The universe gave birth to the stars and planets. Theoretically the origin began by a series of cataclysmic
eruptions in the great beyond. Something we refer to as space, infinity of existence unimaginable. My point
is Universe as mother or simply womb. Planets in infancy like glass marbles tossed across asphalt. Beautiful
embryos awaiting recipient and the miracle of life, where why how doesn’t matter. A concept in all its complexities
shapes and forms, with one very basic objective, survival, the most natural of all instincts. We’ve
found, or rather it’s been demonstrated in millions of instances how life bounces back. The tree or plant
thought dead, bearing fruit and leaves the next season like unyielding mother. An animal in the wild severely
wounded mending itself with only nature at its side. Millions of years, a nano second in time and space,
prehistoric life is birthed from the earth’s ocean womb. Grand children of universe, born to slither, crawl
and finally walk, be it four or two limbs. Traveling great distance to spawn and spread. Exquisite, inquisitive,
entities yearning to learn grow ultimately evolving into innovative self sufficient creatures. We’ve learned to
utilize raw materials for tools, weapons and instruments of wonder for growth. We’ve also become reliant
on one another as community and family. The rise from prehistoric culture to civilization and progress
has turned. Access, greed, power and supremacy have brought human beings to our present condition.
Apparently we’ve learned nothing of nature and a mother’s will to survive. We have under the auspices of
advancement, with blatant disregard for nature and its natural resources. Have and continue to methodically
drain them in abundance, for instruments of convenience and war.
Plant life, water, oil, all of nature’s life blood abused. Human beings like a virus attacking an immune system.
Wouldn’t the earth as a living organism fight to sustain itself, protect itself as any living creature from decease?
Perhaps the earth is trying to survive, to protect its other more appreciative life forms. This with no
other choice than by destroying what has become an infection that threatens her very existence. A mother
in nature will sacrifice one child to preserve the lives of all her children. Is that what the planet is doing?
Curing its self, self preservation,
Are human beings earth’s virus?
Go West, young woman, and see
the thick tributaries, once rivers,
now roads, thrumming highways, that truck goods to
your door, the ripened strawberries
for your breakfast, the shoes on your feet
Tough-whiskered Yanks, Irish too,
and Chinese laid the rails joining our
two coasts, metal ringing upon metal,
sparking fires of creation, of industry, of
building up to the sky, rather
than reducing to a blight of cinders.
Criss-crossing the patchwork quilt
of corn, soybeans, barley, wheat, oats, the barns
of lowing cattle, squealing swine, cackling hens, the
hum of honeybees hard at work, an orchestra of the
outpouring of America released by
human hands tilling the soil, these
notes sing still, through the days and nights,
a world never-ending
Your speech/ is yours/
And it/ is free/
This is/ the way/
It was/ meant to be/
Feel free to navigate through the tabs to hear the recordings/poems of Universal Survival and Go West, Young Woman. The recording/poem are based on Norbert Schwontkowski's painting, Ende der Welt, 2005.
German, born 1949, died 2013
Ende der Welt, 2005
Oil on Canvas
40.5 x 60 inches
Norbert Schwontkowski challenges artistic categorization; his work falls between abstraction, realistic representation, and cartoon. He created his paints from hand-ground pigments mixed with various materials to yield a multitude of textures. Schwontkowski also added metal oxides to the pigments, creating shimmering surfaces that continue to change over time. His palette of pale earth tones, blacks and grays creates a muted, subdued atmosphere, while his carefully worked surfaces and minimal gestures demonstrate his sophisticated paint handling. Schwontkowski’s work is often described as playful yet melancholy, and naive while still mature. https://www.miandn.com/artists/norbert-schwontkowski
Schwontkowski does not presume to know the contours of our anxiety: he just shows us his, refusing to elevate it, and supposes that ours is equivalent. Nor, as a painter, is he a downer. His handling is wristy but muffled, flash also held back, and, on this evidence, he was continually inventive, refusing to duplicate motifs and even sometimes – in very late works like the neon-lashed street murkily atmospheric, mostly figurative scenarios, using painting to wrestle emphatically with existential disquiet and a neo-Romantic sense of the numinous.https://www.apollo-magazine.com/norbert-schwontkowski-kunstmuseum-bonn-review/
Norbert Schwontkowski was born in 1949 in Bremen, Germany. He attended Hochschule für Gestaltung in Bremen, and later became a professor of painting at the Hochschule für Bildende Künst, Hamburg. Schwontkowski has regularly exhibited in galleries and public institutions throughout Europe since the late 1970s. Most recently, his work has been exhibited at Williams College Museum of Art, Williamston, MA (2013); Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin (2011); and Kerlin Gallery, Dublin (2010). His work was included in the 2005 Berlin Biennial. He is in the collections of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.