Mysteries of the Harn Museum Delaina parrish


Throughout my life, the infusion of great art - and appreciation for it - has taught me to keep an open mind when examining art masterpieces, and that, in turn, prepared me for my visit to the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art. I'm probably one of the few Good Life students who was excited for this project because it gave me a reason to go enjoy the Harn instead of using the excuse of being too busy to go.

The Harn is an anchor of UF's Cultural Plaza, along with the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Phillips Performing Arts Center. An inviting welcome to visit the Harn begins with the landscaping of the main entrance, which was carefully designed with lush greenery and patterned waterways wrapping under the walkway, leading visitors to the front door of the museum.


Medium of the Art /Technique of the Artist

"Pli Selon Pli" by Akiyama Yo

As I rolled into the Asian Gallery, an object called Pli Selon Pli, by sculptor Akiyama Yo, inspired me to stop, learn and absorb. The artist, I learned, is a famous and respected Japanese artist who explores the physical properties of clay as his primary material. The scale of the art piece caught me off guard - all 15 or so feet of it, demanding attention in the open space surrounding it. It has been written that Yo manipulates his medium between surface and form, between the ordered and the organic. With closer study, I could see the various depths of the carvings that the artist used to create the unique exterior patterns, helping me gain an appreciation for his signature approach.

One aspect I found striking about the technique of Pli Selon Pli is the flaked, crushed finish compacted inside the round end piece.

You can really see the detail that the artist extracted from his imagination. Three distinct patterns of the work were evident to me as "striated," "flaked," and “erosion.” At the same time, it recalled a vision of a tree that had fallen into a river, almost fossilized.

Inspiration from organic parts unknown

There can be many interpretations of what the object is conveying and what is true life; the relationship can be complicated. So with Pli Selon Pli, Akiyama Yo challenged me to interpret his message of “brokenness within.” I can imagine this is derived from the consistent patterns of the marked outside, representing strength, like cords wrapped securely around an object. Meanwhile the rounded ends of the structure expose “vulnerability” with cracked, broken material. My interpretation is that on the outside, a person might seem well constructed and composed, but on the inside they are crushed by the weight of the world.

I found balance in the artwork, excitedly, as I later learned, is a vision the artist strives for. I got it...the balance between natural and contrived composition.

i get it...I think!

Design of the Museum

David A. Cofrin Art Wing

The Harn Museum Asian wing tripled in size in 2012 when the David A Cofrin Art Wing was completed. With the 26,000-square foot expansion came the designation as one of the most respected university art museums in the country, as well as a major center for preservation and study of Asian Art. It features masterpieces from the neolithic to present day.

A featured description inside the wing states that the ceramic design of art will remind viewers of the influence that Asian silk road and Maritime has on Asian culture (art, literature, and trade)

What drew me into this wing was the hardwood floors and the bright sunlight shining through the window. It was so different the other parts of the museum where there were white walls and carpet.

The wing had a bright natural lighting, a reflection from a large window leading to the garden.

On the western and northern sides, a harmonious Asian garden invites visitors to bring the outside in. Reflections can come easy in this space.

The open spacing was very open and the walls had several cabinets with China

The China pieces on the wall were organized by time period. You could really see how the patterns and designs only changed a little over time.

his wing, particularly the glass cases of China, reminded me of my grandmother’s home where I also live. We have her displays of beautiful Asian artifacts with Far East inspired cabinets and chests. that she collected as a stewardess on the original Pan Am Clipper planes to the Orient.

Art and Core Values

One of the artworks that appealed to my core value system was “Sheep Wranglers” 2001 by Justine Kurland, a photograph. The image explores fantasy and reality in the peaceful setting of a pasture, where young girls are able to be free to be themselves.. Its landscape mimics an old fashioned painting.

The ironic part of this photo is a personal memory I have. When my maternal grandmother died, my mom dedicated a Children’s Library to her. The sign at the entrance was of a hand-carved tree that read: “Peace is a child sitting under a tree, waiting for no one, asking for nothing, yet receiving everything.” This photograph really captured my values. It also calls out an emotion to me of my love of family and their inspiration in our lives.

The photo illustrates the importance of cherishing the simple things in life, such as the love of nature, where there are few distractions from society. How rare to see the depiction of innocence!

Art and the Good Life

Left: Cundo Bermúdez, Reposo (Repose), 1991, Silkscreen, Collection of Martha and Frank Burr. Right: Cundo Bermúdez, Cuarteto Habanero (Quartet from Havana), 1991, Silkscreen, Collection of Martha and Frank Burr

The pair of silk screen paintings by Cuban artist Cundo Bermu’dez (1914-2008) demonstrate the good life with music. The artist used vibrant colors to represent joy, happiness, and intellect that came from music and celebrations in his native Cuba.

The left silkscreen, Reposo, represents an abstract figure prone on a piano keyboard, as if she is enjoying The GoodLife!

The picture on the right represents a quartet of female musicians (Cuarteto Habernero) from a celebration you can almost hear!

In class we discussed how important it is to celebrate the good life with others, and this painting definately brought that to life with music as a connector of people of different cultures

Created By
Delaina Parrish

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