MICHAEL AVIANO: Works of the Eminent Classive American Artists

Perhaps you assume, which, if you did, you would be mistaken, that Progressive decline is inevitable, that Classive ascendence is impossible, so very loud are the screams of maddened youth, so very droning are the innuendo of obsequious newsreaders, so very disheartened are you that all you honor, all you love, all you believe is being aborted.  Yes, you would be mistaken to think the Progressive inevitable.  It is not.  The Progressive is a commercial idea, commercially promoted to profit political party, to serve corporate interest, to feed voracious hatreds. 

Michael Aviano, Mermaid with Roses; 2011

Be heartened, the Classive is in health, in growth most everywhere, around me, around you.  The Classive is the Beautiful, the Good, the True, health in life, in tradition, in the arts of pictuary, statuary, houses and temples and songs.  Always, the Classive renews itself.  True, media companies, girl-bearded theatres and long-nosed museums, hide from you the beautiful, pretend that the Classive is long dead.  It is not.  In proof, this next year, from time-to-time, I shall share with you artists of each the disciplines, each a different generation, generation that ascends from middle last-century, and this to prove that art, architecture, and literature histories have been a lie.  Yes, a lie.  Truth is, the Classive is growing, stronger, stronger with each ascending day.

Progressives would rather that you not know the truth.  O well, you shall.  This first sketch, as will all sketches, follows the model of its type: a bit of biography, a bit of material condition, a bit of comparison, and a bit of appreciation.  Now here, in the manner of The National Civic Art Society, an organization I helped to found a quarter century ago, an organization for which I am a research scholar, an organization that promotes health, goodness, beauty in the civic realm: Works of the Eminent, Classive American Artists.  First, an artist little known, an artist truly great,

Michael Aviano; The Monk King, II (self-portrait)

Michael Aviano

Imagine New York City without blue-jeans, political tee-shirts, commercial handbags, without barbaric bodies modified in ink, pins and studs, without crayon colored hair, without car-crowded streets and rude, quick gestures.  Imagine a New York City of children free in unshadowed streets, of boys in white shirt, short pant and tie, of girls skirted, skipping rope, of ladies in their long dresses and pretty-topped hats, of men politely suited, gentle men, even those who worked the markets, who drove the open cabs down foot-paced streets, imagine this New York and you will know a 1927, New York City into which Michael Aviano was born. 

The universe was bigger then, not merely an illustration in a textbook, not merely a scientific explanation, and people were bigger, a boy might become a hero, a girl might become one with Divinity in the everyday, there were yet Gods on Olympus, Presidents in Washington, and people knew poetry, all people knew poetry, the high poetry of large things, of beauty in the little things.  Look.  Tall buildings were beautiful upon their tops, alike temples and towers, and at the street the building was stone carved beautiful in design, often festooned with marbled vine and roses, and there just above, handsome people almost perfect, cast in bronze, carved at peace in thought and being, people who meant things, abiding things, alike truth and goodness.  

Michael Aviano; Destiny Rides Again; 1954; illustration to Max Brand’s novel of the same title

As does most genius, Aviano showed himself when young, entered art school with heroes returned, courageous men who actually saved the world from tyranny, men who in truth extended Liberty through world war victory.  These were Aviano’s fellows, his friends, models and mentors.  His teacher, Frank Rielly, most often caused an artist to wait for years before admission to his courses, not so Aviano who was with eagerness excepted.  Rielly could trace his pedigree through Dumond to Constant, Lefebvre, Boulanger, Classive artists who knew of life and high things, who had style refined by millennia of practice, by the example of Jauques Louis David’s innovation in palette, in pictoral disciple.  By nature, inclination, and practice, Aviano refined his craft, became excellent, disdainful of the drips and drabs, stripes and splotches, the noise of art magazines, commercial and meaningless.

Alike Rielly, Aviano would illustrate works of literature, as artists have done since artists could read, and he would picture composed flowers alike personalities classively refined, at harmony in peace, beautiful.  Ah.  And there, man as God, man meaning beyond science into poetry, “into eternity”, you might say, if you could say, “God, Man, Poetry, free of today’s Wikipedia textbook prose, dull spoken and dim”.  See, Pico-like you rise, you ascend, Classively to sky and light.  Notice, Progressive art descends to dirt and darkness, Darwinian. 

Young men noticed Aviano, noticed the difference, “darkness and light”, “Darwinian descent, Classive ascendence”, and these young men aspired to the good and the light, unconcerned with fashion and fame, the frog-ribbit of a name.  These men, these artists, have become masters of the next generations, teachers who in truth and beauty extend tradition.  See?  Well, you shall see, never mind the descending Progressive narrative; we shall bring to consciousness the brilliant young artists who grow everywhere around; the blanket of Progressive darkness is not yet wide enough, not yet thick enough to hide them.

