Forwarding Address: David Livewell’s Woven Light and the Art of Andrew Wyeth
Sadly, the memorials to the art of Andrew Wyeth since his death early last year have been few. I personally find it difficult to understand the lack of response to the passing of such an important figure in American art. Wyeth’s own wish to be left alone has been respected, perhaps overrespected, by his family, adding to the deafening silence. David Livewell’s Woven Light: Poems and Photographs from Andrew Wyeth’s Pennsylvania breaks that silence through words and images that recall Wyeth’s art but also make us ponder its significance not only to him, but also to us.
In his introduction, Bo Bartlett, one of the few young artists Wyeth allowed into his inner circle, writes that Woven Light "reveals the deeper layers of Andrew Wyeth’s art. These words will be a joy to those familiar with the specifics of Wyeth’s subjects and will bring a new awareness of the paintings to a broader audience." Through these intimate poems and photographs, Livewell looks to bring this private man’s art to the public.
Livewell has worked on these poems for nearly a decade, paying as much attention to detail as Wyeth did when he painted his tempera paintings with layer upon layer of pigments—the "woven light" of Livewell’s title. [Full disclosure: Mr. Livewell is a good friend of mine and lists my name in the acknowledgments of Woven Light.] This "woven light," however, is also the light of the past that always illuminated the present in Wyeth’s life and art, creating a seamless tapestry in which the past and present are continually interwoven. Taking his encyclopedic knowledge of Wyeth’s life and art, Livewell addresses the artist by entering imaginatively into the paintings and walking away with the meanings Wyeth may have intended as well as the meanings he finds there. In Winter, 1946: The Artist Addressed, Livewell addresses Wyeth using the painting that Wyeth himself called a "portrait" of his late father N.C. Wyeth (killed when his car stopped on tracks near that hill and was struck by a train) that shows only a young man racing down the hill:
…Your past becomes
An engine-whistle’s echo stuck in time.
His death has tempered you to paint your hate
As well as love. Untethered from his snare,
But fixed in Pa’s cold stare,
You now begin the art that is your fate.
Andrew the young lion known for vivid watercolors came "untethered" from his father’s influence and found a new direction in the somber, meditative works that filled his life for the next seven decades. Livewell goes on to examine nearly all of the milestone works in Wyeth’s career to paint a full poetic portrait of the man. In total, these add up to a 360 degree view of Wyeth’s mind and soul.
In a blurb to the book, Pulitzer-Prize winning poet and former Poet Laureate of the United States Richard Wilbur remarks, "David Livewell has the alert, divining eye that Andrew Wyeth’s paintings call for. He captures the detail of each picture admirably, and the brooding romantic atmosphere of some of them." Like Wilbur, Livewell writes in the "old school" style of poetry and infuses meter and rhyme into his works almost in defiance of modern, ruleless taste, just as Wyeth himself seemed out of place in the world of modern art. Livewell’s verse maintains its accessibility without losing any complexity or subtlety, again, just as Wyeth’s paintings seemed just to be of trees or fields but were always about much more, namely himself and we, the viewers. Livewell’s verse and Wyeth’s paintings are truly the marriage of true minds.
In addition to these memorable poems, Livewell’s photography brings Wyeth’s world vividly to life. Livewell gained exclusive access to the Kuerner farm that Wyeth frequented and painted over three generations of that family’s life, including that of Karl Kuerner, III, who also became an artist. A photo of the actual attic in which Wyeth painted the iconic Karl shows the menacing meat hooks Wyeth used as emblems of the menacing man he knew as a friend and substitute father. Livewell also shows for the first time the room in which the mysterious Helga Testorf napped while serving as Karl’s nurse and later secretly posed for 14 years for Wyeth in what became known collectively as The Helga Pictures, the suite of 240 sensual nudes and other portraits that catapulted Wyeth’s name back into the limelight in 1985. Livewell accompanies these groundbreaking photos with evocative images of Wyeth’s Chadds Ford environment throughout the seasons that recreate what Wyeth himself saw and then transformed into his art.
Woven Light will captivate any fan of Andrew Wyeth’s art. To know and appreciate Wyeth is to enter into his world. Woven Light is a multimedia key to the door leading into Wyeth’s world. Livewell sent these poems to the artist himself years before his death. "What a fine set of poems about my paintings," Wyeth responded in a letter. "They are powerful statements and deeply moving to me." If you’ve ever been deeply moved by the art of Andrew Wyeth, or any other artist for that matter, Woven Light will move you to look more penetratingly and address art more intimately as you move forward through life.
[Image: The interior of the Kuerner Farmhouse in which Andrew Wyeth painted. This table scene inspired Wyeth’s painting Groundhog Day.]
[Many thanks to Mr. Livewell for the image above and a review copy of Woven Light: Poems and Photographs from Andrew Wyeth’s Pennsylvania]
It's just the current cycle that involves opiates, but methamphetamine, cocaine, and others have caused the trajectory of overdoses to head the same direction
- It appears that overdoses are increasing exponentially, no matter the drug itself
- If the study bears out, it means that even reducing opiates will not slow the trajectory.
- The causes of these trends remain obscure, but near the end of the write-up about the study, a hint might be apparent
Through computationally intensive computer simulations, researchers have discovered that "nuclear pasta," found in the crusts of neutron stars, is the strongest material in the universe.
- The strongest material in the universe may be the whimsically named "nuclear pasta."
- You can find this substance in the crust of neutron stars.
