Monday, April 17, 2017

Postmodern Mixed Media Project Visual Analysis

The medium for the piece was paint, ink, and printed images on Bristol board. The composition is balanced by using a triangle shape. The focal point of the piece is the photoshopped collage of famous classical portraits that forms the inside of a mouth. When looking at the piece, one's eye travels from the focal point side to side similar to the shape of the larger painted smiling lips. I edited the printed collages so that they are highly saturated to give then an almost glowing appearance. In addition, these images are primarily composed of warm colors. The chosen color scheme is complementary colors. The chosen complements are orange-yellow and blue, red and green, and purple and yellow. The painted lips are similar to the lips on the printed collages in regards to shape and color. Though unlike the printed lips, the painted lips have more purple tones incorporated within them to follow the complementary color scheme. In addition, following the color scheme, the skin tone has orange-yellow tones within it. The skin tones colors are not as saturated as the lips because the lips are the focal point. The ink surrounds the bottom part of the painted lips to create a three-dimensional more modern effect and shadow. When hung, the ink makes the piece appear rounded so that there is even more depth.

The piece is inspired by Jean Baudrillard's quotation, which states, "Americans may have no identity, but they do have wonderful teeth". To further explore this concept of lacking identity, I chose to utilize renowned portraits that many people, even those without formal training in art, will likely recognize. The artificial saturated colors of these portraits make them look bleached like the fake smiles posted on top of each one. These model perfect smiles exemplify Americans "wonderful teeth".  Suddenly with the same perfect set of teeth, these once distinctive masterpieces lose some of their overall uniqueness. Together, these edited portraits form a collage that acts as the "teeth" of a larger mouth. The larger lips are a similar pink color to the printed out lips. Having them the same color creates a uniformity making the portraits appear less original and unique. There are no eyes that go with the painted nose and lips making it appear like a mask that anyone can wear. The mask represents how the American identity has become like a cookie cutter, almost manufactured. In addition, it comments on the fact that Americans values are skin deep. This mask has no identity, but it will give the one who wears it a pair of perfect teeth.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Postmodernism Readings

"A Pair of Boots" By Vincent Van Gogh
Based on the three readings on Postmodernsim, the post modern age is the blending of the world's cultures. Today, people no longer live in a world with one set of morals, customs, and culture. Instead the world's cultures are "intermixing like a smorgasbord in a earthquake" (Postmodernism Introduction 3). It is normal to understand and be exposed to a variety of cultures from our own. In fact, it is difficult to imagine a world where you only know your own culture. The integration of technology, such as the internet, has contributed to this "intermixing". People "[attempt] to map the contours of our rapidly changing Postmodern world" (Postmodernism Introduction 4). According to Jameson, there are three cultural periods, the first being the age of realism, then the age of modernism, when individuals expressed dissatisfaction with their world, and finally the age of postmodernism in which "cultural forms reflect the dislocation and fragmentation of language communities" (Postmodernism Introduction 6).
I found it particularly interesting when Andy Warhol's "Diamond Dust Shoes" and Vincent Van Gogh's "A Pair of Boots" were compared. While Van Gogh's shoes represented the peasant class's poverty and misery, Warhol's represented "depthlessness with no link to any reality" (Postmodernism Introdcution 7). In addition, Warhol's shoes, when compared to Van Gogh's, appear flat due to the black and white color scheme and angle. As Jameson states, Warhol's image displays "a new kind of superficiality"(Jameson 9). After looking at both images, Van Gogh's painting conveys a larger message about the struggles of the peasant class, while Warhol's represents the commercial, materialistic focus of the culture.

"Diamond Dust Shoes" By Andy Warhol
Postmodernism focuses on hypereality, which is found in places like Hollywood or Disneyland. Disneyland is located in California where, according to the Jean Baudrillard, "all Los Angeles and the America surrounding it are no longer real, but of the order of the hyperreal and of simulation" (Baudrillard). This hyperreality "is not the unreal, but has replaced 'reality'" (Postmodernism Introduction 58). Disneyland is an example of this where "the real is no longer real" (Baudrillard). In a culture obsessed with perfection, I do agree with the larger idea that the United States has become a hyperrealistic nation overall. Instead, like Los Angeles, it is full of "fabulous proportions, but without space or dimensions" (Baudrillard).  The Postmodernism movement reflects the increasingly interconnectedness and changes of the world today.

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

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Three Pieces from the BMA



The Crown of Flowers By: Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
These three pieces from the Baltimore Museum of Art stood out to me because even though they were all portraying women using oils on canvas each artist's individual style made each piece very different.

Purple Robe and Anemones by Henri Matisse
Woman with Bangs by Pablo Picasso
My favorite of the three is Woman with Bangs by Pablo Picasso. First, I like how the shades of blue as the dominant colors of the painting, immediately influences the overall tone of the piece. In addition, having the woman's complexion and clothes composed of blues and greens makes her appear to be matching the background. This color choice looks almost as if she is blending into the background. Regardless of her blue and green complexion, her expression alone is powerful. Her eyes are a bit asymmetric making her gaze appear glazed over or zoning out. One eyeball appears to be gazing upward and the other downward. In addition, her heavy eyelids add to her overall unimpressed/bored/depressed expression. Lastly, having her lips be muted shades of red instead of blue or green makes the viewer immediately focus onto that part of her face. Her lips' shape is particularly expressive adding to her overall look of dissatisfaction.

