Jade boulder with Chinese inscription.
My first encounter at the HARN was with the Oriental artwork installation, where I came across this piece that caught my eye, despite its minute size. This "Boulder with Imperial Inscription" was formed with jade, which is impressive in itself, but the portion that really stood out to me was the intricate and incredibly detailed Chinese character engravings at the top; they aren't very visible in the second photo, unfortunately. That brings up a good point, however, a picture will not do this art piece justice; one must be up close and personal to a work such as this to truly understand why it is so incredible. First of all, the Jade is carved and detailed by hand, something that I didn't see much of throughout the museum. And second, the Chinese inscription at the top is so delicate and immaculately engraved. It's easy to relate to large sculptures or paintings, but a tiny carving on a chunk of jade is truly another form of art. It brought me to appreciate the smaller side of the museum almost instantly.
Lookin' tough in front of the Asian Water Garden
From the moment I stepped into the Asian Art wing and saw this cascading waterfall shrouded by various Oriental plants and trees as the backdrop through large glass windows, I knew the Asian Water Garden would be my favorite design aspect of the HARN. You walk out of two double glass doors and are greeted with tranquil rods of bamboo, coupled with a wooden bridge passing over the babbling brook below. Everything is silent, traditional, and one. I truly felt connected with nature, despite having noisy SW 34th street right across the way; the garden seems to negate the external world and focus solely on you as the participant. The way the garden is arranged allows there to almost be no view of the outside, so that you are completely immersed in the backyard of the Orient. The large glass windows allow one to look back into the Asian art exhibit, almost like looking into one's house from the patio doors. And yes, I've already mentioned the waterfall, but there was just something so serene and calming about it, I couldn't look away.
Oat and Poppy Field, Claude Monet
This inviting and warming piece by famous painter Claude Monet brought a strong feeling of yearning to my gut for a reason I can't exactly pin point. The minute I saw this painting, I instantly wished that I was standing in that poppy field, taking in the cool air of twilight and soaking up the luscious colors. I have almost never seen such a beautiful method of blending colors and creating such a warm environment through canvas and oil.
Regarding my own personal core values, this piece instilled a feeling of appreciation like no other art piece has given me. Through this single painting, I have gained a higher respect for artists such as Monet who use such extraordinary technique to create such inviting environments. I have stopped to appreciate the tedious dots and dashes of paint that come together to form a single, fragile poppy flower, or the more harsh and contrasting strokes that create the juxtaposing tree in the right of the frame. If anything, in one sentence, this painting has caused me to really stop at each art piece and take a better, longer look. So quickly we can pass by a piece and not even notice its intricacies or effort. Few times has a painting made me feel so content, invited, and appreciative as this piece has.
A privileged boy standing in front of a painting of Mexican slums.
This aerial photograph of a grouping of Mexican slums evokes a feeling of remorse and inspires an eagerness to better our society. When taking a long look at this piece, I had to realize how good I have it, being at the University of Florida and having food and money when I need it. It's strange to truly acknowledge the existence of such environments in our world today, where people don't have access to schooling systems, clean food and water, and money to spend. A theme evoked through this photo is the betterment of a common society through working together. Especially through the aerial angle, we see the vastness and despair that is experienced in these slums. Many countries suffer from such societal injustices, and this photograph is somewhat of a call to change that. This, again, adds to themes of appreciation, liked noted before, and of working together. It has opened my eyes on both subjects, and has given me an enlightened view on my own life.