REINVENTING BEAUTY, Chapter 1 / Day 1 -- ROGER BROWN
I believe that Labor Day marks the end of summer and the beginning of the fall season, which then slips so easily into Thanksgiving, then Christmas and presto, the year is over. I had all intentions of relaxing a bit and doing some interviews on the theme of Super-Cool Americans; sadly work during the last two weeks of August prevented me from completing the series and so I decided to entertain all the devout blog readers with a selection of un-posted visual treats that I have compiled under the title—Reinventing Beauty, Chapter 1. I do hope that you will enjoy these lovelies as you return to work, and dig in for an uninterrupted five-week stretch until the Columbus Day break.
The daily drive to Annapolis over the last week and a half was less stressful than I had previously anticipated. Perhaps the smooth and ease of the 45 minute ride crossing from Virginia via the Wilson Bridge and out Rt 50 to Exit 22 can be attributed to a reduced work force because of the summer vacation and thus less traffic on the roads; or perhaps the completion of the bridge and auxiliary off-ramps have made the once hellish snarls and miles-long backups only a distant memory.
Easing into the right-hand lanes of 95 just past Oxon Hill, the vista opens and one could see the Potomac River stretching between the banks, numerous boats and barges almost toy-like, and far in the distance due eastward, the shapes of buildings and trees and the Monument. What I enjoy most of all each evening, as I approach the last dip on the highway and cruise down towards the bridge, is looking ahead at the shape of the clouds that seem to hover beneath the gold-tinged sky and the shadowed contours of the landscape below. At times the clouds seem very wisplike, and I imagine cotton-candy unraveled and stretched thin; and some evenings they seem heavy, pouch-like, as if almost ready to drop and burst upon our heads. Mentally I compare the skies’ iconography to Georgia O’ Keefe’s famed paintings which show the unheeded vistas of New Mexico and endless skies; or the paintings of Chicago Imagist Roger Brown whose clouds play/puff/posture/pout with almost devilish delight across Technicolor skies.
I’ve always loved Brown’s work and today’s featured visual treat (entitled Yellow Hills, Gold Sky) is no exception. If all the clouds burst forth gold which rained down onto the yellow hills, would the abundance of gold--through some newly invented policy on the part of the ruling minority--then be rendered useless, of little or no fiscal value? Did Brown foresee a future in which drop by drop, ounce for ounce, water would become as precious, and as stringently controlled as gold bullion. I have had many moments of anxiety when I contemplate the current state of affairs in which the environment plays second fiddle to corporate interests, the scales of equality seem off-balance, and a state of inner peace gets more difficult to attain. Whether or not the prophecies of the Mayan priests will come to pass is not a pressing matter at this time; however I do believe that the skies seem much further away—from where I now stand. And I would like that to change.
Please enjoy today’s visual treat, and keep reaching for the sky.