Author Archives: Sheila Blake

Charles Ray, Tacita Dean, Jeff Wall, and Vija Celmins at Glenstone

Our hosts, Sheila and Tom, with Peter Blake, visit Glenstone, discuss issues in contemporary art brought up by sculptures by Charles Ray, chalk drawings by Tacita Dean, large-scale photographs by Jeff Wall, and drawings by Vija Celmins.

Alma Thomas

Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful    is the title of the retrospective of Alma Thomas at the Phillips Collection, in Washington DC.  Sheila and Tom respond to her brilliant color-field paintings to explore the topic of color.  The exhibition at the Phillips traces her journey from semi-rural Georgia to Washington, DC, in 1907, then to become at age 81 the first Black woman given a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art .


David Driskell

Sheila, Tom, and guest Peter Blake discuss the David Driskell exhibition at the Phillips Collection in Washington DC.  Driskell was a painter and the whirlwind center of energy and attention to established and emerging African American artists in the late Twentieth Century and into recent decades.

Juan Gris, Color, and Cubism

Sheila and Tom discuss the Spanish painter, Juan Gris, a compatriot, contemporary, and rival of Picasso – on the occasion of a current exhibition of gorgeous cubist paintings by Gris at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Themes include cubism, modernism, John Dewey, color theory and more.

Paul Cezanne Portraits

We have edited an earlier episode, from 2018, adding a new introduction to our show on Cezanne Portraits.  This episode adds to and reinforces the content on our last episode, also on Paul Cezanne, the master at the turn of the Twentieth Century.

Broadcast on WOWD-LP, Takoma Radio, 10/23/21

Paul Cezanne Drawings

An exhibit of Paul Cezanne Drawings just closed at MOMA, in New York.  Our visit there occasioned this discussion of one of the great progenitors of modernism.  Sheila and Tom go inside the experience of viewing Cezanne, and give listeners a unique view of the experiences he provides, and the technical innovations in his drawing and painting.  Drawing again lightly on the writing of John Dewey, Sheila and Tom explicate just what Cezanne achieved.

Originally broadcast Oct 9, 2021

Creativity, John Dewey, and Aesthetics

Sheila and Tom take on a special topic this week: Creativity.  Sheila begins with a discussion of John Dewey’s anti-hierarchical formulation of the art experience, which establishes a continuum between “high art” and the esthetic perceptions of everyday life, then analyzes how these experiences are created, arranged, and orchestrated in the individual viewer’s experience.  In doing so, Dewey moves the location of Art from the canvas on the wall to the experience of the viewer.  He establishes that the analysis of art should focus on the experience of the viewer.  Tom discusses the human need for creativity, with reference to Abraham Maslow’s theory of the Hierarchy of Needs.

Originally broadcast September 25, 2021

Tudor Place, Washington DC’s Historic House

We visit Tudor Place in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington DC, the home for over two hundred years of descendants of Martha Washington.  The family retained this house over this entire period, through the Civil War, the gilded age, the Roaring Twenties, until the last owner deeded it to the foundation that now runs it as a museum.  The family, apparently, never threw anything out, so it is a treasure lode for objects of the past, both exquisite and utilitarian.  The museum is dedicated to telling the stories of the people who lived and worked there: the enslaved, the employed, and the elite of Washington DC.

Originally Broadcast Sep 11, 2021.