Distraught Palm by Hiram Williams
Medium/ Technique of the Artist
When I walked into the Harn Museum, I was immediately captured by this painting on the wall. It was hidden on a wall in the lobby. You could almost walk right past it if you weren't paying attention. I saw this painting in the corner of my eye before I even stepped foot into the gallery. The painting is one of three on the wall inspired by Floridian nature. This one is entitled Distraught Palm. The technique used is mixed media on a blank canvas. When you first look at the painting, you think a child must have painted that. The lines are thick chunks of paint. None of the lines are completely straight. It looks like a mess. The color palette is pale butter yellow, grey, white, cream,a lime yellow, and black. It seems very simple. At first glance, I thought I could have painted it. However, I cannot paint at all except for paint by numbers. It seems like the painting was a relief of stress. Seeing this painting in person, you can see the thickness of the paint. You can see the thinness of the pencil strokes, the anger, the stress, and the mess. Unlike most paintings we see in museums, this Williams painting seems rudimentary or even unfinished. However, I think this incompleteness is what makes the painting so spectacular. None of the paint falls in the same exact pattern. When you look at this painting in person, you see the movement of the palm tree. The abstract quality of this painting begs you to stay longer to understand and absorb it. I spent most of my time looking at this painting during my trip. This painting communicated to me the stress of everyday life. Usually when artists paint nature, they paint in a way that exudes beauty. Williams instead shows the pain and distress of nature. It is also nice to note that the painting is not outlined to show a true palm tree. None of his paintings of nature have true outlines. Williams likes when the viewer completes the painting visually. Most paintings that are of nature show a completed scene. He lets you interact with his work, which I admire. The only bothersome part about his artwork is the placement in the museum. Williams was a successful artist and professor at the University of Florida, but his art is placed on a wall out of sight.
Example of Galley Exhibit( pictured: Chinese Style Fancy Dress Costume)
Design of the Museum
The Harn Museum of Art has an interesting set up. There are multiple exhibits in the museum. At first, when you walk around the exhibits seem to stand alone and be unconnected. However, as you weave through the museum you, you learn that the exhibits are all connected. My favorite exhibit was the African Culture exhibit. The African culture exhibit was located near both the Latin American wing and the Asian Wing. The walls of this wing were painted based on the art being presented. In the picture above, this costume was based off another culture. Interestingly, the costume is based off Chinese culture. The Chinese Culture exhibit is a part of the Asian wing, steps from the African exhibit. The colors of this costume pop off the contrasting dark brown wall. The light and this wall help to make the colors of this costume appear more vividly. Furthermore, most of the art in this wing is not hidden behind acrylic cases. The art is out in the open, so you can get close and see the texture of the art. There are a few pieces in cases because of the delicate nature of the masks. The prints were on the wall. The paintings were on the walls so you can get real close without having an obstruction by the bending of the light from a case. Another reason why I liked this exhibit was because of its variety of art. The exhibit featured masks, sculptures, paintings, and even prints. Similarly to the Asian wing, the African Wing tries to educate about African culture. There are videos throughout the exhibit. There are pictures of the actual use of the art. The art is not just for beauty, but practicality. The art is used in everyday life. It is representative of the culture. There are plaques scattered around the artworks to describe the use and importance of the item on display. The Chinese costume was an inspiration from Chinese culture but adopted from the Brazilian immigrants in Ghana. In addition, this exhibit is captivating due to the educational component. We don't just admire the art and culture when we are in this wing, but we learn about the "why" and the"how" of the art. Art can't just be looked at it. It has context and background that need to be understood in order to appreciate the art.
Central Park Winter by Emil Ganso
Art and Core Values
If you have ever experienced a winter in New York, you know how depressing it can be. I was born and raised in New York. I have experienced 18 winters in New York. I chose this picture to be my emotional piece because winter has a sorrow meaning for me. The leaves have fallen. The trees are barren. The temperatures are unbearably frigid. It is almost like a dark cloud that exists for a little over four months. The snow is not as white as people picture in their minds. Winter represents death for me. One of my biggest core values is honoring my family. According to my perspective, honoring your family means having familial support, understanding their perspective while still staying true to oneself, and being able to reciprocate that feeling. I wouldn't be where I am today without the support of my family. This artwork shows two figures, not just one. In the bleakest of times, we still need others in our lives. The woman in the blue is a step behind the woman in the orange. This to me represents family being in the background. I am not sure if the two ladies are related or not in this piece. However, the result of the two women there together is lingering in the background. There is comfort. The two women are dressed in colors that compliment one another. They stand out together in the dark shadows of the trees. This piece aids me in reminding myself that while my family isn't with me at my darkest times physically, they are always lurking in the background. I interpret the piece to represent some sort of belonging and shared experience. While some will look at this painting and think it is just a painting of Central Park in the winter, I see so much more. I see emotions of sorrow, guilt, fear, loss, hate, and even desire. Every person in New York reaches a point in the winter when they wish that the winter will just end. They want the happiness, the joy, and the beauty to be brought back to life. This painting exudes this longing for better. I have dreams and aspirations I want to achieve. I want to become successful. This painting makes me wonder how much I value the goals that I am striving for.
The Met by Guerrilla Girls
Art and the Good Life
As I roamed around the museum, the Guerrilla Girls exhibit really spoke to me. I identify myself as a feminist, despite being in an era of contentious ideologies regarding feminism. Feminism is defined as the movement for establishing equality across the sexes, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. While women may have the ability to work in men's positions or vote in elections, this is not enough. Women are discriminated against on many levels. Women aren't given rights over their reproductive systems. Women make 70% of what a man makes in the same job with the same qualifications. Women are more likely to be discriminated against based on looks. A woman's value is based on looks more often than it is based on intelligence or even skill. Many fields are still not balanced. STEM fields employ more men than women. There are only 22 women that hold CEO positions in S&P 500 companies. That's about 4%. This is social injustice. There are more men in the House and the Senate than women. This doesn't even touch upon the limits upon people of color. In the Socialization reading, there was a study about how stereotypical colored sounding names on resumes received fewer job positions, despite having the same qualifications or even better. The Guerrilla Girls achieve response due to their innovative techniques. They use statistics and cartoon like pictures to represent the irrationality. There shouldn't be this distinct separation between individuals. In this day and age, there is no need for a gender gap or a race gap. The artwork communicates socialization of the identity and social injustice. They use forms of protest art, large-scale political cartoons, and words. They have undeniable facts on all of their artwork. The Guerrilla Girls are standing up for themselves and others vicariously through their art. They persuade people to have a conversation about the issues that no one wants to talk about. My favorite piece is the Estrogen Bomb due to its nudge at an atomic bomb of womanhood. I think that in order for us to benefit from a good life, we have to all be equal on many levels. Discrimination and racism tend to break down self-esteem and sense of self worth. If you can't feel good about yourself, why go on living? If we can't be appreciated, we will suffer from pain and misery. There needs to be balance for the Good Life to exist.
SarahIlana and the Old Man's Cloth