Monday, March 27, 2017

George Kubler Reading Response

I found two parts of the George Kubler reading particularly interesting. The first was when Kubler discusses the history of and limitations of artist biographies. One such limitation is how these biographies "confine the value of the history of art" in a way that makes it "easy to overlook the continuous nature of artistic traditions" (4).  According to Kubler, these biographies are"confined" in this way because the biographer's goals are solely focused on the particular artist's life and his or her works. I had not previously thought about biographies in this light before. I found Kubler's metaphor comparing using the life of an individual artist as way to study the history of art to that of accurately describing the railroads of a certain country helpful. It makes sense that focusing on a single artist's life as a way to explain art history is too narrow just as would be studying one railroad traveler.
Another section of the reading that I found particularly interesting was the section discussing the terms "talent" and "genius". In my own life, I have noticed how people immediately associate famous artists as being geniuses who have almost superhuman amounts of talent. Kubler argues that this is not the case, but that an artist's "entrance and position in sequence" are as influential as his or her talent (6). Kubler cites a few artists to support this idea. One is Leonardo da Vinci and another is Bernardino Luini. The fact that Kubler does not need to even mention da Vinci's last name for the reader to recognize who he is referencing supports his argument. Kubler explained that Luini was talented just like da Vinci, but "came late when the feast was over" (6). If I were to show the two photos pictured below, people who know very little about art would probably recognize the piece on the left as opposed to the other piece. 


Kubler describes modern views of the idea of genius as being a "congenital disposition" instead of "a fortuitous keying together of disposition and situation into an exceptionally efficient entity" (6). When I read that, I thought about Hollywood and how there are so many actors and actresses that are just as talented as the A list celebrities, but have not had the same luck. Kubler's points about an artist's biography and how famous artists did not solely possess talent stood out to me and made me think about how I had been previously viewing these two ideas in my own life.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Blog Post: Escaping Flatland/The Art of Data Visualization

Both the chapter, "Escaping Flatland", and the video, The Art of Data Visualization, discuss the power of displaying and conveying information using different visual techniques. The chapter addressed, how though as humans we live in a three-dimensional world, we are presented with two-dimensional data on paper or a screen. In the reading, I found it particularly interesting when it described a specific type of data visualization referred to as "stereo illustrations"(17). These illustrations "deliver vivid three-dimensional scenes by means of paired images (one for each eye), which are then fused mentally by viewers" (17). This reminded me of a toy (pictured below) I had when I was younger that was a viewfinder that used this type of illustration to give two-dimensional images depth.
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/5d/70/64/5d70641432949ed1bbf4f8f6cca3a8d6.jpg
In the Youtube video, they discussed how data visualization's beginnings were showing information through cartography and later with science. Galileo's own depiction of the sunspots he saw is an example of this science. In addition, during the video one individual lays out three aspects to keep in mind when creating data visualization. The first of these being you as the creator, second the audience or readers with their own biases and unique backgrounds, and finally the data itself. One image that displayed during the video particularly stood out to me. It was the image below of the distances to the nearest McDonalds in the United States. I think this image, though simple, is incredibly powerful and shocking. Lastly, I liked how in the video one individual discusses what makes these visual displays of data successful. They specified how successful data visualizations convey a story and make complicated information into something more simple and able to be interpreted.  After watching this video and reading the chapter, I became much more aware of different data visualization techniques I have encountered in my own life.
http://www.datapointed.net/2009/09/distance-to-nearest-mcdonalds/

Monday, February 27, 2017

Whitescapes

Tissue on Piece of Poster Paper with Overhead Lights On

Same Tissue and Poster Paper with just a Lamp Turned On
The top photo is a white tissue on top of a white piece of poster paper under my room's ceiling lights. The white tissue is lighter than the paper and appears more like what one would consider the color white to look like. The poster paper behind it looks like a light shade of brown with some possible yellow undertones. Even the tissue does not appear as white as it did against a different color background.
The bottom photo is of the same white tissue and poster paper under a different light. This light was from my desk lamp without my room's ceiling light on. The poster paper looks like it has some pinks in it as apposed to the browns and yellows from the previous picture. The tissue does not stand out as much against the background in this light. It is interesting how two objects that when looked at separately appear white suddenly completely transform when paired together and put under different lighting.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Response to John Berger's Ways of Seeing

After reading John Berger's Ways of Seeing, the section when he discusses the specific impacts of reproducing artwork particularly stood out to me. I started to think about my own experience with reproductions of artwork. Having never lived in a time where these did not exist, I never questioned their existence and possible negative impact until now.

