Wednesday, February 22, 2012

portabella passing

Arriving in San Francisco late in the afternoon brought back memories of dusty gray air but the sunshine streamed through it and redeemed the smog/fog okay to bear. I had come to scout overseas possibilities and couple my stay with a day or two looking at art.

On Sunday, I took the Bart from Millbrae to Powell Street costing $8.50 round trip. Years ago, when I worked in Los Angeles in the fashion industry, I frequented San Francisco. This was the city I had thought about moving to but now I was getting off at my destination and I hurried to MOMA. (I had recently watched "Milk" with Sean Penn and James Franco who both acted beautifully. The film was informative and brought back the San Francisco of the sixties movement, beat poets and Hare Krishna.)Once at the museum, I scoured the exhibitions, cramming my already tired eyes with quick assessments of wonderful photography shows along with the Bay Area greats, just next door to artist masters such as Matisse, Picasso and Max Beckman. It was the two photography exhibits that I found the most appealing. One featured Francesca Woodman who showed an astounding aesthetic at the young age of 22. Woodman committed suicide at that age but her maturity and skill of piecing self portraits was astoundingly refreshing. You had to enter each piece intimately to examine and scrutinize the content frame. The other photography exhibition was a retrospective of Rineke Dijkstra (her photographs pictured above and below). The artist gave you the information in large glossy colorful prints and most of it was an easy read; the artist astute to our "quick fix" needs as observers. Her portraits showed young Israeli soldiers - the same boy in uniform contrasted in his regular everyday clothes. Other pictures told stories of a young woman starting from ten years in age gradually developing into a mature twenty year old woman. Each photograph was huge - close to 10 by 7 feet, cosmetically presented, a fairy tale image of glorified pop. This was not dismal portraiture no matter what subject matter concerned. Another series of works was a strand of bull fighters after a bout in the ring (seen above). Each matador wore a dishevelled look stained with blood and grit.
I left the museum more inspired by the photography exhibits than anything else presented. It was a rewarding and invigorating treat always welcoming life's surprises. As I exited outside, a sumptuous fill lingered on Market Street, as I watched people, I checked out the flower stalls pausing briefly, quaint shops and singing minstrels guided me back to my return place.

At the airport, I gobbled a grilled portabella mushroom sandwich peppered with feta, pesto, grilled onions, tomato and lettuce. This huge mushroom spread on the bottom bun, amazed and suddenly realized however, that I was in one of the food capitals of the world - no matter where!

Friday, February 3, 2012

time out of mind

The past loomed in front of me as I tried to doze off late last night. Unexpected recollections popped up from old haunts of long ago.

The scent of sea breezes drifted into my psyche when I was carefree and thinking of that period of innocence, I was almost there, feeling that utter freedom of lightness. If there was trouble and worries at that moment, I didn't know it. Where did that sensation go? Jersey coasted past me. Grand vistas of the shoreline; the meeting place of first night dates, parked cars with timid conversations, afternoon dips, sunrise services, warm, humid kisses, the scent of pizza, jammed beer bars and hot boardwalk.

I was in love with the sea. It stretched endlessly for miles with waves of heat rising in rivulets above the wide beach sands; the ocean insurmountable, not comprehending the beauty of it all, I gave up and immersed into it's nothingness.

The sea was my refuge and I would escape to this landscape easily embracing the openness, the horizon always there greeting me with predictability. It was a mystery and fantasy land of tall grasses, rollings surfs, jetties, old fishing piers, white grasshoppers and lazy days. Why did I leave this paradise?

I have missed this space again and again sometimes fretting if these memories ever existed, drifting away out of sight, out of mind. How happy I am to be able to retrieve this place and at the same time how sadly I recognize these years gone by.