Tuesday, April 3

Gotta' catch up a little...

Okay, success on the internet demands the 3 Fs: Fast, Frequent, and Fresh. Which is why I am unsuccessful on the internet. I've finished 100s of images which I've meant to, but have been to lazy to... post. And I'm content with all of them. What I won't show, I trash. Well, mostly. So maybe it's time to do a little catching up? So here's a painting I did of a Mityana, Uganda Girl Scout Brownie. And...

Here are a couple of street scenes. The first is the 15th century gothic cathedral of St. Martin in Bratislava, Slovakia. It was built to match the Bratislava Castle which looms almost directly above it. The church tower's built into the city's defensive wall. Slovakia's a smaller European nation that would undoubtedly be much larger today had they not been the first European nation to export its Jewish population of 57,000 people  to feed Hitler's ghastly "Final solution to the 'Jewish Problem'". Of course that Catholic Church continued its activities as the cattle cars were crammed with writhing masses of people. A guidebook pointed out that, "A small but significant neighbor of the cathedral is a monument to the national synagogue which stood next door for centuries until the Communist government demolished it around 1970". Uh-huh, the image looks spooky, right. Well so is this street's history.

The other image is a misty morning street corner in Toledo. Spain. Can you sense the history veiling the neighborhood?

Speaking of street scenes, well howzabout a watery street's scene? This one's along the Danube between Dornstein and Melk, Austria. These folks live next to a busy floating highway. You think they have wet basements?

Here's a Spanish finca growing Valencia oranges in Spain. Finca? Uh-huh, these are country homes, usually plantations or farms of some sort. Usually is a tad old fashioned way to describe fincas. Today in hispanic countries the country home of affluent people are frequently called fincas whether or not they grow or raise stuff or animals. Pretty rich?

And this street scene's from the middle of Vienna - yep - the Austrian Vienna :-) Sooner or later I'm going to post a passel of totally gorgeous Viennese scenes. My dear friend Andreas Mannesinger hosted me for an entire day in the Austrian capital. It was wunnerful. But this image could be from almost anywhere, huh? But this thing jiggled my imagination for some reason - probably the reflections in the rear view mirror... And the jiggling caused this semi-poem to tumble free:

Through back-eyes Truck
Watches history suck
Time through a tiny
Vanishing point.
Watching and holding speed constant
To average 60 seconds per minute
Is what Truck does.
But larky:
Sometimes Truck’ll
Stutter-foot momentum.
Or jerk at the wheels.
Causing things to:
First seem longer
Than it takes for
Right-guy to text
The gal who gave
Up her info.
Or when Truck
Gooses its gas how
Time shrinks shorter than
The hours before a life-test.
And when Truck jerks
At the wheels?
Its windows reflect a
History that’s swirled,
Snarled, and sqooshed
Together In clots and breaches.
Truck’s wondering though
What happens to
History if …
If even for an instant
The truck stops here?

Jeff & Gina Paglialonga are the owners of Teaming River Cruises. It was their riverboat that drove us through the epicenter of Europe (Amsterdam to Budapest)  during the summer of 2017. Jeff's personality's bigger than the kilometers his river boat travels. OTH the food on The Royal Crown - his company's flagship - is good enough to gobble. So? Why not, huh?

Okay - I'm neither fast, frequent, nor fresh - but it was a turtle who beat the rabbit, right?


Andreas Manessinger said...

They definitely have wet basements :)

High water is no problem any more in Vienna, but many villages and even small cities along the Danube regularly suffer. The problem is, that the Danube collects all the water of a large area.

Rain from the Atlantic? Half of it will eventually run down the Rhine, the other half down the Danube.

Heavy clouds spiraling in from the Mediterranean across the Balcans and Hungary? If they make it to southern Germany, then we have high water in the Danube, flooding cities like Passau and smaller cities and villages like Krems and Dürnstein. If clouds don't make it to Germany and instead rain down on the Czech Republic, then the Danube is spared and northern Germany and Poland suffer. Happens every other year.

