Friday, December 8, 2023

Points of Light

“There’s a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons –
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes”

-Emily Dickinson

There is a light for all seasons and all spaces. In the north we are accustomed to the long angles of afternoon light that stretch across bleak winter landscapes in sepia tones. The Mediterranean serves up a warm glow that bears no resemblance to its northern brethren. There are slices of the earth that are bathed in perpetual light for months at a time before being plunged into darkness in equal measure. How we see the world is inevitably linked to the light we live in.

Alice Dalton Brown is an artist who splits her time between the Hudson Valley and the Finger Lakes. Presently she is working with pastels as well as oil paints. A few years back, Dalton Brown was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome and has since been developing themes related to her time spent there. She lived for a month at the academy and found herself quite taken with the view from her apartment window. She photographed this view and is now developing oil paintings and pastels based on what she saw from her window.

In the beginning of her career, Dalton Brown was taken with architecture. She has always painted or drawn the things she responds to strongly and this has gradually changed over the years. Architecture was part of her work for decades, in particular houses which she sees as a metaphor for identity. More specifically, Dalton Brown focused on porches which exist in between the inside and outside of a house.

Gradually her work evolved from looking at houses from the outside in to looking outside from inside the house. Curtains blowing in a window became a theme in her paintings. For her, they imply a human presence.

Dalton Brown’s art tends to be larger in scale though she has done works on smaller scale as well. To her, a smaller scale promotes intimacy in her work. Smaller size also allows her to move quickly and change things more deftly as she goes along.

Dalton Brown works with light in her paintings. In Rome, she found the light much warmer than she is used to working with even though she was there in February and March. She had previously spent time in Italy during the summer but this was her first visit during the winter. She was surprised to discover how the light still enhanced the warm colors of the buildings and earth. In New York State where she lives, the northern light is much cooler.

To hear more of Alice Dalton Brown’s thoughts on her art, light and the world around her, listen to the complete interview.

Margaret Crimmins is a sound designer and editor based in New York City. She just finished a narrative feature called Tribe. The film is set in the context of the building of dams by the Brazilian government that displaced indigenous people. The film starred a 13 year old indigenous girl and was filmed entirely in the Amazon Basin. The film follows the fictional story of this girl who is separated from her family and trafficked. There are elements of magical realism woven throughout the film. One of the film’s directors is a professor at George Washington University who teaches a course on climate change.

Crimmins’ role in films is during the post-production period. For Tribe it was a colleague she had worked with in the past who recommended her for the position. The film community is a tight circle and Crimmins says that most of her work these days is by word of mouth.

In January, Crimmins had a film at Sundance called This is Home, a film about Syrian refugee families being resettled in Baltimore after spending years in refugee camps. The film is an intimate look at what happens to refugees beyond the headlines. All of the families survived trauma in their homeland only to arrive in the US and have to relearn everything.

To hear more about the films that Margaret Crimmins has been a part of, listen to the complete interview.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:

The smallest details such as the light through which you move from day to day have a profound impact on your engagement with the world around you.

Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.

Books to Read

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Alice Dalton Brown is reading Kudos by Rachel Cusk. She also recently finished Bleak House by Charles Dickens for a book group in New York City she is involved with. Margaret Crimmins is reading Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi for the second time.



Applications are now being accepted for the Brown Foundation Fellowship at Dora Maar house in France. There is a $20 fee to apply but those selected have their travel expenses paid as well as reasonable shipping costs for materials. While in France artists receive a stipend of $50/day for living expenses. Funding for the fellowship is provided by Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH). For more information and to apply, visit the website.

Weekly Edited Grant and Residency Deadlines – review the list here.

Sponsor: Whitney Museum of American Art – David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night. Jul 13–Sep 30, 2018. Beginning in the late 1970s, David Wojnarowicz (1954–1992) created a body of work that spanned photography, painting, music, film, sculpture, writing, and activism.

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