Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Research Paper, Step 4

Carvaggio, Michelangelo Merisi da 1571 - 1610 St.Jerome c.1605

Step 4:

Choose 1 – 2 paintings and try to describe them to the best of your ability. Paint a replica of the image with your own words. Can you make your reader “see” what you are seeing.
  • Post your description of 1-2 pieces on the blog in this comment stream.
  • Make the title a hyperlink to the image on which you are writing.
  • You will be graded on your ability to hyperlink the image and your ability to write 1,000 words. Late posts will lose a letter grade a day. (I recommend that you do this for every image that you plan to write about in your paper, but will only require this one.)
  • Due 8:00 a.m. Monday Feb 23th.
This is an important step in the process of writing this research paper for a few reasons:
  • First, you will need this descriptive writing in your essay to aid your analysis.

  • Second, you will learn things about the piece of art by forcing yourself to stare at it with the attention needed to describe it.

  • Last, what you see may be different from what others do, not just the abstract work, but what are your eyes drawn to first? You will never be able to get this moment back--what your eyes noticed when you were first drawn to the painting / or piece of art.

You will need this writing when you start to compile your formal research paper.

“Helpful Hints” to enhance your descriptive powers:

  • Spend as much time as possible “free writing” about the image prior to doing any research. You can always edit this down if you feel that the writing is stale or redundant. Free writing is best done with fresh eyes as a first response, and can be edited after you know the image well. This can be tedious if you are in the middle of trying to arrange your argument and realize your paper is just not long enough.

  • When describing colors, expand your vocabulary. There is no such thing as pure yellow. Maybe you mean lemon yellow or canary yellow or cadmium yellow or saffron. Check out these colors for ideas, but stick to colors that your audience will be able to visualize. For example, I can’t picture alice blue, but I can picture aqua and royal blue.

  • If the image is particularly abstract, focus on the emotions that the artist is trying to express. Do the lines create a sense of movement? Does the painting seem to speed up time, or slow it down? Ask your self creative questions and answer them.


Kristen W. said...

Cliff 1

In this painting I see many bold colors ranging from green, yellow, orange, and red. There are also cooler colors to coincide with the bolder colors. Everything looks abstract and there isn’t a solid picture of one thing anywhere. It looks as if the green is a cliff and there are birds and flowers on top looking down. The various shades of red and orange seem as if they are a sea. The colors blend together and create a complete image. The colors seem to drip and run down the page. Everything is horizontal rather and round. It is as if the painting is merely a block-in and the details come next. When first looking, my eye immediately went to the bright orange strokes towards the top of the painting. They seem as if they are there to create a sunset kind of view on the picture. Deep red markings appear towards the bottom of the page and create a resting sense for the eyes. Vertical green lines are on the far right of the painting and catch they eye because they are the only vertical lines throughout the piece that actually stand out. Towards the top right corner of the painting are shades of yellow in a circle like figure. They have dark centers and resemble flowers of some sort. Right next to them are shades of gray, black, and green in the shape of birds or ducks. They appear to be looking down over the edge of the vertical green lines. The painting itself looks as if it were cut out and placed on another piece of paper giving it that tan background. The painting looks very surreal and intriguing. Colors seem to be just stuck on and details are nonexistent. Almost all colors are used so that each side of the picture is different than the other. Reds and oranges appear mainly on the left side of the painting, while greens and yellows appear on the right side of the painting. There really isn’t much shading. Different colors are placed to represent shading without actually having shading. Pinks represent shading for reds, and yellows represent shadings for greens. The red side is very chaotic and seems as if it was the quicker of the two sides to paint. It seems fairly rushed and not completely sane. The reds seem to look like faces and or body types when looked at from a different angle. The top red line looks like a foot, the middle two look like some sort of face, and the bottom right one looks a bit like an upper body with a tie on. All different sizes are used throughout the picture itself. There are lines, squares, trapezoids, and many other unique and indefinable shapes. Each add a rough layer and color over a sea of others. There is also a random vertical bright orange line that runs through the bottom and middle of the page. It doesn’t seem like it serves a purpose upon first glance. There is no white throughout the painting at all. The closest color to white is a light gray and an off white. If the painting had white it may seem unfinished. The colors are placed everywhere and everything seems to be just thrown everywhere. Lines are everywhere through the picture, and are even placed in the background, underneath the other colors. They are still noticeable though. There are light shades of blue within the reds and pinks to cool it down to a new tone. There are no noticeable patterns when looking at the painting and nothing is symmetrical. The top left hand corner is just completely tan. There is nothing going on in that corner and looks as if it isn’t even part of the painting itself. Towards the bottom of the page the tan appears again. It is very plain and also does not really seem like it belongs in the painting. It is very plain and just does not blend in with the wild colors that are used on the other places of the picture. The strokes used are very large in the front, and behind that the strokes seem to get smaller. There are no completely straight lines. Everything has a ragged edge to it. Everything seems to be cut out and placed on the picture. Nothing really blends either. Every edge stands out and pieces look as if they belong to a different piece of work. Everything seems like a light coat of paint due to me being able to see through the colors and notice other colors beneath them. The many layers stand out due to the top coat being very lightly painted on. It also looks as if it was set out and was able to drip a little. Small lines are beneath the colors and look like they dripped down from the original strokes. Without the tan, the work may be a bit too overwhelming. The tan cools down and gives the audience’s eyes a break. The tan looks as if it is a thicker layer than all the rest. It is harder to see through that layer than it is to see through the layers throughout the rest of the painting. The yellow in the right corner is the only yellow that appears throughout the painting and it draws the eye to it. The bird-like shapes hard sharp edges are full of different sized triangles. There are very little circles throughout the painting, the lines are very abrupt and stop almost completely randomly. As for the colors, they are very unique and stand out on every aspect of the painting itself. Blue is another color that is not very much present within the piece except for it being used to cool down the red tones. The picture is very abstract and leaves the mind to interpret it in any way possible. The pieces slowly connect as the picture is stared at to see an actual piece as a whole. Overall, the picture sends streams of colors everywhere along the canvas.

Mary N. said...


In this beaded image by Liza Lou, I see a variety of colors being used. The majority of the colors of the beads being utilized by Lou in order to create this image of dishes in a two-sink set are warm and vibrant: there is a golden bronze color, deep mahogany, bright red, jade green, beige, salmon pink, and canary yellow. In contrast to these deep and warm colors is the cool color blue that is not deep nor bright; the blue is rather dull in comparison to the other colors being used in this installation piece. There are four dishes in the sink, one coffee cup, and one small bowl. The dull blue water appears to flow out from the faucet due to its wavy structure and varying brightness; most of the water seems to favor the left side of the sink even if the faucet is located right at the center.

