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.