Posts Tagged ‘symbolism’

69 Days of Wonder Woman, Day 6: Insight from beautiful and brilliant Australian performance artist Evelyn Hartogh

November 9, 2010

Brisbane-based performance artist Evelyn Hartogh photographed by misteriddles on the da.

‘Even Superheroes get the blues,’ Evelyn Hartogh, aka Wonder Woman, tells Graham Redfern.

For about 15 years, Evelyn Hartogh has been pulling on the iconic bulletproof bracelets … of her alter ego, the feminist superhero Wonder Woman.

… the Amazonian princess was the perfect fit for the performance artist’s humanist ideals.

Photographed by Alicia Lane, 2006.

But behind the comedic performances and the bright red boots, Hartogh’s affinity with Wonder Woman has taken an ironic twist.

“Everyone has to put on a strong face to the world and everyone has their own problems,” she says. “That’s maybe why Wonder Woman is so appealing, because we all feel the pressure to be more than we really are.”

(Redfern, Graham. “Fighting Personal Demons: Interview.” 5 Dec 2007. The Courier Mail. via Evelyn Hartogh‘s official website.)

“Mopping Bartleme Galleries” by Ian Wadley, 1993.

Extremely positive thing that I can admit I dig about Wonder Woman: her iconism — ladies like her and want to be her. I can appreciate that because I support anything that makes women want to stand up for themselves and acknowledge their potential might instead of being self-critical and predictably needy.

Added insight from Ms. Hartogh: ladies understand the tremendous pressure Wonder Woman is under to achieve and to be the topmost and the Bestest in the Westest because they themselves are trying constantly to score Outstanding in every category while juggling all their responsibilities; they recognize that she, like them, is a champion with a plight.

Photographed by Alicia Lane, 2005.

Taking it one step further: when we read Wonder Woman and all the odds are against her but she pulls it out of the bag at the end because, hello, she is Wonder Woman — we can reassure ourselves that we, too, will pull it out of the bag at the end, because, hello, we are wonderful.

I can totally hang with that.

Please do check out Ms. Hartogh’s official website, hit her up on the myspace (from whence most of these pictures hail), and take her live performance videos on the youtube for a spin. She is thought-provoking, playful, deep and awesome!

E.E. Cummings Month: “All in green went my love riding”

August 25, 2010

The following Cummings poem is not much like his usual at first blush, but is really full of simple wordplay and tricksy manipulation of conventions that conceals a more complex meaning than simple medieval ballad — which is much more in keeping with what you’d expect, yes? “All in green went my love riding” has been set to music and sung by, among many, Warren Kinsella and one of my patronessiest of patron saints, Joan Baez. The most widely accepted meaning of the poem is that it is a subtle retelling of the myth of Artemis and Actaeon. (Variations of the myth here.)

Modesty Blaise.

As far as I can tell, in the version on which Cummings has based “All in green went my love riding,” Actaeon is a merciless hunter who desires to marry Artemis after he sees her bathing. The virgin warrior goddess is furious at this cheek, particularly that he would spy on her and then imply she owes him marriage (she fiercely protected her physical privacy and chastity).

The lovely and talented Marguerite Empey.

Artemis punishes Actaeon by warning him that, if he ever speaks, he will be transformed in to a stag and devoured by his own bitches, which is where it seems Cummings picks up the thread. Here it is.

All in green went my love riding
on a great horse of gold
into the silver dawn.

four lean hounds crouched low and smiling
the merry deer ran before.

Fleeter be they than dappled dreams
the swift sweet deer
the red rare deer.

Four red roebuck at a white water
the cruel bugle sang before.

Horn at hip went my love riding
riding the echo down
into the silver dawn.

four lean hounds crouched low and smiling
the level meadows ran before.

via sabino on the tumblr.

Softer be they than slippered sleep
the lean lithe deer
the fleet flown deer.

Four fleet does at a gold valley
the famished arrow sang before.

Photographed by Neil Krug.

Bow at belt went my love riding
riding the mountain down
into the silver dawn.

four lean hounds crouched low and smiling
the sheer peaks ran before.

Paler be they than daunting death
the sleek slim deer
the tall tense deer.

Four tell stags at a green mountain
the lucky hunter sang before.

Amber Weber for I.D., September 2008.

All in green went my love riding
on a great horse of gold
into the silver dawn.

four lean hounds crouched low and smiling
my heart fell dead before.

(E.E. Cummings, “All in green went my love riding.” Tulips and Chimneys. 1923.)

He just had to sing all triumphantly, didn’t he, in front of the green mountain? Heart = hart. A synonym for stag. Pretty sure that between the line about stags and the repetition of “all in green,” Artemis changed him in to one of the “Four tell stags” and his own dogs ripped him to pieces.

Liv Tyler.

Also I noticed on this re-read that she dwells longer than I remembered over her four dead does. This makes sense because besides being the ruler of nature and the hunt, she held deer and cypress as her closest animal and plant brethren. The victims of Actaeon’s arrow and his ravaging dogs, those four deer emerge in her description unquestionably as females: they are slender, pale, lithe, slippered — red and rare. Virginal language, am I right? That purity and feminity gives the “Four” power and deserves honor, just as does Artemis’s own virginity, which bathtime-peeping Actaeon and his sleazy, brutish hounds do not seem to understand or respect.

via thechocobrig on the tumblr. fabulous photojournal.