Neilson Carlin, Graydon Parrish, Jon de Martin, a few Aviano students selected for brief introduction.  Notice style, technique, J.L. David to Aviano, to these Classives.  Notice how each picture is chromally rich, harmonious; notice balance, refinement, sympathy, qualities not found in modernistic paintings at modernistic galleries commercial and subsidized.  Those unfamiliar with palettes might like to know, that alike composed music, pictures are composed in scales, in chords, in chroma, emotions, the feeling of the picture.  The emotion, more than the pictured theme, more than the drawn people and the many painted things, is the feeling you see.  We might say, “The thing pictured is the body, the emotion composed is the soul, an ineffable thing without form, the very being of the artist which survives into time where it lives mind-to-mind”.  You feel it.  You know of what I speak, even through this filter of a light-screen you have achieved high, empyreal knowledge in a way that cats and dogs and swans cannot have knowledge. 

See, you know story-picture, meaning-things high-as words, sight-thought from which words are formed.  By art-picture you gain knowledge.  From artists you gain wisdom.  Because cats and dogs and swans cannot gain knowledge through art-pictures, dogs and cats and swans cannot be truly human, humane in a civil way, your way.  Do you see how you are improved by pictures in a way that you are not improved, not enlightened by paint rolled onto walls, dripped onto canvas.  Painting and picture are very different things.  “Pictures are created by artists; paintings are made by painters.”   

Michael Aviano’s pictures are humane in a way that Pollack’s paintings can never be, never be humane, can never picture higher things, things in the realm of divine being.  Carlin, deMartin, Parrish are different artists, different men with differing interests, abilities, insights, each of whom picture metaphor, teach soul-to-soul the things, the high things that thoughts in words cannot teach.  Pollack, Baziotes, Kline cannot teach, do not teach.

The Progressive is not inevitable; we do not and shall not descend; we ascend, Classively.
The old-fashioned Moderns: Jackson Pollock (1912 – 1956), Frans Kline (1910 – 1962), William Baziotes (1912 – 1963).
The ascended Classives: Jon deMartin (b. 1966), Graydon Parrish (b. 1970), Neilson Carlin (b. 1970).

Modernistic paintings are commodities, illustrations to narrate progress, “lies”, you might say, “big-lies” that profit magazines, collectors, politicians, et alia.  In 1927, Marxist, Alfred Barr, first director of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, collaborated with Soviet dictators, experimented with communist propaganda, planned a revolution in American Art and saw it so, a revolution whose final-stages, whose endgame, now, 100 years later, we witness.  You will notice: the new pictures of Carlin, deMartin, Parrish, speak for themselves without words; the old Pollack, Baziotes, Kline paintings need words to be intelligible, need explanation, need a reason for being one with Marxist revolution, otherwise, Pollack is meaningless, Barr is worthless, and that they are in these closing days of modernist artifacts, in these opening days of Classive ascendence.

Yes, New York, 1927, the birth of things remarkably different, the Marxist, Progressive, Museum of Modern Art; the American, Classive artist, Michael Aviano; the one corrupt, material, corrupting; the other, healthful, spiritual, healthy.  Recently, “Pride Month” a typical Marxist dialectic, an opinion in contradiction, a Marxist strategy, destructive of community, family, birth, pregnancy, organic society.  “PM” is artificial, a queer commercial, political, temporary and ephemeral, spawned by the tawdry bathhouse, inseminated into American civic life by Madison Avenue dream factories and Hollywood public-service announcements.  Notice the Disney quality of unicorns and rainbows, the Mickey Mouse Club of girly flags that neon themselves gratuitously along Mulberry Street. 

*   *   *

Michael Aviano; In Memory of the White Rose

In Memory of The White Rose

Notice: Michael Aviano is aesthetically indifferent to politics, to the ephemera of progressive orthodoxy, to progressive clubiness, to The New York School, crassly commercial, painfully hip, tiresomely relevant, bumper-sticker dumb.  In Memory of the White Rose …  What is that, the White Rose.  The White Rose was a cadre of students, and a professor, pamphleteers, graffitists who criticized the Nazi regime, who were imprisoned and executed, and murdered.  Some members were passionately erotic, homosexually inclined organizers of youth, convicted of corruption, enslaved in camps, distinguished by a pink-triangle patch.  You will notice on the queer, rainbow flag, a pink-triangle (sometimes in place of queerly colored, American stars), and that triangle, a memory of Nazi oppression.  The flag’s queer stripes are a memory of riots on the occasion of a raid upon a bathhouse in need of cleaning from overuse of poles in holes.  That queer striped flag is now a United States, National Monument … yes, alike The Grand Canyon.  Perhaps you didn’t know.

