Thursday, July 12, 2012

Art can be uplifting...

John Banovich is an artist, a painter. Here's an example of his work:
Colors...John Banovich

All of the images you will see in this post are from the 2012 Prix de West show which is held annually in Oklahoma City. John Banovich usually has some pieces there and ever since I discovered his work and his philosophy I've enjoyed both. He set up a foundation to promote and assist in conserving wild places and animals.

He writes: "Art can move, reveal, and inspire us to seek a deeper understanding of the world around us. It can paint a face on an issue, cause, region, or species."

One of our annual rituals is to attend the Prix de West art show and wander through the various pieces and experience reactions to the works presented. Invariably delight will occur, sometimes awe...sometimes disgust. It is always a provoking and mostly enjoyable journey and this year was no exception.

My wife is an artist, a skilled and excellent one. I have a painting of a buffalo that she did for me that hangs where it is often the last thing I see at night before I go to sleep. I love that painting. I can't create art like that...artists with talent do art and that excludes me.

What's art? One of my takes on what it is that it is one of the very very few things human animals do that brings a good thing to the world. Some visual works of art, some music...created by humans is simply exquisite...almost (not quite though) as beautiful as the planet Earth and the beings that live there.  And...the fact is many of the other animals do seem to enjoy and may even be moved by some of our music.

Art and some medicine and healing activities are about the only things that human animals are able to do that has brought a unique positive contribution to our world, at least it seems so to me. We've pretty much managed to distort any of our other abilities and behaviors and "creations" into nightmare destructo insanities that put anything, except maybe the aftermath of a severe virus, to shame. 

Because I actually like to think good things about human animals I always look forward to this annual art show...there are almost always some excellent and fun and enjoyable and powerful works there...and this year was no exception. My 2012 favorite:

Sioux...Dan Ostermiller
This sculpture is about 5 feet tall, almost 3 feet wide and is massive and absolutely demands that you smile. I don't often crave artworks...but if I had an extra $50,000 and all the other animals and the planet were safe and protected...I would have taken that bear representation home with me in a moment. It is a treat. My next most favorite piece looks as if it were living, glimmering liquid.
Ripple...Ross Matteson

The duck and the water are made from black Belgian marble. They looked as if you could stick your finger into they were some shimmering liquid with form. Stunning.

Those two pieces were worth the trip and the cost and the time. Everything else was simply a bonus...and there were many other enjoyable works from the artists. These for instance:


First is a painting of a couple of beautiful foxes, much of what made this painting so powerful was the way the artist used the paint to depict almost glowed.

El Pollo Loco

The rooster was a treat. Proud, brave and defiant...he was created by the same artist that did the bear sculpture.

Wild Iris

This painting of the iris was very evocative and eye-catching. The detailed renderings of the trees, branches and flowers were excellent and beautiful.

You can use this link to browse through photos of most of the whole art show. Just remember though that the photos in no way, shape or form convey the power or excellence of these works. You must be in the room with them to get the full effect...some are almost living and breathing. If you live in central Oklahoma go in person...if you live elsewhere find some venues where you can go experience some art. What little respect I have for our species is immeasurably bolstered by some of our artworks. Somehow, good and true art nourishes and enhances those who experience it.

Nourishing and enhancing (or at least not harming) our planet and all life requires that we live an ethical vegan lifestyle...but you already knew that.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Thanks for the morning smile :)

Have Gone Vegan said...

That duck is beautiful. And it looks like the exhibit was huge! Yes, art can be uplifting and positive indeed, but even that form of expression can be completely perverted.

Today in my local paper there was a piece on an "artist" who specializes in all things wildlife. One of the pieces he's created? A five foot tall shield made out of elephant hide -- because many of his clients are wealthy American hunters who go on safaris. The most depressing part though is that he has created a 'wild about art' program that he teaches in schools. Ugh. Depressed the hell out of me, so thanks for showcasing some real art here!

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting DEM and HGV.

DEM: You're welcome!

HGV: There's the rub re "art". I mentioned in my post that art can also be disgusting. I may write about that soon...there were a number of works at that show that were total downers. Art can enlighten but art can also obfuscate and lie. A two edges to the sword thing I suppose.

Bea Elliott said...

I can see why you're particularly taken with John Banovich - I watched the video documenting his dedication to understand the animals and their environment in order to truly capture the essence of "beast" and nature. And he certainly does!

Wow what a gifted individual --- And so generous with the earnings from his work. His Wildscapes Foundation should set an example for all of us on what amazing good one person can do.

On art? I know it should evoke emotion... Nothing worse than hearing someone say a painting has "pretty colors". Although I admire some works that disturb - Sue Coe as an example... But for refueling I much prefer images and textures that take me to a state where things "ought" to be.

I see the show had some incredibly talented artists... It is sad sometimes when such skill is used to capture less than ideal moments. (sigh)... And I see too the theme of that show were similar to the art shows in my area in that the culture, history and landscape are what is on exhibit. Nothing wrong with being proud of community and heritage...

Here in Florida (because I paint as well) we attend the art fairs and museums too. And as many cowboys, Indians, horses and eagles that were represented in Oklahoma - Here in my neck of the woods it's "cowmen", palm trees, beach sunsets and river/swamp landscapes. The latter being my subject of choice... Nice to create a place you can "escape" to.

But I sure had my favorites at Prix de West: Pushed to the Edge by Banovich had such drama! I felt like I could fly right along side the geese in Icing Up by Beecham. And the mastery of color contrast in his Secrets of the Vineyard plays like music to the eyes... The portraits by Harley Brown are haunting. Well - They are ALL so fine in different respects - What of any one of them in execution is there - Not to like?

The landscapes that almost look "like home" to me are Floating Gold and the plen air (?) by Andrew Peters --- Quiet inlets are often the safest to retreat to...

I absolutely loved seeing these inspired works! And I'm not sure anyone can say exactly what the purpose of art is - But it surely must be to renew one's spirit, even in the humble acceptance of our human "advantages" to create and appreciate art... The language of the soul. It is yet another way we can rise to the best within us... Hey! Compared to making art work --- Going vegan is easy! ;)

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Bea. I'm glad you enjoyed (some of) the work from the art's always pleasing to steer someone toward something they might enjoy.

I would have liked to have seen some Sue Coe works in the show...but then likely they would have been hauling off stroked out Okies in droves.