THE SAMUEL P. HARN MUSEUM OF ART BY LIBBY O'CONNOR

MEDIUM AND TECHNIQUE

O'Connor, Libby "Woman's Head Shawl" 2017. JPEG File
  • This is a woman's head shawl designed by the Amazigh People of Matmata, Tunisia
  • Key characteristics of Tunisian head shawls such as this one includes intricate geometric motifs, and abstracted animals, trees, and pendants
  • Due to the high level of intricacy and detail included in the design of this shawl, I think without viewing the shawl in person, it can be hard to appreciate this piece of art and the hours of laborious effort Amazigh women have put into it.
  • The aspect of this shawl that struck me most was the technique. From the beautifully dyed wool, to the tiny and ornate stitching around the borders, it is evident that every piece of cloth produced by these women is created carefully, so that it can be viewed on its own as a piece of art.
  • The shawl communicated to me the important role of women and art in Tunisia. According to the description of this piece, provided at the Harn Museum, women are the primary artists in Amazigh societies. It also demonstrated to me how, even though women in this society must endure many hardships, such as struggling to maintain their matriarchal traditions in the face of Arab elites and the rule of ISIS, the quality and beauty of these women and culture still persists through their artwork.

DESIGN OF THE MUSEUM

O'Connor, Libby "David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing" 2017. JPEG File.
  • These photographs were taken of the David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing
  • Everything about this wing was open and minimalist. This, I believe, allowed for the art pieces to be more prominent. Since the majority of pieces in this wing were hand-crafted objects, such as ceramic bowls or elaborate figurines, they had to be displayed differently than paintings would be.
  • The layout of this wing included different rooms or exhibits according to the region of Asia. For example, one room was dedicated purely to Korean art. While these wing organized many pieces into their regions, they were still placed in a way in which they could be appreciated for their regional idiosyncrasies, but also in a way that allowed the viewer to see their similarities and influences.
  • The minimalist nature of this wing also served to reflect a lot of what the art itself portrayed, which is the simplistic beauty of Asian art. It did not distract from the art. The wing itself actually became a part of the art.

ART AND CORE VALUES

O'Connor, Libby "Frida Kahlo Exhibit" 2017. JPEG File.
  • The exhibit that highlighted one of my core beliefs was¬†Mirror Mirror, Portraits of Frida Kahlo. This exhibit included 57 photographs of Frida Kahlo, taken by 27 photographers.
  • Frida Kahlo is one of my biggest sources of inspiration, and embodies one of my core values, self-expression. As an artist, Frida Kahlo automatically embodies self-expression, as she incorporates it into each any every one of her works inherently. But beyond her role as a painter and artist, she is a strong female who clings firmly to her values and beliefs. These beliefs and values were core to her very being, and she consistently expressed them in her work.
  • This exhibit comprised of photographs of Frida Kahlo that portrayed her the way I believe she wanted to be seen. As described in an excerpt from the Harn Museum's website, "Kahlo evoked a powerful, shared human condition, inclusive of desire, suffering, imagination, and loneliness". In this way, I think her communication of self-expression serves as a mirror, allowing the viewer to see in Frida what they may also see in themselves.
  • This exhibit inspired me to hold more firmly to my convictions, and to know myself well enough to communicate what I stand for, even without words.

ART AND THE GOOD LIFE

O'Connor, Libby "Guerrilla Girls Exhibit", "Intra-Action" 2017. JPEG
  • The artwork I found to be most representative of the good life came from the exhibit by Guerrilla Girls. The Guerrilla Girls, a group founded in 1985, seek to highlight the under-representation of female artists.
  • I think the art in this exhibit demonstrates the themes regarding the fight for the good life. It is known that women still struggle for equal recognition in many aspects of our lives and our careers.
  • Many of the pieces in this exhibit took the form of advertisements from the 1960's. They boasted bold headlines (bold in both the font and the message), immediately called attention to their mission. The style of the artwork the Guerrilla Girls produced had a shocking effect on me, as often the message was portrayed blatantly and unapologetically, such as the case in one piece that read, "Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum?".
  • This added to my interpretation, appreciation, and understanding of the artwork in that it showed that fighting for the good life does not come by shying away from the subject and being careful not to offend. Injustice must be met with tension, and the Guerrilla Girls do just that with their work.

WORKS CITED

Amazigh People. Woman's Head Shawl (tajira). Late 20th Century. Wool. Museum Purchase with Funds from The Caroline Julier and James G. Richardson Acquisition Fund, Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art.

Cunningham, Imogen. Frida Kahlo Rivera, Painter and Wife of Diego Rivera. 1931. Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville

O'Connor, Libby "David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing" 2017. JPEG File.

O'Connor, Libby "Frida Kahlo Exhibit" 2017. JPEG File.

O'Connor, Libby "Guerrilla Girls Exhibit", "Intra-Action" 2017. JPEG

O'Connor, Libby "Woman's Head Shawl" 2017. JPEG File

Created By
Libby O'Connor
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