Wednesday, April 26, 2017

2017 Annual Student Exhibition

Today I toured the Annual Student Exhibition in Loyola's Evergreen Campus Art Gallery.  While I did not ask the people working why the pieces did not have names or titles attached to them, I was intrigued by this all the same.  The Gallery had a mixture of art works which ultimately made it difficult to choose, but what caught my attention the most was a cumulative piece that included hand drawings of dogs.

The layout of the piece is what initially caught my eye; the spacing between each work was pleasing to the eye.  What then caught my attention was the apparent disconnect with the photos and the collage they were in.  While I mostly focused on the hand drawings of the dogs, I didn't understand why there were other pictures (I believe of ink) included in the collection.  Here is a picture of the collection:

Left
Right
The entire collection gave mixed feelings and insights which gave it even much more depth than it could bare.  The picture in the top left corner of a sketched drawing of a cat with wings is unrealistic, but the three drawings of dogs are as realistic as a hand drawing could get.  The ink paintings of an eye and what seems like scissors cutting a noose turned this somewhat happy art collection into something much more somber.  Overall, the entire collection left me wondering which is why it made such an impact on me.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Postmodernism Project Visual Analysis

Denotative (physical description of the piece):
This piece was derived from the quote by Jean Baudrillard, "Americans may have no identity, but they do have wonderful teeth".  The key terms I decided to focus on within the piece are "America(n)", "Identity", "Perfect", "Teeth", and "Unknown".  Visually, the piece have a dominant square or rectangular shape that includes a conglomerate of colors from the color wheel.  This allowed me to choose from a multitude of colors to pull out with paint from the original Photoshop collage image.  Ultimately, I felt that light blue, diluted red, vibrant red, and vibrant blue would be the best colors to choose to exemplify the colors that depict America.  My attempts to "draw out" these colors and where they originate from on the printed collage are shown through different brush strokes with the paintbrush and a dripping effect with the color red in the bottom right corner.  Because the Photoshop collage had a demanding rectangular shape, I thought it would be best to cut the Bristol pad it was pasted onto into an organic shape.

Connotative (emotions and associations):
I do not feel as though looking at my piece would be able to immediately reveal the quote it was based upon.  I like this because it leaves room for interpretation.  I feel like the incorporation of the colors from the American flag can help the viewer associate it with America on a basic note, but also the presence of teeth (both perfectly aligned and individual) gives it a feeling that should combine the two themes.  My attempt at covering the Statue of Liberty, Austin Powers, and the unknown person's mouths with perfect teeth was to make the viewer uncomfortable or hyper aware of America's obsession with perfect smiles.  The quote about the UK and character versus America with white teeth helps reveal the difference between the two nations, thus highlighting the skewed preferences.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Postmodernism

Related image
Kandinsky Postmodernism Art
  • Postmodernism is introduced as "the explosion of new communications technologies and the continuing fragmentation of cultures into thousands of little cultures"
  • Coca-Cola helped unveil the Postmodernism phase
  • Three stages: realism (1), modernism (2), postmodernism (3)
  • Postmodernists are misunderstood

Hyperreal and imaginary

  • Somewhat philosophical, negative outtake on Disneyland...?

Jameson

  • Very difficult to grasp because of the over embellishment of words and their usage; would like to dissect in class

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Shape of Time


According to George Kubler, biographies possess multiple limitations or restrictions.  Biographies and catalogues alike only have the ability to give a general idea or outlook on the nature of artistic traditions.  They cannot easily depict the 'historical questions in artists' lives', which is the question of how they can connect what has come before and what will come after their artistic periods.

Individual Entrances

While the life of an artist is typically a sector of a biographical series, it is almost fruitless to make it the central piece of the series.  Doing this doesn't allow for a rounded explanation of experiences, occurrences, and general happenings that took place during the lifespan of the appraised artist.  Instead, the situation should be looked at and addressed as if an artist's lifework has the ability to precede as much as it does to surpass him or her.  The entrance of the artist, as said by Kubler is what differentiates the artist from that instead of a copyist.  This entrance enables the start of a tradition that only the artist is responsible for.  While there are "good" or "bad" entrances, this solely depends on the placement of the connection between the artist's personality or disposition (temperament) and a "favorable position" into a sequence.

