Ronald Anderson – Native American Artist –
“Thinking Out” – Acryl auf Leinwand; ca. 60 x 85 cm; 2000)
The time of our symposium had been drawing to the end meanwhile. On this day all of us had decided spontaneously to go “to outside”. Small groups had formed themselves, and then had just as spontaneously disappeared in different directions. Ronald Anderson (RA) had followed my husband and me. Together we went to the Weser where we set up in the grass of the dyke. And since RA had taken his materials along for painting, it did not last long and his impressions and thoughts flowed out constantly from him directly on the canvas.
The place in which we had sat down into the grass was not so very far away from the gallery then, “pro art”; we had not crossed the Weser on our way. And the so-called “New Town” is located on this left Weser side. This is the part of Bremen which had arisen only “later”, when there had been no longer enough living space in the “Old Town”. “Later”, this had been in the 17th century, after all!
In this place of ours on the left Weser shore, there we could look at the right Weser side and outer periphery of the original town center, the historical Bremen Center. The church St. Stephanie whose church steeple had been inestimable was located exactly in our field of vision.
On the painting of RA there are four horizontal levels which I call the “levels of the reality”:
A relatively narrow green stripe draws itself along the lower picture edge. It represents the grass area on which we had sat down. Though, we cannot be seen on it. An unreal scene rather develops there, “Thinking Out”, the “trains of thought” of Ronald Anderson, and therefore a “mega-level”. The other “levels of the reality” also have a “mega-level” each.
A broad blue, also horizontal stripe follows the first green horizontal level representing the River “Weser”.
The third horizontal level is green and narrow again. It is the grass of the dyke on the other shore side. Below this green, the fine blue-gray bright stripe shows that there is a sidewalk there. Buildings can be recognized by the upper edge of this green, houses and the church with its church steeple. I still would like to mention a small detail: At an exact consideration “dyke-gathers with a closed sluice-seal” are on the right of church steeple and houses recognizable. This seal, however, is not at this place of this dyke. On his picture, RA had moved “this old flood control” and “moved into the field of vision” in his “artistic liberty”. During a “sightseeing tour through the New Town” we had seen this access to the Weser shore opened, though, because it is closed only at extreme high water. *Thanks go to the district head official, Klaus-Peter Fischer, who had invited us for this sightseeing tour!
The fourth and upper part of the picture is full with a broader horizontal blue ribbon which represents the sky.
These are the picture elements which point to the outer reality are this.
I would like to speak about the different “mega-levels” now:
I start with the reflections in the water of the “Weser” which impose themselves on the observer in front of the right Weser shore. Fire, water and smoke stir the even flow of the water up. They actually represent explosions which had happened after bomb releases of airplanes – during the Second World War! This information makes the observer aware of this that at the sky above on the left there just is an airplane to be recognized in the letting down preparing for letting drop further bombs. Another detail slides itself into the consciousness of the observer now, too: Below the mirrored explosions another five airplanes can be seen in a horizontal flight. It looks as if they are beginning the return flight.
In the glaring contrast for this memory stirring up, the houses rest – same an idyll behind the dyke in peaceful atmosphere. And in this touching idyll the church steeple of St. Stephanie juts out right in the middle of it!
The sky over this peaceful idyll is blue and the clouds almost already have disappeared. For this now a little cloud which wears the “Indian colors”* in itself appears there on the right of the sky. These colors stand for the following: YELLOW for the east, the new-beginning, the birth; RED for the south, the youth and learning; BLACK for the west, for being grown up, and for the night; WHITE for the north, the age, the wisdom, and for the end of life. *See to this “Art Touches Art – 16” (Information to Kelly Church).
Each color embodies that what the life demands of people in every phase of their life and so corresponds to a life phase. This little cloud therefore reminds of this that we shall go consciously and attentively through all phases of our life. And therefore, for me, this cloud is a “peace cloud”…
I leave the blue ribbon now which stands for the Weser water.
The lower green ribbon corresponds to this grass area on which all of us, Ronald Anderson, my husband and I, had sat down. Though, this had remained unmentioned in the picture. Nevertheless, there is happening quite a whole crowd there! – Namely at the “mega-level”! So five trees can be seen there, each of it standing in a row.
Somehow these trees look strange; this had been my spontaneous feeling.
The short wordings of RA he had given us at that time – in the year 2000 – has helped me along by now: He said that for him life takes place in the treetops of trees, not on the earth (formulated from the memory).
This one was the question which I had asked me since then: Why does he have a leger feeling on the “treetops”?
Further questions followed with me: Why do children love to climb trees or to be in a tree house? Why even adults who nowadays can have installed whole “villas” for themselves into treetops, do love this?
This one was the answer which finally “formulated” itself (due to my inner questions) in me: “With the help of the strength of the trees one reaches the raised heights of the treetops – there where the winds draw their free trains. The energy to be felt in the strength of the wind is a strength which comes from the liberty. The thoughts of man would like to follow those trains.”