Cedric Canard said...

I dropped in only recently wondering if I'd somehow been missing your posts only to discover that things were just quiet at Image Fiction. Now I see why that was. Editing 100s of images would take some time indeed. I feel a little inadequate, having produced nothing myself in so long.

This is quite a set of images for this return post Ted. Your style is still one I do not tire of. In fact, in this day where so many images end up looking the same, your painterly images are fresh and uplifting to me.

My favourite, if I was forced to pick: The van with the van Goth-esque reflections in the windows. Makes me smile.

Ted said...

Thanks Andreas and Cedric. Well -much to think about here, let me close my eyes and charge up the dendrites....

First the floods. It sounds, Andreas, like central European governments should issue each river hamlet an arc. Gotta' admit that Europe's weather is, to me, the most foreign part of a continental visit.

Ireland's weather, for example, is characterized by what? Change? Caprice? Spain is a collection of micro zones - each with its own climate.. and yet by American standards (and I include South America here), each of Europe’s zones seem so close to one another. Of course that has to do with the rugged topology of their place as well as the fact that Iberians live on a finger poking way into the North Sea - well, semi North.

But I thought if you got well enough away from the coast that there'd be some civility from weather gods. No wonder that the continent's nations have short fuses. Hmmmm… does tribal pique over the uncertainty from each moment's sky build-in some sort of European irritant? Does it make neighbors short-fused?

Hey, just kidding. But Europe presents a kind of weather-shock to us. Yeah, the Americas have tornados in some places, hurricanes, blizzards, floods, and plasti-wrap-chocking humidity in others. But each of those places are segregated by large distances... Their weather is not capricious but contained so inhabitants can get used to what’s predictably coming next. Weather does not increase their life uncertainties so much as it contributes to the thickness of their skins.

The thing is that when Rita and I vacation from Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Hilton Head, South Carolina - well if we took a similar drive in Europe we'd pass through six or seven countries - each with its own languages, cultures - and it seems - micro climate.

And Cedric... those Goth-esque reflections were found in those windows. Uh-huh, as I used HDR tools to dig into the image's shadows... Voila There they were! It was the revelation that released the story arc.

See, I am a fan-boy for John Stewart Curry, Grant Wood, and Thomas Hart Benton the early 19th century American painters who art critic James Dennis has called, The Renegade Regionalists. It was apparent to my fantasies that those truck reflections were ripped from the legacy of Thomas Hart Benton.

These three guys (and their followers) imagined reality as hunks of colorful clay which they kneaded in 3D on a 2D surface.

"So". I wondered, "What did this truck, if it had any ounce of self-awareness, tell itself ... and what does it have to tell me - about its quirky interpretation of immediate past history"? The regional renegades had such an idiosyncratic voice which was lost as the avant garde darkened it away in dystopian gloom.

So’s this all fantasy? Uh-huh. But what artist isn’t triggered by fantasy? Even the most intense pictorialists have a POV. “So.” I sez to myself, “what if the truck was sensate? What would it make of the passing scene? Or better yet… what if it affected the passing scene?” Huh? Huh?

A last thought… The renegade regionalists brought a powerful sense of whimsy to the dark Nazi/Stalinist politics that disciplined their world-moment. And yet, they used that whimsy to make similar points so much more accessible than the jack-booted clichéed remnants of Art Deco that were simultaneously inebriating world art elites.

Cedric Canard said...

"What did this truck, if it had any ounce of self-awareness, tell itself ... and what does it have to tell me - about its quirky interpretation of immediate past history"?

Now there's a statement that almost got me fired up to restart Plop posts :) Has me thinking about the hard problem of consciousness and art being a pretty good workaround for it if not an outright answer.

Ted said...


Cedric Canard said...

Haha, I don't know if you're yanking my chain, or as we say here in Australia, taking the piss, but I might just write something about this problem of consciousness. It'll probably be raw but I'm confident you'll help me refine it.

See you on the other side.

By other side I mean Plop.

Or maybe I mean on the other side of sanity. Same thing really.