Dream, pastel on sandpaper

Leigh Benhke's show, titledTime Travelers and Ghost Ships is currently on view at SVA Flatiron Project Space, 133/141 West 21st Street.

Leigh Benhke, Ghost Ship

Here's a bit of what she says about her work;

Most of the objects used in these paintings are from museums. For me, they are ‘time travelers,’ confronting an era unlike their own. They are part of a series with the working title ‘Your History Is Your Future’.”

Leigh Behnke, Ghost Ship

Beautiful and mysterious-you have to take a second and a third look. You really need to go see this work. It'll be there through September 14.

Two very different artists with formidable skills and impressive work ethic. Both create worlds of mystery and wonder that pull you in.

This week's issue of The NewYorker is all archival pieces about animals with this delightful cover by James Thurber.

New Yorker Cover, James Thurber

There's a wonderful memoir by Vladimir Nabokov about his passion for butterflies

with a quote about how a butterfly disguises itself to hide from predators;

"When a butterfly had to look like a leaf, not only were all the details of a leaf beautifully rendered but markings mimicking grub-bored holes were generously thrown in. Natural selection, in the Darwinian sense, could not explain the miraculous coincidence of imitative aspect and imitative behavior nor could one appeal to the theory of the struggle for life when a protective device was carried to a point of mimetic subtlety, exuberance and luxury far in excess of a predator's power of appreciation. I discovered in nature the non utilitarian delights that I sought in art. Both were a form of magic, both were a game of intricate enchantment and deception."

that's what I was trying to say about the work of Barbara Rachko and Leigh Behnke.

August 31, 2023

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