Thursday, March 18, 2010

Artist of the Week: Man Ray

Man Ray
“I do not photograph nature. I photograph my visions.”
–Man Ray

"Legendary Photography, painter, and maker of objects and films, Man Ray was on the most versatile and inventive artists of this century. Born in Philadelphia in 1890, he knew the worlds of Greenwich Village in the avant garde era following the 1913 Armory show; Paris in the 1920's and 1930's, where he played a key role in the Dada and Surrealist movements; The Hollywood of the 1940s, where he joined others chased by war from their homes in Europe; and finally, Paris again until his death in 1976. "
(everything you ever wanted to know about him and a complete image archive)


The Gift

"Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask 'how', while others of a more curious nature will ask 'why'. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information." – Man Ray 
...a wild, impetuous, amoral woman at a time when, beyond bohemian circles, women were often still expected to be seen and not heard. "All I need is an onion, a bit of bread, and a bottle of red," Kiki once said. "And I will always find somebody to offer me that."   read more: Kiki: The Queen of Bohemia

 Noire et Blanche

(the model is Kiki) 

Man Ray began work in several mediums: sculpture, film, painting and photography were just some of his many passions. His earliest works were fairly static, inspired mostly by cubism and expressionism. It was only when Marcel Duchamp befriended him that he began to add movement to his works; his focus changed to Surrealism and Dadaism. Together the two founded the Society of Independent Artists in 1916, and published a single issue of New York Dada.

Kiki de Montparnasse in a variante of "Violons d'Ingres"

In 1921 he coined the term “rayograph” for a cameraless process using objects to block light and embed their image on light sensitive paper. In his homage to a revered master, “Le violon d’Ingres”(“Ingres’ Violin,” 1924), Ray combined a rayographic technique with a regular photograph, overlaying the curving f-holes from a violin onto a photograph of the naked back of his model and mistress, Kiki.


Man Ray tried to create a Surrealist vision of the female form, and utilized solarization, cropping, over development (various photographic techniques) to create a surreal effect in his photographs.


Lee Miller's Neck

Dora Maar

French photographer, poet and painter best know for being a lover and muse of Pablo Picasso

Having broken with his wife, Man Ray left New York for Paris in 1921—marking a continuous stream of tempestuous and often doomed romances. Through Duchamp, Man Ray met some of the most exciting artists and thinkers in Paris. Though he didn’t speak a word of French at first, he was welcomed into this group and became its unofficial photographer. Among the many models from this period were Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Salvador Dali, Gertude Stein, James Joyce, and the famous performer, Kiki of Montparnasse. For six years Kiki was Ray’s constant model, muse and lover

Pablo Picasso


 Gertrude Stein
(Of "A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose" fame. I still scratch my head over how Stein ever became known as a writer, but that's just me.)

Henri Matisse

 Jean Cocteau


 After Lunch



Le Cadeau (The Gift)
is an early readymade by Man Ray (with the assistance of Erik Satie), consisting of an iron with fourteen nails glued to its sole, made in 1921 in Paris.
Much like Oppenheim’s Object, Gift is a conjunction of two alien objects. One represents domesticity and possibly femininity; the other represents carpentry and hence masculinity. The sheer failure of Gift as something practical makes the object a poor gift -- ironic naming on Ray’s part.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Misinformed Ewe

 I, a lady? I don't think so!

Yes, I did. RAMpantly.  In this post.

Some country girl I am, huh? Can't tell the difference between a ewe and a ram. Since the ewes are expecting babies, I thought both were really horny!   ;-)

The ladies were far off, across the road and they are, as of today, still expecting. I'll be going back to see if I can get any good shots of the babies.

If you're still confused, follow the link to the post or scroll down.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March is National Women's History Month

Honoring Mary Lyon

A schoolteacher from Massachusetts
 an American pioneer,a remarkable woman who founded the worldwide model of higher education for women-- 

Though there are several women I could have chosen to honor, Mary Lyon was a "local" of my beloved western Massachusetts; born and raised in Buckland. Like me, an educator. She was the founder of my elder daughter's college-  Mount Holyoke, from which she graduated last year. Still a women's school and one the oldest of the few remaining in the U.S. MHC is no longer a seminary. One of my favorite poets and icons, Emily Dickinson, attended classes there from 1847-48. All of these things come together so seamlessly that it made sense for me to learn more about her and share it with you.

True to the spirit of Mary Lyon, my daughter, a poor girl, was able to attend a first-class liberal arts college where she honed her intellect and where her confidence and self-esteem were nurtured and her independent spirit encouraged and appreciated. As a woman and as her mother, I am grateful for that.

I can't say enough about both the college's academics and the spirit of achievement, success and pride that are celebrated there. Thank you, Mary Lyon, for being a trailblazer for women.

 The year, 1834, was a turning point for Mary Lyon. She decided to leave Ipswich Female Seminary, where she was assistant principal, and focus all of her time and efforts on founding an institution of higher education for women. For the next three years, she crusaded tirelessly for funds and support. It was not the best time to ask people for donations--the United States was in a severe economic depression. But Mary Lyon persisted. She wrote circulars and ads announcing the plan for the school, raised money, persuaded prominent men to back her enterprise, developed a curriculum, visited schools and talked to educators as far away as Detroit, chose the school's location, supervised the design and construction of a building, brought equipment, hired teachers, and selected students. She endured ridicule from those who felt her ambitious undertaking would be "wasted" on women. Her constant travels often left her in a state of exhaustion. Yet, Mary Lyon never doubted her belief that women deserved to have the same opportunities for higher education as their brothers.

Mary Lyon's innovative goals for Mount Holyoke set the Seminary apart from other female seminaries of the period. They were:
* A curriculum equivalent to those at men's colleges.
* A minimum entrance age of 17.
* Low tuition to make education affordable to students from modest backgrounds. Mount Holyoke's was $60 a year.


In 1987, to commemorate the sesquecentennial of MHC, a Mary Lyon stamp was issued by the US Postal service. On the first day of issue, several kinds of envelopes were stamped and postmarked with the new stamp. All covers on this page were postmarked Feb 28, 1987 in South Hadley with a "First day of issue" postmark, and have a 2-cent Mary Lyon stamp on them, unless otherwise noted. 

What woman or women in history do you appreciate the most and why?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ruby Tuesday

All of these lovely ladies were basking in the late morning sun, until I approached and then several grudgingly hobbled up to come check me out. I find out when we spoke to the gentleman farmer, that the ladies are all expecting in about two weeks. This is just 'round the bend from our house, so we'll go back to check out the babies. I'm curious about their horns.

Does a touch of ruby around the nostrils count? ;-)

If you'd like to play, click on the link at the very top of the post and check out what you need to do to participate. Great hostess, nice people, beautiful and interesting photographs My life has not been bad lately or anything, but it's been not the least bit fun! How about you? How is the beginning of your week going?

Peace and all groovy things,
Pagan Sphinx

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