So it is the liberty of the spirit which happens there above!
What does the liberty of the spirit look like for RA? Just have a look at the treetops: All five treetops appear in the form of teepees!
It is obvious that this is “his freedom of the spirit” to be in the position to maintain the “Indian way of thinking and feeling” in himself quite unmolestedly which had not been allowed for the ancestors of all American natives at the level of the outer reality then:
The treetops became for RA therefore to the symbol for “liberty of thinking”.
In the background of the trees, on the grass there can be seen brown skeletons of teepees which are just knocked over and destroyed.…
Blue silhouettes of human shapes are just swinging of treetop to treetop. They do not know which “trunk” (“tribe”) is theirs. That way they are on permanent search of identity!
The “identity search” also caused Ronald Anderson again and again to a “change of his tree”, what means the change of his life center.
A memory of former communities and memberships are under the treetop on the right picture page indicated: “In turn as a silhouette but here in an earthy hue, earthed and connected to each other people (while hands holding)” are celebrating their dances there in the community of the group! A former reality! And this way they float in the darkness of the vanished and past…
Finally there exists still a last “mega-level” in front of the five trees! – What do those scenes tell on this thin grassy strip along the lower picture edge?
After all I have worked out above, it stands out particularly that these people do stand or sit on the bottom of the reality. So these are people who have found their own identity. I know from the short statements of Ronald Anderson from the year 2000 that these represented persons are artists of European history of art. With that, this Weser shore here in Bremen stands for the bottom of Europe and his art now!
A group of people is sitting in front of the second tree from the left while another person “is rolling” with a bicycle into the picture. I remember names like Cezanne, Gauguin and Van Gogh. They have dared something new by having expressed their subjective feelings. Later they were described as post-impressionists: With their art they had prepared the way to new developments. For instance, to represent persons or objects alone by color and, or form. Working out the basic forms of subjects had been an approach which later also should be developed further: So, the consequent continuation of this thought approach led to the cubism. The main representatives of this are to be seen on the right side: Pablo Picasso and George Braque – represented as Harlequins! – Indeed, both artists, Picasso, like also Braque had had a good look at the Harlequin and painted him as an expression of a long developmental history since the Middle Ages.
With the artist on the bicycle RA had meant Vincent van Gogh after my memory. He is the artist who had totally let himself in for this to express his subjective feeling in his paintings. For me RA had expressed this with the nakedness. Of Van Gogh there still gives another side of his personality. Also this had represented Ronald Anderson: By looking on the undermost level to the right on the outside, there can be discovered a person who just is leaning against the tree-trunk. Vincent van Gogh is dressed in institutional clothing and seems alone being busy with his own self while his painting utensils are lying in the grass behind the tree-trunk…
By the look at the tree being situated on the edge of the left picture page now, one recognizes on the grass something in front of that which steps out of the shadow. The extension shows the details:
The dark shadows turn out by the extension to be “masterly jokers” who just are bearing a painting on the “stage of the art”. At first it seemed that they were presenting an abstract painting. But in the detail view a face with hat is looking out from the color points applied impressionistically. I interpret it as a “quotation” of the picture of Vincent van Gogh “Self-Portrait with Straw Hat”.
With his picture Ronald Anderson had represented the process of change, how this had performed in the 19th and 20th century among others in the opinion and definition of art! Interpretation: Renate Hugel
I add some detail views of the painting to the better orientation here:
Details of the picture: Detail on the left side: The two Harlequins: Pablo Picasso and George Braque, Detail on the right side: Vincent van Gogh, leant against the tree-trunk
Detail of the picture: The “Self Portrait with straw hat” of Vincent van Gogh is carried on the “stage of art” (= quotation of Ronald Anderson)
For the end I still would like to mention an interesting fact:
This church “St. Stephanie”, playing a peaceful role in the picture “Thinking Out” of Ronald Anderson, has become an “Art Church” by now.
Since the year 2007 the church “St. Stephanie” has been the first Art Church or Culture Church in Bremen. Exhibitions, actions or theater are only some examples of the breadth of the culture supply. These events take place in the nave of the church. Renate Hugel
Remark 1: Current stand: To Ronald Anderson I have written under “Art Touches Art” the contributions “Art Touches Art – 1”, “Art Touches Art – 13”, “Art Touches Art – 19” and “Art Touches Art – 25”.
Furthermore you find a “remark to Ronald Anderson” on HOME (from the 24th of July 2015).
In addition, there is a mention under “Art Touches Art – 16” (the contribution to the teamwork “block-pictures”).
Remark 2: The contributions under „Art Touches Art“ refer to the symposium „Attempt of an Encounter – Five Native American Artists meet five European Artists“. This had taken place in Bremen (Germany), in the year 2000. Whoever would like to ask about the genesis of the symposium can scroll back till „Art Touches Art – 1“, then continue scrolling back till Information about ‚Art Touches Art‘; after that you find then the „Chronology of the Past History“. Renate Hugel