Monday, September 24, 2012

In good company (and family)

Egon Schiele
"Woman Crouching"
In a post that appeared here in August 2005, I touched on my longtime love of Egon Schiele's paintings and drawings. I wrote,
"[In my teens, as] I learned more about the work of twentieth century art world luminaries, I came to love the paintings of Egon Schiele, Max Beckmann, and Francis Bacon. My attraction to these three artists should have come as no surprise, but it would be several years before I realized what these three painters share: a bold, graphic approach to contour and color. They are illustrators' painters every bit as much as they are painters' painters; their work points to the absurdity of the distinction."
I still adore Schiele's figures and landscapes. Although I no longer refer to him as my favorite artist, he remains a major figure in my pantheon.

Imagine my delight, then, when I discovered this morning that Alice Jones, a young artist in New Zealand, cites Schiele and me as her favorite artists in a video Q&A she posted to her blog. (Thanks for the nod, Alice! I'm thrilled that my pictures speak to you.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Platte Clove Residency: Encounter On Devil's Path

Devil's Path Trail; Catskills; NY; July 2012
I value solitude, but prefer not to hike alone. In the event of an injury, it's always better to have a companion. Moreover, since moving west, I've learned that even an ambitious mountain lion is unlikely to consider two or more humans fair game. Simply put, a duo or small group is afforded greater peace of mind. Sometimes, though, in order to take advantage of a window of opportunity, hiking solo is the only option.

Frankly, as I set out from the Platte Clove cabin on my first morning in the Catskills, safety concerns were far from my mind. I'm a confident hiker and I was excited to explore the 7.5-mile route I'd plotted the night before. My planning, though, had been cursory. I didn't realize that Wikipedia describesthe longest segment of my loop as "the toughest hiking trail in the Eastern United States." (In retrospect, I should have been clued in to the trail's difficulty by its name, Devil's Path.) I also shrugged off wildlife precautions. Though they may be the region's namesake, mountain lions were extirpated from the Catskills by the early 20th century; American black bears, however, are plentiful, and regional trail guides encourage hikers to wear bells and to talk at a normal volume so as to alert the animals of their presence. That's good advice, but amateur naturalists like myself shun bells and, when on trails, frown upon extended conversation. We don't go into the woods or up mountains for a constitutional. We go to see other animals, be they birds, porcupines, snakes, squirrels, or bears, and the less noise we make, the more creatures we're privileged to see.

Friday, September 07, 2012

WAH Center's "Wildlife in the Post-Natural Age"

Kimberly Witham
"Orange Glove"

Several of my 2008 and 2009 works are included in the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center's "Wildlife in the Post-Natural Age," a group exhibition curated by artist-curator Cara DeAngelis that features work by 20 artists.

From the exhibition press release:
"The show focuses on work that addresses the interplay between wildlife and our domesticated selves and spaces. It probes the persistence of wildlife in American culture and individual imagination through the work of a diverse group of city-based artists. The varied works evoke a reconsideration of the term ‘wild’ in what Gary Snyder has called a Post-Natural Age, and the role that artists are playing in exploring these issues."
"Wildlife in the Post-Natural Age" runs from September 7-28, 2012. More information can be found here.

Image credit: copyright, Kimberly Witham