Heavy Is the Root of Light

by Dana Delibovi

When I first saw Helen Frankenthaler’s painting Grey Fireworks, I saw it naively. I had no familiarity with Frankenthaler (1928–2011), her New York pedigree, or her devoted following. I did not know her reputation for unstudied hipness. I hadn’t even gone to see her retrospective on purpose. I just went to the Museum of Modern Art as I often did back then, in the midst of my own personal earthquake of 1989, the year it finally became clear that I could not feed my obsessions and expect to survive. Continue reading “Heavy Is the Root of Light”

After the Art – Issue 7 – March 2020

Welcome to After the Art’s seventh issue.

We hope you enjoy these four essays:

“Art in the Age of Amateur Reproduction” by Michael Sheehan

“This Little Map” by Deborah Goodman

“Pilgrims” by Martha Anne Toll

“Voicing the Choir” by Anna Smith

We’ve also started a Facebook page, which you can follow for posts about future issues as well as exhibits, articles, books, essays, and sites that might be of interest. Continue reading “After the Art – Issue 7 – March 2020”

Art in the Age of Amateur Reproduction

by Michael Sheehan

“It was like / a new knowledge of reality.”

– Wallace Stevens

 

A few ago I found myself more or less by accident sitting in the cinema-dark of the Byzantine Fresco Chapel of the Menil Collection looking at or meditating on the wall of repeated amateur portraits that is Francis Alys’ Fabiola Project, a massive wall of hundreds of amateur replicas of the same absent original, Jean Jacques Henner’s lost 1885 portrait of Saint Fabiola.

Continue reading “Art in the Age of Amateur Reproduction”

This Little Map

by Deborah Goodman

This little map, modest and spare, shows the small expanse of my hometown, Urbana, Illinois, as it was in 1869.  It was drawn by panoramic-map artist Albert Ruger, who helped develop this new form of cartography, producing maps of towns and cities in 22 states. Many of the street names in the Urbana birds-eye view remain the same today.

Continue reading “This Little Map”

After the Art – Issue 6 – December 2019

Welcome to After the Art’s sixth issue.

We hope you enjoy these four essays:

“Eyes Set Far Apart or Close: The Art of William Sulit, the Language of Carolyn Forché” by Beth Kephart

“Edward Hopper and the Tourist From Syracuse” by Gregory Luce

“Mysteries of the Horizon” by Kimmo Rosenthal

“Beneath the Surface / Cold Gleanings of Ice” by Nancy Geyer

We’ve also started a Facebook page, which you can follow for posts about future issues as well as exhibits, articles, books, essays, and sites that might be of interest. Continue reading “After the Art – Issue 6 – December 2019”

Eyes Set Far Apart or Close: The Art of William Sulit, the Language of Carolyn Forché

by Beth Kephart

It was the way he walked, then it was the way he moved his hand: over the buckled rectangles of Canson paper, beside the trays of color, in a room that smelled of linseed oil. I had followed him there, to the third floor of his West Philadelphia apartment, where the only window opened to the sound of a jumprope game and the smell of laundromat Tide.

We were young, but I didn’t know it. I thought that if I watched him paint, if I reckoned with his watercolors, his sketches, I could halve our differences—the making of the man traced through the making of his art. How his colors always seemed mixed with dust. How his solitary people struck me as infinitesimally lost. How the only exits from the mazes he painted were too small to admit passage. How the mood he beckoned with his brush was the atmosphere of elsewhere. Continue reading “Eyes Set Far Apart or Close: The Art of William Sulit, the Language of Carolyn Forché”

Edward Hopper and the Tourist from Syracuse

by Gregory Luce

A gas station at night, the only bright spot on a dark, lonely road. Bright red pumps, a fading red Pegasus, and a man at the pumps probably closing up for the night. It might well be the place where the used-car salesman stopped for a six-pack on the way home from the sales convention. Or possibly the station where two men, Al and Max, gassed up on their way to Summit to kill the Swede, Ole Anderson. Or where the tourist from Syracuse stopped in to ask about a place to stay for the night. Continue reading “Edward Hopper and the Tourist from Syracuse”

Mysteries of the Horizon

by Kimmo Rosenthal

“A true work of art in no way depends for its justification on its seeming connections with the place that many call the real world and that I call the visible world.” — Gerald Murnane, A Million Windows

 The above epigraph encapsulates much of the appeal of the paintings of René Magritte, which repeatedly call into question the accuracy and trustworthiness of our perceptions of the real world, while exploring the impact of our invisible world of the imagination on these perceptions. His famous “ceci n’est pas un pipe” painting was actually entitled The Treachery of Images. At first reckoning, the pairing of René Magritte and Gerald Murnane might seem incongruous, nonetheless their paths have intersected at a personal crossroads on what Murnane would likely call my most private of maps. Reading Murnane’s novel The Plains has helped me begin to understand and find meaning in Magritte’s painting The Mysteries of the Horizon (sometimes also known as The Masterpiece). Continue reading “Mysteries of the Horizon”

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