Art at the Harn by Paul Calzada

Medium of the Art/ Technique of the Artist

"The Water Garden" Located in the Asian Exhibit

One critical trait of art is it's ability to stimulate many of one's senses. This is inherently true in an environment like "The Water Garden" in the Asian Exhibit. I felt the cool breeze and heard the sounds of birds chirping and of water rushing. I could even smell the vegetation. These are experiences one misses when simply viewing a photo of this art.

Viewing the art in person definitely enhances the overall mood and essence of the work. I could further appreciate it, as I better understood the significance of portraying peace through nature and beauty. This serenity resonated with me, instantly relaxing me. I felt as if this small area was a sacred space, quiet and teeming with life. Indeed, each rock and plant is placed specifically to convey this theme of beauty and peace.

Design of the Museum

"Seated Bodhisattva" from Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) in the Asian Exhibit (Korea)

The Asian Exhibit amazed me with beautiful pieces of art and areas of clear tranquility. The physical design was methodically crafted to amplify this atmosphere. For example, the wood flooring and casing for the art matched, signifying the oneness between the art and the area itself. The lighting also did not impede on this environment, but was dim and subtle. This physical design truly enhanced the "Seated Bodhisattva" art piece as well.

The "Seated Bodhisattva" statue is located directly in the center of the Korean room, which is a cube. This placement parallels the spiritual aura held at the center of each being, which is a clear Buddhist teaching. All other art in the room surrounds this one, revealing its significance. I personally felt this exhibit greatly utilized a serene and creative atmosphere to strongly develop its themes of peace and serenity. I truly felt more oneness with the exhibit, because the art seemed intertwined in a greater message, which was far beyond my human knowledge.

Art and core values

Artwork of Nancy Graves (1994)

Art can mean different things to different individuals. At the Harn, I noticed a work of art that at a first glance seemed confusing and cryptic. I, a musician, noticed the musical staff interwoven in the piece. The art is one of Nancy Graves, an American conceptual artist. Interestingly, she utilized the fields of music, astronomy, paleontology, anatomy, and botany as themes in the work. The piece does not even have a name, furthering the sense that these themes are enough to convey a message.

I was astonished that this work could speak to me as it did. I realized then that my musical inclinations have furthered my ability to study computer engineering, as the creativity and spontaneity of the arts are interwoven (literally) in the physical sciences. Two values I saw clearly expressed in the art was that of intellect and diversity. I learned from Graves' art that although I am intellectual, it is important to understand other people are pushing the horizons of their fields as well. The diversity is significant to the development of humanity. Indeed, this work of art taught me many things.

Art and the good life

"Islandia, Goddess of the Healing Water" by Audrey Flack (1988)

Islandia, as Flack depicts, represents not only the power and beauty of a goddess, but also the critical classical ideas of democracy and an egalitarian society. Thus, the work instills the Good Life value of equality and respect for diversity. The goddess' extended arm offers a gift of social healing and regeneration. Even the colors and design radiate in the warm light of the museum, revealing the harmonious cooperation between all people in the forming of a diverse and egalitarian society.

I truly believe the work is enhanced when recognizing its inherent message for equality of opportunity. I think it definitely impacted me because it is applicable to the modern age, where many injustices still exist. Flack's art should be a unifying symbol that social healing and regeneration can be literally handed to you if each individual cooperates in this development of society. Also, the phrase "Goddess of the Healing Waters" may be a parallel to the social healing she can bring.


Harn Museum of Art Entrance. 2016. Visit Gainesville, Gainesville. Visit Gainesville. Web. 7 Jan. 2017. <>.

Created By
Paul Calzada

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