The Art of the Harn by Laurel Swiderski

Medium of the art / Technique of the artist

"City Blocks" by Bertram Hartman (1882-1960), Oil on Board

As a past drawing student, this artwork caught my eye almost immediately. One of the types of drawing I was most drawn to because of its difficulty to pull off well was angled perspective. I struggled often with trying to make the images I created look like they were coming out of the page in 3D style, while also showing a vast depth to them. Hartman's painting did exactly what I was trying to accomplish with his "City Blocks", and to see it done so well in person was stunning. Standing before the painting, the image does what a lot of movies try to do with 3D styles and pops out at you. Across the room, I could distinguish the depth of the painting and the sheer movement of the buildings as I walked towards the work. I was in awe of how the work seemed to draw me in, and create a feeling with in me as if I were truly standing on top of the buildings like some superhero on TV or in movies, gazing upon the town below as a hovering observer. That feeling of awe, married with how much time and skill I know it must have taken to create such a deep and perfectly angled work, truly blew me away and made me fully appreciate Hartman.

Design of the Museum...

Garden Outside Cofrin Asian Art Wing

During my tour of The Harn, the Cofrin Asian Art Wing really caught my eye in terms of design and meaning. Asian art in my opinion is unique, tranquil, and full of rich antiquity. I immediately felt those three attributes conveyed when I walked into this wing and stepped onto its wood floors. The wood brought the sense of antiquity to me because of the hard, rich noise that came every time my boots hit the ground and the rustic look it gave compared to the other wings whose ground either was carpet or tile. The floor made me feel as if the art and sculptures I was surrounded by were special, rare, and something that I should pay more attention to for its craftsmanship. It gave the area more of a warm vibe, which in turn made me more open to appreciating the works I passed by. The tranquility of the exhibit could be felt the moment you stepped outside and were amongst a waterfall, pond, and greenery. Going outside set a very peaceful mood, and after going out there to explore the scenery, I found myself in a much better mindset to go and observe the beauty within the objects in the Asian wing. One final way I found the wing to be in tune with the art it was displaying was how open and scattered all of the objects were arranged in the room. There was plenty of space between art pieces, which to me made the room a lot easier to observe and, again, gave me the ability to put myself in the correct state of mind to properly see the art. I was not constantly looking around at the same level. My eyes were wandering the room both in front of me, below me, and on either side of me. I was able to explore rather than observe, and that made the exhibit all the more enticing and rememberable in the end.

ARt and core values

"Guerrilla Girls' definition of a hypocrite" (1990)

When I first walked into this section depicting strong feminist vibes, I sort of skipped by it. It was not because I did not agree with the words on all of the articles and big pictures in the exhibit, but more because I did not really find it to be tied to what I believe to be associated with 'art'. However, after I circled around the gallery one more time, something struck me about the exhibit that I could not shake. Maybe the exhibit was not full of conventional art, but it was definitely full of meaning and strong, powerful messages. This work's meaning resonated with me the most. Today, with judging of individuals and struggles for equality take place almost on a daily basis. It has always irked me when groups are placed above other groups for some arbitrary quality that those 'with power' deems to be valid and damning. In my heart ever since I can remember, I have always tried not to judge books by their cover. I try to keep myself humbled, and not let my good background with a loving family and few struggles to put myself on a pedestal higher than those without those things in their life. It is a core belief of mine that we are all equal, no matter race, gender, sexuality, economic status, circumstances, etc. It is also a core value of mine to not simply speak of a need for equality, but also to do something to actively help the cause, because I do not wish to be a hypocrite who stands by and does nothing. My Catholic faith taught me from my very youngest years that actions speak louder than words. This work hits those nails right on the head. I've become more active in my new adult life in support groups for oppressed groups, joining in solidarity with ousted groups through protests or simply exchanging kind words to them when they feel as if no one around them wishes to hear their voice or is afraid of them. I've become more aware of other's struggles and tried to put myself in their shoes instead of pitying them from afar. I've educated myself before judging. The artist's choice to make this artwork put into words the exact opposite of my values, which in turn made me rethink why I hold my values as such. This simple assortment of words made me remember once more why I believe so fully in treating the people around me as equal.

Art and The Good Life

"Sheep Wranglers" by Justine Kurland

When I passed by this piece of photography by Justine Kurland, it drew me to think about one of the main themes in Good Life, which is the Search for Meaning. Throughout that section of the class, I came to believe that finding a mix between true meaning and true happiness in one's life was how to be fully fulfilled with yourself. I also came to see that to find that perfect balance, you need to interact with others and form certain bonds that can help you better yourself while bettering others. This photograph encapsulates both of those notions for me. In the photograph, every person is interacting with someone or something else, be it a friend, multiple friends, sheep, or the nature around them. Children are laying in the grass, people are walking across the grass, and sheep are being herded. To me, all of these interactions with the world depict what gives meaning and happiness in life. By engaging with the world, learning from others, and forming bonds we are able to better form and find what means something to us.

Created By
Laurel Swiderski

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