Tule River Newsletter

Tule River Newsletter


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Tule River Newsletter Tule River Tribal Council Chairman Ryan Garfi eld Vice-Chair Buck Carothers Treasurer Michele McDarment Secretary Willie J. Carrillo Sr. Members Heather Teran Duane M. Garfi eld Sr. Rhoda M. Hunter James Diaz Kevin M. Bonds In This Issue Veterans Parade 2 Yokuts history 4 Yokuts legacy 5 Elders news 6 New homes on Rez 7 Prescribed burning 8 Be advised**** 9 Incentive luncheons 10 Thanksgiving 12 Forest news 14 Tule River hero 15 Students of the Month 18 A little history 22 TRAP 24 Election info 26 Recreation news 28 EMC news 36 Birthdays 38 Events 39 Continued on page 12 A down home Thanksgiving for the Tule River Volume
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  • awards for scholastic achievement
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Published 12 December 2011
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18th January - 15th February 2012
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i n f o @ w a t e r h o u s e d o d d . c o m
w w w . w a t e r h o u s e d o d d . c o m / g e o r g e s - f o l m e rFrom the Golden Ratio to
Geometric Abstraction
A conversation between Laurence Imbernon,
Director of the Musée des Beaux-Arts of
Rennes, and Catherine Folmer-Santoni,
daughter of the artist
LI: Since 2010, when we put together the Folmer
retrospective for the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rennes,
you have done me the honour of showing me, one by
one, your father’s entire oeuvre. I recall the term you
used to describe the spring that drove Folmer’s
artistic genius - the “nécessité intérieure” - a phrase
claimed by Folmer for himself who in turn had
borrowed it from Kandinsky. I think that there is clear
evidence to support this in the collection you showed
At first this motivation translated itself into a “plan
extérieur”: the break up of his social milieu; the
circumstances of the 1914-18 war, when, as a civilian prisoner in the camp at Holzminden, he affirmed his
talent with a number of drawings, small paintings, watercolours, and even theatre decorations. As he wrote:
“nous faisions tout avec un bout de ficelle et des récupérations de fortune.” But this ‘nécessité intérieure’
gripped him upon his arrival in Paris in 1919. Through the creation of theatre decorations in the studio of
the Nabis painter and writer, Henri-Gabriel Ibels, he became involved in the stylisation of form. From then
onwards Folmer, who followed in the tradition of the great masters from whom he drew his knowledge,
engaged himself in the research that throughout his career served to succour and renew his creativity.
CF: In effect, on his debut in the 1920s, he created an echo of his senses, all of which vibrated within him:
light (from his travels in Algeria), music (inherited from his family, he loved listening to César Frank,
Beethoven, Bach, Schubert ...), literature (an inveterate reader he talked emotionally of the poet and
essayist Charles Péguy and of Alain-Fournier, author of ‘Le Grand Meaulnes’). He had already been prepared
by the works of Ernest Renan, Émile Zola, Romain Rolland, and the philosophers Valéry and Nietzsche.
Little by little the flow staunched itself and provoked an indescribable curiosity towards “that which there
is to do anew” (“ce qu’il y a de nouveau à faire” as he repeated often).
LI: This «nouveau à faire» can be traced precisely to 1926, the year he met Félix Delmarle, a rare defender
(in France at least) of the Neoplasticism theories of Piet Mondrian, that definitively convinced him to
express his «nécessité intérieure» in a new pictorial manner that constituted his true style and would
define his artistic identity. Thus were born his first cubist works.
CF: At this point Folmer started to employ the «Nombre d’Or» (the Golden Mean).
LI: Exactly. Using his analysis of the Golden Mean, Folmer produced a very specific type of cubistic work. He
used the multiple perspectives and stylisation of forms, but introduced into his cubist works a geometric
construction of straight lines and diagonals to form harmonious partitions. This «cubisme du nombre d’Or»
appears to me to be fundamental to Folmer’s geometric work. He dedicated himself to the deepest study of
the rules of ‘divine proportion’ while at the same time working on polyhedrons, for Folmer always
conducted his researches with both pictorial and sculptural ideas in mind. CF: The painting ‘Les Fleurs d’Or’ (1936-38) proves this dual viewpoint. At the end of the 1940s, and in the following
decade, Folmer turned away from academic theories of ideal proportions in his large abstract compositions; nevertheless
the geometry of divine proportion is instinctively present in compositions such as ‘Ramsès’ (1952). Folmer’s rhythmic
forms accord perfectly with the assertions of Matila C Ghyka in his book on the ‘Nombre d’Or’: “Form and rhythm are a
characteristic of reality in the domain of the pure idea, the number is the essence of form, or of perfect form.”
LI: Folmer himself wrote: “There is no random chance in Art”.