Two other components that I enjoyed and added to the mood of this piece was where the woman was placed in the picture and her shadow. Her body is in the lower right instead of the center of the piece making her appear smaller and more vulnerable. In addition, by positioning her in this way makes it seem like the viewer is looking at a private moment. Additionally, her shadow almost seems like another figure behind her. Lastly, I like the title of the piece because instead of commenting on her mood, Picasso chose to focus on a seemingly minute detail of the piece: her bangs. Overall I really liked this painting because of the subject's expressive facial expression, artist's powerful color choice, and general composition of the piece.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Response to "Visibility"

What is the imagination? The author Italo Calvino paraphrases Dante's description saying that imagination "steal[s] us away from the outer world and carr[ies] us off into the inner one, so that even if a thousand trumpets were to sound we would not hear them" (82). I strongly agree with this description of imagination as I can recollect countless times when I too was completely consumed by own mind's imaginary world.
In addition, I like how Calvino states "fantasy is a place where it rains" (81). After reading that sentence, I took it literally and began to imagine this fantasy land where our imaginations reside subjected to continuous downpour. After continuing to read Calvino's description of Dante's Purgatorio where he states "images rain down from the heavens-that is, God sends them to him" I realized how the "rain" is a metaphor (81). Though I don't see imagination as having a divine connection, I like this imagery of actual images coming down into one's mind.
Before reading this, I had never thought of different types of imagination. Calvino describes two different types of imagination. One "starts with word and arrives at the visual image" and the other "starts with the visual image and arrives at its verbal expression" (83). Calvino describes the first as what occurs while reading. For example, when we read the words blue cat driving a car 500 mph down the freeway, our imagination fills our thoughts with images or an almost silent movie of a cat speeding down a highway. I found it especially interesting when Calvino describes the movie making process as being a product of the first type of imagination. Calvino states that a film and "the image we see on the screen has also passed through the stage of a written text" (83). Continuing with the idea of cinema, for the second kind of imagination an audience watching one of the Pixar short films is watching images and allowing their imaginations to fill in the films with verbal meanings to describe the film. The below links are to two Pixar short films I thought of when I read Calvino's description of the two kinds of imagination.
Pixar Short Film Geri's Game
Pixar Short Film: La Luna
All in all, imagination is much more complex than I had initially thought and "Visibility" helped me realize that it has been an idea explored since historical times.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Julio Fine Art Gallery Event: Senior Projects


Part of Thread For Thought By Elena Damon
On Friday, I attended the Julio Fine Art Gallery event where the Loyola seniors displayed their projects. The exhibition had interesting and beautiful pieces, but two particular pieces really stood out to me. The first being Thread for Thought by Elena Damon. In her description of the piece, Elena discusses how people's outward appearances do not necessarily portray their emotions and thought processes. Personally, I am very interested in people's thoughts and feelings that they do not express, which added to my interest in this piece. In each portrait Elena added the embroidery to represent the individual's inner thoughts and consciousness. The shape of the embroidered string gives each portrait an aura that appears to the viewer as their mind working. I especially liked how Elena made the people black and white, but the string colored. The strong contrast in colors made the difference in their outward appearance and inner self stand out more. In addition, having their inner consciousness colored exemplifies the idea that the neutral look an individual may have is not necessarily indicative of their actual thoughts and feelings.
The second piece that stood out to me was a series of paintings titled White Noise by Maggie Powell expressing different people's reactions to the same piece of music. In her description of her piece Maggie discusses the unique effect music has on each person who experiences it. In creating this piece, Maggie observed and photographed different individuals listening to the same music. Then she created a series of paintings one being pictured below. In addition, as part her exhibit Maggie provided the qr code to play music. The painting pictured below stood out the most to me because Maggie perfectly captured the man's response to hearing the music. His facial expression is complex and effective at conveying emotion. In addition, by having his gaze averted it makes the viewer feel like they are witnessing a private moment of him hearing the music. Though these two pieces stood out to me the most, all of the senior projects were a range of interesting styles and very unique pieces.
Part of White Noise Series by Maggie Powell



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"The Whole Ball of Wax" Response

The article, “The Whole Ball of Wax” discusses the power of art and explores the question if it possesses the ability to “change the world”. The article’s author, Jerry Saltz states that art itself cannot directly change problems in the world such as global warming or AIDs. Instead, working with other things art can help change problems such as these. This is because as Saltz states “art is part of a universal force”. Therefore, since it is a part of this equation art is a required element. This way of thinking is not shared by everyone however. According to the article, there are some people who view art as “purely formal amusement”. Thinking in this mindset, art is viewed as something very simple lacking the power to make real changes in the world.
Personally, this viewpoint is very different from my own. I agree with the idea that art is a part of something bigger. According to Lawrence Weschler, Antonio Cassese, while being a jurist and hearing the Yugoslav war crimes, would go look at the Girl With a Pearl Earring and View of Delft. He did this because according to him the paintings “were ‘invented to heal pain’”.
Lastly, the article talks about how “art can be ‘a vacation from the self”’. This is applicable to Gerber’s experience with the plastic furniture following the 9/11 attacks. In this situation, art was acting almost therapeutic for Gerber. I feel this way about Kathë Kollwitz’s work. I remember the first time I saw her Women with Dead Child, and seeing a woman grieving and dealing with loss in turn helped me deal with my own grief at the time.