Saturday, December 18, 2021

Stendhal Meets Rossini / Who Crows for You?

Above Bantam, comic shadow caricature by British artist Charles Henry Bennett, Victorian illustrator.


Stendhal (Marie Henri Beyle), author of The Red and the Black, describing an incident in a visit to Italy in 1817—

We halted in Terracina, and there…we were invited to take supper with a party of travellers newly arrived out of Naples. Gathered about the table, I observed some seven or eight persons, amongst whom, in particular, my eyes lighted upon a fair-haired young man, of some five or six-and-twenty years of age, astonishingly handsome in spite of a slight touch of baldness. I pressed him for news of Naples, and in particular, of music in that city: he answered my curiosity with answers that were clear-cut, brilliant and humorous. I enquired of him whether, when I reach Naples, I might still hope to see [Gioachino] Rossinis Otello. I pursued the topic, asserting that, in my opinion, Rossini was the bright hope of the Italian school; that he was the only living composer who had true genius as his birthright. At this point I noticed that my man seemed faintly embarrassed, while his companions were grinning openly. To cut a long story short, this was Rossini.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

new works by california artist jared rogness

Copyright © Jared Rogness
For decades, I have been in awe of the drawings of Jared Rogness, a California-based artist, who grew up in Iowa. Here (above and below) are two of his latest drawings. using only a blue-ink ballpoint pen. Such amazing facility, and such a gift to be able to so persuasively depict figures in motion from such complex points of view.


Here is an online essay in which he talks about his work and provides more examples. In addition, we’ve blogged about him in the past, since I had the pleasure of working with him in the late 1990s and early 200os, when he was a university student in Iowa. 

Copyright © Jared Rogness

Monday, December 13, 2021

Phänomenal / Journal of Gestalt Psychotherapy

I could not be more pleased to find that four of my recent montages (above and below) have been published in the current issue of Phänomenal: The Journal of Gestalt Psychotherapy (2/2021), published in Vienna.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

set off when we began to make nature serve us

Digital montages © Roy R. Behrens 2021
Below is a passage by a Scottish poet, novelist and translator. It was written in 1964, when he was in his late 70s. As I read it, it occurred to me that the same passage could have been written today (in view of the storms that took place overnight), to describe the dilemma we find ourselves in.

Edwin Muir, Autobiography. New York: William Sloane Associates, 1964, p. 194—

…the world has been divided into two hostile camps; and our concern has ceased to be the community or country we live in, and has become the single, disunited world: a vast abstraction, and at the same time a dilemma which, as it seems, we must all solve together or on which we must all be impaled together. This world was set going when we began to make nature serve us, hoping that we should eventually reach a stage where we would not have to adapt ourselves at all: machinery would save the trouble. We did not foresee that the machinery would grow into a great impersonal power, and that as it grew more perfect we should become more powerless and be forced at last into a position not chosen by us, or chosen in blindness before we knew where our desires were leading.

Pandemic Montage Exhibition (online)

Saturday, December 4, 2021

my first choice would have been an albatross

digital montages © Roy R. Behrens

Paul Auster

What I try to do is to leave enough room in the prose for the reader to enter it fully. All the books I’ve most enjoyed, the writers I most admire, have given me the space in which to imagine the details for myself.


J.B. Priestley, A Visit to New Zealand

What I couldn’t understand was why this wingless night-grubber [the kiwi] had ever been chosen as New Zealand’s national image. It was a bad move. New Zealanders should never have called themselves Kiwis. Perhaps it has been the Kiwi aspects of New Zealand life and character that encouraged visitors in the past to call them dull. Though not a unique native of the country, albatross would have been my first choice.


George Ellis aka Gregory Gander [the twelve months of the year]—

Snowy, Flowy, Blowy,
Showery, Flowery, Bowery,
Hoppy, Croppy, Droppy,
Breezy, Sneezy, Freezy.

Afterthought: When I was in grade school, I remember that our teacher said that a sure way to spell geography correctly was to remember the following phrase: George Ellis' old grandmother rode a pig home yesterday. But it may be another George Ellis.

Friday, December 3, 2021

abandon your cat at Clifford's Inn in London

Pandemic montages © Roy R. Behrens 2021
At Harvard, poet Frank O’Hara’s roommate was artist and author Edward Gorey.


In Lowell MA, Beat Generation novelist Jack Kerouac (author of On the Road) was in the same high school class as Ray Gouding, of the hilarious radio comedy team, Bob and Ray.


Samuel Butler: “People when they want to get rid of their cats, and do not like killing them, bring them to the garden of Clifford’s Inn [in London], drop them there, and go away. In spite of all that is said about cats being able to find their way so wonderfully, they seldom do find it, and once in Clifford’s Inn the cat generally remains there.”


E.L. Doctorow: “I have few vices, but one of them is moderation.”