This favoritism of the left side of the sink brings the viewer’s attention to the fact that there is more water being shown in the left side than in the right side of the sink. In the right side, we see one large red plate that overtakes the entire right side. However, there are more dishes in the left side of the installation piece. Yet, more water can be seen there than in the right side, which is really interesting. More water continues to flow to that left side. This could be Liza Lou’s way of suggesting what views she takes on domesticity in society: she stands in the leftist position and does not perceive housework as mainly intended for women. Perhaps this favoring of the left points to the fact that Liza Lou sees domesticity in a different light than most do in today’s society where home is not as important and as emphasized as it has been in the past since she decides to utilize such a scene through warm and vibrant colors as described above.

The background of the installation piece is what appears to be a wooded panel adorned by a tiled trim or a warm golden wall decorated with a tiled trim. As the warm golden tone wall is illuminated on the right side by highlights, coming from either a light in the distance or from the sunlight through a window in the distance, I am going to predict and say that it is a wall painted gold, and not a wooded panel, as wooded panel do not shine. Again, the left side appears to be favored since the right side of the golden wall is encompassed in darkness. There are less highlights in that right side. Thus, it is shown in shadows. The tiled trim takes on the same aspects as the warm golden wall. The left side contains bright tiles of ivory white, jade green, and salmon pink while the right side contains tiles of the same colors but in a shade or two deeper to make them appear dull and dark. The play on highlights and shadows carry on into the plates in the sink, in which the left side appears more illuminated than the right side. This differences in brightness and in darkness point to the fact that there are two sides to the perception of domesticity and home. Knowing that Liza Lou had a rather abusive childhood, it makes perfect sense that her installation pieces would reflect back to her life. Home can be seen as a welcoming place or as a death trap, depending on what experiences a person has there. Perhaps Liza Lou is indicating that home has two distinct meanings and they all depend on how the person perceives it.

All the objects in this installation piece, plates, bowls, cups, dishes, faucet, walls, and handles take on a design of some sort. The dishes are decorated with asterisks, swirls, and diamond-shaped decorations of various sizes. Some shapes dominate and other shapes enhance these objects. For example, one particular dish in the far corner of the right side is decorated mainly with small diamonds that encompass the entire thing. In addition, the faucet is practically “composed” of swirls, which appear to be wrapping themselves around each other so tightly as to create the faucet itself. The closest plate on the left side of the sink is adorned with swirls on the outer rim. In each swirl is a tiny circular design that enhances the decoration. This elaboration on the objects in the installation piece shows Liza Lou’s dedication and careful observation as this installation piece is composed of tiny little beads. Most people would describe these objects as circular and as household products. However, Liza Lou goes beyond in presenting these objects by adorning them with such elaborate and detailed designs. Perhaps she is making a statement about how people don’t observe the world around them and take for granted materials they use everyday. By producing this installation piece, Liza Lou gives society a chance to really take a look at the everyday objects.

“Kitchen” gives off the impression of a beautiful, dreamlike world due to its vibrancy and its warmth in the color as well as its elaboration in details. The highlights in each beaded object act double as glints in expensive shiny objects. The shadows in each beaded object act double as depth and density of expensive shiny objects. Such delicate and elaborate designs of diamonds, swirls, circles, and asterisks play on such simple everyday objects, such as plates, cups, bowls, and dishes. Even the faucet appears very high-class in nature. This installation piece could also be a parody of the materialistic society Liza Lou lives in. Liza Lou seems to be portraying the objects in her installation piece the way a magazine and a department store showcase its products: fanciful and absolutely necessary to make all of us feel a little richer through possession of such objects. Thus, Liza Lou is playing on the pathos that advertisements use in order to persuade consumers to purchase their goods, even as ridiculous prices some products have due to their visual appearances.

Over all, this installation piece by Liza Lou suggests two perceptions to an ordinary idea of home and of materialism through its usage of vibrant and dull colors, shadows and highlights, elaborate designs and simple objects, and the imbalance of those various aspects between the left side and the right side of the installation piece.

Ashley A said...

Another Place- Crosby Beach

When I first saw this piece of art, “Another Place-Crosby Beach” by Antony Gormley, I immediately noticed the statue placed in the middle of the photograph. The statue’s lack of color is only one of the factors that make it prominent. Along with its enormous size, the statue takes on a disheveled look. In a way it appears as if the statue could be melting. Since the statue is not given striking colors, Gormley could have chosen this method in order to convey a dark and gloomy feeling. Especially since the statue does not reveal a specific identity or any emotional expression, the gray color can indicate sadness. The statue is also standing along, excluded from other objects and indications of other beings, which conveys the feeling of solitude or seclusion. I also noticed the statue is standing on a slight angle that could imply a lack in confidence, however, the statue is standing with its hands and arms at their sides, not slumping over so this could mean the statue is at least comfortable with itself. By standing up straight, the meaning of slight assurance within itself or with its surrounds is established.

I then noticed a calm sunset directly above the statue’s head. The clouds are outstretched, non-puffy and give the appearance of tranquility. The most noticeable could is a peach color, followed by an appearance of a small portion of light blue. As the clouds move farther into the background of the picture, they become lighter in color, taking on a pink coloring. There are also a few white streaks scattered across the sky. In all, the sunset embodies a picturesque setting making this piece of artwork very calm and subtle. Although the statue is centered alone, the sunset and the array of colors involved, makes the viewers see a different beauty to being by alone. Instead of portraying the statue as one that is angered by being distant from other objects, the sunset conveys a feeling of acceptance. It feels as if the statue takes time to appreciate its surroundings and enjoy the subtle things life has to offer.

Such things include the beach sand the statue in built upon. The sand is not grainy but yet soft and glossy because the water mixed with the sand. The sand and water mixture was a light gray color with a few patches of sand in various locations. The sand also made a rippling affect which added to the quietness of the artwork because it is such a rare creation. The sand’s unique pattern made the area near the statue’s feet stand out because the part of land where the statue stands upon is clear of any distracting objects. It appears that the water specifically made a path between the sand for the statue to rest upon. The allusion portrayed is that the statue has a clear and strong base to stand upon, casting aside all other environmental things that could ruin or destroy the artwork. The special aspect of the area where the statue is build upon is also the reflection of the sunset. The pink colored clouds against the yellowish purple coloring of the sand makes that area seem peaceful and serene. Gormley implies that this is a perfect place to either forget about one’s past, such as things that could have been upsetting or create a new and refreshing beginning.

Towards the finer and more distant objects incorporated in the artwork is a scenery of mountains or a hilly area. They are a dark brown color which again leads to the idea of a dark, gloomy, and maybe even depressing past. The hills can be a representation of the obstacles the statue had to overcome and they seem to overlap one another, which may also mean there were numerous obstacles the statue had to face before making it to its current position. Since the hills are shown behind the statue, this reveals a sense of triumph and accomplishment because the statue is now in front of those obstacles, meaning the statue has put all of the darkness and sadness behind itself. The sunset also plays into this idea because it gives the feeling that now that the statue has been able to conquer difficult tasks, it can focus on a brighter future. I also noticed that the statue is not standing in the water, which plays into the fact that it has gone far away from many of its troubles.

