Odds and Ends
Hi gang, all I've got today is a few things about this and that. For example, earlier this evening I stopped by the birthday party of Mary Carey of Hampshire Gazette/Amherst Bulletin fame. Here's the birthday girl with her daughter Ana, who is visiting from the left coast.
There was a nice spread of food and drink and everything, with a lot of cool guests.
How old is Mary? Well, I'm from the old school that says it's impolite to reveal a woman's age without her consent, but you can figure it out yourself if you click here.
When I was at the Robert Frost Library yesterday at Amherst College I took a few pictures of the large mural they have hanging there by former Amherst College student Graydon Parrish, Class of 1999. Called "Remorse, Despondence, and the Acceptance of an Early Death" the work was painted while Parrish was an Amherst College student.
According to the website AskArt:
At Amherst, Parrish inspired a remarkable move on the part of the college's trustees. On behalf of the institution, a group of trustees purchased the painting 'Remorse, Despondence, and the Acceptance of an Early Death', which Parrish (class of '99) prepared as an independent study project his last two years at the college. The oil painting--10 feet long and four feet high--earned Parrish summa honors and is to be displayed on campus.
An allegory about the AIDS epidemic, Parrish's painting depicts the corpse of a small child, robed in white, being borne down a river on a funerary barge. Three figures join the child on the barge; each is a personification of a stage of the grieving process. Another figure pulls the barge, which is embellished with dead doves, flowers and a red ribbon.
The painting is striking both in its realism and its use of symbolism. The five characters in the painting are modeled on real people--most of them from the Amherst community--and every element of the painting has a symbolic function. The flowers--white roses and anemone--have a religious connotation of death and resurrection; the doves, while signs of peace, are also signs of disease and plague....
The inspiration for the painting was both intensely personal and firmly grounded in art history. Parrish began work on the painting early in 1997. "I'd had an AIDS test, as a lot of young people are counseled to do these days," he explains. "And the two-week wait [for the results of the test] was a sort of pilgrimage, as I imagined my life going in two very different directions." While dealing with a contemporary subject, Parrish was committed to creating a work that drew on the classical tradition. "I wanted the painting to have a relationship with art history, to demonstrate how plagues have been represented in art in the past. The work incorporates many traditional images of plagues and disease, as well as the river of life."
Parrish says that preparing the painting as an independent study project allowed him great freedom to experiment with both subject and style. "I have done something sad, but also something that I hope people will find beautiful," he says. "It's a work that's both celebratory and austere."
Despite the somber theme of the painting, I can't help but feel that the Amherst models he used were, ahem, really hot!
If you'd like a closer look at the painting, here's a video of it I made last winter.
The apples from my neighbor's tree are littering his driveway.
There are so many apple trees in this area that most of them go unharvested.
Outside the Student Union today at UMass was this racing car on display that runs on ethanol, a fuel that's made from vegetables like corn.
Such corncars could silence the most common criticism leveled at NASCAR, that it's a sport that wastes a ton of fuel. Of course the real breakthrough will not have occurred until regular vehicles are powered by alternative fuels. Then we can tell the damn Middle East to go to hell.