Synchronicities and Correspondence between paintings of Grandma Moses and Fairfield Porter

While gallery hopping recently in New York City , I happened upon some wonderful paintings by the great American master and ” Outsider” Folk artist, Grandma Moses. Grandma Moses was born as Anna Mary Robertson in Greenwich, New York in 1860. She starting to paint in her late 70’s and lived to be 101 years of age. Grandma Moses painted till the end of her days. Her paintings featured elemental and charming scenes, depicting simple country pleasures, and modest well articulated landscapes. She painted barn raisings, wooden carts crossing fields, grazing farm animals, and old white frame houses sitting in the early morning light. While looking at the art of Grandma Moses, it occurred to me how very much her paintings looked in spirit- and even form- like the landscapes and still life paintings of Fairfield Porter. Fairfield Porter was born in 1907 in Winnetka, Illinois and studied at Harvard, later entering the New York School art scene and producing representational art during the height of Abstract Expressionism. Porter’s art was both heartfelt and simple, depicting scenes of domesticity. Porter was fond of painting dappled lawns where the sun breaks through the trees and throws a pitter patter of small organic shapes on deep green lawns. Both artists painted white open farmhouses with front porches and shadows cast by large oak trees, painting the true American landscape. While Grandma Moses yielded a smaller brush and worked in a more detailed fashion, her appetite and love for the simple chores of life, the beauty of farms and villages and the charms  of a cloud about to nestle over a church...
Life, Love and Riding the Wave: A Sun Valley Komarin Art Show

Life, Love and Riding the Wave: A Sun Valley Komarin Art Show

Life takes many curious twists and turns. Generally speaking, life moves in a wave, as does sound, light, and the oceans that cover our planet – whether you are in St. Bart’s, Jones Beach or the far reaches of some distant island. It happens that light can travel through space in a complete vacuum, whereas sound needs some form of matter to travel. As I have a current exhibition of new paintings at Gail Severn Gallery in Sun Valley, Idaho, KK and I were fully prepared and packed and ready to go fly west. Upon arriving at La Guardia Airport (at the ungodly hour of 6 am) we were told by the sleep deprived flight attendant that “all flights were canceled.” Period. End of subject. We returned to our NYC pied a terre, at first a bit out of sorts, had a glass of champagne and decided, as they say, “to make the best of it”. Or similarly, we made lemonade out of lemons. We had attempted to ride the wave and fly west and, on this morning, there was no wave to ride. Life is very much like riding a wave, and it does one good to remember this. Things often go well until they don’t. Much of this is, it seems, beyond our control. It is a good thing to realize that things happen that will position you, for a while only, in a downward wave; if one breathes adequately and stays calm, they will be picked up by an upward moving wave. So KK and I hung out, as it were, saw several movies – including...
A Conversation with David Leite, Culinary Icon & Author

A Conversation with David Leite, Culinary Icon & Author

David Leite is a memoirist, author, and publisher of Leite’s Culinaria – the first website to win a James Beard Award. Between writing his memoir, blogging and radio appearances we found time for a short conversation about food, grandmothers, Proust, Freud and cooking naked. Gary Komarin: When did you first start taking food “seriously” and why? David Leite: When my maternal grandmother died in 1992, all the foods of my heritage–the foods I grew up with–were gone. My mother had her versions, but they were just that: versions. So I set out to recreate as many as I could as a way of staying connected to her. The unexpected result was I fell in love with Portuguese foods and culture—something I’d been running from since I was a kid. All my life I had wanted to be blond and blue-eyed and eat bologna on white bread. Not kale soup or octopus stew or sardines. That changed in 1992. And that was the impetus for my cookbook, The Portuguese Table. The book is dedicated to my grandmother. Gary Komarin: Where do you see your talent residing? Does it lean toward the analytical, the creative or some combination? David Leite: If I could answer that, I could start my own foundation and become rich as hell. I have no idea where my talent resides. It’s just there. It’s an impulse, sometimes clouded, other times fully formed. But I don’t set out to “create something.” If anything, I follow prompts, whispers, nudges from within. When I act on those prompts, I find myself bumping around in the dark a lot, like when we...
Have Your Cake And Eat It Too: Happiness & Komarin Cakes

Have Your Cake And Eat It Too: Happiness & Komarin Cakes

The concept of Happiness, or the desire to seek Happiness, is a relatively new construct in human development.  All people want to be Happy but few understand what it means to be Happy and how Happiness, or the idea of seeking Happiness, has changed over time. Few people in the Modern Age realize (or appreciate) how very difficult the simple act of survival was in a world without fire, where Humans either ate food they could forage or food of larger, sharper-toothed creatures. Humans, of course, also ate each other; early forms of Cannibalism were more widely practiced around the world than many realize. The Buddhists focus more on a life of peace and simplicity and harmony than they do on seeking Happiness. To quote an expression that I have long liked: Hope for the best, expect the worst. In more recent times Thomas Jefferson, when writing the Declaration of Independence, was very influenced by the writings of John Locke and by the Greek philosopher Epicurus. In the original draft of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote of the individuals right to: Life, liberty and the pursuit of property. The terms property was changed last minute to the pursuit of happiness, which was a newer term in the lexicon of the time, and one that was not as widely considered, recognized or appreciated. Owning property in the 18th century, to an aristocrat like Jefferson, was extremely important. Jefferson, as well as many of his comrades who were forming this new nation, owned a great deal of property (which was not necessarily theirs to own, as it was already owned by Native Americans, but...
Writing About The Painting vs. Writing in The Painting

Writing About The Painting vs. Writing in The Painting

Many art collectors and viewers are quite familiar with the concept of writing about a painting in terms of analysis, and fitting a certain painting into an art historical context. Writing in the painting is an entirely different modality and not often fully appreciated outside art circles, poets and writers in general, and those who are text heavy in their overall thinking. The use of writing or text in painting goes back to at least Egyptian and Sumerian and Greek works of 5,000 years ago and those writings were often used to help tell the story of a particular battle, to praise a fallen leader…or discuss the death of a dynasty. Picasso began to pick up on text and the use of words in his paintings in the early part of the twentieth century as a way to bring the outside world inside to the world of art making. In truth, there really is no Inside and Outside. There is only continuously flowing space. This space is separated through architecture and engineering into seeming “inside and outside“ spaces but space is continuous. You only need to leave our little blue spinning planet for a few minutes to realize this. Space goes on forever and then some. When Picasso introduced words into his paintings, often through clipping sections of French journals and periodicals and pasting them into his early cubist works, he was quite physically bringing the outside world into his work, shocking the viewer into an awareness of the connectedness between inside and outside. Picasso used the text in a nearly abstract fashion. The content of the words introduced was of less importance than the visual cacophony...