In the very far back area of the scenery, also appears small circular balls of yellow coloring. This could simple be a mechanism implemented to strengthen or signify the setting sun. The small circular balls of yellow coloring can be the rays from the sun because some of the circles are closer to the hilly area and some are higher up. Those factors indicate how the sun has not fully set. The yellow coloring also reflects off of the water and this could be a common theme in the artwork because many objects are reflecting off of the water. In addition to the circular yellow colored balls, appears to be a figure of another statue in the far back of the artwork. This statue too appears to be that of a human figure and the fact that it is so far away from the main statue indicates the distance the main statue puts between itself and other objects. This could have dual meanings, one of which could mean the main statue feels isolated from others, however, it possibly means that the main statue is letting go of the things involved in its past and that figure in the background could have had a negative affect on its past.

This idea of refection could be crucial to the major idea of this artwork because Gormley maybe indicating how one’s past can still play a role in their future. The figure behind the statue maybe a reflection of itself rather than a reflection of another person because if it is the reflection of the main statue, Gormley may be showing the changes one goes through in order to become the figure one is in the present. The figure in the back is also a lot smaller than the foremost statue, which indicates the statue has gone through many obstacles and has prevailed and grew both physically and mentally.

Andy V. said...

March Heath by Anselm Kiefer

In this image by Anselm Kiefer, Kiefer paints a long pathway far into the horizons. The painting itself looks like it has smudging technique for the sky and the background. The grass on the sides has a similar style. However the tall grass on the left a draw individually and all slant to the right. There are shorter pieces of grass painted in as well. They are placed near the pathway and all stand upwards. Kiefer uses different tones of teal, brown, green, yellow, and black to create a rather mucky grass. They are all dark and withered looking. The left side of the rode however looks murkier than the other side. The grass is taller and unmaintained. There is blacker in the grass as well. The right side looks more like a short grass meadow. It also has three trees sticking up. The trees are white and bare. They have no leaves and have black streaks going down it side. The grassland is mostly barren except for the trees and the road. There are no homes, no people, or buildings. The grassland just stretches to the horizon, uninterrupted. It is actually hard to see where the horizon line is, as the grass seems to just blend in with the sky while the road just continues.

The road greatly contrasts with the rest of the painting. The road lays right smack dab in the middle of the image and continues on to the horizon line. Compared to the rest of the painting the road has a much lighter tone. It has different shades of white, yellow, and even light blue. The white really makes it stand out away from the rest of the world which surrounds it in the mucky swamp colors. The random blue streaks, which give a relaxing tone, allow the road to look more inviting than the rest of the surrounding environment. The blue reminds me of flowers or even the blue sky. The blue makes me think “that is the road I want to take.” The road seems to continue on and even become bluer. Usually things that are farther away have a cooler tone. I believe that the use of the blue was more than just to give the image depth. It seems the use of blue gives the message that the road leads to a better place, even if it is a very long path.

The sky however is rather odd. There seem to be no real defining line between the grass and road to the sky above. There is a large contrasting line about three fourths up the page. However the road continues regardless of the shift in color. Before the shift in color, the grass is incredibly dark and only contains green, yellow, black and some orange. However, after the line, blue starts to blend in with the mixture. This creates the image of a sky above the horizon line. The path continues uninterrupted. The path looks almost like it is leading up to heaven. The grass seems to mix in with the sky and the path way seems to never end. The mix of the sky and the ground gives a message to the viewer. It seems to give the message that viewers should try and take a journey and try to find something new on the end of the road. Maybe Kiefer is referring to how life is like journey. Everyone takes a road that leads to somewhere. Maybe this road leads up to the world above.

As the road continues to extend upwards, it also has an incline towards the sky. It could be because the hill is rising up. However I believe Kiefer did this on purpose to show the road is reaching up to the heavens. As the pathway continues, everything around it becomes lighter and less murky. It seems more tranquil with the blue used in the background. However, the image becomes less detailed. The individual pieces of grass become mashed together to lines after lines of paint in the background. This allows the image to blend in with the sky. The lack of detail could be a message as well. It could show that viewers have less knowledge about the world far ahead of them compared to what is close to them. If I was on that road, and I could not see the details, I would only follow the road because it looks much more inviting. The land around me is barren, dark, and seems lifeless. The road ahead, although mysterious, contains the blue of the sky. Everything around the road seems bluer and lighter. The road seems to lead a path up and beyond the dark surroundings. It lacks detail and is mysterious, however it gives more of a reason to move on and explore it. To road seems to lead to a better place. It is almost like a road to the sky. It seems like it is a road to heaven. Every line seems to have it strokes towards the center of the page. The lines all flow to the brighter center of the canvas.

Lastly the image also contains odd words right in the middle of the image. I believe the words are “Markische Heide.” It is written in cursive and written right on the center of the path. Märkische Heide is actually a part of Germany. This image could be a painting of a landscape from there. This image could have been from anywhere; however the location was very important for Kiefer. It also leads me to wonder why was the words placed there. Most of the time, background information would be placed outside of the image in its description. However, Kiefer felt it was necessary to include the name inside the image. I also wonder why the name placed right in the middle of the image on the road. The words could have been placed off in the dark grass where it would be harder to see. However, Kiefer placed it right in the middle where it contrasted with the white road and stood out right in the middle of the canvas.

Jenny L said...


First glance at the painting, I see a mixture of lines, shapes and colors reminiscent of graffiti on the walls of buildings in the city. However a closer look reviewed the four letter word “hush.” It is vital to keep in mind the location of the piece, as it is situated in New York. Being in a city that is in constant motion with life taking place no matter the hour of the day, this piece voices both the frenzied life styles of living in the city as well as the desire for a rare moment of quiet. This piece juxtaposes two worlds, one of composure, the other of chaos. While the background displays random and often times irrational elements, the focus is not on the overbearing aspect of the piece, but rather on the four letter word “hush”. There is clear emphasis placed on this single word as it is place directly in the center of the piece. Though this is not a traditional piece of artwork in the sense of being framed and on a canvas, it nonetheless embodies the essence of art, which is the evocation of the senses. Observing the piece of art, it reminds me of a scene of a sea of people crossing the busy streets, with traffic lights that changes as quickly as the pace of the people. The piece embodies the feeling of rush, disorder, and activity. The location in which Witz decided to place the word “hush” is vital in conveying the message he tries to send through this piece. It is in the midst of such overwhelming activity that people at times want the comfort of peace. Sometimes we all just want the noise to be drowned out and the power to just “hush” the world for a moment. Often times graffiti connotes crime and trouble, but Witz is able to use the graffiti and incorporate it to create a message. He asks viewers to look past the negative aspects of graffiti and appreciate the art that it is. While the words in graffitied in the background are illegible, it still conveys a sense of disorder that is countered by the capitalized and polished letters that form the word “hush”.

