“All rivers run into the sea, and yet the sea is not full.” ~Eccles. 1:7
At one time rivers were the roads. Before the infrastructure of highways and byways, of rails and trails, the rivers were our transportation routes. In Herman Hesse’s novella Siddhartha, the river is also a symbol. As Siddhartha encountered the river in various stages of his life, its wisdom was revealed to him as it reflected his soul.
At one time in my life, the word “rivers” meant Larry Rivers, an artist whose paintings made an impression on me when I was a young art student at Ohio University, Athens.
The best part about one’s college experience is the vast sea of influences one gets exposed to. And university libraries are just the ticket for getting a healthy portion of that exposure.
I lived in Scott Quad my first year at Ohio U, the closest you could get to the school’s library without sleeping as a vagrant on the main green. Row upon row of large fat books, filled with full color photos of art, seemed to reach out to me. I explored, found that the number of artists I’d never heard of was extensive, and their work fascinating.
In this manner I encountered painters and sculptors from all periods of history, favoring the moderns at the time. To call Larry Rivers my favorite artist would be a misnomer, but for sure I liked the originality and passion with which he created his work. He had studied with Hans Hoffman but rejected abstract art, choosing instead an approach that gave viewers something to grapple with, figures and forms rather than fields of color or designs.
A Ukrainian Jew born in the early twenties, he emerged as a very successful painter of central influence in the 1950s New York circle with numerous shows and accolades. If nothing else he was exceedingly productive. Making art is what he did, and I liked the liberated sense with which he attacked his work. You can see examples of his work here.