Camille Claudel, A Female Genius ~ By Monique Lucy Weberink
A Female Genius…
“You're wrong to think it's about you. You're a sculptor, Rodin, not a sculpture. You ought to know. I am that old woman with nothing on her bones. And the aging young girl... that's also me. And the man is me too. Not you. I gave him my toughness. He gave me his emptiness in return. There you are... three times me. The Holy Trinity, trinity of emptiness.”
Among the female artists I admire is Camille Claudel a French sculptor and graphic artist who lived from 1864 till 1943.  I truly admire her strong determination for being accepted as an artist, which was definitely not easy in her time at the end of the 19th century. Her life is a story about having to go through a live long struggle in both her private and in her professional life.
Since she was a child Camile was fascinated with earthly materials, in particular stone and soil. With the support of her father she was able to attend the Academie Colarossi where she eventually met Alfred Boucher who was already a established sculptor. He become her mentor for several years and also introduced her to August Rodin that later on took over the role as being her mentor and it became the beginning of their passionate and tumultuous relationship. She started to work in Rodin’s workshop and after some time Claudel became a great source of inspiration for Rodin, she was his model, confidante and lover.  After an unhappy relationship that continued for over 15 years, Claudel finally left Rodin.  Her private life was left to bits and pieces her professional success then started to take off. But it would be a mistake to assume that Claudel's reputation had been established and then survived the years simply because of her ‘notorious’ association with Rodin. To illustrate her reputation: the novelist and art critic Octave Mirbeau described her as "A revolt against nature: a woman genius". Her early work is similar to Rodin's in spirit, but shows an imagination and lyricism quite her own, particularly in the famous Bronze Waltz (1893).
In the period after 1905 Claudel appeared to be mentally ill. She not only disappeared for long periods of time but also destroyed many of her statues. She exhibited signs of paranoia and eventually was diagnosed as having schizophrenia. Her condition deteriorated up to a point where she started accusing Rodin of stealing ‘her’ ideas and of even leading a conspiracy to kill her.
Apart from her father her family did not support her decision to become a sculptor at all. But her father kept supporting her financially but after he died in 1913 her brother had Camille admitted to a psychiatric institution right away. The word went out she had volunteered to be committed. But it was her brother who had signed the admission forms. The hospital records that have been preserved clearly show that even though she did have many mental outbursts, she was very clear headed while working on her art. It was the will of her brother, and her mother as well, that she was not released from the institution.
It is really sad to see that a brilliant artist like Claudel literally got locked away simply because she did not conform to the norms of society of that time. Where there male artists were admired, the artistic behavior of Claudel was considered as strange and even schizophrenic. It is my opinion that her insanity might have been largely due to the social constraints and pressure forced on her up to a point that even her own family and Rodin who she so dearly loved and abandoned her had viciously betrayed her. She felt rejected and suffered a lonely and sad life. We are fortunate that a large part of her artworks have survived leaving us with her beautiful and inspirational legacy.
Monique Lucy Weberink
Javier Aliste ~ Painter Of Magical Subconsciousnesses
The artist Javier Aliste searches for the syncretism of our current cultural identity. To find his answers he has been researching the Andean world and the idiosyncrasies of the Amazonian people since 1997. In his work of art he uses sacred chromatic and sacred symbolism, which is inspired on the way people live in South America typically Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile.

Using his heritage of the South American continent - Javier was born in Chile and living in Buenos Aires - where art has always been a mixture of Andean symbols and a medieval European concept he evolved and managed to create his own unique style; a typical palet of colors combined with different materials such as plastic tablecloths, synthetic enamel, plaster and clothes. The result is a expressive vivid art form that tributes the South American culture.

The first time I saw the works of Javier Aliste I was struck by its happiness it gave me… I loved the colorful, bright three dimensional image it represented because of the material he uses. It is totally different from what I saw before working as an art dealer and I was surprised by its symbolic details. His works are in some way reminding me of my childhood innocence in which I appreciated art just by looking at it without having the necessity to explain why I like it. Just looking at it and knowing that I like it.  The naive art of Javier Aliste is provoking this same sensation.

It seems to me that Javier gets part of his creative inspiration from the combination of materials he utilizes and applies. The artistic excitement seems to lie most of all in its preoccupation with the invention and use such materials, colors, and surfaces.  I can see the influence of his childhood, it is pure art, pure thoughts…where the subconscious plays an important role.

Its like capturing the beauty of landscape rather than focusing on a single detail.

This is exactly what I see in the works of Javier, it is not the image per se which is asking our attention but the work as a whole with the underlying message within that shows details by looking at its whole. Understanding the works of Javier by undergoing his South American identity, we can hear the whispers of the Gods, we look at his works and we can feel them…

What I can clearly see as well is the medieval European cultural influences and religion combined which has evolved into a true spiritual South American style. Those color mixtures and symbolic combinations allows him to represents a reality that surrounds him, but he is also expressing strong feelings that come from inside. Of course Javier himself is a part of his South American cultural heritage and he is mixing this heritage with his experience he gained in Europe. He studied in Art in Germany and traveled through Europe before he returned to his home place.