The colors used in this piece is subtle, faded, and not at all attention grabbing. It is the placement and the confusion of the lines that captures viewers’ attention. There is a dark quality with the colors in the piece. The colors are dull, and not vibrant. Witz use of an ecru white for the lettering further emphasizes how easy silence is drowned out by the noise. It is as if the words are struggling to gain attention in the midst of the chaos it is placed in. I find it interesting that Witz had not decided to use more vibrant colors for the letters. However, it is this very decision that shows Witz as an artist whose aesthetics is not in trying to be grandiose but rather be successful in being subtle and at the same time unexpected. Finding this piece on the floor, it is easy to walk right pass it, but Witz calls people to slow down from their fast paced life and pay attention to the surroundings that are so often, if not missed, then ignored.

While the colors are dull and ordinary, the lines and shapes are more exciting and chaotic. It is within the curved lines and irregular shapes of the illegible lettering that adds the chaotic aspect to this piece. There is a layering effect created by the varying thickness, and colors of the lines used. This wall seems to be an area in which graffiti artists left their marks and have other graffiti artists paint over the previous works, creating a history and layers to the piece. The many different mediums, from chalk to spray paint used add to a three dimensional feel of the work, rather than just a flat piece on a random wall in New York City. His addition of the letters transform the wall from a work of vandalism to a work of art, one in which a clear message is conveyed. Often times the rapidity of our lives is much like the background of the piece, chaotic, incomprehensible and uncontrollable. The word “hush” placed in the center of the commotion seems to put a halt and a pause to the action.

Though the elements of the piece are not abnormal with respect to its location, Witz is still able to create a sharp contrast using the street element aspect of the graffiti and its location while adding his own words to it. Though the word hush obviously does not belong or even fit into the setting, a strong message is sent through his placement of the words. The words seemingly intrude upon the chaos and aims to create a sense of order.

This piece, untraditional as it is reflects upon Dan Witz’s style as well. His aim to be different, unexpected and nonconformist is clearly achieved in this piece. It undoubtedly reflects the style of his art as they all redefine its traditional definition and even broadens it. He crosses street art with gallery art as this piece can just as easily exist in the outdoors as it can hanging in a frame.

Witz creates a piece of work that embodies a common emotion that all can relate to; the feeling of overwhelming commotion in one’s life that we all at times just want to put a “hush” to. He reminds viewers with this piece of life’s frustrations but at same time the ability to put a halt to it and take a break from the action, taking a moment to become aware of one’s surroundings. He reminds viewers to take a moment to pause, reflect, observe, and understand. By simply adding four letters to a wall that people would other wise fail to even glance at, Witz creates art, not in its traditional setting, form, or sense, but regardless, he creates art.

Mels1619 said...

Slavery in Silhouette-Kara Walker

• black and white
• gender
• clothing
• social status

Walker has a distinct way to portray her artwork; most of the times she cuts off images (known as silhouettes) in only two colors, black and white, and pastes them in different backgrounds. Walker is inspired by gender, race, sexuality, and ethnicity. She tends to use her African background as an important tool in her art. In this piece, Walker is exploring gender, race, and social status. This image is quite simple but it carries a well-elaborated meaning.

For starters, two colors pop out right away; white and black. The black is being represented by a woman who is carrying white, another woman. The black and white may symbolize various things, for example: ethnicity. The blacks or African-Americans have always been known as "slaves" of those white wealthy people. In this image, that stereotype is being portrayed: a black woman, who is probably working for a wealthy white family. It is known that the slaves had to put up with any type of requirements that came from their bosses; Walker is definitely demonstrating this fact by creating an image where the black woman is lifting the white woman with her own two hands.

Gender plays another important role is this image. The period of time that Walker is trying to portray in this image separates men and women. Around 1600's, wealthy women just dedicated themselves to stay home, chat with their girlfriends, and attend important events with their husbands. Most of them, had power over Africans slaves. In this image, that relationship between the woman boss and her slave is being shown. The black women slave had a more laid back function than the men slave. Women tended to accompany their bosses, helping them with their clothing, cleaning, cooking, and among other chores that women tend to be in charge of. This image represents that relationship: black woman slave serving her wealthy woman boss.

A way to differ social classes is by their clothing. The wealthy women tended to wear large gowns, big hear-dos, and expensive jewelry. As for the low-class women would wear dull dresses, mostly of depressing colors such as brown and gray, and their hair will remain tied up, away from their faces for better performance at their intensive jobs. In this image, the two women are representing what I explained above. The black slave is wearing a black deflated dress, barefoot, and her hair tied up. As for the wealthy woman, she is wearing a large white gown, with big hair-do, leaning back and facing up in the sky as to look like she is in power.

Social status is the main theme of this image. A way to understand what Walker is trying to convey, is by classifying the two women in the image by social status. The two colors, black and white, are self-explanatory and the way they are place in the image (white above black) show the readers to which social status each woman belong to. Starting with the color on top, white, the woman is known to belong to the upper class. By the way she is dressed and her posture. The color below, black, the woman belongs to the low class. Walking bare feet, lifting the “white” woman, and her clothing, are characteristics of a working class woman.

Walker’s intention to convey gender and social status effectively works. Her simple cut-off and paste-in images tell a story with a lot of background history. Walker’s African background influenced her art work; it inspires her to tell others about her culture, the struggles they have and still face. She uses art to narrate a story and introduce others into a world full with culture and knowledge.

Walker always uses the same colors in the art work, black and white. When presenting her art in an art show, she may add colorful images from a projector to add more intensity in her art. This image for example, if Walker would have added more to it, it would lose its meaning and value. Simplicity defines Walker.

Black, white, upper class, lower class. White, black, lower class, upper class. Slavery, African Americans, wealth, rich, money. Power, respect, money. Gender, mistreatment. These are words that are being emphasized by this image. Taking a quick glance at the image, most of these words pop-out. It is a simple and easy image to analyze, historical knowledge must be applied in order to have a better understanding of what Walker is trying to convey.

The images create sad emotions: sad to see how hard slaves had to work, how much they had to take from their owners. It demonstrates how strong Africans were and still are. But to expand this idea a lot more, it demonstrates how WOMEN are warriors. Personally, when I look at this image, it gives me strength. Strength to overcome anything, if these women were capable to lift, to keep up, and to serve their owners, I believe women now are capable of more. This image makes the viewers look back in the past and understand how much women have improved over time. From being slaves to educated professional women. I believe nobody would have been able to achieve this meaning with such of simplicity. Walker has a gift to narrate a meaningful story with less and less objects. As mentioned above, her art defines simplicity. Her lack of colors contributes to her unique style.

In overall, Walker creates a piece of art with a hidden message: a message that provokes and explores gender, race and social status. Starting from the time of slavery up to the time that now women are independent. As a woman, Walker demonstrates to be a strong and self-determinate. As an artist, she is simple and straightforward. Some may believe that this form of art is quite easy but the difficult task here is to create a meaningful piece that will stay in the viewers mind. Walker owns this skill.

