Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Shape of Time

In George Kubler's, The Shape of Time, Kubler discusses artists' biographies and how they are limited in that they are unable to completely depict how an artist's life is related to his or her artwork.  A biography simply focuses on that one single artist's life, making him or her the main unit of study.  The problem with this is that an artists work goes beyond just the artist, but the events and experiences that have surrounded and shaped the artist as well.  Kubler also discusses talent and how one's talent cannot be measured by degree of talent but rather on the kind of talent.  He also discusses various conditions which reinforce talent such as physical energy, durable health, and powers of concentration.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Data Visualization

Far more data than we are able to process surrounds us in our every day lives.  This is why data visualization has become such a common practice in today's world.  The process of taking data and incorporating it into visual experiences through the media encourages people to envision and perceive the data and hopefully find some personal meaning within it.  In Edward Tufte's video, Julie Steele discusses that data visualization is more than just a creative process, but actually more of a linear process of decision making based on three basic principles that should always inform your design.   The first is what you want to communicate as the designer.  The second is accounting for the reader's own opinions and biases and how they will perceive the data.  The third is the data itself and how it informs the truth.  Since we as humans, have brains that quickly recognize patterns, a lot of information can be communicated visually at once.  This is why using colors or images for specific audiences is important so that you can appeal to your audience emotionally and get them to quickly engage with the information.

One lesson that I found particularly important in the video was at the end when Tufte says that it is important when we are looking at data or information, that we see it to learn something from it and not just to confirm something we already believe.  So often, people tend to look at data and see it as something they already think they know or believe and use the data to confirm these preconceptions.  The purpose of collecting data is to then learn something from that data.  It should serve to provide revelations, or show us something we have never seen before.  It is important that we always keep our minds open to learning new things through data visualization.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Ways of Seeing

In John Berger's "Ways of Seeing," Berger discusses the ambiguousness of perception and how it can be altered when viewing a piece of art.  Berger talks about some of the negatives and positives that result when pieces of art are replicated.  He especially emphasizes how reproduction of artwork can make its meaning ambiguous, but also can assist in making it easier to connect our experience of art directly with other experiences.

One insight that I found to be particularly interesting is that because paintings are silent and still, they easily lend themselves to be manipulated.  I found this to be an extremely valid point because by adding movement and sound or isolating specific details with a camera, a painting's significance can be drastically changed.  For example, Berger displays a painting by Van Gogh on the screen with no music or movement.  At first it seems like a normal painting and the viewer is able to come up with their own view of its significance.  He then notifies the viewer that it is Van Gogh's last painting before he committed suicide and displays it a second time with sad, dark music playing in the background.  This dramatically changes the viewer's perception of the painting because the background story as well as the background music contribute to an overall sad and dreary essence of the painting.  This goes back to Berger's point that "as soon as the meaning of a painting becomes transmittable, this meaning is liable to be manipulated and transformed."

Another interesting insight discussed is how the meaning of an image can be changed according to what you see beside it or what comes after it.  I was intrigued by this insight because this method is used everyday in the world of advertisements and marketing.  Just like adding music or movement to a painting, displaying certain images, words, or clips before or after an image can manipulate the image's message or meaning.  This meaning could be very different from what the image's original meaning might be without those additions.  This is another example of how drastically a person's perception of a piece of art can be altered.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Baltimore Museum of Art Visit

During our previous class we visited the Baltimore Museum of Art, which holds a wide collection of historic, contemporary, and modern art.  This was a great experience, especially since we have recently been discussing the power of art.  This visit gave us the opportunity to exercise our imaginations and admire a variety of pieces, as well as focus in on a select few.  Three paintings that stood out to me during my visit coincidentally happened to all be paintings of landscapes.  I was intrigued by how each artist took a simple aspect of nature and portrayed it in their own creative ways.  These paintings are a perfect example of how person can express oneself through their own artwork and everyone’s portrayal of something so similar can come out so different.  These endless possibilities of expression are what make art so fascinating.

Flower Beds in the Dresden Gardens – Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

This was my favorite painting that I saw at the Baltimore Museum of Art.  The first thing that stood out to me was the bright pink colors used in the background and in the detail of the painting.  The bright pink and yellow colors of the flowerbeds contrasting the dark green trees around them emphasizes the liveliness and beauty in the gardens.  I also like how the shapes of the flowers are not very defined, so when looked at closely, it might be difficult to decipher what the painting is, but when looked at from afar it appears to better resemble a garden.  These undefined lines and seemingly random blotches of color allow for a more open interpretation of the painting, which made me want to stare at the painting for long time..  Overall, I love the positive and carefree energy that this painting gives off and every time I look it, I notice something new that I like.

Landscape with Figures – Vincent Van Gogh

This painting was one of the first to catch my attention with all of the sloping hills and swirling trees.  One thing that I especially admire about it is how it is made up of detailed lines which seem to flow in the same direction.  This causes my eye to move about the painting in a rhythmic manner, which gives me a very calming feeling whenever I look at it.

Painter in the Olive Garden – Henri Matisse

I love the ambiance in this painting by Henri Matisse.  Pictured in this landscape is one of Matisse’s favorite models, Henriette Darricarrere, sitting behind an easel, painting her own landscape.  Henriette was a talented dancer and in this painting she is described to be “dwarfed by the large olive trees above her that bend into decorative arabesques.”  As this statement describes, the curving trees give movement to the painting as if inspiring her to dance.