Talent and Genius

Here, Kubler has pointed out that while talent is regarded as an aspect of predisposition belonging to individuals, it cannot be categorized in degrees, but rather different kinds.  Further on, it is stated that the term "genius" is continuously used incorrectly.  While most people think of it to be a predisposition, Kubler believes it has to do with a "fortuitous keying together of disposition and situation into an exceptionally efficient entity."  Personally, I read this as the people we deem "geniuses" have been able to effectively take advantage of every opportunity given to them at the right time to generate exceptionally beneficial outcomes throughout their lives.

Biological and Physical Metaphors

Style is introduced as a metaphoric plant; its first section of leaves start out small, while the midsection is fully formed, and finally the last leaves are small, yet prominently defined by their shape.  
While "material culture" would have been a better phrasing to Kubler than "history of things", both emanate from different works crafted and reworked by human hands with the help of guided ideas developed in temporal sequence.

The Invisible Chain

Among artists, prior events that occur before them determine the previously mentioned sequences.  Additionally, these prior events paired with future opportunities determine the position of every work of art.

Solitary and Gregarious Artists

Commonly, the appreciation of works of art and what actual work has been put behind them is only revealed after the artist's death.  Kubler believes that all important artists belong to this "lonely class".  Yet occasionally, the artist will be seen as a rebel.  But today the artist is neither a rebel nor an entertainer.  Being rebellious requires external effort away from the actual work than the artist wants to make.



Image result for the shape of time kubler     Image result for the shape of time kubler


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Art of Data Visualization


Although personally for me, the actual definition of data visualization was not as clear as it could have been in this video, I did pull some important aspects from the clip.  For instance, data visualization is apparently a "history of science" due to the fact that analyzing and depicting difficult or incomprehensive versions of natural sciences or similar conditions as pictures has been going on since the time of the caveman.  Additionally, data visualization follows the same linear process of a "few basic principles" that an ordinary individual's mind would follow when looking at or constructing a work of art:

1. the artist's perception
2. the viewer's (reader's) perception; knowing that they will be different aside from the original artist's
3. the raw truth given from the work of art (data)

Simply put, data visualization is an effective method of gathering difficult or even conflicting information, and making it as straightforward as possible through pictures, graphs, and visuals alike.

Monday, February 6, 2017

"Uncertain Passages" Loyola Maryland Art Gallery Exhibit by Jay Gould

Last Thursday, I attended a gallery opening at the Julio Fine Arts Gallery for a local artist named Jay Gould.  His work focuses on the integration of scientific topics into projects of photography.  What was interesting about this artist was that he liked to expand upon the manipulation aspects of photography.  Most, if not all of his pieces focused on the after effects one can do with a photograph once it's taken.  Additionally, it was interesting to know that he had a fascination for physics and topics surrounding phenomena that can't be explained through the extensive collision of math and science.


Mirrors are Leaks-Jay Gould

As previously mentioned, a vast amount of Gould's work demonstrated his talents through what he could do with the picture after it had already been taken.  I was drawn to the pieces where you could tell that something was missing, it was actually quite obvious, but they also had the ability to leave you feeling uneasy or unsure about why these obvious pieces were missing.


Slipping-Jay Gould
Here are some additional pieces that caught my eye:

Aggregate-Jay Gould
Tidal Passage-Jay Gould

John Berger: Ways of Seeing, Episode 1



The impact from watching this video was quite monumental.  Although everything said made complete sense, I had never thought about the reproduction of original art in the way that it was discussed.

John Berger's opening statement about how the process of seeing paintings or seeing anything at all is less spontaneous and natural than we believe was interesting.  It made me think about how I usually see things, and normally, it's a very natural process for me; most of the time it's second nature and I don't think too deeply into it.  But the emphasis on how a large part of seeing is dependent upon habit and convention, along with the explanation of how perspective is key, made me think that some things (like seeing) we definitely take for granted.