Matt Z! said...
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Matt Z! said...


When I look at the painting of “Emma” by Chuck Close, I see a grid made up of diamond-shaped sections, very small sections, a diagonal grid - not a vertical grid; the squares are made up of tons of different colors that are indistinct when viewed up close but when the painting is viewed from far away all of the colors blend together and form a coherent and descriptive painting. The background, and especially the skin, is made up of colors that I would not necessarily imagine putting together. The entire painting is made up of diamonds that are filled with many many different layers of paints of different colors that when viewed from afar blend together to create the proper hue. The skin itself seems to be made primarily out of varying hues of red, orange, yellow, purple, green, peach, and other skin tones. There does not seem to be any brown used in the painting except in very small amounts and in shaded areas. The eyes themselves are made up of primarily blue, teal, and aqua colors but also include purples and pinks in order to provide contrast and to neutralize the blue tones. In order to create specific curvatures that are not easily apparent using the angular grid method, I see parts of the painting that contain many-layered ovals or banana-shaped sections. Up on the baby’s forehead, there appears to be parts that resemble an amoeba. I also see sparingly scattered across the background regions of color that resemble either boomerangs or capital L’s. In order to create white areas such as the whites of the baby’s eyes or the white stripes on the baby’s shirt, combinations of extremely light tints of varying hues are employed in the same concentric ring style used in the rest of the painting. My art teacher tells me that I’m not supposed to use pure black in any painting except for the pupils of the eyes but this baby seems to have black not only in the pupils of the eyes but also in various parts of the hair. The pupils of the eyes are the only object in the entire painting aside from the various oval and banana-shaped sections that are not strictly locked into the pre-set grid. These pupils are the only part of the entire painting that are perfectly circular all in themselves without any kind of grid around them. One of these pupils are located instead of a diamond box but the other is located at the nexus between four different diamonds. The highlights of the baby’s face are created from grid boxes that are filled with primarily layers of yellow tints, while the shadows on the baby’s face are created by primarily using tints of violet. This is interesting because violet and yellow are complimentary colors and the combined nature of the colors should cancel each other out and create a neutral tone such as grey or brown. Mid tones on the baby’s face are created using primarily green and orange, which is interesting because green and orange are more or less analogous to yellow on the color wheel and are both equidistant from both violet and yellow on the color wheel. Another thing that I noticed is that again, my art teacher told me to never use pure white in a composition or art piece while I am in her class but Chuck Close utilized a pure white hue, or at least one that registers as pure white to my eyes, in the whites of the baby’s eyes and the baby’s shirt. There are also small dots of what appears to be pure white in the baby’s eyes which serve as sources of reflected light. From far away the baby’s eyebrows are apparent but when viewed from up close they are almost indiscernible. By viewing the composition far away and marking the position of the eyebrows I have been able to deduce that they are formed from combining primarily hues of orange and violet, and that when viewed up close they seem to blend into the myriad of chaotic colors that fill up the grid. My analysis of the color composition of the portrait also leads me to observe that there is a general lack of shades of green, opposed to the many other colors used in the portrait. Although there is an abundance of red, blue, violet, and orange shades, the only location that I am able to see shades of green is in the upper left hand corner of the background and the darkest shadows under the baby’s chin on the viewer’s left side. Aside from that, the only other uses of green are in very light tints. These tints are almost pastel-colored, and seem to float towards the green-green-blue section of the color wheel. They are almost what some people would call “seafoam green”. I find it extremely interesting that within each gridded diamond or shape contained within this portrait, there is no less than three different rings of color that blend together to form a single hue when viewed from far away. From what I can observe, no single diamond-shaped region has any less than three different hues in it either. There does not appear to be any diamond that contains two or less layers of color, nor can I spot any regions that contain any less than three entirely different colors. It is my personal observation that there is often multiple tints or shades of the same hue within a single region, but they are never the exact same hue. Upon closer observation, I have found that there are regions on the face of the baby that have the exact same hue as their outermost layer of color, leading me to believe that the artist Chuck Close initially painted large solid regions of the same hue before going over these areas again with the concentric rings of different hues, shades, and tints.

sodaba said...

Nude Descending a Staircase

At first glance the painting, “Nude Descending a Staircase”, seems very crowded and overwhelming. There many intricate shapes and lines that cannot be understood at first. As one begins to look closely it starts to take forms and shapes that really make a little more sense. When I first heard the name of the painting it made look at it and focus more on the stairs. The staircase is very obvious in the painting. But it is the only thing that can be seen easily n clearly. There actually seem to be a lot of staircases. The staircases seem to be darker than the figure in the front. The figure is made of a bunch of cylindrical and triangular shapes. It has a futuristic look that pops out. There are lots of lines that do not necessarily connect to the shapes in the figure in front of the staircases that are in the back. They give more detail to the painting but make the painting a little confusing. They are all over the place and a little unorganized but that is what seems to make the painting so appealing. The lighter shade of the figure in the front makes it pop out and be noticed easily and it gives it a vibrant quality. The golden yellow figure seems to be going down the stairs. The figure looks like a bunch of men in armor. The stairs in the back are like a light golden brown color. It is like the color of the figure but shaded over with a little bit of brown to make it seem distant and give it a more of a background look. The figure could be multiple individuals or outlines of the same person. There are a few reasons why the figure in the front seems to be covered in armor. It seems really heavy and it seems like it is slightly slouching. But the more I look into it, the less visible the figure starts to get. The lines over the figure start to form the letters “J” and “T”. If you try to separate out the painting you will get six parts. Three of the parts are the stairs in the background. And the three of them what seem to be the head, the torso, and the legs of the figure or figures. The head is covered with a helmet of some sort. The face or faces are not visible, but they can be assumed as heads. The torso has more round shapes. And the legs have more triangular type of shapes. The legs seem more like robot legs, which is why it seems futuristic to me. Three figures are starting to form in my head now. So it seems like there are three people dressed in armor in this painting. I cannot make a connection of the name to the painting now. It seems different, because although in the name it says nude, I can see armor on the three individuals. Going back to the colors; the color yellow, which is in the painting, might have something to do with the title of the painting. I could be completely wrong but the color yellow is close to the color that is considered nude. Or Duchamp maybe portraying irony with the use of the word nude and covering up the figures with what look like armor. The color of the figure chosen makes it seem richer and vibrant. The color gold itself represents the figures’ opulence. The contrast of the dark background to the brighter figure helps identify the richness and importance of the figure or figures. It also helps the person looking at the painting notice the figures before they can see the staircases, which are much more obvious in shape or sensible design. The stairs are a light brown because it is close to the color yellow. It makes a lot of sense to put yellow and brown together for this piece of art, because it makes it seem like the vibrant figures are in a darker place, and it gives me the feeling that the figures are a little out of place. The dark background seems so different from the figures. But that is what makes me want to look into the painting even more. The different it is the more interesting it seems. The three individuals are going down the stairs which seem to be infinite. There must be a reason why Duchamp chose to make it seem like the figures are going down but not up the stairs. But it isn’t apparent when there isn’t much detail that is realistic. It seems as if he uses a lot of shapes to create one big piece. All the geometric shapes seem to have been given a lot of thought to, which is why the bigger picture has a commonsensical look. The more I look at the painting the more three dimensional it looks. The shapes begin to form this feeling that the person that is looking at the painting is actually there or the figure from the painting is coming out of it. But this effect is easily made through the use of Duchamp’s technique of cubism. Bringing a group of shapes and having them stick out of a painting is easy to do through the use of cubism. It is just strange that Duchamp would have the stairs have such simple shapes. It makes me wonder why he didn’t give the staircases odd designs and different features, or even different colors. But it might have taken person’s, who is looking at the painting, attention from the figures up front to the stairs in the back. Overall the painting has this quality of contrasting the dark parts to the light parts. The lighter part is obviously more noticeable than the darker part. Therefore a person who looks at the painting first sees the figure in the front of the painting that is lighter, than the background, even though the background is easier to make sense of because its coherent object, the stairs.