- This amazing material is super-dense, and is 10 billion times harder to break than steel.
Superman is known as the "Man of Steel" for his strength and indestructibility. But the discovery of a new material that's 10 billion times harder to break than steel begs the question—is it time for a new superhero known as "Nuclear Pasta"? That's the name of the substance that a team of researchers thinks is the strongest known material in the universe.
Unlike humans, when stars reach a certain age, they do not just wither and die, but they explode, collapsing into a mass of neurons. The resulting space entity, known as a neutron star, is incredibly dense. So much so that previous research showed that the surface of a such a star would feature amazingly strong material. The new research, which involved the largest-ever computer simulations of a neutron star's crust, proposes that "nuclear pasta," the material just under the surface, is actually stronger.
The competition between forces from protons and neutrons inside a neutron star create super-dense shapes that look like long cylinders or flat planes, referred to as "spaghetti" and "lasagna," respectively. That's also where we get the overall name of nuclear pasta.
Caplan & Horowitz/arXiv
Diagrams illustrating the different types of so-called nuclear pasta.
The researchers' computer simulations needed 2 million hours of processor time before completion, which would be, according to a press release from McGill University, "the equivalent of 250 years on a laptop with a single good GPU." Fortunately, the researchers had access to a supercomputer, although it still took a couple of years. The scientists' simulations consisted of stretching and deforming the nuclear pasta to see how it behaved and what it would take to break it.
While they were able to discover just how strong nuclear pasta seems to be, no one is holding their breath that we'll be sending out missions to mine this substance any time soon. Instead, the discovery has other significant applications.
One of the study's co-authors, Matthew Caplan, a postdoctoral research fellow at McGill University, said the neutron stars would be "a hundred trillion times denser than anything on earth." Understanding what's inside them would be valuable for astronomers because now only the outer layer of such starts can be observed.
"A lot of interesting physics is going on here under extreme conditions and so understanding the physical properties of a neutron star is a way for scientists to test their theories and models," Caplan added. "With this result, many problems need to be revisited. How large a mountain can you build on a neutron star before the crust breaks and it collapses? What will it look like? And most importantly, how can astronomers observe it?"
Another possibility worth studying is that, due to its instability, nuclear pasta might generate gravitational waves. It may be possible to observe them at some point here on Earth by utilizing very sensitive equipment.
The team of scientists also included A. S. Schneider from California Institute of Technology and C. J. Horowitz from Indiana University.
Check out the study "The elasticity of nuclear pasta," published in Physical Review Letters.
Scientists think constructing a miles-long wall along an ice shelf in Antarctica could help protect the world's largest glacier from melting.
- Rising ocean levels are a serious threat to coastal regions around the globe.
- Scientists have proposed large-scale geoengineering projects that would prevent ice shelves from melting.
- The most successful solution proposed would be a miles-long, incredibly tall underwater wall at the edge of the ice shelves.
The world's oceans will rise significantly over the next century if the massive ice shelves connected to Antarctica begin to fail as a result of global warming.
To prevent or hold off such a catastrophe, a team of scientists recently proposed a radical plan: build underwater walls that would either support the ice or protect it from warm waters.
In a paper published in The Cryosphere, Michael Wolovick and John Moore from Princeton and the Beijing Normal University, respectively, outlined several "targeted geoengineering" solutions that could help prevent the melting of western Antarctica's Florida-sized Thwaites Glacier, whose melting waters are projected to be the largest source of sea-level rise in the foreseeable future.
An "unthinkable" engineering project
"If [glacial geoengineering] works there then we would expect it to work on less challenging glaciers as well," the authors wrote in the study.
One approach involves using sand or gravel to build artificial mounds on the seafloor that would help support the glacier and hopefully allow it to regrow. In another strategy, an underwater wall would be built to prevent warm waters from eating away at the glacier's base.
The most effective design, according to the team's computer simulations, would be a miles-long and very tall wall, or "artificial sill," that serves as a "continuous barrier" across the length of the glacier, providing it both physical support and protection from warm waters. Although the study authors suggested this option is currently beyond any engineering feat humans have attempted, it was shown to be the most effective solution in preventing the glacier from collapsing.
Source: Wolovick et al.
An example of the proposed geoengineering project. By blocking off the warm water that would otherwise eat away at the glacier's base, further sea level rise might be preventable.
But other, more feasible options could also be effective. For example, building a smaller wall that blocks about 50% of warm water from reaching the glacier would have about a 70% chance of preventing a runaway collapse, while constructing a series of isolated, 1,000-foot-tall columns on the seafloor as supports had about a 30% chance of success.
Still, the authors note that the frigid waters of the Antarctica present unprecedently challenging conditions for such an ambitious geoengineering project. They were also sure to caution that their encouraging results shouldn't be seen as reasons to neglect other measures that would cut global emissions or otherwise combat climate change.
"There are dishonest elements of society that will try to use our research to argue against the necessity of emissions' reductions. Our research does not in any way support that interpretation," they wrote.
"The more carbon we emit, the less likely it becomes that the ice sheets will survive in the long term at anything close to their present volume."
A 2015 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine illustrates the potentially devastating effects of ice-shelf melting in western Antarctica.
"As the oceans and atmosphere warm, melting of ice shelves in key areas around the edges of the Antarctic ice sheet could trigger a runaway collapse process known as Marine Ice Sheet Instability. If this were to occur, the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) could potentially contribute 2 to 4 meters (6.5 to 13 feet) of global sea level rise within just a few centuries."
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