The second installment about how the invention of the camera has changed how we see things and exactly what we see..well, that's common sense.  I believe the camera was invented not only to capture images we see fleetingly, or are unable to investigate in depth, but also to be able to manipulate those images either to our liking or not.  It makes sense that the camera has now added a new dimension between the viewer and the image procured.

Although John Berger attempted to point out the good and bad aspects of the creation of the camera in the face of ancient paintings and drawings, I honestly could only stick with the "bad" aspects.  These being that the originality of a painting is almost completely lost when a camera attempts to recreate and capture its essence.  But, this can also translate to the fact that meanings that arise from original paintings remain with the authentic image, and cannot be made mobile like the camera has done to the image itself.

Additionally, the final segment on surroundings and how they impact an individual's opinion on a painting was especially intriguing.  Surroundings can be anything that can alter one's perspective on a given image once they are placed, before, during, or even after you've viewed an image.  For instance, with music, if a certain tune or song is played simultaneously while viewing an image, it allows for different interpretations, feelings, and perspectives attached to that image at that given moment.  It's similar with what a person experiences or sees before or after the focal image is placed in front of them.  The example used in the show was the image Van Gogh painted before he committed suicide.  More often than not, the viewer would not know this information beforehand, and the only information shared about the image was its description.  People tend to look at things differently once they are told different types of details about what they are looking at.

In summary, it was interesting to learn that the invention of the camera not only made images mobile, but then created different meanings for the image captured other than its original one(s).  In other words, the reproduction of art makes the meaning of works ambiguous.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Baltimore Museum of Art Visit

For our fourth session of the semester, the entire class was able to travel to the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) to observe and sketch different pieces.  The museum itself could have been seen as a work of art in the way that each collection was placed around the facility and how they were presented.  One thing I noticed when I walked in was that lighting is an essential part of displaying art.  I noticed that the lighting in the African Art Collection was a lot dimmer and less apparent than in the American Collection.  I almost felt this was counterintuitive because most of the art in the African Collection consisted of dark brown, if not black, face masks and black and white paintings that would need more light shed on them in order to see the detail of the pieces.  Whereas, most art in the American collection consisted of brightly colored sculptures, paintings, and figures that had at least twice as much lighting casted on them than other exhibits.  While I took most interest in sculptures and figurines, most, if not all, paintings had so much detail in them that it was quite possible to get lost in the works.  So I decided to share my interest in sculptures rather than paintings in this post.

The first piece of art I felt I could start with was something of a familiar and very rudimentary shape.  Sculpted by Kenyan-born artist Magdalene Odundo in 2010, an orange-ish colored ceramic piece caught my eye.

"Swelling like a pregnant woman's belly, the rounded form of this ceramic vessel calls to mind the female figure."
The description from this piece mentioned that its artist 'incorporates shapes from many ancient and modern traditions', and the work 'comments on how women's bodies are "shaped" by the aesthetic values of their societies.'


The second work of art came from BMA's American Collection.  A piece by Jacques Lipchitz that did not have a brief description citing its history or background.  Entitled Half-Standing Figure, the lack of explanation gives its observer more time to contemplate what it could have been.  

"Half-Standing Figure" by Jacques Lipchitz

The final piece of art I would like to make a point of appreciating is one I came across while taking the stairs to the Modern and Contemporary exhibits of the museum.  Another seemingly simplistic piece, but when lighting caught it a certain way, there were elements revealed that gave it much more depth and interest.


"Vertical Construction No. 1" by Naum Gabo

Quite honestly, I have no idea what this piece is supposed to be, if it is to be anything in particular at all.  It caught my attention because of its sleek and abstract attributes.  Yet after looking closely, the amount of detail on the piece is mind-blowing.  As its description lets on, it is made of copper alloy and steel spring wire.  The image on the left demonstrates its uncomplicated "first look" appearance that passersby would see without stopping to analyze, while the image on the right (with the help of more light exposure from the camera) exposes its "true" detail which would be revealed once the passerby stops and inspects the piece through and through.