Cynthia R said...

Flower Painting IV

Untitled Madonna

I chose to write about this image because it caught my attention immediately. It is so lively and full of color. The first thought that came to mind when I saw this piece of artwork was wallpaper from the 1960’s or the pattern on the dress of a woman from the same era. Entitled Flower Painting IV, this piece of artwork shows exactly that, flowers. The image is simply flower after flower after flower. It is interesting how there is really no end to the flowers on the image and one could almost imagine that they continue beyond the borders of the image. Created in 1967 this piece of artwork is described as a mixed media collage. I am guessing that it means that Joe Brainard created this piece of artwork through different techniques such as painting, drawing, and using collages.

Although I am not exactly sure how Brainard created this piece of artwork, I am clear however, on the impact it resulted in. The image gives off this lively feel through its use of all sorts of colors. These colors include black, orange-red, butter yellow, off-white, dark-green, lime green, orange, various shades of pink, and hints of sky and baby blue. At a first glance the image is colorful and stands out, but after staring at it for a while, I got an old-fashioned feeling. The imaged seemed almost sentimental, as if Brainard were reminiscing something when he painted it. The basic picture is that of various types of flowers all layered on top of one another. As I looked closer, I noticed that all of the flowers were fully bloomed and some even seemed to be drooping at an angle. This made me think of the passage of time and how eventually the flowers will begin to wilt away.

The more I stared at Brainard’s image, the more I noticed his use of mostly bold- colored flowers. There are a few soft- pink and off-white small flowers in the image, but they pale in comparison to the larger flowers with jet-black end white centers and orange-red petals. Other flowers that also stood out were the black, orange, and bright yellow flowers in the painting. After looking at other pieces of Brainard’s artwork, especially keeping this one in mind, I have come to the conclusion that he was probably a very bold and outgoing man. This image is very in- your- face and almost loud. It screams colors and patterns. After a while, I imagine the way the flowers continuing in a bold pattern on a wall somewhere.

As I looked through Brainard’s website, I read that flowers and Madonnas were two of his favorite themes. I imagine that the flowers probably have an important meaning in his life. Flower Painting IV is not the only piece of work of Brainard’s that focuses solely on flora. This painting is also not the only image of Brainard’s that has this bold, repetitive theme to it. The flowers keep repeating and seem to pop out at the person looking at them.

Another piece of work of Brainard’s that really incorporates the use of repetition is his untitled (Madonna) painting, which he created in 1966. The first thing that popped out when I first saw this image was that it was a bit more serious in comparison to some of Brainard’s other works. Not only does it include multiple images of the Virgin Mary, but it also uses harsh lines, shapes, and darker colors. While Flower Painting IV used rounder shapes and vibrant colors, this painting uses rough lines and dark colors such as black, dark blue, and winter green. These colors are offset by Brainard’s use of deep orange, and vibrant red. The painting, simply put, is a collage of images of the Virgin holding a baby cut at different angles and placed around the deep reds and oranges that give it a firey feel. Some of the green, black, and blue shapes in the image resemble stained glass that could be found in a church and some of the orange and red shapes resemble the flowers that people often place at the alter of a saint. These shapes give the image an old and religious feeling.

Also interesting was the way that Brainard made the image look old by giving it that wrinkled- paper look. By making it look old, the image somehow looks authentic and important. When I look at it I think of a religious artifact that was found in the ground somewhere. The darker colors also make the image look serious and deep. To be honest, I am not sure what the purpose of the repetition really is. Brainard seems to use it a lot in his painting and I do not understand why. Usually an artist or writer uses repetition to focus on something or to emphasize a point. In this case, what is he trying to get across about the Madonna image?

Another thing that I noticed about the painting is that every time Brainard repeats the image of the Madonna, it is changed a little bit. Either something is cut off, or some of the color has been whited out, but each time the image it a little bit different. Also interesting was how jagged the lines are in this painting. The triangles, squares, and dark lines give the painting a serious and harsh look.

This painting was interesting because when compared to some of Brainard’s other artwork, it is more serious. While Brainard tends to use soft shapes and vibrant colors, in this painting he sets a dark and somewhat somber mood with the dark colors and vintage look he gave the painting. In other instances when he was painted the Madonna, it has been more light-hearted and pop-ish. In the untitled (Good n’ Fruity Madonna), painted only two years later, Brainard once again creates a modern and light-hearted image.

In his two images, Flower Painting IV and untitled (Madonna), Brainard creates two contrasting moods using different shapes, colors, and techniques, while at the same time maintaining his theme of repetition.

Stephen said...

untitled, 1992

The first thing that my eyes are drawn to is the contrast between light and dark in Uelsmann’s photograph. While Uelsmann’s trademark and signature style is his use of black and white film almost exclusively, the clash of color is especially vivid here. The photograph itself is clearly divided into a light area and a dark area. The overall image is one of a tree being reflected in a pool of water. There are, however, several inconsistencies with this overall image. Uelsmann plays with the contrast between lighting. On the top, the dark area features barren hills in varying shades of black and gray. The hills consist of rock, adding to the stony deadness of the upper dark portion of the image. In the background on the right, the horizon features another pitch black stone shape. In the dark area, a single, solitary tree sits on the ground. It is uprooted, lying on its side on its branches, and denuded of leaves. It’s thin scraggly branches protrude skyward, pointing toward a sky that gradually becomes inky black the farther up it goes. The gray dullness of the sky contributes to a sad, dead, and lost feeling, with a landscape devoid of light and life.

As if to form the sharpest juxtaposition, the reflection in the water of the landscape, though one expects it to be like the landscape itself, depicts a light filled reflection. Trees vigorously abound, reflecting, poignantly, an absence of trees on the dark, actual landscape “side” of the image. Reflected sunlight beams from the water surrounded by soft ripples. Though the image is black and white, the light in the reflection turns the gray in the water into a sky blue in the mind’s eye. The trees, though inky black, are given the feeling of pulsing life through the light.

