Monthly Archives: March 2012

Mine and Me

Okay…. So I can dish it out but what about my art?  This won’t happen often but I suppose it is only fair that I should put my own out there for judgement (judgement that can be kept to yourselves…).  Here is a self-portrait that I did for my photography class in the fall of 2010.

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And here is the painting that I did of it for my INTRODUCTION (key word!) to painting class in the fall of 2011 (taken by my cell phone camera… but that’s not an excuse…).

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I personally like the color palette of the painting, maybe because I picked it.  But it actually kind of picked me as it just sort of turned out that way.  Ever notice how paintings just sort of turn out?  I can’t plan them and I never know how they will look at the end.  Sometimes I’m proud of them but more often then not I am usually just reassured in my decision not to make a career out of it.

Extremely reassured.

But don’t get me wrong, I still hang all of my art all over my room.  I’m a private narcissist.

But who isn’t?

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John Rogers, You Moron

In my ‘Sculpture in the US’ class we recently were required to read 40, COUNT EM!, 40 pages about a sculptor named John Rogers.  Here is what I have learned:

John Rogers was an American sculptor who turned away from neoclassical ideals.  He is known for his genre sculptures, scenes of everyday life.  His are the sculptures that would appear in Victorian homes in 19th and 20th century homes because of how inexpensive and likable they were.  A lot of people in the cities bought his art depicting farm life and rural scenes because it connected them to a place they didn’t actually live in.  There were thousands of these sculptures produced and sold.

After finishing the reading our next class was held in the storage section of our University Museum building and were were able to actually see and touch some of the sculptures by John Rogers (suhweet!). In particular, my group was looking at ‘Coming to the Parson’.  Instead of getting into the depth of the subject matter, I would like to touch on a few technical things.

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I don’t particularly like this sculpture, but there are a couple of interesting things about it.  For one- the detail in the table the parson is sitting at is pretty impressive (clawed feet).  For two, even though this sculpture is meant to be viewed from the front, there are interesting details in the back of the parson’s chair and in the books behind the newspaper.  I admire when details are not overlooked in places that may not be viewed as often.

(I do also quite like the animosity between the animals around the feet of the figures.)

What really IRKS me about John Rogers’s sculptures, though, is the color.  The color of his sculptures is meant to look like the clay it was made out of, but it isn’t.  It is a paint that is added after the sculpture has been fired.  Whoever mixed up the color  was definitely waiting until it was the most detestable color possible before applying it and solidifying it for every other sculpture he makes.  It is distracting.. and detracting.  Why not leave it the pretty white color that the cast makes it?  Or why not sell the bronze models?  The muddy brown, not-even-a-color color ruins all of his work for me.  Call me immature, but I can’t enjoy his sculptures (eye-sores).

Any challengers?

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This stole my mind for a while when it came up on the screen in my art history sculpture class two weeks ago.  This beautiful thing is called Ganymede and the Eagle by Bertel Throvaldsen (1817-29).  Looking at sculptures like this one and  Greenough’s Prisoner to Wisdom (1836) in a dark room in a cozy building makes me happy.  Simply happy.  It takes me to a place where I could stay for a long time- my little art history world where things are made of marble and I can look at them forever.  Smooth white marble bodies of perfection, with faces that convey so much feeling.  It is a whole world of symbolism and meanings in myths that one can study forever and never fully learn it all.  My art history world is like a great dessert that I never finish.

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Love Prisoner of Wisdom does that thing that takes me out of my body and into the picture.  Love Prisoner of Wisdom is this cupid figure shackled to an owl that signifies wisdom.  Pure and simple and beautiful.

I could think on these forever.  Smooth.  White.  Marble.

Marble, Marble, Marble

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Venus of Willdendorf vs. Six Armed Woman

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This is probably the first image my AP Art History class in high school looked at as a class.  I immediately liked The Woman of Willendorf (as a body-conscious girl in high school) for not sporting a thin figure.  I knew, if this figure could know things, that it would understand the phrase “chub-rub”, and that was comforting.  Our young and handsome teacher then posed the question to the class “What do you think this image represents?”, to which mostly everyone fell silent.  We were all looking at a possibly morbidly obese woman with no face, feet, or arms.  Maybe it represents the ability to hunt and gather food?  Nope.  This statuette, estimated to have been created between 24,000 and 22,000 BCE, represents “fertility”.  This is the body of a child-bearing woman who has the hips to withstand childbirth along with the healthy breasts to feed it.  That feels like an important meaning to me, and it somehow offered me comfort that this figure was one worth portraying some thousands of years ago.  This fertile figure has stuck with me.

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In contrast to the prehistoric Woman of Willendorf, I offer up Tim Burton’s Six Armed Woman, created in 1996. Both of these works depict women, yet one is a ‘sculpture’ and one is a painting.  One woman has no face, arms, or feet, while one woman has six arms and quite a “pretty” face.  While the Woman of Willendorf humbly represents fertility, the Six Armed Woman seems to flaunt it with large round breasts and eyes that seem to turn down towards them.  Also, Burton’s use of color makes this painting a fun and imaginative one.  I am not sure of any known meaning for this work, and it could be that it is supposed to be left up for interpretation, or purely aesthetic values.  To me the Six Armed Woman is a sex object, a beautiful woman that girls want to be and men want to be with (but maybe without the whole six-arms thing, or maybe with? 😉 ).  Tim Burton thrives on the “wacky” and the fantasy in his movies and in his artwork, which is part of why he is one of my favorite artists.   Though the figure in Six Armed Woman seems to scream femininity, down to the flowers in her six arms, I almost wonder if this is meant to be a woman at all, or just merely a creature of desire who flirts with the viewer.  And though I am sure I would have loved this image had I found it in high school, I do not think this unattainable body would have been of any comfort to me as the Woman of Willendorf strangely was.  Both of these images will be forever thought-provoking for me as they resonate so wholly somewhere inside of me.  Though there are thousands and thousands of years between their moments of creation, they both represent the power of women- to me.

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