Harn Museum of Art Huyen Truong

Medium of the Art / Technique of the Artist

I’ve always been a fan of art. My favorite artist is Claude Monet and I immediately recognized his piece when I went to the Harn. This piece is called “Champ d’avoine (Oat Field).” It depicts a field of oats and poppy flowers in his home in Giverny. Monet’s technique for painting is what draws me toward his artwork. Instead of blending colors like a normal artist would, he dabs the canvas using a wide variety of different colors. He is known to paint very scenic landscapes like gardens, skies, and water. Nature is filled with a broad spectrum of colors and I’ve always appreciated how Monet captures this essence. I’ve only seen his paintings through a computer screen and this was my first time ever seeing a piece by him in person. I could see his dabbing technique and the texture it added. When I stood very close, the painting just looked like a chaotic blotch of colors. However, I began to see the oats and poppies the farther I stood. In that moment, I thought Monet was trying to communicate a lesson applicable to real life. That is, if you dwell too much on a single minute aspect, you might miss out on the bigger picture in life.

Design of the Museum

The “Elusive Spirits: African Masquerades” exhibit was particularly appealing to me. This exhibit focused on the culture of masquerades, masks, costumes, music, and dance in West and Central Africa. My favorite aspect of this exhibit was the “Okakagbe masquerade performance in Ovao, Niger, featuring costumes by Pius Ahigbe.” The video was projected on a wall, and across from it was another wall completely covered with a mirror. When you look at the projection you can see the aesthetics of the masks and the detailed embellishments of their costumes up close. However, when you turn around and face the mirror, it almost felt as if you were there at the masquerade too. I could feel the energy of the dancers and excitement from the audience watching them. It was very interesting to me how the artist made you feel a part of the performance by simply adding a large mirror across the projection.

Art and Core Values

This piece is called “Three Men at Union Square” and it depicts three men staring at a professionally-dressed women passing by. The artist, Isabel Bishop, painted this to show the struggle women face in a male-dominated workforce. The woman is dressed conservatively for work, but cannot be taken seriously by those men. Only her physical beauty is what catches their attention. Bishop is known to paint women that defy societal norms. Instead of depicting women at home doing household chores, she would paint women in the workforce because she wanted to show the change in women’s roles. This artwork makes me feel ambitious. I am a female and a STEM major, which is mostly comprised of men. I can relate to Bishop in that we both want to stand out from the pressures of society. We don’t want to let the norms of society scare us from pursuing what we want. This artwork reminds me that I am a female and a STEM major, and I should be ambitious, not afraid.

Art and the Good Life

This piece is called “A Shocking Symbol?” A swastika is often associated with German Nazis during World War II and deemed very offensive in Western countries now. However, this symbol actually originated in the Buddhist religion and can be found on many religious artifacts. Without knowing the true origins of the swastika, one might mistake this artwork as a disrespectful attack. The artist realizes this and wants to highlight that people tend to jump to conclusions and make judgements. Instead, we need to be mindful. I think this piece highlights an important theme in Good Life that we need to be open-minded. It’s important to realize that there are many perspectives to take into consideration before we make our judgements.

Created By
Huyen Truong

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