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As war and covid rage around us, artists find a way to bring insight and beauty into our lives. Here are some of the best I have found this month.

The team of Skuja-Braden brings an acerbic twist to the field of ceramics. The two artists, one from Latvia and the other from California, are showing their distinctive pieces at the 59th Venice Biennale in the Latvian Pavilion with an exhibition titled "Selling Water By the River". The two explain their outlook in these words: "to reimagine the delusional separation between private and public and the possibility of coexisting in a society whilst not losing one’s individuality." Here you see a close-up of their disturbing glazed pieces.

Art News suggests their top 10 presentations at this year's Venice biennale. What seems evident, at least through this small sampling, is the sense of dislocation, disturbance, and distress felt by artists worldwide in the face of war and a pandemic. Wouldn't it be lovely if such splendid displays could be based rather on harmony among individuals and nations? A learned friend of mine claims that warfare is built into our DNA. Do you think that's true?

Everlyn Nicodemus tells us "I had no brakes on my mouth" as she describes a lifetime of outspoken boldness. Raised in Tanzania with conservative parents, she once threatened to leave the Lutheran church and join the Catholics, just to see if she could get better answers to her questions. Asked to cook breakfast fer her brothers she replied, "Well, I did it yesterday. Tomorrow they’re going to cook breakfast for me". As you can imagine her paintings are equally outspoken and throbbing with energy.

"Flowers in a Glass Vase with a Tulip" was painted in 1716 by Rachel Ruysch. Ruysch was born in the Hague and was the first female member of the artist's society Confrerie Pictura. These two splendid flower paintings offer exquisite detail and a superb sense of color and dark mystery.

Called United Nations of Dance, this video will introduce you to the cultural traditions of Mozambique, particularly as expressed in dance. You will get an introduction to the costumes, the rhythms, the training and the music that contribute to the strong identity of this region.

Vogue magazine is establishing an impressive web presence. Here they show scenes frm Taipei Fashion Week Fall 2022, emphasizing street style with a flair.

When you are in the mood for exuberance mixed with drawing and dabs of paint imposed on what appear to be scenes from nature, the works of Jade Fadojutimi might be your cup of tea. You will find more work by this young and talented artist at his own site.

Since bold seems to be the prevailing mood these days (did Yankees' fans really throw garbage onto the playing field?), Julie Curtiss fits right in. Her gouaches shown here fairly accost your gaze but in a masterful way. Her paintings, no les confrontational, make clear her feelings about gender and identity.

I suspect that many of us share the fantasy of finding a masterpiece at a garage sale or flea market. Occasionally it does happen, although not in a dumpster. But a mechanic in Connecticut discovered literally hundreds of paintings in a dumpster at an abandoned farmhouse. He considered using them for Halloween decor. When the owner of the barn heard about the find he was both astonished and saddened, to think of someone's works trashed like that. and therein lies a tale. They were the works of Francis Hines, who died in 2016, and are apparently worth millions. You can read more about Hines at the Etra Fine Art site.

An unusual Performing Arts Center is being designed by British designer Thomas Heatherwick for Hainan, China. The Center is scheduled to be part of a larger plan to erect a new cultural area in the district. Included in this new Center will be an opera house, a theater, and a concert hall. The inspiration for the design came from the volcanic landscape of the area. and will incorporate multi-colored rectangular tiles on the exterior.

It is not often that we find exceptional artistry in makeup but indeed it does exist, as you will see here. The artist, Mimi Choi, is based in Vancouver and gives master classes in her technique around the world. Choi created the much-discussed makeup of actor/model Ezra Miller at the Met Gala. Be prepared to see some amazing artistry here.

Mass MoCA treats us to an elaborate exhibition of ceramics in a show called "Ceramics in the Expanded Field". Included are 8 clay artists, who draw on history, identity, and tradition, while challenging utility as a necessary definition of ceramics.

When speaking of expanded understandings, it is interesting to look at "Desire Lines" by Igshaan Adams at the Art Institute of Chicago. Traditional thoughts about weaving tend to disappear in the face of these lavishly created textile installations, which the Institute describes as "a woven map of the lived experience and physical terrain of his South African hometown". The massive pieces are indeed impressive, accompanied by shells, beads, rope, wire, and glass.

Those of you interested in architecture will want to see the proposed new building that Amazon is planning in Arlington, Virginia. Plants and greenery entwine around the outside, giving the feeling of a mountain trail. Amazon plans to make that mountain climb open to the public on weekends.

c. Corinne Whitaker 2022