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Nov 26th
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Ron Milhoan Paints Deep Memory in “No Place to Hide”

ae_art1History looks out steadily from the surface of old photographs, holding a pose, jaws clenched, arranged against representative scenery in tones of black and white. History also seeps through dreams in vivid color, and charged moments loom near, or fade back into the pattern and texture of the emotional environment. Ron Milhoan, in “No Place to Hide,” at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, draws deep from his childhood memories of a Nebraska family homestead to tap directly into the racial unconscious for this body of expressive narrative paintings, heavy with meaning.

A giant fallen tree holds a gathering of figures posing on its immense trunk above the glinting surface of a watering hole in “Family Tree.” Though faces are obscure, the figures are distinctive, each looking at the viewer across the deep foreground of placid water. Behind them the river continues far beyond, banked by a receding procession of trees toward the dark ultramarine horizon. The painting carries summer in its warm palette and emotion in its expressive brushstrokes, creating with most specificity a memory—that watering hole, that family, that summer.

“Goddess of the Plains” carves dimension out of abstraction: a gauzy veil obscures areas of the canvas; at one side, a statue overlooks the space while objects emerge from and recede into the golden glow of the many-layered image. Hanging at the exhibition entrance, “Goddess: introduces symbols andae_art2 techniques that recur throughout: areas of saturated color, dominant pattern and strong line contrasting with areas of modeling and transparency; nature creeping into, and as a context for, the human environment.

In “No Place to Hide” the artist remembers his Nebraska upbringing, referring to old photos of his pioneering family’s history in that unforgiving land of harsh winters and baking summers. In Homestead the sky burns with fauvist intensity; swirls of sunset clouds conjure Van Gogh’s Night Sky while the tilled fields become a brilliant pattern that meets the horizon in an expression of nature’s power. At the center of the composition, the sturdy house stands empty; light spills from its open door while a small family poses between spindly trees in front. As was common in portraits of such homesteads, the family’s belongings are displayed proudly outside the house against the backdrop of their land. The stolid figures stand within the luminous vastness: a testimony to hope and hard work.

Sun-darkened features of all humans are vague and stern with daguerreotype stillness. “Oconto” chronicles the artist’s memory of a claustrophobic gathering in his family home, while he, a shadow at the edge of the interior space, almost fades into the landscape beyond, where he wanted to be.


“Ron Milhoan: No Place to Hide” continues at the Museum of Art & History through July 17.

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We are in the time and under the influence of Sagittarius, sign of the wanderer, good food, good music, and the joy (Jupiter as ruler) that occurs from giving to others while simultaneously giving thanks from our hearts. Having the Thanksgiving holiday during the month of Sag is not a mistake. No other sign understands joy (an aspect of the Soul) as Sag (except Pisces when not in despair). “Sag is a beam of directed and focused light. The beam reveals a greater light ahead, illuminating the Way to the center of the Light,” emitting the Ray of Joyfulness. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude; in the form of prayers, thoughts, feelings, wishes, hopes and greetings. Gratitude is something we still need to learn. Gratitude creates goodwill. Together, gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution” for humanity and our world’s problems. Gratitude and goodwill are the prerequisites for the reappearance of the Christ, the Aquarian World Teacher. In Ancient Wisdom texts it is written, “being grateful is the hallmark of one who is enlightened.” Gratitude comes from the Soul—the characteristics of which are love and wisdom (Ray 2). Gratitude is scientifically and occultly (mental, not emotional) a releasing agent. Gratitude liberates us and everything around us. Also a service to others, gratitude is deeply scientific in nature, releasing us from the past and laying open our future path leading to the new culture and civilization, the new laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarian, the Age of Friendship and Equality. The Hierarchy lays much emphasis upon gratitude. Let us be grateful this year and this season together. And so now the days of light illuminating the darkness begin (December’s festivals and feast days). Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am grateful for all of you, my readers.

 

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