Notice that Michael Aviano’s commemorative, In Memory of the White Rose, picture is not the bumper-sticker typical of high-school art departments and museums of modern art.  Notice that the picture is not attended by a didactic, descriptive label.  Notice, there is not a bad guy, there is not a good guy, there is not a headline or a political party, as you might find romantically in Courbet and Delacroix.  Aviano is classically Classive, is not a pamphleteer, a banality, alike Jeff Koons and Alexandria Cortez.  See, there is beauty, goodness, truth that will survive the memory of Germany’s White Rose.  Truly, most of history is forgotten, unless beautifully composed, beautifully conceived.  Pictures survive words, flags, and the political spasm.  This picture will survive as long as does its woven linen, because the image will be loved, because the image is beautiful. 

In Memory of the White Rose: sensual, suggestive, sad; lonely, lovely, alone; a white rose, a blue studded band, a man whose nipple fixes the circle of his hands, the rose, in compass of the arm; the nipple, centered (slightly left, causing mild movement, light tension) is fulcrum of balanced triangles.  Notice the isolation of parts; the silence; “the ear, the fingers”, forms of greatest complexity and contrast (the place to where your eye is drawn); feel the bordered picture’s weight that bends the head, which, if stood straight would top the picture’s frame; see, this, a geometry, universal; alike a proposition, logical; alike flesh, sensual; alike memory, silent.  Notice too, the edges squared, mechanical (built things are, most often, rectilinear); the body, organic (natural things are, most often, curvilinear); the landscape, nominal; the portrait, ideal (suggesting Hans Scholl, White Rose leader); the body, erect, arrested … see the ear, pivoting the picture, a pictorial triangle tipped, isolated.  What do you hear.  I hear, nothing.  In the moment before his death by guillotine (22 February 1943), Hans Scholl roared, “Long live freedom.”

* * *

Michael Aviano; Mars and Venus

Mars and Venus

A din today: hear, furious squeaks, see lurid displays proudfully propagandic, notice pride in vice.  Soon, as always, silence.  Never will “PM” become universal, Uganda to China, 2021 to 2120.  “PM” is Marxist American, a corruption of liberty, the suction of Sam and Steve, Sally and Sade, unnecessary, unfruitful.  The union of Aries and Aphrodite (Mars and Venus) is abiding, a masculine-feminine reproductive energy, universal, beautiful and good, the source of all which is human.

Expect you recognize in Mars and Venus, the quarterback and cheerleader, President and First Lady, Mister and Missus, persons, couplings disgusting to Progressives because suggestive of reality indifferent to academic thesis, political ambition, commercial manipulation.   The essential, defining material energy of Aries and Aphrodite, is fixed in humankind: you might put lipstick on a boar, the boar is yet a boar; you might put spikes upon a butterfly, the butterfly is yet a butterfly.  We all smile, sometimes laugh at lipstcked boars and spiked butterflies, even the lipsticked boars, the spiked butterflies laugh at the joke of themselves, because, alike all jokes, lipsticked boars and spiked butterflies are a conflict in meaning, a thing alike a mustache on the Mona Liza, a soon boring, mundane, and tiresome one-liner.  We laugh because we are surprised.  After that, who cares.

We all care for the essence of ourselves, universal, infinite, ineffable.  Each human life strives to know the thing it is, and when it does, the universe knows itself in the particular.  Seems to me, Michael Aviano has wondered … well, I shouldn’t say.  Notice, even in signature, Michael Aviano is a thing practically perfect.  Perfection, balance, mathematics, a harmony not unlike the Pazzi Chapel, musical in effect, “Pythagorean”, you might say, if Pythagoras had understood, as does Aviano, metaphor bodied in abstraction.  Each of Aviano’s students, even Jacob Collins, makes of everyday things, metaphor.  Notice, in the School of Aviano the everyday becomes mysterious, sacred.  Do you see it, the spirit in the thing, more spirited than is an icon.  Do you know what that spirit is: the mind of the artist made physical, a soul, the genius formed in picture or statue, a form that lives by sight and sound and touch into you, sensually, everyday.  

