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21 September 2006 @ 03:39 am

These three artists work in whimsy as much as they do metal. Enjoy!

Jon Michael Route and here, too

Bryony Knox (see Heraldry, Mr Punch, and Circus Sculptures)

Bill Durovchic


Kathleen Browne: photographic-image jewelry taken to somewhere between nostalgia and goth

Tzu Ju Chen: delicacy of vision profuses organic shapes: festival lanterns or dream melons, clustered and hung on whispers

Ann Jenkins: natural forms captured in reliquaries, a beautiful homage to the stilled beating heart of the living world

Ellen Vontillius: daisy chains and like floral delicates frozen for the throat

Ananda Khalsa: strung buddha in asian hues

Linda Smith: historical architecture meets the machine age

Dawn Estrin and George Wilson: whimsy of the first order, a fairy tale world captured in paint and gloss

21 September 2006 @ 04:41 am

Natalie Blake: lit, carved, colorful forms of abundance

Lisa Scroggins: Dr. Dolittle's wacked out whimsy pots

Laura Zindel: natural historical sketch rendered cleanly, simply, darkly on pale, plain ceramic forms (which make a quiet, thoughtful magic)

Christopher Gryder (click once to stop, once to load): muddy, cakey, organic tiles: what the mud pie muse brings home after a nature walk

When Chaucer's Wife of Bath complains about male authorities weighing against women in their texts, scriptures, and glosses, we may accept by her account cum Chaucer's that such a tradition was well installed in Late Medieval European culture. Just how crudely this misogynistic response to women and any attempt by them to gain domestic power--let alone any other kind--may be lost on us moderns. An object housed at the Met, however, brings the picture into vivid focus.

Dating from around the same time Chaucer wrote his Canterbury Tales (1380s-1390), this bronze ewer (termed an aquamanile; dated 1400; crafted by anon. in the S. Netherlands or E. France) served as a comical reminder to men of the fate Aristotle endured through having given in to the wiles of Phyllis.

According to Ayers Bagley of the University of Minnesota, the tale was one of medieval origin:

"One of the best loved medieval tales, the so-called 'Lai d'Aristote'" originated with Henri d'Andeli, a thirteenth-century Norman poet, amused and scandalized French readers of his narrative.

Lai d'Aristote. Summarily, the story of the Lai is this: Aristotle, tutor and counselor to Alexander the Great, sought to separate the youthful monarch from his paramour--now usually known as Phyllis--who was absorbing all his time and energy, and causing him to neglect his political duties. Reluctantly, Alexander agreed to the separation, but soon revealed the fact to Phyllis. She thereupon contrived a scheme to nullify Aristotle's influence, aiming to regain her lover's attentions.

The plan was simple. Early in the morning, when good scholars should be laboring at their books, Phyllis slipped into the garden next to Aristotle's study and, not far from his open window, she softly sang and danced. Her hair was loose, her feet were bare, her belt was off her gown. Aristotle heard her song, and then he turned to look at her: "that made him close his books and cry: 'Oh God !'," it being clear that the deity invoked was Eros. When Phyllis came close enough to the window, Aristotle reached out and seized her firmly. He told her of his ardent wish; she promised to fulfill it, if he would first satisfy a trifling whim of hers. He must pretend to be a horse, get on all fours, wear a saddle, and let her ride around the garden on his back. The besotted Aristotle did exactly what was asked, yielding up an image that approached the essence of burlesque. "In this was grammar betrayed and logic much dumb-founded," remarked the commentator in Le Livre de Leesce (c. 1373).

Riding on the Master's back, Phyllis loudly sang a song of triumph: "Master Silly carries me. / 'Love leads on, and so he goes, / by Love's authority'." The song was a signal for Alexander to look into the garden from his window. "Master, can this be?" he called, going on to question Aristotle's flagrantly quadruped behavior. The old sage answered that there was a lesson to be learned from his example. If a wise philosopher, aged and grey as he, is unable to resist the power of Love, then Alexander, yet youthful and hot blooded, must be immeasureably more cautious in exposing himself to such danger. Amused by the sophistical defense, Alexander forgives Aristotle's ridiculous indiscretion and then, presumably, reunites himself with Phyllis. The philosopher would trouble them no more, having lost his credibility.

...Andeli's tale of Aristotle was retold across the centuries throughout western Europe."