On my walking journey through the alphabet I meet, Frank O’Hara (1926-1966) who I understand was as handsome as a marble statue. He wrote poems about tender everyday adventures; not the type to be shouted from the roof tops. O’Hara’s poetry is as casual as the conversations he might have as he strolled in the streets. One of his books was titled Lunch poems; not about food particularly more about his lunchtime walks from his workplace at the The Museum of Modern Art where he was a curator. Second Avenue and the collection of essays Standing Still and Walking in New York are also self explanatory works. It would seem that he addressed an absent lover or companion as he strolled the streets. He had a relationship with the artist Larry Rivers who said ‘It was the most extraordinary thing to walk with O’Hara’ and O’Hara wrote a poem called Walking with Larry Rivers. Walking was a very important part of his day it was a time to organise his thoughts and engage with his emotions. The city was the place where he was most comfortable, here could in his campy style celebrate the happy accidents and the inconsequential happenings. In his prose-poem Meditations in an emergency he says that ‘I cannot even enjoy a blade of grass unless I know there is a subway handy, or a record store or a some other sign that people do not totally regret life. It is important to affirm the least sincere, the clouds get enough attention as it is …’ The poem Walking to work ended ‘ … I am becoming the street. Who are you in love with? Me? Straight across the lights I cross. In another walking poem ‘… I am getting tired of not wearing underwear And then again I like it strolling along feeling the the wind blow softly on my genitals’ and goes on to ask ‘who dropped that empty carton of cracker jacks?’ before turning to the clouds, the bus, his destination and the ‘you’ to whom he speaks, Central Park. Image taken from Jacket Magazine with thanks http://jacketmagazine.com/16/ah-oha1.html
I have pretty much exhausted the ladies of the exhibition at Oxford Museum in 1979 the remaining few I am familiar with except for Shirley Mungapen (b. 1933) Of whom I know very little. I understand she studied painting and engraving at the Nottingham School of Art and Crafts and at Portsmouth College of Arts and Crafts she obtained the National Diploma of Design. Later, she worked in various hospitals as an art therapist. I like both these images and would like to see more.
This week’s challenge is easier for me as I practice the rule of 3 unconsciously; it is comforting for me. Although, it was not until I began to ‘study’ art and in particular photography that I realised I was so aware. It is neither a problem nor a delight it just happens if the result is pleasing then it must be simply OK!
Today is Saturday and I look forward to a busy long weekend! But first I look back to a relief printing class at a gallery here in Reading. It follows a recent drawing class and I was assured that I am no longer a beginner I would learn a lot and of course meet other printmakers which is always a good thing!
However, what I did fail to remember is that the gallery is cold; very cold. While I had learned tricks over the last few weeks to keep warm; talking, for instance with tea clasped in my hands is a good way and wearing layers of clothes too, neither conducive to getting work done, but as I mentioned before that isn’t always the reason for a lesson!
Unfortunately, the lino was not so obliging, so while I did my tricks to get warm, my work of art spent much time balanced on a radiator.
So the little piece (already flawed; the bike, I see is missing a vital piece of its structure ) that I began last week and hoped to take to Margate on Sunday may not get finished.
Life in Special Collections is always in a state of flux. We always have balls in the air, some days they do come down but not always as planned and in the same order. This is not a complaint; of course there is order and good practices, but sometimes little collections that happen by bring a lovely interlude.
Take the Charles Mozley Collection for instance it was part of the Printing Collection and also a gift from a previous librarian; and the result of an exhibition in the library that happened quite recently. Me, and colleague have been working away at the books with their fine illustrations and design for a few months and the collection is beginning to take a pleasing shape. Here are some images that took my eye.
From A Christmas carol by Charles Dickens ; illustrated by Charles Mozley.
At the back of the North Wind by George Macdonald ; with illustrations by Charles Mozley.
Building the evolution of an industry by P. Morton Shand ; with drawings by Charles Mozley.