Briefly, the description on the piece states that the figure's Russian-born American artist produced six versions of the work in varying dimensions and used 'highly finished metal surfaces' along with two different types of steel spring wire to 'create structurally complex abstract works that evoke a futuristic machine.'

I picked this piece as my favorite because I feel it is one of the most straightforward representations of the many faces and implications of art.  To me, this piece is pretty modern and I would love to have it displayed somewhere in my home because it would fit nicely with what's already there.  Yet, it also reminds me of one of our early class discussions about how people see art differently; you can literally see this piece of art at least two different ways just by changing your footing.  While it has a fairly basic shape, the pieces that make up this overarching figure hold a greater meaning than what can be seen just by walking past.


Lastly, here are some other pieces that caught my attention during our visit:

"Trustworthy-Masked Face" by Haegue Yang







   



Sunday, January 22, 2017

Visibility, Review

"Fantasy is a place where it rains"...?

While the reading of Visibility by Italo Calvino is not the simplest to decipher, this quote is definitely something that caught my eye, and it was only in the first paragraph.  Yet, as I am able to delve deeper into the first page of the text, I already begin to question how this will connect to the remainder of my reading.

We are placed in a scene of Purgatory, and Dante (Alighieri?) is the individual visualizing and maybe even experiencing it.  Then, as readers, we are taken quickly through the descriptive version of how Dante is presented with the "details of landscape and the vault of heavens, and the scenes that act as quotations or representations of examples of sins and virtues..."  First, the images appear as sculptures that seem to possess realistic features, then as visions casted in front of him, then actual voices he can hear, and finally as mental images.  As Dante experiences this, he summarily realizes that it's almost fruitless to have these visions appear as such, and would much rather prefer they begin as visions in his mind rather than traverse the senses.  Shortly after, it's made aware that this was solely Dante's imagination getting the best of him, and Calvino aims to define imagination through the mind of Dante.

In terms of Dante's take on the "loftier part of the imagination", the formulation of new ideas has "the power to impose itself on our faculties and our wills, stealing us away from the outer world and carries us off into an inner one".  Here, we get so lost that not even a plethora of trumpets playing simultaneously could pull us from this inner world our imagination has submerged us into.

There are two types of imaginative processes our minds can enter.  One being where we are able to see text and recreate the imagery in our mind, this occurs most often when we read.  And the supplemental process being the opposite, where the visual image is placed in front of us, and it is up to us to process text that comes to mind, usually occurring while watching film.  Calvino then explains that each of us possesses our own mental cinema that's continually working and projecting images in front of our mind's eye.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Whole Ball of Wax, Review

While some people believe art can change the world, it is imperative to understand what type of 'change' they have in mind.  Changes that alter the world of medicine or global warming as mentioned in the reading, may not be the change these individuals are referring to.  But also, it is important to stop and think what the definition of art is.  Art's definition will substantially differ from an artist to a physician, where a physician may believe a medical breakthrough can be a form of art.

In Jerry Saltz's reading, art can change the world "incrementally and by osmosis".  The reason being is that art is a part of a larger force than some individuals may come to notice; it helps make change possible through its massive influential energy.  In addition to being able to synthesize change, art has many broad and precise meanings, but it is important to understand that art is necessary in all aspects of life.  While art can calm, soothe, and relax the mind and body, it also has the ability to invoke polar opposite emotions in its observers.  With that knowledge, it is safe to say that while art may look as though it can have straightforward meanings, similar to a poem, art has the potential to be absorbed by the mind and interpreted an infinite amount of ways.

In closing, Eric Fischl's summation of art being similar to a cat has enabled me to understand its depths and meanings on a much more rudimentary level.  Cats are creatures that humans have an extremely difficult time understanding or even getting along with.  Similar to the statement of art being "political when it doesn't seem political and not political when that's all it seems to be", art has a way of rubbing individuals the wrong way if they aren't able to understand it profoundly.   Yet I feel as though the purpose of art is not to be understood, but to be appreciated at its utmost potential.