Good Life Tour of the Harn Museum By Tilak Patel

Medium of the Art/Technique of Artist

Dancing Ganesha, 13th century India, Black Stone

The rendering of the artwork is truly admirable; the artist sculpts the black stone into something that transcends the raw element of nature that is the Black Stone. The stone seems to be soft, and fleshy when in actuality it is hard, edgy stone. This accomplishment of the artist is even more important when one considers the purpose of the sculpture and Ganesha in general. Ganesha is one of the many Demigods in Hinduism who is known in his stories for his innocence and uplifting nature. The artist's choice to use the black stone for Ganesha is quite peculiar as his nature, being soft, conflicts with his appearance through the sculpture. Thus, one can conclude that the artist must have used the stone in order to display the God's lesser known side. The combination of Ganesha's appearance with the texture provides the exhibit a timeless feel, with Ganesha's character portrayed through the black, soft-looking, stone.

Design of the Museum

The Asian Art Wing

The Asian art wing was my favorite section of the museum. The design was simply beautiful, but to elaborate, the placement, spacing, and lighting of the objects all played into the creation of a space that was calm, peaceful and idyllic. Specifically, the gardens drew my attention to the windows at back of the room. The type of architecture used in the space mimics that of traditional East Asia. This was apparent in everything from the ceiling, to the housing of the artwork. I am personally a fan of the theme of tranquility that traditional east Asian artwork instills onto the viewer. So the design of this wing, which so closely corresponds to its art pieces, allows the viewer to feel the peace that the artwork communicates.

Art & Core Values

Pulling Turpentine, Ellis Wilson, American, 1944, Oil on Masonite

Ellis Wilson's painting, Pulling Turpentine, is a historical representation of life before the Civil Rights Movement. The African Americans are working in the turpentine industry. When I saw this painting, I immediately felt the emotional significance of it; it is dark, gloomy, and threatening. The description of the painting comments on its "silent atmosphere". According to Wilson, the mute colors symbolize the monotonous labor that the African Americans were performing. Personally, I interpret this piece to be a commentary on the ideas of the Civil Rights Movement and the unequal distribution of skilled labor between African Americans and Caucasian Americans. The use of a single color for the faces shows the emptiness the workers felt inside and how, in that moment, all of them were mere laborers, putting aside their own identities.

Art & The Good Life

St. Jean's Bay, Leon Kroll, American, 1926, Oil on Canvas

Kroll's St. Jean's Bay corresponds with the Good Life theme of Seeking. Kroll was an American painter who had bold use of color and fragmentation of forms in his work, which is evident in this picture. This depiction of St. Jean's Bay symbolizes the endless frontier that is encapsulated in this bay area. The Good Life, as described by Thoreau, is one which is lived in self-pursuit. Thoreau shifted himself into nature in an effort to do this, which is displayed by this painting. The bay is a representation of the endless possibilities of one's potential, should they unearth it. This has personal significance to me because of the calm and serene setting which allows me to become one with myself again, devoid of all the material desires that Thoreau condemns. That aside, the painting also has rocks on which people are, enjoying themselves and the scenery, without any of the societal roles confining them. This painting goes hand in hand with Thoreau's belief that by reconnecting with nature, one's potential increases as does the quality of living, as societal roles become void.

The End

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