East becomes West

I call this painting ‘Requiem for the East and West’ and when I looked at it the other day, it seemed more true than ever. It is an image of a yakusa, a Japanese underworld character whose body is elaborately tattooed.  Yakusa tattoos are so elaborate that Westerners flocked to Japan to have similar work done. But the eastern rituals which underlie the tattoos seem to me to have died.

P1000802

The Westerner in the painting is William Pillin, my brother, a well-known poet who lived here in Los Angeles. And both he and his kind of poetry are gone.  He wrote in the tradition of Andrew Marvell, the Renaissance poet.

Now the exquisite art of China and Japan, once so full of mystery, delicacy  and a deep spirituality that made it seem super-human have given way to the commercialism of the West. It has become sterile, superficial and slick. I don’t pretend to know everything about current trends in China and Japan, but it seems that all the contemporary work I see is only identifiable as Asian in terms of the artists’ names.

What we have now is a kind of global art, all derivative, all lacking the craftsmanship, the humanity of the art of the past. If I’m wrong, I’d love to hear about it.

Advertisements

7 responses to “East becomes West

  1. so very pleased to have Connections….it also tells me there is a nano-modicum of normalcy in your day………………………

    >________________________________ > From: connections/galya pillin tarmu >To: carlottapm@yahoo.com >Sent: Friday, November 29, 2013 1:29 PM >Subject: [New post] East becomes West > > > WordPress.com >galyatarmu posted: “I call this painting ‘Requiem for the East and West’ and when I looked at it the other day, it seemed more true than ever. It is an image of a yakusa, a Japanese underworld character whose body is elaborately tattooed. Yakusa tattoos are so elaborate tha” >

    • Dear Carlotta, The reason that I can afford this”nano-modicum of normalcy” as you put it, is because I have people  like you and Celia,and Ruth,and even Julia in remote and exotic Paris on my Team! 

      ________________________________

  2. Dear Galya, just commented on your blog. Intriguing painting and what you say about it. Reminds me to look again (as I have often) at one of your other tattooed figures—the woman embracing the man.

    Love,

    Noa

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s