Michael Aviano; Gladiator (detail)

In brief, Mars and Venus: interlocking, enringed, mirrored opposite, coupled individually, decorative, pretty, and what else.  Details, first.  The bordering cyma reversa, a Lesbian Cymatium, yes, for all that implies, the vulva and button; the acroterion palmette, inward-turning leaves, indicative of a flame; the bound, ionic volutes opening into a verdant botanical whose licking stigma decoratively curls, volute-like; the rosette, Venus’ symbol, the cycles, birth, death, rebirth; 33 stars, but why … I cannot say, I do not know. 

Next, personages.  Notice, Mars, Father of Rome, is not Greek Ares, Destructive and Man-Slaughtering; Venus, through Aeneas, Mother of Rome, is not Greek Aphrodite, Lust-Herself and Man-Maddening.  See the God Mars and the Goddess Venus civil, civic, symbols of man and woman, him and her, he and she, the true essence of all that can be in ascendance through change – there is not by nature, by DNA, by all-that-is a sex in-between, we are one or we are the other, male or female.  Gender does not exist, except in make-believe and textbooks. 

With little pretend, you might imagine these two, Mars and Venus, “Vitruvian Man”, coupled.  And yes, in attitude, proportion, each admitting of nature’s necessity, even in the suggested supine of Venus’ central, reclining compositional line.  And then, the accoutrement of crown and helmet, band and extended hand, opening, offering the blossoming, blooming rose.  Notice, only her offering hand breaks the line, the central divide between sides, his-and-hers.  Another truth in composition: the tondo’s compassed pinpoint, a spot energized by lines corner-to-corner, pointed by the flamed palmettes, center of tension, berth of attraction.  There exist many imaginary lines stated and suggested up-and-down the intertwining bodies, lines crossing star-to-star, the most significant of all, the line-of-sight eye-to-eye telling of union mind-to-mind.  You know, opposites, one in Love.

Here, a point of reference: An Aviano picture is measured, planned, considered, composed of all that can be know from history, practically, metaphysically, physically; a Pollack paint is guessed happenstance, thrown from a brush without knowing or understanding, or meaning; a Warhol print (A.W. born in 1928, a year younger than M.A.) is flat, thin, a copy of something old, something cheap, alike celebrity, and tinted alike a rainbow flag.          

Michael Aviano participates in the transcendent.  You will notice: Aviano’s pictures are what diamond salesladies’ name, “timeless”, meaning, “Aviano’s pictures do not stoop to tawdry considerations, Aviano’s pictures reside in high things, unchanging things.”  Notice speed in Aviano’s pictures, planetary in slowness, yet, revolving at high-speed … the image pictured stills, while the mind that made-it processes millions of instance of observation, memory, experience each second, while the diligent hand by practiced discipline dances a color-tipped-brush in measured, meaning steps.  Yes, a picture of Michael Aviano is virtue of thought, consistent morality in practice.  Yes, a painting of Pollack is vice in unhappy accident, a mistake.  You will notice: a painting by Pollack does not communicate mind-to-mind as does a picture of Aviano.  Notice: a Pollack is a splotch, an Aviano is a universal in particular, as are you, a universal in particular, not a splotched mistake.

* * *

Michael Aviano; Il Genio della Forma

Il Genio della Forma

This, “Genius of the Form”, Il Genio della Forma, is … well, what is, “genius”: Genius is the genie, that “spirit of the thing”, the soul that animates body, a something alike Socrates daemon, his “Divine Entity”, that thing in he, in you and in me that transcends body, that lives beyond mortal life, beyond political manipulation, commercial application.  Alike Socrates, alike Michelangelo and other artists of the Renaissance, alike Jacques Louis David, Aviano is possessed of genius, high genius in a way Pollack never could be, wasn’t in him.  You know what I say is true, you can see the truth illustrated in pictures, here.

Perhaps you know the voguish, “social history of art” theory, that prepossession to feminist, queer, and other theoretical phantasies serviceable to Marxist orthodoxy.  Michael Aviano and thousands of other Classives do not progress Marxism, so they are ignored, mostly.  Occasionally, some sympathetic historian or hard-up critic will attempt to fit a rounded Classive into a squared Progressive narrative (for contrast, comparison, or comic-effect), and well, you guessed: failure for the critic, embarrassment to the artist.  Here, we might in typical Marxist dialectic describe the statue, Il Genio della Forma, yet, why.  You see the thing, plainly, obviously, naturally. 

