Songs of Experience
(A Higher Octave
from William Blake)
The Galatea OnLine Gallery
June 17, 2020
Dichotomy has found a new meaning
. Hope/Despair, Growth/Decay, Progression/Remission, Innocence/Experience. The promise is rescinded, shattered in the name of consumerism and desire. Growing numbers of peaceful protesters are infiltrated with those who loot and burn in anger. We are experiencing a higher vibration of outrage, but the pendulum swings into the degradation of human rights.
This was also William Blake's world. Both "Songs of Innocence" (our last edition) and "Songs of Experience" were written in 1789. In fact, in July of 1789, on the 14th, the
began with the Storming of the Bastille. In September of the same year, the
United States' Bill of Rights
Awareness of injustice is reaching an apex; complacency is no longer an option.
It says something loud and clear when hundreds of thousands of people in innumerable communities don a mask and march for Black Lives Matter in spite of the looming presence of the Corona virus. It speaks to the better part of our collective nature, the "Song of Experience", that ensures the ever-presence of Innocence.
In Blake's world, innocence is born of experience and cannot exist without this polarity. Similarly, in the realms of experience, innocence is the light that ensures life and salvation.
In this edition of the Galatea OnLine Gallery,
9 members' works are paired with a poem from Blake's "Songs of Experience"
. The pairings come naturally, as Blake had an uncanny ability to create a visual matrix within his words. The work explores the hidden miasma that runs to the surface as chaos, despair, or irony. But within this exists the smallest spark of hope, and that is the fuel of optimism, and consequently, the survival of innocence.
This is a powerful progression in a woodcut done by Frank Capezzera. With each panel, bleak history becomes cemented until our identities, both personal and national, are obliterated. But this is but a blank slate for a new understanding of our commonality, if indeed, everything we think we are is called to the test.
Songs of Experience I, II, III, IV
, Woodcut, 20 x 16 inches (all 4 panels),
Is this a holy thing to see,
In a rich and fruitful land,
Babes reducd to misery,
Fed with cold and usurous hand?
Is that trembling cry a song?
Can it be a song of joy?
And so many children poor?
It is a land of poverty!
And their sun does never shine.
And their fields are bleak & bare.
And their ways are fill'd with thorns.
It is eternal winter there.
For where-e'er the sun does shine,
And where-e'er the rain does fall:
Babe can never hunger there,
Nor poverty the mind appall.
"The Road to Hell is Met with Good Intentions" is an adage that has its truth in the many paths of love, both on a personal and interpersonal scale. It is through the desire to be the perfection of one's own reflection that the shadows emerge to mar the scape of desire. And it is through the inabiity to meet one's own expectiations of the self that leads to its destruction.
*Note: This print was hand carved and printed from six wood blocks in the mokuhanga technique during quarantine and there are currently 9 available.
Garden of Love
, Mokuhanga, 9 x 16 inches, 2020, $200.00
THE GARDEN of LOVE
I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen:
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.
And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And Thou shalt not. writ over the door;
So I turn'd to the Garden of Love,
That so many sweet flowers bore.
And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tomb-stones where flowers should be:
And Priests in black gowns, were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars, my joys & desires.
Two bird-like entities call each other in a stylized landscape. A Romeo and Juliet type of scene plays in and out of the shadows of the cool colored shapes. Nowness awakens tomorrow if the balance in this energetic surface can be contained.
, Acrylic and Metal on Wood, 24 x 18 inches, 2019, $400.00
THE CLOD and the PEBBLE
Love seeketh not Itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care;
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hells despair.
So sang a little Clod of Clay,
Trodden with the cattles feet:
But a Pebble of the brook,
Warbled out these metres meet.
Love seeketh only Self to please,
To bind another to Its delight:
Joys in anothers loss of ease,
And builds a Hell in Heavens despite.
The Madonna stares knowingly into a future of uncertainty. She is accepts the unfolding of events with wisdom, as she is endowed with faith.
, Monotype, 20 x 21 inches, 2019, $800.00
I Dreamt a Dream! what can it mean?
And that I was a maiden Queen:
Guarded by an Angel mild:
Witless woe, was ne'er beguil'd!
And I wept both night and day
And he wip'd my tears away
And I wept both day and night
And hid from him my hearts delight
So he took his wings and fled:
Then the morn blush'd rosy red:
I dried my tears & armed my fears,
With ten thousand shields and spears.
Soon my Angel came again;
I was arm'd, he came in vain:
For the time of youth was fled,
And grey hairs were on my head.
