Good Life Tour of the Harn An adventure taken by Megan Cannan.

Grosz, George. Manhattan . 1946. Oil on board. Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, Florida.

Medium & Technique

Monet, Claude. Champ D'avoine (Oat Field). 1890. Oil on canvas. Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, Florida.
Cannan, Megan. "A Textured Photo." 2017. JPG file.

When viewing a Monet through a photograph, the pieces look flat, blurry and fairly basic. However, this is due to his impressionistic painting technique which viewed in person, looks much more impressive. To appreciate his art, the viewer must be standing about seven feet away from the piece so the seemingly blurry points focus into an actual shape. By using oil on canvas, the paint dries with different coats more risen, an aspect only noticeable with a direct view. This style emphasizes the layered motion of nature. I also find a strange comfort in the resulting globs because the tangibility helps me recall that an artist made this masterpiece with human hands. When viewed properly, Claude Monet's works enliven the natural realm and encompass a sense of serenity.

Design of the Museum

David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing
Cannan, Megan. "Wing Entrance." 2017. JPG file. //////////////////////////////////////////// Cannan, Megan. "In the Wing." 2017. JPG file. ////////////////////////////////////////////////

Every wing at the Harn encapsulates its own unique design, but the David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing felt the most pleasing. The exhibit holds statues made from minerals, and the room design uses this as a focal point to build a theme of natural zen. The room is large with a lot of negative space, creating a sense of peaceful inactivity and a quality of freedom. A window wall opposing the entrance allows natural light to flood the space and provides a garden background. With wooden floors and walls, the earthy vibes are further emphasized. Viewed as a whole, the quiet harmony of the wing brings a restful contentment. Rooms with space and natural elements help the mind reach clarity.

Art and Core Values

Cárdenas, Augustín. Family. 1991. Bronze with brown patina. Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, Florida.
Cannan, Megan. "With the Family." 2017. JPG file.

Family by Augustín Cárdenas was the first piece that truly stood out to me in the museum and it took further contemplation to completely understand why. My initial thought was connections with people are important. Whether it is a family made of genes or friends, as social creatures, humanity depends on interactions for emotional wellbeing and often times survival; no one has ever walked this earth completely alone. I like how the people are morphed into one fluid statue, suggesting that a sense of family combines fates in an inextricable way. With no characteristics hinting that the beings are anyone specific, I view this as a metaphor for all close relations. After leaving the piece, I realized my acquaintanceship with this piece was timely. This is my first year from home and originally, I was handling it well. As time continued, even though I met new people, I could not overcome loneliness due to a longing for the people I knew well. Like the statues, I am connected to them and so time will not thin the pain of being stretched apart, but since we are connected, their love is always there when I seek it. A sense of family is what I value above all.

Art and the Good Life:

A Symbol of Seeking

Joseon Dynasty of Korea. Seated Bodhisattva. 17th Century. Wood with gold, polychrome and lacquer. Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, Florida.
Cannan, Megan. "With the Bodhisattva." 2017. JPG file.

The Seated Bodhisattva represents the Good Life theme of seeking in several ways. On the most evident level, it resembles enlightenment. A bodhisattva is one who has reached Nirvana, and therefore, this statue embodies the peace of mind sought for by those seeking a good life. By creating this bodhisattva, the artist appraises meditation and Buddhism as a path to enlightenment. However, this statue's meaning goes far beyond the eye. Scans found the inside hollow, and in its head, there is a crumpled paper covered with red ink. The only way to retrieve the paper is to destroy the head. Should beauty be broken for the sake of knowledge? To seek answers, must an individual cause harm and if so, is it worth it? The path of seeking involves choices, and the ultimate choices are choosing what to seek and the lengths one will go.

Credits:

Megan Cannan

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