A Journey Through the Harn By Jennings Jackson

Introduction

The Harn Museum of Arts is a art gallery located on the University of Florida campus. Opened in 1990 the Harn has provided thousands of works to the Gainesville public. Outfitted with beautiful gardens and modern architecture, the Harn is a must see. This is a recap of my visit.

The water spirits must have been happy when honored by the wearing of this mask.

Technique of Artist

Pictured above is a Water Spirit mask made by the Ekpeye people in Africa. I chose this piece because of its unconventional nature. The mask is used to honor the water spirit in a masquerade dance. What drew me to this piece is that it was not created by someone with formal training. Instead it was created by a common villager who wanted to create something for an idea they felt strongly about. I feel that often times people get caught up in how hard it is to perform certain artistic techniques and miss the real reason the art is produced. The mask is supposed to honor the water spirit, so it contains symbols of the river. This includes things like snakes and pieces of a mirror. The mirror represents water's reflective quality. I found it interesting that something so common as a mirror could be further used to have a deep meaning. Seeing this work in person allowed me to get an idea of how big these masks are. I have read about them in history class but this is the first time I have been able to an up close shot at one. Seeing the work in person allowed me to see how the work has been warn down from its use in masqurades. I feel that the quality of use makes the mask that much more special as it once brought joy to the society that created it. I feel that these qualities are often not displayed when veiwing only a photograph of the work.

This piece of art made me feel that anyone can be an artist. You do not need any type of special training to create something magnificent. The work displays how art can be a universal subject. It seems that all cultures participate in their own area of art. It made me feel that art can be a unifying tool that can pass over language barriers.

Pondering the thoughts of life overlooking the Japanese Garden in the Asian block.

Design of the Museum

The designers of the Harn did a fantastic job with its layout. I love how each exhibit has its own room. I feel like I walking in to a totally different place each time I walked into a different section. The spacing of the building makes it feel like the building is huge but it does not feel like the building is empty. I also enjoyed visiting the Japanese garden in the Asian collection. I felt that it played central to the theme of Asian art by including the garden. Gardens are highly regarded in Japan and it seems fitting that they would have one in the Asian section. The garden gave visitors a break from the man made art and allow them to escape to the natural moment. I feel like this was a great addition that allows the visitors to be refreshed and ready to see more art after visiting.

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.

Art and Core Values

One work that I found appealing to my values was the Excavation by Boardman Robinson. This work spoke to me because I felt that it honors the beauty of hard work. One of my greatest assets, in my opinion, is that I have a strong work ethic. I think there is value in those that can grind out what needs to be done to complete their goals. This is what I felt as I viewed the workers painted on the canvas. I feel that some people can gain a feeling of hope from this image because I think it softens the look of hard labor. Work is not always fun, but when you work really hard at something you love than it does not feel like work at all. I think that if everyone knew what they are passionate about then they too would have a strong work ethic.

The Good Life perfectly embodied into one single structure.

Art and the Good Life

The II-06-94 sculpture by Nacy Graves perfectly embodies the Good Life. A good life needs to have a balance of all the areas of knowledge and humanities. This sculpture embodies just that. The sculpture features a geometric patter of stars on the left side. I think these patters stand for mathematics and the stars have to do with astronomy. In addition, on the back side of the sculpture there is a natural looking human mouth. This symbolizes anatomy and medical research. The horseshoe crab symbolizes biology. Then the sculpture traditions from its cast bronze into blown glass. The different materials all come together to form one unified sculpture. I think this shows how the different areas of knowledge come together into one beautiful being.

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