An Andean concept mixed with this strong European influence. It is almost if we can hear the ancestors voices coming out of his artworks.

Then of course there is always the question, does this art really need to be explained or should we just enjoy en let our subconscious take over allowing each of its viewers to experience and explore Javier Aliste's subconscious works of art.

Monique Lucy Weberink -  President My Passion For…
Edgar Degas ~ The Mystery Of A Painting
A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, and some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people.
Edgar Degas
Self portrait 1855
Paul Cezanne ~ Feelings & Art
An art which isn't based on feeling isn't an art at all... feeling is the principle, the beginning and the end; craft, objective, technique - all these are in the middle.
Paul Cezanne
Photo: Cezanne in his studio, 1904
Marc Chagall ~ Art From The Heart
Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso, St. Paul de Vence, 1955 -by Philippe Halsman
'When I work from my heart, almost everything comes right, but when from my head, almost nothing."
It's A Womens World By Monique Lucy Weberink
“How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?" ~Anais Nin.
When I was asked to write a column for an American cultural magazine, my first thought was if I would be able to do this, first of all being European and second – strangely enough - being a woman.  Would I be able to write something interesting that can capture the mind of the American reader? Then I realized this behavior is perhaps just typical for  a woman. Am I able to, can I do this at all, how will other people perceive me?  Stop whining! Just go and do it?
Let me properly introduce myself. Having studied Italian literature with a strong focus on Magical Realism I am a digital artist and poet and spent most of my time working on my art and writing my blogs. Born in the Netherlands, but as I have never felt typical Dutch I traveled a lot, lived in several European countries and so ended up today living in Gran Canaria, a paradise island located near Africa but officially part of Spain. I am passionate about art, literature, music and anything that enriches our life, things that make it beautiful and worthwhile.
My first article for this column I actually had planned to write about successful women in visual arts. But after having started I ran into my first big dilemma: “Was I able to think of enough important female artists?” While I had no troubles whatsoever to think of female writers and musicians I was only able to name a few women painters from the top of my head, and that made me think.
If I would have decided to write about male artists I could have named hundreds of them and there would have been enough information to write a library full of books - which other people actually have already done - but why is it that there are so few female artists. Had I just forgotten about them? One artist that most of you probably would have thought of right away is Frida Kahlo. She is an inspirational character, a truly great female Mexican artist. But when you think of it, her art was partly inspired on her suffering that was caused by her husband Diego Rivera.  He treated her very bad and had many affairs which she turned into inspiration for her art.  Many works are self portraits in which she presents herself to the world how she saw herself, suffering from physical and emotional pain, a tortured soul. The question is would we have remembered her if her husband wasn’t one of the most famous artists of his time?
When I try hard enough other artists come to mind like Dorothea Tanning, Remedios Varo, Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, Sophie Anderson and Tracey Emin.
Why is it that there is such a big difference in the level of success between women and men in visual art. I believe an artist needs some form of inner freedom to be able to create, but isn’t it so that women have a greater need for admiration and approval of others in order to perform? Woman are perhaps more likely to be judged on their behaviour and what they express while men can create whatever inspires them. Perhaps there is a correlation between these two.
It wasn’t up till the late sixties that things began to change largely due to the feminist movement and ‘woman in art movements ‘that Art galleries were almost forced to start taking female art serious, they demanded attention.  The motto was “Art creating identities” where Art becomes personal and persons became art.
Happily most things have changed a great deal and I do believe we - meaning the artistic women - have broken free of many chains of society being free to develop, create and express. The question remains is it just our inner self that sets boundaries and creates our own obstacles in the creation of art and promoting ourselves. As a ‘typical’ woman, of course I am not sure either… am I right, am I wrong.

This article has been published earlier in Sweet Henry Magazine, April 2012
Portrait is by Frida Kahlo
Childe Hassam ~ On True Impressionism
The true impressionism is realism. So many people do not observe. They take the ready-made axioms laid down by others, and walk blindly in a rut without trying to see for themselves.
Childe Hassam
Giacometti ~ Feeling Like A Child
"Artistically I am still a child with a whole life ahead of me to discover and create. I want something, but I won't know what it is until I succeed in doing it."
Alberto Giacometti
Antoni Tapies ~ Art And The Meaning Of Life
"Art should startle the viewer into thinking about the meaning of life."
Barcelona, 1923 - 2012, painter, sculptor.
Tàpies eschewed traditional painting materials and championed the use of all sorts of other materials long before arte povera became a fashionable critical notion. He did in fact invent a new form of material expression.
Oscar Wilde ~ A Work Of Art
“One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.”
Oscar Wilde