Excavation is a painting done by illustrator and painter Boardman Robinson in the 1920s. The painting captures men hard at work , in an attempt to represent the working class, which at the time of the painting, was predominantly men. He accomplishes this through not only imagery, but also through the methods and techniques used. Robinson employs Fresco -a technique of applying paint to wet plaster- to capture the union of sweat and dirt that inevitably accompanies drudgery. For me, the idea of toil was cemented through the jagged frame chosen for the piece, which I think one could have only seen and made sense of in person. The "rough" frame in collaboration with the "rough" brush strokes and vivid imagery evoked a sense of pity in me, and through this I was able to both see and feel the hardships and pain these industrious grunts endured, during that period of time in America.
Central Park Winter is a painting by German born Emil Ganso, that depicts the theme of challenging the current and seeking the good life. In the image, the young lady parts with an older lady -possibly her mother- and moves away from the light. This reminds me of Siddhartha and how he left a supposedly perfect life, the light, in search of the good life. Through the landscape and choice of season, Ganso portrays the path to the good life as one of rejecting the light and venturing into a cold, dark and lonely forest. The winter representing the hardships one will inevitably face in search of the good life, the dark capturing the uncertainty and lack of transparency, and like a forest -completely secluded and away from society- the journey is one that is best trod alone.
The Woodcutter is an oil on canvas piece by the American artist Robert Gwathmey. Gwathmey dedicated his time to painting scenes of African American sharecroppers which I found particularly interesting. The moment I laid eyes on the painting, I assumed the role of the young man with the ax. To me, that was my old man teaching me the value of hard work and how this plays into success. He explains to me as a young black male that success is within my reach, and that is it solely dependent on me to access it. Gwathmey vividly illustrates this through the employment of thick "black" lines around almost every object in the painting, suggesting availability to the black man. My dad proceeds to explain that success is a process. It start with nothing - as there is nothing in front of the young man- but the tools that life has equipped us with -the ax.- Through hard work and application of whatever tool you are given -using the ax to fall the tree- there comes success - the stack of wood piled up in front of him.-
A wing of the museum that enticed me was the Asian collection. The aura of the wing screamed tranquility and alleviation. With the natural lighting and a wall of windows, the wing felt closer to nature, which fed my thought of art and nature existing as one. The room felt almost as if its boundaries extended beyond the glass wall of the wing. This made me view the asian collection from two disparate lenses: one in which I am viewing individual art works, and the other as an invitation for me to be one with a culture.