The ultimate luxury: Cattle on an open range
Denise La Rue Mahlke paints these magnificent pastels of spring. Moist soft diaphanous landscapes…my favorite is this pink sky pasture dotted with grazing black angus, their contented munching a sweet punctuation along the tree line.
We live in population density conscious times. Conversations about sustainability, food integrity, famine, global warming dot our consciousness and alter our view of the pastoral. The archetypal image of these cattle resonates so strongly, reminiscent of the images played for the dying Solomon Roth in the classic movie Soylent Green.
I find I am drawn to these fleeting passages, knowing that the ultimate luxury of an open range is endangered much like the sub – sea level peninsula which so sweetly is home to our gallery and many of the historical treasures of our nation.
There is not a day that passes that I am not conscious of the sea wall holding back the Atlantic or the pressures population growth will bring to the fabulous repast of culinary delights we have here in Charleston. Many of our restaurants + food purveyors are of the slow food, free range, organic variety: open range cattle. I am always mindful of the great luxury embedded in a place like Charleston, and how it has withstood hundreds of years of challenges and may not be able to with stand the simple crush of the world’s population.
Newton N. Minow Federal Communications Commission chair from the 1960’s recently told the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University “If Web sites were nations, Facebook would be the third-largest nation in the world”. I find that fact incredibly hopeful. Facebook for all its flaws is a very open flat world. It allows ideas + diverse populations to exchange in ways we have never seen before in the world. It drives awareness of actions and their consequences and puts on intimate human terms the treasures of our heart. It helps us evaluate what we value and choose to preserve in the reflected mirrors of others’ dilemmas + joys.
As we all move into this new age of un-thought of population density I seek out the wisdom Mahlke gives us in her open landscape. We need to come to common ethos in order to preserve space, green (not of the Soylent variety) and for all of us access to open range.
This magnificent pastel and several others by Denise LaRue Mahlke can be seen at M Gallery of Fine Art SE 11 South Broad Street Charleston SC or on the web at www.mgalleryoffineart.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilligan’s_Island (for Newton Minow: the Gilligan’s Ship was named after him)