The Harn Museum Exploring art through a cross-cultural lens

Technique/Medium: oil on canvas painting

For this section I chose a painting called "Overlook Mountain Woodstock, New York" by Ernest Fiene in 1922. It is an oil on canvas painting. The rich, bold colors found in this painting really appeal to my visual senses. I love color, and this painting, with its orange and red tinted trees, is full of it. I also really like how the piece flows without any sharp angles or lines. It creates for a very tranquil and whimsical scene. I like nature scenes in general, and this one in particular because of the varying elements found within it. There are mountains and valleys and trees all in one landscape. This variation makes the painting very interesting to look at.

Looking closer at this painting allows us to see the individual brushstrokes and texture of the painting. A lot of paintings appear to be flat, which is why the three dimensional nature of this painting created by multiple layers of paint really stuck out. I appreciate its uniqueness and imperfect nature. There are no hard lines, rather, everything blends together. I feel like this accurately portrays a forest of trees in the fall. We do not necessarily see the individual branches and leaves. Rather, we see a compilation of colors.

Design: Asian Art Wing

For this section, I chose the Asian Art Wing of the museum because of its unique layout and natural lighting. The exhibit was very open and spacious, which contributed to the tranquil atmosphere of the wing. As you can see in this photograph, the main part of the wing was comprised of a large open space with hallways leading off of it. This center space was bright because of the natural light that shone through the windows. There was also a beautiful view of the outdoor garden. This all created for a calming atmosphere. In many other exhibits, the pictures/paintings were clustered in certain locations, making it a bit overwhelming at times to try and look at all of them. The Asian Art wing was not like this, which I appreciated because it allowed me to focus my attention on one piece at a time.

When you first enter the wing, you are greeted by large cabinets filled with traditional pottery from a variety of Asian cultures. I really enjoyed exploring this cabinet because there were so many different pieces of so many varying styles and colors.

I really enjoyed the outdoor garden space that was part of the Asian Art Wing. It was a spacious garden with a multitude of plants and a waterfall. There was also a large wooden bench for visitors to sit on and enjoy the scenery. This garden space was one of the main things that set this wing above all the others in my mind. I felt like it complemented the collections nicely by contributing to the atmosphere of tranquility.

Personal Values: Frida Kahlo portrait

This portrait of Frida Kahlo titled, "Frida Kahlo (sitting on rooftop holding cigarette", really appealed to my core values. I have always loved Frida Kaho both as an individual and as an artist because of her willingness to stand out and defy societal norms. I feel like this picture in particular really exemplifies that. Here she is pictured sitting and holding a cigarette, looking away from the camera with a stern expression. Her clothing is a homage to her Mexican roots. This picture sends a strong message of strength and defiance. We cans see this through the cigarette that she is holding, since smoking was considered a primarily masculine activity at the time. Her stern, contemplative facial expression also suggests that she is a force to be reckoned with. This piece resonates with me because it ties in with my core values, such as freedom of expression and feminism.

The Good Life: Con Todo Respecto by Nahum Zenil

This serigraph created by Nahhum Zenil in 1947 is titled, "Con todo respecto (With All Respect). It is a tribute to Frida Kahlo, an artist whom Zenil truly admired because of her intense self reflection. In it, the artist draws himself sitting next to Frida on a bus. His partner, Gerardo, is featured sitting next to Kahlo on the other side. I think that this work really speaks to the Good Life themes of social justice and authenticity because it functions as a social commentary. Zenil was a fierce advocate for gay rights and often used his artwork as a means of expressing this. In this piece in particular, he includes his male partner. In doing this he is refusing to hide or feel ashamed. Rather, he wants to open the minds of others, so as to improve the lives of lgbt individuals which is a noble goal and indeed one tied back to the Good Life. In living authentically and expressing that through his artwork, he is having a meaningful impact on the world around him. He is embodying the Good Life.

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