This, Il Genio della Forma, a work of “Genius”, American (picture Saint-Gaudens, Warner, MacMonnies), natural in form (notice the sensual flesh), ideal in conception (notice the purity of parts), in composition, a triangled tondo; see the elements, male, ribbon, wings, cloth, globe, earth, sky, the gestured benediction, upward toward Truth, toward higher things, the Father, perhaps.  You know this statue immediate, evident, the thing that it is.  Forget old, explaining Marxist theory, theory does not apply, here.  Forget the inevitable progress of Marxist narrative: Il Genio della Forma is of the 21st Century, created 75 years after modernistic Moore’s biomorphisms, 40 years after progressive Smith’s cubes.  Forget America’s inevitable decline into a Progressive future; ipso facto, America is not declining, American Art is ascending, Classively, as you shall see by the example of Michael Aviano and other artists who shall no longer be hidden.    

Here, sincerely, I must apologize for proselytizing.  Couldn’t be helped.  Need to correct the record.  Recognize where recognition is deserved; damn where damnation is deserved, as-much-as God will allow.  Thank you for reading through, to here, to the final image, to the concluding statement of the ultimate paragraph:

The Progressive Narrative, the narrative of The New York Times, The Museum of Modern Art, Hollywood, Networks, Internet, Madison Avenue, et cetera, is a lie.  Modern Art did not progress.  Look around.  No progress in art.  Look around, modern art has died, and no one cares, because modern art is ugly.  Modern Art failed. 

Michael Aviano, and thousands of other Classives these hundred years, have lived, have succeeded, have created great pictures, statues, and buildings that continue tradition, a tradition that cannot be broken … that unbreaking, a story yet to be told.  The Classive cannot be broken because too much of the Classive is in the nature of Truth, in the nature of you and me.  Even so, Progressives will continue to hide truth from you, deceitfully, purposefully, fearfully.  Reputations, jobs, fortunes depend upon the myth of Modern Art.  

The existence of Classive, Michael Avaino, denies the assumption of Progressivism, an inevitable technological narrowing, a tightening, political control.  Michael Aviano proves that Progressivism does not exist, as threatened; that Classive thought will persist, will create objects and ideas not sanctioned by Progressive rule. 

Aviano will survive modish MOMA, voguish Times, because Aviano abides in higher, enduring things, pictures and statues beautiful and good in truth.  Notice in the pedigree of Il Genio della Forma, Aristocles, the philosopher you know as, “Plato”, whose “Theory of Forms” fashions the common conception of eternity, a notion that, “beyond the physical world there exists ultimate reality, a spiritual realm perfect in concept, transcending time” … id est, long after you are gone, one-plus-one will equal two, without words or symbols, because true: Long after we are gone, the pictures and statues of soulful Michael Aviano will be Beautiful, and Good, and True.    

* * *

Michael Aviano; Form and Matter; 2002 (the artist at 75 years)

Born: New York, NY, 1927
Michael Aviano lives a private, spiritual life, devoted to art and beauty and students.  His large pictures (Mars and Venus, et cetera) are worked for many years to near-perfection.  At this writing, Aviano is 94 years-old, yet ascending stairs two-at-a-time. 

The Arts Students League, New York, NY
The school of Frank J. Reilly, New York, NY
Also, study with Ivan Olinsky

Michael Aviano; Epiphany; 2013; notice, Aviano created this picture when 86 years old, an accomplishment nearly unrivaled in the history of art

EXHIBITIONS (abbreviated)
Naples Museum of Art, Naples, FL
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ
Parrish Art Museum, New York, NY
National Academy of Design, New York, NY
Cavalier Galleries, Greenwich CT, and New York, NY
The Classical Gallery, Alexandria, VA
Salmagundi Club, New York, NY
National Arts Club, New York, NY
Hudson Valley Art Association, New York
Union League Club, New York, NY
Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA
Museum of the City of New York, New York, NY

Michael Aviano; A Highland Hike of an Enchantress and her Enchanter; 2013

COLLECTIONS (abbreviated)
Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA
Museum of the City of New York, New York City, NY
Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, NY
Plattsburgh State Art Museum, Plattsburgh, NY
State University of New York, Utica, NY
Hunter College, New York, NY
Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA

Teacher, Assistant to Frank Rielly
Professor, The Arts Students League, New York, NY
Professor, New York Academy of Art, New York, NY
Founded the Aviano Academy of Art, New York, NY

Michael Aviano; Dumbledore’s Wand; 2008

In outline, ascending and adaptable:
some few structural lines within which the storied picture can be organized;
forms framed, balanced by weight in harmony;

a Munsell-like palette,
            a string of nine ascending values, 0 to 10
           (descending to black darkens, increasingly neutralizes a hue),
            a circle of hues
            (typically, 10, though this varies by need, intent, i.e., still-life, landscape, etc.),
            a percentage of chroma
            (more color by mass to the gray – more color mass equals greater color intensity).

*   *   *

The next chapter of, Works of the Eminent, Classive American Artists, William Girard.

*   *   *