Berger claims that before reproduction of art "the uniqueness of every painting was once part of the uniqueness of the place where it resided" because how "it could never be seen in two places at the same time" (19). So Berger believes that reproducing these images via cameras "destroys the uniqueness of its image" (19). I agree that having to go to a specific place to experience a piece of art adds to the overall experience, but I don't think reproductions of that art destroy all of the unique qualities of the piece. In addition, if I didn't have access to reproductions of artwork then I would never have gotten to study these pieces of art unless I could afford to travel all over the world to see them. Personally by studying these pieces and copying them, I have grown to appreciate them in ways than I would not have if I just walked up to the piece for the first time. For example, while trying to copy any of da Vinci's portraits you begin to comprehend just how difficult and how much skill it takes to create a work of art like that. Berger does note that people can argue that it is agreed that "reproductions more or less distort" so that in a way the original is still unique in some way (20).

Another section of the reading that stood out to me was the section about with Vincent van Gogh's Wheatfield with Crows. As I read the line "this is a landscape of a cornfield with birds flying out of it" I appreciated the composition of the piece and the signature brushstrokes of Van Gogh, but it was not until I read the following page where it states "this is the lost picture that Van Gogh painted before he killed himself" when suddenly the image no longer was just crows in a wheat field (27, 28). Berger perfectly sums it up by saying "the image now illustrates the sentence" (28). Berger brings up interesting points about observing images and artwork that I had never thought about until I read this work.
Wheatfield with Crows by Vincent Van Gogh

Friday, February 3, 2017

Julio Fine Arts Gallery Event: Uncertain Passages by Jay Gould

On Thursday, I attended the Julio Fine Arts Gallery exhibit titled Uncertain Passages by Jay Gould. Gould has a M.F.A in photography from Savannah College of Art & Design and teaches at Maryland Institute College of Art. I was able to hear Gould speak about his pieces some, which was interesting to hear the thoughts behind the pieces. I thought it was especially interesting how Gould spoke about when he creates pieces he thinks about art and science. At first, when looking at Gould's pieces some  looked like ordinary photographs of nature such as the one pictured below. At first glance it looks like a nice picture of a landscape focused on a tree in the center. Though by having this one tree capture the viewer's attention leads the viewer's eye to then notice and focus on the out of place smoke/cloud shape hovering near the ground.
A Compelling Sense of Familiarity by Jay Gould
Half Red Stone by Jay Gould
At the event two pieces really stood out to me though. The first being Half Red Stone pictured to the right. Though it is difficult to see in the picture, the piece is is bent acrylic. By doing this, when viewed at this angle the piece appears to be almost three dimensional. It was so cool to walk around the piece and from one side see a two dimensional picture of a red rock and the other blue, but suddenly in the middle see a three dimensional half red and half blue rock.
Portal Typography I by Jay Gould
The other piece I greatly enjoyed from the exhibit was Portal Typography I pictured above. I found this piece interesting because of the two main components. The upper one appears to be a picture of green woods with a column of cloud/smoke in the middle. This is similar to the previously mentioned cloud in the other piece. Though in this piece, the lower part of the piece below is similar coloring and composition, but almost three dimensional because, as apparent from the picture below, the cloud/smoke part is coming off the background. In addition, from far away the two backgrounds look very similar, but if looked at up close the green background for the lower part looks like almost little green mountains. I did not know what to expect when I first walked into the exhibit because Gould's work was very different from anything I had seen before, but I really enjoyed it and learned about a new very interesting form of art.

 
Part of Portal Typography I by Jay Gould