By contrast, in all of the lines which describe his four animals, Actaeon’s “four” appears in lowercase letters — the only Cummingsish punctuation-play in the poem, as the four remain in lowercase despite following periods, which Cummings otherwise obeys with great restraint for the rest of the poem. Actaeon’s four are the four hounds; the miniscule rather than majuscal “f” usage denotes the speaker’s low opinion of them and bodes very badly for them, considering Artemis’s usual respect for nature. The number four, besides paralleling the count of her lost deer, is suggestive of pursuit of living creatures in all four of the cardinal directions, a kind of inescapable squared threat in terms of the swath a disrespectful hunter might cut through the planet of a goddess who considers herself the mother of nature — because of its relationship to “four corners,” “four winds,” etc, the total of four hounds is exactly the right number to appear confounding and problematic. An unignorable affront which must be dealt with.

Abbey Lee Kershaw for Dazed and Confused.

The four hounds may also perhaps be a reference to the Horsemen of the Apocalypse who accompany Death in the Revelation of St. John: the hunter brings destruction to what Artemis is sworn to protect; she is the patroness of life on earth, a mother-warrior figure who gives her attention to springs and deer, and Actaeon is that life’s death, a sanguine, horn-blowing archer with attendantly destructive hell hounds that tear her living creatures apart. An essentially unforgivable encroachment on all that Artemis stands for. Those four lean crouching motherfuckers act as a smirking antithesis to her binding and symbiotic method of mothering the earth, by dismantling and devouring everything they encounter, famished agents of a chaos she is sworn to repel. They tear things up.

In this case, their master, too. Does the punishment fit the crime?

I’ve read that there are allusions here to “The Knight’s Tale” in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. I never make it far through those. I know as a happy medievalist I’m supposed to read and adore them and that what I’m about to tell you could get me yelled at and kicked out of the society of nerds who read material that predates van Leeuwenhoek, the inventor of the very lenses the best of the best wear to strain our eyes over the stuff we love, but I feel that poring over Chaucer is something akin to people in a thousand years venerating the script of Rat Race. Great movie, solidly entertaining, good cast with varied backstories, but, like, how dire is reading it to the quest of accurately intrepreting society in this era? Not much. (Commence lambasting, Chaucer-lovers. Change my mind?)

Journey Into Perplexity right here on the wordpress.

Anyway. If you follow that link to the wiki list of variations on the Artemis and Actaeon story, you can see that different authors have spent time cataloguing the precise names of the up-to-fifty hounds involved in Actaeon’s punishment.

I guess the lesson here is that, if you want even a chance with Artemis, you need to be green in deed as well as dress. Keep your elbows out and for god’s sake recycle, dudes.

Unbelievably photorealistic art by painter Diego Gravinese

March 30, 2010


Check that mad rad shit out. Nope, it is not a photoshopped photograph, nor a digitally altered picture of a painting, or any other chicanery like that. Amazingly enough in this day and age, Argentinian artist Diego Gravinese uses oil paints and no fancy computer tricks to create these images.


Diego Gravinese was born in La Plata, Argentina in 1971. His work has been shown internationally over the past 15 years in New York, Paris, Madrid, Turin, Buenos Aires, Chicago, and Los Angeles. He worked with Ruth Benzacar and ZavaletaLab galleries in Buenos Aires and with DeChiara gallery in New York. He currently lives and works in Buenos Aires.

(bio via flavorpill.)

“My Favorite Thoughts.”

[Gravinese] sometimes goes by the name Nekomomix. His work explores the juxtaposition of vibrant and photo realistic figurative imagery with a variety of pop elements: these might include cartoons, book illustrations, maps and a plethora of other images borrowed from both personal and public realms.

(review via paintalicious, which I see is undergoing web maintenance today but should be up and running again soon. awesome site.)

“The Offering.” My favorite.

These elements sometimes cross over in subtle ways, thus bridging the gap between figurative and cultural elements of the paintings. Gravinese’s use of light and color gives the paintings an atmospheric quality, in a style both painterly and so refined.


“El elastico.”

His official site is under construction still, but you can visit his galleries of work on the flickr, which is from where I collected this small smattering of his art. There is tons more, and it’s all awesome.

Mr. Gravinese posing with some of his work. I know, right? I actually saved this picture as “omg,” all gushy like a twelve year old.

Oh, and P.S.? He is totally handsome and funny. Give him a spin, I’m serious.

Diego Gravinese is one of the best photorealistic painters in the world. He’s not just technically gifted, but his images are like freeze-frames from the TiVos of our lives — a quick hit of the pause button to capture a passing moment just as it was, forever. But taken out of context, there are endless stories to tell about each. … If Charlie Kaufman were a painter, he’d be Diego Gravenese [sic].

(review via, right here on the wordpress.)

“The Method.” Look closely at the picture. It’s a picture of a painting of him painting a picture. AMAZING.

There has been much debate over the years on whether the replication of photographs in paint can actually be considered art or just an example of exceptional technical skill. Where do you sit on that topic? For me when I look at painting such as these by Argentinian painter Diego Gravinese I actually think they’re pretty damn amazing, but then again so are the photographs that he references for his work. Is the art in the idea, the execution or both? I don’t know, you either like it or you don’t, you decide.

(“Extraordinary photorealism of the ordinary by Diego Gravinese.” Lucas, Luke. April 11, 2009.

For me, I like them. A lot. You can also follow Mr. Gravinese on the twitter. Super-cool!