Medium of the Art/ Technique of the Artist
This untitled artwork by Joel Shapiro, a modern artist, represents the spontaneous and dynamic nature of the human form. This work consists of long rectangular bars that reach out into the viewer's space and seem to defy gravity. Unlike most historic sculptures, this work challenges the viewer to take a step back and admire the space it occupies. This is considered a sculpture "in the round" because Shapiro challenges you to view it from all sides. By reaching out into the viewer's space, the abstract sculpture emits a sense of daring and explosive energy. The artwork made me feel empowered, and urged me to not let others dictate where I belong, but to reach out and search for myself.
"Untitled" -- Joel Shapiro
Design of the Museum
The design of the American Abstraction exhibit at the Harn Museum perfectly represented the theatrical, daring, and innovative nature of modern art in the United States. Upon walking into the room, viewers are directly faced by a long wall with theatric lighting, meant to instantly reach out and shock the viewer. "Zandvoort" by Frank Stella even pops out of the wall, defying gravity and occupying the viewer's space. The lighting allows for the shadows to jump out and complement the abstract form of the artwork, further instilling a sense of innovation and daring creativity. The exhibit made me feel empowered and full of energy.
"Zandvoort" -- Frank Stella
Art and Core Values
Artwork often emits different emotions depending on when you view it, and therefore have a different meaning for each viewer. Claude Monet was a master at inspiring different emotions in his paintings. Monet often painted the same image, such as the facade of a cathedral or a specific pond near his home, multiple times throughout the calendar year, and each painting was profoundly different. The image was the same, but Monet utilized different colors and hues depending on the season. "Champ d'avoine (Oat Field)" was painted during the late summer. The warm colors in the sky and vibrant colors of the flowers emit a sense of serenity, peacefulness, and hope. However, if this image were to be painted during the middle of winter, the plants would be dark brown and the sky a pale blue-grey color. Even though the image would be the same, the colors and lighting affect how we perceive the images and the emotions we feel when viewing it. Instead, the painting might instill a sense of dread, longing, and decay. This helps us understand that even if the subject of an artwork remains the same, there are various elements that contribute to our enjoyment of the image.
"Champ d'avoine (Oat Field)" -- Claude Monet
Art and the Good Life
"Funeral" by Stuart Robert Purser conveys the "Sharing the Good Life" theme. Purser grew up as member of the white middle-class in an African-American community. Despite their differences, Purser sought to capture basic human experiences that transcend race and culture. This image was meant to emit a sense of solemnity and respect for the deceased. Even though it was not socially acceptable at the time for Purser to participate in the funeral, the artist still decided to engage in the tradition as an on-looker and share the same emotions as the participants. By analyzing the traditions and practices that all humans do, we are able to share our experiences and share our triumphs with others. This image invites the viewer to mourn along with the ushers, and feel respect for the deceased. By including the audience in his artwork, the viewers, subjects, and the artist himself are able to share the same emotions and bond together.
"Funeral" -- Stuart Robert Purser
Martens, Nicola. "Untitled." 2001. White bronze. Harn Museum, Gainesville.
Martens, Nicola. "Zandvoort." 1981. Mixed media on etched magnesium. Harn Museum, Gainesville.
Martens, Nicola. "Champ d'avoine (Oat Field)."1890. Oil on canvas. Harn Museum, Gainesville.
Martens, Nicola. "Funeral." 1945. Oil on canvas. Harn Museum, Gainesville.