The truck tells a myriad of stories, as its history is embedded in its structure. Someone owned this, someone drove this truck. Where did he/she go and why? Why was the truck left abandoned? It will abandon this place, too, as it rusts away in the elements.
Abandoned Car, Vichy Springs
, Archival Print, 25 x 35 inches, 2009, $895.00
Earth raised up her head
From the darkness dread & drear,
Her light fled,
And her locks covered with grey despair.
Prisoned on watery shore,
Starry jealousy does keep my den
Cold and hoar;
I hear the father of the ancient men.
Selfish father of men!
Cruel, jealous, selfish fear!
Chained in night,
The virgins of youth and morning bear.
Does spring hide its joy,
When buds and blossoms grow?
Does the sower
Sow by night,
Or the ploughman in darkness plough?
Break this heavy chain,
That does freeze my bones around!
That free love with bondage bound.
In the simple placement of shapes, George Shaw has created a labyrinth, with tensions on the surface creating a push and pull of energies. At once both a static demand and a thrust off the left edge of the panels accompany themselves in a dissonant fugue; but the eye finds an uncanny pleasure in the grain of the wood peeking through the paint.
George Shaw, Untitled, Mixed Media, 14 x 26 inches, 2020, $900.00
THE HUMAN ABSTRACT
Pity would be no more,
If we did not make somebody Poor:
And Mercy no more could be,
If all were as happy as we;
And mutual fear brings peace;
Till the selfish loves increase.
Then Cruelty knits a snare,
And spreads his baits with care.
He sits down with holy fears,
And waters the ground with tears:
Then Humility takes its root
Underneath his foot.
Soon spreads the dismal shade
Of Mystery over his head;
And the Caterpillar and Fly,
Feed on the Mystery.
And it bears the fruit of Deceit,
Ruddy and sweet to eat;
And the Raven his nest has made
In its thickest shade.
The Gods of the earth and sea,
Sought thro' Nature to find this Tree
But their search was all in vain:
There grows one in the Human Brain
This place is barren. It appears as if a nuclear blast has reduced a once thriving field of sunflowers into a wasteland of ash. But there is one blast of leaping yellow glimmer in the form of a sunflower peeking through the lifelessness; nothing can be completely obliterated, as hope is a very human construct designed to make the present bearable.
, Photograph, 22 x 30 inches, 450.00
Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travellers journey is done.
Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:
Arise from their graves and aspire,
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.
In any direction in this drawing by Crystal Woodward, the figure is ambiguous and lost, as in a dream. This is the segment of that dream right before it becomes a nightmare, in which no path leads to the solace of home.
Pain Enters Me as a Song of Light
, Ink and Colored Pencil on Paper,
11.5 x 8.5 inches, $590.00
Once a dream did weave a shade,
O'er my Angel-guarded bed,
That an Emmet lost it's way
Where on grass methought I lay.
Troubled wilderd and forlorn
Dark benighted travel-worn,
Over many a tangled spray
All heart-broke I heard her say.
O my children! do they cry
Do they hear their father sigh.
Now they look abroad to see,
Now return and weep for me.
Pitying I dropp'd a tear:
But I saw a glow-worm near:
Who replied. What wailing wight
Calls the watchman of the night.
I am set to light the ground,
While the beetle goes his round:
Follow now the beetles hum,
Little wanderer hie thee home
Although it appears that the shining crown of our Lady Liberty is evaporating, it is the testament of our intrinsic goodness that there is more light where that came from; "The People United Can Never Be Defeated".
The Lady Liberty has been through a lot.
Liberty V, Show an Affirming Flame, Acrylic on Canvas,
40 x 30 inches, 2019, $2,800.00
The modest Rose puts forth a thorn:
The humble Sheep, a threatning horn:
While the Lilly white, shall in Love delight,
Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.
As galleries have begun to reinstate their schedules
, they are re-making them concurrently. Galatea, along with other galleries affected not only by Covid-19, but by devastating flooding, must navigate a "long and winding road" back to some semblance of normality. As it has been said, the old normal no longer exists. We make new paths and consider the future an exploration.
When the coast is clear, you can be sure that we will be there continuing our lively exhibition schedule, and we will keep you updated.
all the support and love that you have shared with us over the last decade and look forward to moving beyond this with you.
We are happy to work with you
on a purchase of artwork shown here, or answer any questions you might have. In this time when artists of all genres are struggling to keep their practice going,
your support is especially valued.
For sales inquiries
, please contact Marjorie Kaye at
. Our artists will be happy to ship the work to you at a cost to be determined.
, and in particular the SOWA community, artists of all kinds, and those that support us, we are strong and will survive. May all blessings, health, happiness, strength, wisdom, art and love be our gift.