Avant Garde Things Part 2

3320129771_197131e33f (1)Beauty on the couch:

“…Consider the interesting case in which happiness in life is predominantly sought in the enjoyment of beauty, wherever beauty presents itself to our senses and our judgement–the beauty of human forms and gestures, of natural objects and landscapes and of artistic and even scientific creations. This aesthetic attitude to the goal of life offers little protection against the threat of suffering, but it can compensate for a great deal. The enjoyment of beauty has a peculiar, mildly intoxicating quality of feeling. Beauty has no obvious use; nor is there any clear cultural necessity for it. Yet civilization could not do without it. The science of aesthetics investigates the conditions under which things are felt as beautiful, but it has been unable to give any explanation of the nature and origin of beauty, and, as usually happens, lack of success is concealed beneath a flood of resounding and empty words.”   Sigmund Freud

Here is world famous Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx verifying Freud’s claims.

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Not many landscapers begin blog posts with quotes by Sigmund Freud – I fully understand this and like to think I respectfully comprehend the potential failure of my own possible pretension. But I believe he captures the nuggets of our desires, including the hopelessness of fully explaining why we react as we do to not just beauty itself, but to beauty’s evolving and ever-changing expression in the works of those artists who challenge us the most. The mysterious processes of the artist are part craft, part imagination and part fearlessness, allowing one’s Muse full reign in physical expression with results which can be catastrophic failures, mildly amusing or else world-changing.


So what the heck is this?

“This” is a glimpse of the ceiling, taken from the floor, of the incredible world-famous Sagrada Familia, the church designed by Antonio Gaudi (1852–1926) in Barcelona, Spain whose construction passed the “mid point” in 2010. The world-wide recognition of the genius of this masterpiece of architecture has consistently produced funding from various sources, whose stop and start construction began in 1882. Gaudi was famous for his iron work, producing gates, fencing  and apartment patio security rails in his buildings which, alone, would place him as uncommonly talented.


Gaudi’s world included the implementation of the new technology of cement and the plastic formative originality it offered. He used cement to express a rebellion against classic forms, utilizing curving lines and it’s potential free-form solidity as a finished product. He began architecture’s rebellion against straight lines and the results were incredible.


Gaudi was the inspiration behind architects for 100 years, culminating in the works of people such as Frank Gehry, who took the plastic fun of Gaudi’s cement into his own creations of metal:0000000

These very arresting pictures push the edge of Beauty into places we never imagined. Some of them even torture our original aesthetic senses and we end up staring at them hoping some idea will flit through which identifies with our own visions of beautiful things. If so – and even sometimes if not –  then the artist has been successful, in my opinion. After all, the restlessness produced guarantees we spend those moments within our own creative selves.

Body Art

It is the similar with the modern passion for body art – from painful-looking piercings to the modern passion for tattoo’s as a means of expression.

Beautiful Tattoos For Women

We are all familiar with bad body art. Bodies which are “too busy” with unrelated tales tattooed all over themselves in a rather uncoordinated fashion generally serve to repulse us, telling us more than we wanted to know about personal taste – especially in such visible fashion. Because many of us are unfamiliar with an art once restricted to coastal seaport towns and cities rife with sailors on a lark, we tend to miss the products which are actually intensely interesting – great decisions which mar our understanding of our own body representation, yet a fully embraced joy for the artists and the subjects who pull off amazingly creative and tasteful body art.

My nephew Aaron Campbell is one of these types. Hard-working with a great artistic pedigree, Aaron faced choices ranging from working for Disney to arting around  with Marvel Comics as career decisions, yet he chose Tattooing. I think the tension of ‘getting it perfect or else’, lol, tempted his “risky” gene. Inasmuch as there are no real ‘do-overs’ in Tattooing it does legitimately ask an ongoing perfection right from the start of a project. Tattoo’s are one time things. I have really enjoyed some of his work.



Complex and detailed beyond belief, these body art renditions are pretty much as good as it gets.



The landscaping Avant Garde shows itself as well in large cities, such as this view of downtown Osaka.


Or the amazing and refreshing ‘vertical garden’ views of Patrick Blanc, whose creations climb the walls of buildings and give a forest look in the midst of major cities:


………..or for that matter, inside buildings in major cities………….


There’s lots of amazing stuff going on out there in the landscaping and urban design field, even in The Oregon Garden in modest Silverton, Orgeon:



Burle Marx again, downtown.


What is avant garde about this gorgeous chain of blooms? Simple profusion and that is a personal choice of someone prone to excess. 😉



The River Walk in downtown Portland, Oregon.


Once more with Helen Nock.


And Gaudi………………..at Park Guell in Barcelona


Oh yeah, and Noguchi’s Osaka World’s Fair hanging water features.


That’s it today.

‘cept for this……………..




One thought on “Avant Garde Things Part 2

  1. ah, the vertical garden! Nice part about Aaron etc. and it seemed to fit right in! These pictures are so pretty, thank you Steven –

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