This juxtaposition in the image between light and dark, with a black, barren world reflecting an image that is its thematic opposite, conveys a message to me. The vigorous tree in the reflection reflecting an uprooted, barren tree may comment on the passage of time, noting that time will eventually destroy all things. This present and future image is achieved through the photographer’s skillful manipulation of light, and the seamless blending of two separate images using a darkroom. The image gives me a feeling of hopelessness, as it shows both life and the absence of life in the same image. That one reflects the other is even more of a statement, showing that one leads to the other, or is somehow connected to the other. Life and death (the absence of life) are inextricably linked by this juxtaposing image. Darkness and light, life and the absence of life, vigorous growth and slow decay are all contrasts that can be ascribed to this image and examined by the viewer. The use of light in a black and white image to convey this idea of contrasts is a reflective experience, one that crafts realistic images to create an abstract image.
Remembering Atget, 2000

The first thing that strikes the viewer is the building. Upon viewing this image, the viewer asks, “What is this building?” and “Where is this building?” The building itself contains many architectural details that are interesting to note. Again, Uelsmann uses his trademark black and white to create these images, and although he only uses the black and white scale to create these images, they nevertheless seem to burst with color. The columns are definitely an inky black. The columns give the impression of stateliness and majesty. This impression is reinforced by carved statue of a lion on top of the door that is surrounded by columns, and the detailing on the top of the columns. Though the image is not clear as to the exact materials used in the carving, we assume that due to the carvings’ nature, the material is expensive indeed. Going up, we see that this is some sort of storefront, since we can see the upper floors of a building behind this façade in the building.

The next thing that strikes the viewer is the eyes on the door. The eyes are enclosed within rectangles of separation from the doors, showing a pair of eyes from one person, assumed due to the symmetry of the eyes, the lashes, and the eyebrows. Do the eyes symbolize anything? Anyone? The eyes gaze out from the building, pulling in the viewer in the process.

Finally, the viewer’s eye is drawn toward the graffiti on the foundation of the building. The graffiti provides a surprising contrast to the rest of the building, which seems so majestic. This contrast of graffiti and stately building gives the impression of well maintained but worn by time. The graffiti is not fresh- it blends itself right into the building and becomes yet another feature of the street.
This image is entitled “Remembering Atget.” Atget was a noted photographer who took pictures of Parisian streets and shops. It therefore becomes evident that this photograph is a tribute toward Atget, and that this building is probably a Parisian one, or a comparable façade. The one element that is up for debate is the eyes. Whose eyes are these? Are the eyes Atget’s? Someone else’s? Is there symbolism in the eyes looking out through the doors? I believe so. Perhaps the eyes, representing Atget, are enmeshed within this building as a physical symbol of the relationship that Atget had with the city that he captured behind film. The eyes, at least to me, seem piercing, as if to claim this building as his own, and as if to scrutinize those who view the type of work that Atget is used to. The faint and distinct images in the doors could simply be phantoms of Uelsmann, the photographer, or they can indicate something more.
Overall, this image, with its capture of everyday juxtaposition ingrained and inherent in the building, succeeds in representing the city that Atget was famous for capturing. It holds significance only for those who follow the same line of work as the photographer.

Tzivia H said...

Cubist Still Life with Playing Cards

In the piece “Cubist Still Life with Playing Cards,” one can note Lichtenstein’s use of both cubism and pop art elements. Upon first glance, one may note the color scheme that Lichtenstein employs. What predominates on the right side of the image is a cool palette, with lighter hues of blues, teals, greens, and subtle violets which takes up about 50% of the view. However, the cooler right side of the image is offset, even juxtaposed, by the warmer left side of the image in which Lichtenstein utilizes a combination of bold red, gold, blue, and black. Not only do the colors themselves juxtapose from the left and right side of the image but so too do the patterns of lines that the colors fill. On the left hand side of the image, bold shapes and patterns dominate; there is a recurring diamond pattern that utilizes both an alternating red and black pattern and a gold and white pattern. The patterns traverse the entire height of the image. In each case, the lines are bold and overemphasized lending a whimsical appearance to the shapes, even perhaps reminiscent of a jester’s hat. In the converse, the right hand side of the image utilizes thinner weights of lines usually in the color white, lending an altogether lighter, even airier appearance on the right side. Thin diagonal violet lines stretch down from clouds at the top of the image to about a third of the image and end with what appears to be some sort of white entablature. A similar pattern of teal diagonal lines which end with another entablature rests next to the aforementioned purple pattern. This too starts from the clouds, however, the lines are much shorter in distance. In place of the diamond pattern common on the left hand side, the texture of the right hand side resembles that of grains of wood with wavy lines that at times form oval discs. This is further cemented by the inclusion of a guitar that seems to meld into the background. In other words, the wood texture that was created for the guitar extends beyond the guitar and forms part of the backdrop of the image. The guitar itself is the most prominent shape in the image located in the center and the biggest in size. While the texture resembles that of wood, the color does not and rather reflects the cool palette of the right side of the image; it is in fact teal and the outline of the guitar is white, as if the outline was erased from the wood block. The strings of the guitar however are represented much more boldly than the outline itself, both in color choice and in weight of the lines. The strings are a darker teal than the wood texture and heavier in appearance while the bridge, head, sound hole, and outline of the neck are all black. The body itself of the guitar seems to sink back from the neck and head based on the juxtaposition that was created between the colors. Similarly to this juxtaposition of colors, Lichtenstein used his guitar to create a juxtaposition of shape too. The cooler, lighter color of white which constituted the body of the guitar, was used to make fat, wavy lines, the curves of the guitar embellished and over-exaggerated. In the converse, the neck and the head of the guitar, which utilized a black color, were straight lines, even over-exaggerated to convey their uncurving nature. In this manner, the head of the guitar appears unreasonable, angled off so sharply from the neck. To the left of the guitar is a single music note, however, Lichtenstein reverses the expected colors of the note painting it white on a black background rather than black on a white background; he also seems to be depicting a 128th note. To the left of the note is a white structure shadowed with a sky blue. It consists of an obstructed rectangle with a circle and two cylinders at the top. This abstract shape merely adds to the abstract aura of the image in its entirety. A little below the white structure, still to the left of the guitar, is what appears to constitute the girth of the still life. On top of the wooden texture there appears a book, playing cards, a golf club, and a bottle, each distinctly represented. Out of all the aforementioned images, the bottle is the most conspicuous as it is a deep blue in color, outlined in white rather than black. It is especially noticeable arranged on top of the gold and white diamond pattern, a strip of red, and the wooden texture. The bottle itself appears to be some sort of soda bottle, likely Coke, given its shape: tapering neck and head, with a stouter square body and a skinny horizontal label. Below the bottle is a book, opened horizontally and presenting the word, “GARO,” the rest being obstructed by the wood panel. The same deep blue of the soda bottle is present below the word “GARO” in the shape of a square. The opposite page shows diagonal black lines representing words. There are two playing cards next to the book as well, both simply portrayed. The red diamond card is partially obstructed by the book, while the black clover card is mostly in view but tilted to the side. The tilt in the cards makes them appear as if thrown, which too contributes to the whimsical impression of the image. The left with its jester-like patterns, playing cards, and bright, bold colors appears fanciful and fun. In the converse, the right side of the image with the cooler color scheme and emphasis on the guitar appears more contemplative and reflective. In terms of the cubism of the piece, Lichtenstein seems to be experimenting with the perspective especially in terms of the wooden texture. The guitar is shown face forward however the same wood texture used for the guitar is shown to the side, a perspective impossible to be seen in reality.