CF: In effect, he thought that by the cultivation of intellect one forges the creative energy for ‘Total Art’, such as that
expressed by Van Doesburg, combining music, painting, literature, architecture and dance.
LI: For me, this ethic clearly beckoned to Folmer and he saw in it Malevich’s ‘rhythm of the universe’. This enhanced
creativity was enriched further by his mastery of new techniques: he mixed other matter in with his oil paints, including
sand and powdered eggshells; his drawings combine both charcoal and sanguine. Finally he created contrasts of matte
and glossy ink to underscore his compositions.
In 1935 Folmer was highly innovative: he made his first drawings in ink with tools of his own making, which he called
“encres-monotype”, thus defining their uniqueness.
CF: This multiplying of techniques is perhaps the result of his most recent experiences, where a type of figuration
alternated with a new born abstraction?
LI: Certainly, beyond that Folmer affirmed his choice of figuration by a geometricisation more and more dictated by the
rapport of form, colour and surface textures. Thus, in just ten years Folmer passed from a type of cubism regulated by
the ‘Nombre d’Or’ to an abstract art shared between the pictorial - drawings, ink ‘monotypes’, and paintings - and the
sculptural - coloured wood sculptures that, from 1945 onwards, he defined as ‘constructions spatiales’.
This maturity in his geometric abstraction was further intensified by his investment into collectives of established artists.
Having worked alongside Del Marle and Frédo Sides in the founding of the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Folmer now set
about forming the Groupe Espace, whose manifesto he signed in 1951. One of the founding precepts of the group was
personal to him: the synthesis of the Arts, deemed by Folmer as all equal, enshrined in the motto “l’Art dans la vie”.
Thus he proclaimed the heritage of the masters of Neo-Plasticism, the theoreticians of Geometric Abstraction, and he
became not only one of its most active defenders, but also he initiated co-operation with architects in the introduction
of Geometric Abstraction into both interior and exterior spaces. In this role he created monumental mosaics (see below)
in association with Melano, his neighbour in La Ruche. This body of work, relating so closely to mural art and interior
architecture, demonstrates an aesthetic which is unconventional but nonetheless an intrinsic value of Modern Art.
Folmer defined it thus: “la vraie formule de l’Art c’est: encore…”Music & the Art of Folmer
by Bernard de Vienne, composer
At the heart of every piece of classical music lie the
composer’s reflections upon the shape of the music, and
how it unfolds over time. The highest form of art that deals
with time is Music, and it must continually confront these
issues or stagnate through lack of imagination. Thus, formal
construction, in both music and pictorial art, requires an
inventiveness that continually evolves, through variation at
all levels and at all stages of the creative process. In the
1950s Georges Folmer wrote: “Geometric Art, like
mathematics and music, is at the very root of the mind’s
fluctuation and movement. It is similar to a symphony
where everything is fluid, with suggestions and endless
potential. Geometric Art anticipates. Art reaches its highest
stage of refinement when it comes to variations.”
Since Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schoenberg and Claude
Debussy, the breaking down of sounds and the notion of
timbre have enriched the fundamental paradigms of classical music. Timbre is, in essence, what makes a particular
musical sound different from another, such as a guitar and a piano playing the same note at the same loudness.
Nowadays a piece of music is structured by the composer according to timbre as much as rhythm or pitch. Sounds are
broken down into basic parameters, giving different shapes to the sounds, which can be combined in a variety of ways.
Both the timbre and the breaking down of sounds influence the music as it unfolds, constantly creating new sound
spaces and new tones. This has contributed to the rise of new musical forms whilst changing the way in which we listen.
There are many parallels between this form of musical composition and Folmer’s pictorial composition: the pitches,
timing, intensity, texture, the ways of attacking and articulating, the handling of mass and density, and at another level
the stability/instability of cells, intervallic progressions or melodic matrix, spatial construction and the harmonic division
of space, the contour of motifs, the nature of musical flow, the relative duration of musical segments, registers, the
tessiturra of voices and the ranges of instruments, the sound impact, the sheer number of things happening per second.
Folmer often referred to his Geometric Abstraction work as ‘Spatial Art’, implying a dimension of depth “which goes
beyond the framework of the painting” – a reference that has particular resonance for a composer of music. This depth
derives from perspective but it creates a very different inter-relationship between the component parts and the whole.
Folmer’s work is contemporary to that of Schoenberg, the inventor of ‘Atonality’ and ‘Dodecaphony’, to that of Webern’s
‘Serialism’, and of Pierre Boulez’s ‘Integral Serialism, and lastly of Claude Lévi-Strauss’s ‘Structuralism’. They all fall within
the same broad school of thought.
