Sunday, June 5, 2011

Morris Graves and Machine Age Noise

Spring with Machine Age Noise No. 4, Morris Graves, Tempra on Paper, 1957

Days getting long, sun shining, windows open and by the deafening assault on the senses you might  well believe the Apocalypse is at hand. Power mowers roar against the high piercing scream of weed eaters only pausing for the rare moment to remind you that a bird can still sing before they rev up again... ah, the sounds of the machine age. Here in this tourist town even the screaming massacre of the grass is regularly overwhelmed by the constant traffic of small aircraft overhead. Is there no peace? In my last post I wrote about David Hockney's embrace of the latest technology in his art. But to critique the darker side of the machine age we turn to the one and only Morris Graves.

 Machine Age Noise No. 2, Morris Graves, Ink on Paper, 1957

Morris Graves, renowned Northwest artist and the original Northwest Mystic appreciated peace and quiet to a high degree. Here are his responses to machine age noise. In the Sumi painting Machine Age Noise No. 2 Graves used a broom for a brush giving it an energetic thwack.

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