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Radiante 1967 by Olga Albizu Born: Ponce, Puerto Rico 1924. Died: New York, New York 2005 oil on canvas 68 x 62 in. (172.7 x 157.5 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum

Jazz and Abstract Expressionism Meet Verve with Olga Albizu

Radiante 1967 by Olga Albizu Born: Ponce, Puerto Rico 1924. Died: New York, New York 2005 oil on canvas 68 x 62 in. (172.7 x 157.5 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum
Radiante 1967 by Olga Albizu Born: Ponce, Puerto Rico 1924. Died: New York, New York 2005 oil on canvas 68 x 62 in. (172.7 x 157.5 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum

Stratoz and I went to the fine exhibit Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art at the Allentown Art Museum(through 10/02/16). Walking into the gallery, my eye immediately went to this painting, Radiante,  by Abstract Expressionist artist Olga Albizu(1924-2005).

It looked familiar, and reading the tag, I discovered that her paintings are on several jazz album covers from RCA and Verve Records, including one of our favorites, Getz/Gilberto with Jobim(1964). This made Bossa Nova known in the US, and featured Stan Getz, American Saxophonist, collaborating with Brazilian Guitarist João Gilberto, and composer Antônio Carlos Jobim.  Astrud Gilberto sang the now famous The Girl from Ipanema.

I enjoyed how the music I love paired with art filled with abstract color energy.  Olga Albizu studied art with Esteban Vicente in Puerto Rico, and then won a fellowship to study in New York in 1948.  She was a student of Abstract Expressionist Hans Hoffman.

I wanted to know how Albizu’s work came to be on album covers, and finally found some auction notes through Christie’s, written by Abby McEwen, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, College Park.

Albizu’s associations with RCA were also of a practical kind: she supported herself from time to time through secretarial jobs there, and through a remarkable connection – an assistant to the head of the record division, who displayed her work in the office – at least ten of her paintings were chosen for contemporary album covers. Albizu’s financial and professional struggles as a woman artist were, unsurprisingly, of a piece with her time; like peers from Carmen Herrera to Joan Mitchell and Elaine de Kooning, she lacked institutional support and regular exhibition opportunities.

I am fascinated with how many internet articles mentioned that her paintings were on album covers and how buried the actual practical connection was.  The confluence of people and ideas can  be vivid when we are the midst of it, and become obscure as years go on.  American jazz, Brazilian rhythms, Abstract Expressionism, and  Puerto Rican artists, all converging in New York City.

If you have the chance to see the Our America Exhibit, I recommend it.

 

Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art
Exhibit at The Allentown Art Museum through 10/2/16. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

Take a Bossa Nova break:

 

Gazania from the Garden of Nutmeg Designs

Gazania in the Garden of Nutmeg Designs

Gazania from the Garden of Nutmeg Designs
Gazania from the Garden of Nutmeg Designs. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

Stratoz took care of me with a photo of this Gazania flower for my Orange Tuesday.  Gazania are from the Aster family and originally from South Africa.  They like the sun, and open when it shines bright and then close up at night, looking as if they are dead.  Also known as Treasure Flower, they are indeed like little pouches that contain the coin of vibrant color.

Margaret Olley Still Life with Mandarins

In an Orange Room with Margaret Olley

Margaret Olley Still Life with Mandarins
Margaret Olley, Still life with mandarins, c.1975
oil on board, 76 x 122 cm, Private collection

Margaret Olley caught my attention with her orange tones which occurred again and again in her still life paintings. Orange walls, orange objects, oranges.  To my delight I discovered she had an orange dining room, and often painted there, as well as a yellow living room and a green kitchen.

Steven Alderton, Early Morning at Margaret Olley's Home
STEVEN ALDERTON, EARLY MORNING AT MARGARET OLLEY’S HOME 2011 [DIGITAL PRINT ON ARCHIVAL PAPER 158.85CM X 67.5CM] COPYRIGHT: STEVEN ALDERTON
Mandarin oranges are one of the few fruits I remember fondly from growing up in Edmonton, AB.  We would buy a crate at Christmas time, and the thin leathery skins were easy to peel with just a bit of pressure from your fingers.  I made a dollhouse from one of the wooden crates.

Orange Chairs on the Porch of Nutmeg Designs

Open Studio and Open Heart: May 7th and May 8th, 2016

Open Studio 2016
Open Studio: Open Heart at Nutmeg Designs.

Stratoz and I invite you to come to our Nutmeg Designs Open Studio: Open Heart on May 7th and 8th, 2016.  Prepare to be delighted, find mosaics and stained glass gifts, and if you bring 5 food items for donation to Manna on Main Street, the opportunity to enter a drawing for a hope stained glass design in your favored colors.

Look for the orange chairs on our polychrome porch!

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Orange Chairs on the Porch of Nutmeg Designs
Orange Chairs on the Porch of Nutmeg Designs
Deco Switchplate in Orange and Copper by Margaret Almon

Switch Plate in Art Deco Orange and Copper

Art Deco Switch Plate in Orange and Copper by Margaret Almon
Art Deco Switch Plate in Orange and Copper by Margaret Almon. Duplex outlet and single toggle.

 

A switch plate to be set into a newly painted orange kitchen backsplash was a commission made for my orange-loving heart and suited to the geometrics of Art Deco.  Switch plates and their kin, outlet covers, and the various combinations they come in make for numerous configurations. Each type has its own character.  This one had a single toggle, or single-gang switch, combined with a double outlet for plugs.  Of course it was different than the others I’ve made!

Switchplate as Mosaic Tapestry with Millefiori(single toggle)

Art Deco Inspired Switchplate(double toggle)

Add another combination to the repertoire and send me an email if you are searching for your own light switch or outlet cover.

Tulips with a Stratozpheric Turtle

Tulips and a Turtle for the January Cure

Tulips with a Stratozpheric Turtle
Tulips with a Stratozpheric Turtle Suncatcher

The January Cure has come around again, and Stratoz and I are giving our house some attention.  Besides cleaning tasks, there is the task of buying flowers weekly, and the color is a lift in the winter.  Another task is to sit in a place you don’t usually sit, and observe the new view for 10 minutes.  Taking this photo I noticed that the turtle is swimming in blue water.  How did I not notice that before? How much of our homes do we actually see?  How much of our lives?

 

Stratozpheres for the Turtle

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