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
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.
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.
Design of the Museum
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.