On a blistering hot day in August 1983 I found myself heading north on a rickety open sided train from Marseilles to Aix in the South of France on a pilgrimage to the home of the greatest of modern painters, Paul Cezanne. Arriving midday and finding the ancient town deserted as is usual for any French town at that time of day, I walked through the empty cobblestoned streets filled with timeless heavy ocher colored buildings laden with sculpture and thick wooden doors and shuttered windows hearing only the sound of my footsteps and the many ornate bubbling fountains. By instinct, I headed out of town past the army barracks down a dirt road lined with pine forests and after a short time, breaking the crest of a hill, there it was, the massive rock of Mount St. Victoire raising like a monolith out of a bleached forest valley. Cezanne had painted this mountain many times and one can see why since it so dominates the landscape demanding attention but ever changing as the warm light of Provence passes over its hot white face. I stopped at a beautiful old farm house overlooking my intended venue and asked the old woman at the door if I could sit on her low wall by the house and draw. She smiled and kindly allowed me to proceed with my drawing only with the stipulation, "non-fumeurs si vous s'il vous plait". I slept a deep satisfying sleep that night in cow pasture under a star filled sky and dreamed the dream of being an artist too.
Expo 2005 Aichi, the first World Exposition of the 21st century was lightly situated in a shallow valley near Nagoya in central Japan. Touted as the first totally green fair and "Nature's Wisdom" as the theme, this fair uses modular construction that is designed to be easily dismantled and reused or otherwise recycled. The designers wished to show that buildings can be constructed to have minimal impact on the environment and be self-sufficant in energy, applying such technologies as fuel cells, biogas generators and solar sources while using innovative building materials and construction techniques. Exhibits explore sustainable resource development and clean power sources and the creation of eco-communities. In the site planning, operation, and transportation, the 3 Rs were followed, (reduce, reuse, recycle). 122 countries are represented as well as major Japanese corporations. All fairs of the past were located in urban area and usually done to develop neglected or blighted land. Expo 2005 is the first fair to be placed in a rural area. The ground are surrounded by a forest of Japanese red pine, Mangolian oak, Eura trees, and Mitsude Azaleas. Nature trails lead into the forest so that visitors can briefly escape the crowds. There is no nightlife at this fair. The grounds are closed by 9:30 and no fireworks to disturb the forest creatures. The Aichi fair has proved to be a hit with the public and has thus far has far exceeded the 15 million projected visitors for the 85 day run (May 25 to Sept. 25). The organizers, the Japon Association for the 2005 World Exposition, should be congratulated for this excellent fair. The exhibits are imaginatively designed and the visitor services are well organized and the food is good. The photos are by the author. The other images are from pamphlets and made available in the various pavilions and fair posters and design. www.expo2005.or.jp
The Palace of Fine Arts was designed by the famed Bay Area architect Bernard Maybeck for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. This World's Fair was a celebration of the rebuilding of San Francisco after the great earthquake and fire as much as the opening of the Panama Canal. Maybeck was best know for being a member of the Arts and Crafts Movement He also worked in the Mission style, Gothic Revival, as well as Beaux- Arts Classicism. Educated in Paris, he was a professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
The Fine Arts Pavilion design by Maybeck contains a theater and galleries (80,000 sq. ft.) arranged in a semi-circle. This relatively plain building provides a backdrop to the huge Roman fantasy out front. Maybeck believed in the "open use of natural materials honestly stated". He was a pioneer of "green architecture" and sustainable design. The results are building of elegant grandeur that mix historicism and modernity in a pleasing forms with a uniquely California look.
"To be naked is to be deprived of our clothes and the word implies some of the embarrassment which most of us feel in that condition. By contrast, the image projected into the mind by the word nude is not of a huddled and defenseless body, but of a balanced, prosperous and confident body: the body re-formed."
"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance."
Late in his life the great French painter Paul Cezanne writing in a letter to his fellow painter Emile Bernard, summarized his artistic philosophy---” I pursue the realization of that part of nature, which coming into our line of vision, gives us the picture. Now the theme to develop is that---Whatever our temperament or form of strength face to face with nature may be, we must render the image of what we see, forgetting everything that existed before us, which i behest to give his entire personality, whether great or small---In order to make progress, there is only nature, and the eye is trained through contact with her.” In another letter dated, may, 1904, he further states that “ painters must devote themselves entirely to the study of nature--Talking about art is almost useless.”
"An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world."
" I don't want to be right in theory, but in front of nature."
Paul Cezanne. 1904.