Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Postmodern Mixed Media Visual Analysis

For my Postmodern mixed media project, I started with the quote "A negative judgment gives you more satisfaction than praise, provided it smacks of jealousy."  In the center of the piece, I photoshopped together green images of eyes, snakes, and tigers.  Above the green images, I pasted a picture of the four main characters from the move Mean Girls all wearing pink.  Around these images I used red paint to paint an abstract shaped background.  I then used black ink to add to the background and really move the viewer's eye around the piece.  The main color scheme is complimentary between the green and pink, and the red and black background seems to compete with the pink, making it almost difficult to look at together.

This piece implies tones of envy.  The green eyes, snakes, and tigers in the center give the viewer more negative feelings of jealousy and competitiveness.  The picture of the Mean Girls characters give the viewer a sense of teenage drama and pettiness that often stems from jealousy and lying.  This piece is meant to draw from the typical "mean girl" characters that girls often encounter during high school.  The piece is meant to show how negative judgments often stem from jealousy and only provide you with satisfaction more than anything else.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Luminous Connections

Loyola brought Light City to campus with amazing interactive light displays.  The displays included  videos projected onto buildings and walls, as well as musical light displays, and colorful lights near McManus theater and throughout campus.  It was well worth it to stop by and admire this collection of creative, exciting, unique, and bright displays made by students.  One of the most interesting displays that I saw was the one outside of McManus Theater.  It consisted of a built structure with a clear glass window to look through that had an amazing intricate lit up silver display inside it.  On the outside of the structure, people were given the option to write a thought on a silver tag and tape it to the wall.  Bringing Light City to Loyola was a wonderful way for students to express their creativity with unique and fun exhibits and displays.  On one of the descriptions of the event, it explained that the "exhibition signals the emergence of light from the darkness of winter."  This is a really positive message, especially now moving into spring, and the students involved did an amazing job conveying this message on our campus.  Below are some photos from the event.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Postmodernism Notes

  • In the middle ages, it was unusual to encounter anyone with different beliefs
  •  In Postmodern age, it’s common to encounter people with many different beliefs
  • All the world’s cultures and rituals intermix and are all over mass media & cyberspace
  •  “we live increasingly in a world of interconnected differences-differences amplified and multiplied at the speed of electricity”
  •  Postmodern intellectuals have attempted to map the mix of identities, realities, cultures, races, gender roles, technologies, economies, cyber-spaces and mediascapes of our rapidly changing postmodern world
  • These postmodern artists or architects simply take note of the new mix of messages, symbol, cultures and media, and then create a video, song, painting or building that reflects the Postmodern condition
  • 3 cultural periods of which a unique cultural logic dominates
  •  The Age of Realism – the era of the bourgeois, historical novel
  • The Age of Modernism – modernist culture expressed its dissatisfaction with the world; themes of alienation, rootlessness, lack of identity, solitude, and social fragmentation
  •  The Age of Postmodernism – reflect the dislocation and fragmentation of language communities – splintered into small groups – each speaking a “curious private language of its own, each profession developing its private code or dialect, and finally each individual coming to be a kind of linguistic island, separated from everyone else.”
Jean Baudrillard – Hyperreal and Imaginary
  • Disneyland – presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, when in fact all of LA and the American surrounding it are no longer real, but of the order of the hyperreal and of simulation
  • Conceals the fact that real childishness is everywhere

Frederic Jameson – Postmodernism
  • Van Gogh’s painting of the peasant shoes: 2 ways of reading it
  • the raw materials/initial content
  • surface of color à utopian gesture
  • 2nd reading: the work of art emerges within the gap between Earth and World; the meaningless materiality of the body and nature and the meaning endowment of history and of the social
  • Andy Warhol’s Diamond Dust Shoes: random collection of dead objects hanging together on the canvas
  • Differences between the high modernist and postmodernist moment between the shoes of Van Gogh and the shoes of Andy Warhol:
  • The emergence of a new kind of flatness or depthlessness, a new kind of superficiality in the most literal sense
  • role of photography
  •  color: bright utopian vs deathly black and white
  • a kind of return of the repressed in Diamond Dust Shoes

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.

Monday, January 23, 2017

"Visibility" by Italo Calvino

In my reading of Calvino’s “Visibility,” I was presented with a concept that I have never really taken the time to think about before, the imaginative process.  I have always been aware that art springs from the imagination, but I never questioned how the imagination works or what factors can affect the imagination.  One part of my reading that I found to be particularly interesting is when Calvino talks about the two types of imaginative process.  One is through reading, which causes us to produce a mental image in our heads of what is occurring.  The other is through actual images that allow us to come to verbal conclusions.  It is intriguing to think about where the images in our mind all come from.  This leads me to believe that there are not just two distinct processes of our imagination.  I feel that the images and stories that spring from our imaginations are too complex to explain how they come to be in one of two concrete ways.  This is what makes art and our reactions to art so unique and amazing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Whole Ball of Wax

Is it possible that art has the power to change the world?  While some would be quick to disagree, after reading Jerry Saltz's, "The Whole Ball of Wax," I was convinced that art does in fact have more power than one would think.  As Saltz points out, art may not be able to solve some of life’s major problems, but it does have the power to change the world "incrementally and by osmosis."  In simpler terms, it may not directly change the world in a major way, but it can have the power to change one’s ideas or knowledge without he or she even consciously realizing it.  Art is just as useful as any other form of knowledge.  One story that I found particularly interesting was about the Italian Jurist, Antonio Cassese, who served on the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in the Hague. Cassese would sometimes go to the museum to look at two beautiful paintings, not because they were beautiful, but because he claimed that they were “invented to heal pain.”  Cassese looked beyond the physical aspect of these paintings and instead experienced them.  Admiring these paintings allowed him to escape physical reality for a little and alter his feelings in a positive way.  This example emphasizes the point that art is not made to merely be looked at.  It has “thought and experience embedded in it” and therefore has the power to change one’s mindset.  Art can help broaden a person’s ideas, beliefs or feelings which can then lead to change.  Sometimes the answer to a problem is not directly in front of a person, and art can be a means to find it.