Michael E. Arth:
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Man Ray, Herbert Bayer, Edvard Munch, and others, Arth is both an
elegant draughtsman and an accomplished photographer. Introspective
entertainingly demonstrates that the two modes of expression can
be mutually enhancing. From “Botanica Exotica,” a chapter
that infectiously illustrates Arth’s fascination with primordial
palms and palmettos, to “China,”
a stranger-in-a-strange-land travelogue punctuated with portraits
of Red Chinese and studies of their setting, there is a lot to look
at and think about in this circumscribed self-portrait.
Other artists (like Salvadore Dali and Giovanni Jacopo Casanova
in their eloquently egocentric autobiographies) look into mirrors,
even lover’s eyes, and see only themselves. Introspective
is a mirror of a different sort, one that can be used to truly see
the world through the eyes of an artist.
Rapp of The Bloomsbury Review
picture in this book constitutes a kind of mini-obsession…Every
picture I’ve chosen has absorbed me in some maniacal way for
a period of time. Some images, as well as with most of the photographs,
were accompanied by a momentary excitement passing on an otherwise
unassuming day. Other images are the product of a whole range of
emotions, not unlike the cycle of certain human relationships.”
E. Arth, Introspective: 1972-1982
this dynamic retrospective, artist and adventurer Michael E. Arth
takes us on a revealing journey through fantastical realms filled
with exotic images. Introspective brings us ten years of prolific
and imaginative work created by Arth between the ages of 19 and
29. What is special about this book is that the reader is allowed
to journey into the mind of the artist through his series of self-revealing
writings. Rarely does one have the opportunity like his to get a
visual as well as literary perspective from the same artist.
artists create a successful image and subsequently repeat the elements
of this image to develop a distinctive mark for themselves. In this
book, Arth proves himself to be an artist of a different nature.
Arth’s “mini-obsessions” with a variety of topics,
while seemingly initially disparate, form a fascinating gestalt.
While Introspective spans many topics, running throughout
is the thread of fantasy. A lexicon of words, images and symbols,
Introspective captures the reader and transports him into the artist’s
world. For example, in “Mount Tamalpais” the author
combines both myth and a personal mystical vision to create a powerfully
this book was to be entitled “Fantasies and Gentle Dreams.”
In “Botanica Exotica,” Arth carries fantasy into his
fascination with botanical themes. Like a botanist, Arth examines
each and every flower of his journeys, both real and imagined. He
has the unique ability to both dream as an artist and eloquently
translate these dreams into highly refined images that breathe of
the delicately balanced photographs taken during Arth’s many
worldly peregrinations, he displays a masterful sense of composition
and rhythm. For example, when one first sees the black and white
photograph “Moscow Circus” an acrobat appears to be
hanging from a cluster of balloons. The silhouette on the side of
the tent reveals that he is actually hanging from a rope. The figure
of the trapeze artist is counterbalanced by his own silhouette.
There is a delicious confusion between the two figures. Which one
the final chapter, illustrated exclusively by computer-generated
images, Arth’s fascination with fantasy comes full circle.
The artist speculates about a future where computers have evolved
to the point where human thoughts can be materialized. He even tantalizingly
suggests that we may already exist in such a world and not know
sometimes uses a holographic metaphor when describing how the diverse
elements of his work make a coherent whole. If one cuts a small
corner from a hologram, that corner will still reveal the entirety
of the image. If the universe is like a hologram, as some physicists
theorize, then everything in this universe is interconnected on
a fundamental level. When a hologram is viewed from a certain angle
or under unfavorable light conditions, it will appear to be nothing
more than a two-dimensional piece of film covered with interference
patterns. When the coherent light rays of a laser pass through it,
this jumble of patterns becomes a sparkling three-dimensional image.
Like a hologram, Introspective may at first appear to be composed
of unrelated patterns. However, after all the individual elements
are examined, each of those elements takes on a meaning that illuminates
the whole artist. The result is exquisite.
More of Arth’s artwork and photographs may be viewed at Art
E. Arth: Introspective 1972-1982: We have a couple of signed, first edition books with pristine book jackets available for $375. each, including shipping. Send a check along with your mailing address to:
Golden Apples Media
302 S. Hayden Avenue
DeLand, FL 32724
Or you can obtain used copies through various booksellers at Alibris or Amazon.com.