Harn Museum of Art By Atharva Chopde

Art is typically made with the intent of being seen in person. Seeing a piece of art in person offers more sensory stimuli, from a sense of scale to the ability of seeing minute details that can't be captured by a picture in a book. For sculptures in particular, it is very hard to convey the 3 dimensional nature of the piece in most traditional education mediums. The piece that I picked was A Heave to Unfold by Yuki Nakaigawa. The piece consists of a large rock with an interestingly detailed flesh colored spine like pattern engraved along it. For me, it was intriguing as it combined the inorganic, the rock, with the organic, the spine. The idea of an ever presence force of life represents a common thread between many eastern religions, especially Japanese Shinto traditions considering the nativity of the artist. I definitely felt intrigued by this piece, and was overall in awe with the atmosphere.

A Heave to Unfold - Yuki Nakaigawa

As I said, I was in awe with the atmosphere. The presentation of the Asian art wing was simply stunning, with many simple but effective design cues bringing together fundamental East Asian concepts. A key feature in eastern religions that is often missing in western religions is a focus on nature and the innate divinity of it. This wing is distinct in it's heavy use of wood, from the floor to the pillars to the ceiling, providing a stark contrast to the large white walls of the previous room. The expansive window at the end of the exhibit provides a view of a zen garden like area and lets plenty of sun light in. To top it all off, this is all presented in a small package; the roof is relatively low, the room is narrow and straight with the entrance of the exhibit pointing straight to the window. This provides an almost cocoon like effect that for me at least felt very comfortable and calm.

The previously mentioned zen garden like area was actually accessible to the public. Going outside was wonderful and was one of the highlights of my visit. While this outdoor area does not encompass the traditional view of an art piece- it wasn't something that could be put on a display- it was a full fledged piece of art to me. The raw senses of being outside with nobody else was very peaceful. Being able to just go outside is very meaningful for me, as my fondest memories all tie down to adventures in the raw expanse that is the natural world. This installation in particular conveyed a feeling of peace, supported by just the sound of flowing water and a gentle breeze uninterrupted by any other individuals. It provided me with a sense of familiarity that I love and served as a reminder that just spending time outside, whether it be a small unoccupied island a couple minutes off shore or a mountain range covered in thick foliage, there is an easily accessible place for me and my thoughts.

Finally, for my art piece that represents the concept of a good life, I've picked Tokyo Street with Pachinko Parlor II by Jacquette Yvonne. At first, this seems like a stark contrast to everything I've said up until now. The scene I picked is a bustling urban center, covered in neon lights and indistinct people going about their night. The theme that I feel that this piece conveys is synergy. The key value found in nature is the ability to become part of it; instead of being an individual that is interacting with nature, become an individual that is a subset of nature as a whole. Similarly the large urban area in the picture is a setting in which individuals are just part of a larger environment. Throwing ourselves into nature isn't a viable option for a daily lifestyle- for most people at least. Instead, being able to become part of your surroundings, both natural and human made, has enough merit to be pointed out. In other words, I think that despite the natural tendency to go through the day worrying about individual concerns that plague everybody, it is important that you take a step back and just look at the world in a broader perspective, one that just leaves you as an insignificant player in a vast complex interconnected world.

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Atharva Chopde
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