Annie Yakutis went to college in the 70s and studied with California artists who revered non-objective painting for its compatibility with mystical traditions and eastern philosophy. A transfer to Seattle and the University of Washington required her to demonstrate proficiency in drawing and painting, and an emphasis on textile design there led her her to make shrine-like assemblages which won her a travel fellowship from the Ford Foundation to explore connections between traditional Javanese textiles and the ceremonial objects of Bali Hindu. She was accepted to UCLA’s graduate program in Fiber Arts but soon realized that painting was her medium.
As a young painter she experimented with pure geometrical abstraction as well as rebus-like works on paper that combined pictograms and text, then returned to oil painting via portraits of coworkers at the banks and law firms of Los Angeles where she worked as a temp. There was a collage and journal making phase during a period of transition, and then she arrived at the Gaviota Coast.
Our wild shoreline and coastal river valley are so glorious! It was natural to focus on the landscape, and she did, for over a decade. Ultimately, though, it’s what we do not see that fascinates her most. How do we visualize that?
"Our culture and art do not speak to America alone. Today, as always, art knows no national boundaries. Behind the storm of daily conflict and crisis, the poet, the artist, the musician, continues the quiet work of centuries, building bridges of experience between peoples, reminding man of the universality of his feelings and desires and despairs, and reminding him that the forces that unite are deeper than those that divide."
--John F. Kennedy
Find the full transcript online at http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=9033&st=national+cultural&st1=
But I've left out the personal part of my story.
It's the early 1960s, I'm in Catholic school, and there's a little Catholic girl in the Whitehouse. I can relate. My family is still intact, and my Mom and Dad can afford to rent a beach shack for spring vacation, right on the sand, where we find colored eggs on Easter morning. We paddle out on inflatable surf matts and pound over the falls to come in. We lie in the hot sand. On a cloudy day I write a letter to Caroline, illustrated in crayon. I have a big box, with all the colors. I feel fantastic about the world, it is bliss. I am nine. Maybe ten.
This little light of mine.
Check out how Catholic girls do these days - Mercy Hight School Statement of Support for Immigrants Refugees and Muslims at http://www.mercyhs.org/news/statement-of-support-for-immigrants-refugees-and-muslims. This is how I was raised.
Alexander Yakutis. My dad's namesake, and mine. He fled Lithuania prior to the outbreak of WWI, then became a naturalized citizen after serving in the United States Navy. To me he was tall as a tree. Grandpa taught me to love nature. Oak trees, honey bees, salt. I venerate these because of him. Lithuania was the first to declare independence from the USSR. She is tiny, she is strategic, and she needs NATO to have her back. This Wikipedia article on the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania covers the basics. It's a short read and includes a reference to Moldavia, our first lady's country of origin, to my surprise.
The untitled painting illustrated here was an outlier when I made it. I've been living with it for about seven years now, and it's still growing on me. It reminds me of a song. This song.
In one of the most sublime locations in all of California, heavily repaired asphalt leads to a remote fire station behind the gas and oil facility at Mariposa Reina.
Click or tap on image to enlarge
Gas and oil infrastructure, railroad infrastructure, offshore infrastructure. Neither north nor south. Tar occurs naturally on beaches. Monarch butterflies are attracted to eucalyptus groves.
I’m not an outsider. I’m from here.
Five panels, 40 x 50 cm, acrylic on plywood. Studies or paint samples suggesting weavings, oceans, or heavy atmospheres, veils, waterfalls, draped views of distant and uncertain subjects.
As in Cassini footage, for example:
Film by Chris Abbas https://vimeo.com/cabbas/cassini found on Astronomy Picture of the Day
Track: 2 Ghosts I, Ghosts I – IV by Nine Inch Nails
(Used under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial Attribution Share Alike license.)
Ad Reinhardt's Black Paintings: A Matter of Time, Arden Reed, The Brooklyn Rail, January 16th, 2014
Looking at nature, looking at pencil marks, looking at paint. Looking out, looking up, looking around. Looking into imaginary space.
I heard the word, wonderful thing, a children's song
Small panels float on a wall. A night sky or watered surface, an overlay of starlike geometries, faceted figures for focusing on the invisible. Having nothing to go on but continuing forward without knowing. Again! Again! To defeat despair, make something. Like a diamond in the sky.
The Pursuit of Beauty, Yitang Zhang solves a pure-math mystery, Alec Wilkinson, The New Yorker, February 2, 2015.
In life I never was
among the well-known flowers
and yet, in withering
I am most certainly
Aru toki wa
hana no kazu ni wa
chiru ni wa morenu
I am myself at the moment of my death, and also now.
Round painting from 2013, acrylic on canvas, 60 cm in diameter
My friend Sandy got this one. It lives in Santa Fe, NM now, in good company among Sandy's many gems. Her little condo is like a treasure chest, so I'm very flattered she made room for one more painting.
Remembering Eva Stewart Trevelyan Yakutis today. Born September 30, 1919. Died November 19, 1977. Riverside, California
9 minutes of cloud action with ambient sound
In Act I, Scene II of The Tempest, the "airy Spirit" Ariel is ordered by Prospero to lead the shipwrecked Ferdinand to him. She does this by invisibly singing to gain his attention and guide him by the sound of her voice. The second stanza is of particular relevance to Ferdinand since his father drowned. These are the lines that come to mind. Hark! I hear them --
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Four round paintings, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 41 1/4 inches in diameter (105 cm)