A Trip to the Harn Samantha Dykes

Above photo: Frank Stella, "Zandvoort," 1981, Mixed media on etched magnesium, Gift of Martin Z. Margulies

George Wesley Bellows, "Jim Twadell's Place," 1924, Oil on Canvas, Gift of William H. and Eloise R. Chandler

The warmth and sense of safety this painting exudes is all the more impressive when viewed in person. The brush strokes and layers of oil make this piece tangible without touch. The light and shadow technique used by Bellows gives such dimensionality so as one could simply climb through the painting into the scene and stand in the warm breeze and tall grass. This art work communicated to me a sense of peace, blissful calmness, and simplicity. Seeing “Jim Twadell’s Place” in person allowed me to appreciate the art in a physical and emotional way not achievable through a screen or in a book.

David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing at the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art

After touring the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, the design of the exhibit/wing most appealing to me was the David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing. This is due to several spatial decisions and the presentation of these pieces. Firstly, you enter a large room showcasing a few very large sculptures and some smaller spotlighted artifacts and sculptures. As opposed to these being imposing or oppressive it created a still and gentle atmosphere. Second, the decision to include a garden made this exhibit unique and gave it a sense of variety. A feeling of exploring this culture in more aspects than just material creations. Additionally the placement of the garden, opposite the entrance of the wing helped draw attention to the garden without being overstated. Lastly, as you drift from one side of the room to the other, the sides of the room are lined with petite artifacts, antiques, and sculptures with intricate details. Placing these on the sides of the room allow for the viewer to move slowly and appreciate the finesse of the artist and delicate nature of the pieces.

Isabel Bishop, "Three Men at Union Station," 1930, Oil on Canvas Mounted over Masonite, Museum purchase with funds provided by an anonymous donor and the James G. and Carlone Julier Richardson Fund

One of my core values is equality among all humans. This art work in particular represents the idea of gender inequality. At first glance, this painting made me angry because it seems to depict three men lacking respect for their fellow working woman. However, after a few minutes I was filled with a sense of pride. Bishop’s painting is not highlighting the behavior of these men, but rather showing a woman overcoming gender inequality in a male-dominated work force and society. I believe this “rising above attitude” is symbolically represented by Bishop through the woman’s ascension of the stair. I now see this piece as inspirational to the common working woman and am imbued with a sense of pride and determination to overcome class and gender distinctions.

Francisco Zuniga, "Two Seated Women," 1971, Watercolor and crayon on paper, Museum purchase/ gift of private donors

This work of art depicts two women, possibly friends or family, in the company of one another. I believe this conveys the Good Life theme of “Sharing” because as I view it I am forcefully reminded of the benefit and importance of having close relationships. In Robert Waldinger’s TED talk “What Makes a Good Life,” he asserts idea (or even the fact) that strong relationships with others are “…good for our health and well-being.” I feel now, after internalizing this painting, I can really understand what both Waldinger and the artist were trying to communicate. These two women in the painting/drawing remind me of my relationships with family and friends and most importantly that it is the quality of those relations that really matters, not the quantity. This painting helps me realize that sharing life experiences with someone is not just a fundamental human desire, but a necessity.

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