Folmer understood music particularly well, mixing with musicians such as Jean Goering. In 1961 he recalled in a letter to
a friend: “It is impossible to live a life without music. I’ll relate to you one day what the first stage of my life in Geneva
was like when I lived with musicians, a violinist amongst them whose room I shared, and I’ll tell you about all these
concertos I know thoroughly by following them practising bit by bit, repeating again and again, about the passion that
was already springing in us from music, from Art, from life…” It is fair to think that such a circle, amongst others, was
able to nourish his idea of Spatial Art. When Folmer writes “Spatial is most often to be replaced by Geometric”, this
probably reflects his objective of rationalisation and of his views summarizing art according to the value of Ф, the
Golden Ratio which gave objective rules to abstraction in its quest for harmony. Folmer sought this objective as much as
simplification, which led him to introduce motion in his work incorporating spatial dimensions. Meanwhile Folmer’s intellectualisation of art is reflected in his attraction to the works of Johann-Sebastian Bach, the
great architect of sound. His pleasure in listening to the lyrical symphony writer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky can explain why
he talked of his art in such a sensitive way. Folmer often thought of his painting in musical terms: harmony, symphony,
movement. For him the refinement of thought and sensitivity came above everything. “Geometric Art is in its fullest
meaning a human creation from the present time stripped of the literary or anecdotic meaning that all forms of painting
have had so far. Its constructive essence can make us believe it is Spatial (or Geometric) art whilst retaining the qualities
of subtlety which are proper to all forms of arts. To abolish the dysfunction between intellectual truth and material truth
is the fulfilment to which malleable art, based upon order and harmony, aspires. Of course it’s understood that I don’t
propose this concept of Spatial Art as an absolute truth but relate it to our time and our days”. This note, written
between 1945 and 1950, is surely for Folmer a way of justifying himself and explaining his sculptures in polychromatic
wood which were unique in their conception and which were “neither sculpted nor modelled” as the artist would say.
The idea of abstraction deserves to be studied as much as the notions of tonality and modality in music. Folmer’s
abstraction seems the result of a willingness to show what underpins the relationship between the components and
what subjugates the geometric figures themselves. One could say that his works deal with the processes involved in the
act of painting more than any geometry. Folmer himself said that geometric shapes allowed him to foresee the end
product. Such intellectual and sensitive refinement shows Folmer is not a metaphysician but a man rooted in reality,
with a deep poetic sensitivity. His notes from 1956 elaborate on this: “The words ‘abstract painting’ are incorrect.
Abstract means something that cannot be expressed in physical or real terms, so a purely abstract painting cannot
logically exist. When talking about pure abstraction one has to account for what has not been expressed rather than
what cannot be expressed. … Spatial art has many different facets. It has a straight meaning. It wants to express and
serve life. It re-creates it, it transforms it, it uses its raw materials. Abstract art has nothing to do with the painting on
the easel”. Folmer’s paintings on canvas, his sculptures in polychromatic wood, his graphic paintings, his ‘roto-paintings’,
his ‘roto-bodies’, his ‘monotypes’ and his black ink compositions are testament to this.
Now, after years of neo-conservatism, Folmer’s will to lay bare the process involved in the act of painting is highly
topical and allows for a very contemporary reading of his works. Folmer’s rigour without any concession and his social
commitment through his understanding of architecture is, to a
composer like myself, the epitome of what a creator should
always be - that is, one who follow one’s ideas throughout and
never loses their thread (which in the case of music is the
relationship between the body and the ear, without falling into
the trap of vulgar mawkishness). To assume that any sincere work
– the work of one’s life – can have a rigour that displeases some is
the risk we run. For the art amateur there is the very real pleasure
of discovering a work of art that is inventive, original and
surprising, and to be changed by it. That which is not easy to
produce always gains in depth over time. To look, to listen, to read
– to paraphrase Claude Lévi-Strauss – is to open oneself to the
thoughts and sensitivity of the artist who above all seeks to build
a better and more beautiful world.
Bernard de Vienne is a renowned flautist, composer and
musicologist. In 1993 he was awarded 1st Prize at the Trieste
International Music Competition for Composition, and has
received commissions from the French state as well as Radio
France and the Berlioz Festival. In 2010 he composed a piece
entitled ‘Espace/Mesure’ inspired by his visit to the Folmer
retrospective at the museum in Rennes.CATALOGUE
Profil et masque
Studio stamp on verso Painted circa 1928 Oil on canvas 21.5 x 18 in / 55 x 46 cm
To be included in Volume IV of the Catalogue Raisonné by Carine Florentin2
Polyedres fractures
Signed with Greek letter “phi” on verso Painted in 1935 Mixed media on canvas 32 x 24 in / 81 x 60 cm
Rennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts, ‘Georges Folmer’, 2010, p.36
Catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre peint et sculpté, Paris 1997, Vol.II, no.53P