Michaela I. said...

The Banksy Flower

When looking at this image the first that captured my eye was obviously the large yellow flower on the wall. This was clearly meant to be the focal point of the artwork. This fact is interesting within itself because it causes the viewer to question why Banksy would want this image emphasized. The flower, since the sixties, has been a symbol of peace. It allows serves as a symbol of nature and innocence. This symbol is put on a street or urban background perhaps to show the contrast or to call for peace or environmental awareness. It could also serve as a reminder of carefree innocence, an idea often lost in the often cold city. Also the size of the flower is enormous. This clearly puts emphasis on the image and could serve to stress the artist’s message. The fact that Banksy decided to draw a flower in an urban environment could be making a statement about urbanization versus nature. The flower is yellow obviously to match the color of the street lines but the interpretation of the color is interesting. On the street, the lines which are color yellow do not induce feelings of happiness until the lines are shaped into a flower. Yellow is characteristically a bright color associated with happiness. One aspect of the picture that I noticed was the subtle curve in the two lines just before they begin to shape the flower. I cannot determine what purpose this would serve but it may be to separate the street lines from the flower lines. Another aspect of the flower includes how the two lines on the street merge to create one holistic image. Therefore one could conclude that the lines are used to show continuation and unity. Concerning the medium, the idea of a flower and what it represents clashes with ideas of graffiti. The flower appears have been done with a spray paint can due to the visible dripping. This creates an interesting contrast to the point where the viewer all most forgets that they are looking at graffiti. The subjects matter clashes with the medium.

As for the surroundings, the wall, besides the flower is beige and rather plain. The flower adds both beauty and intrigue to the normally ignored and simple wall. Banksy could have wanted to draw attention to the area by beautifying it in his own way. The street background or location is contrasted with the conspicuous, huge, bright yellow flower. The difference between the city and nature is showcased. The location that the flower is drawn in seems to be a city but at the same time, residential. This could show a certain degree of disrespect or what critics would call “vandalism”. The location may have been chosen for a bit of shock value since graffiti is not exactly accepted in residential neighborhoods.

After noticing the enormous flower, with closer observation I observed a drawing of a painter next to the flower. The painter is sitting on a bucket holding a long paint brush with yellow paint on one end. The painter is dressed in casual street clothes with a mask across his face. The flower in comparison with the drawing of the spray painter is huge; therefore the emphasis is put on the flower while the emphasis on the painter is detracted. Also Banksy chose to draw a painter in the first place. We all know that Banksy created this piece of artwork so why draw in a painter? Perhaps he wanted to take the attention away from him, maybe the painter serves to symbolize how the artist is minimalized in comparison with his or her artwork, or maybe it was done just to add cleverness to the artwork.

As for the emotions that the image invokes, there exists an array of possible reactions. For me I saw the flower, its color and size included, as a playful, humorous and overall jovial piece of artwork. The amateurish style of the flower specifically brings ideas of childhood innocence to mind. This is contrasted with the painter who appears to be at least, a teenager and who looks rather serious. When looked at more seriously, the flower, as I stated before, could be calling for peace or environmental awareness and in this case gives off a vibe of unity and social awareness.

Pretty Lady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pretty Lady said...

Walking on Egg Shells

At first glance, this Sandy Skoglund's picture "Walking on Egg Shells" I see rich, silky colors: moccasin brown, gold, wheat, chocolate, mud brown, dirty grey, and a tint of brownish-orange. Through her variety of using neutral, brown-tinted colors the overall color seen in the picture is a golden brown. This creates a tranquil and comforting atmosphere, which is ruined once the audience focuses there attention on the animals portrayed in the photograph.

The walls of the picture are tiny square tiles with figures that appear to be Egyptian drawings. The Egyptian-like drawings can represent that Skoglund is implying that there is a story behind the idea of this picture; an idea that someone has possibly thought of before (hence the Egyptian writing, and not something of a newer era). The tiles are a brownish-orange, and the drawings are a mud brown. The tub, sink, toilet, and mirror (the only non living objects in the room) are made of a rough, wrinkled material (like a crumpled construction paper). As opposed to the solid straight walls (both in color and shape), the floor has a variety of colors and shapes. The floor is completely covered with eggs, giving the floor a bumpy and fragile look. The egg colors are wheat white, macadamia beige, and hazelnut brown. There is a trail of broken egg shells, which lead up to where the two women are standing. Clearly, this implies that they have walked on the egg shells; the broken egg shells could have possibly hurt the women while they walked.

There are two naked women standing with their back to us; both are balancing their body weight solemnly on one leg. The woman on the right is getting into a bathtub (which is up against the wall) while holding a towel, while the one on the left is facing a sink. Both women appear nearly identical: their hair is in a tight, black pulled back bun, their skin complex are the same, both have their right leg up. The only differences is that the woman on the left is a little bit taller and slightly fuller than the woman on the right. The women come off as if they are comfortable in their surroundings. They do not appear to be scared or concerned with anything other than themselves; in fact they don't even seem to notice each other and creatures around them. They cast a peaceful aroma, because there muscles are relaxed (shoulders aren't tense), they have there back to the room (meaning they feel safe enough not to be frantically looking around to see if someone or something is coming), there hair is neatly placed in a bun (reasuring the audience that they are patiently going about their tasks), and because Skoglund has there captured the women's legs midway in the air, it appears as if they are going about their daily lives in slow motion.

The women are the furthest "things" in the picture, and to counteract their tall, rich chocolate skin colors, Skoglund adds dirty grey slithering snakes at the bottom of the picture. There are a total of ten snakes crawling aimlessly in the picture; two sets of snake couples are intertwined, creating a sexual appeal, while three other snakes are face-to-face with a rabbit (all rabbits have a moccasin brown color and are standing on their hind legs), the other three snakes are the three closest creatures to the bottom of the screen--or so to say, to the audience. One snake (one of the three that is facing a rabbit) is coming out of the toilet (which is on the left of the picture) and appears to be interacting with the rabbit. The other two snake/rabbit pair are against the wall; one pair is on the right side (the rabbit appears to be using hand signals to talk to the snake, who has the back of his head to the rabbit. The snake appears to be ignoring the rabbit); the other pair is in the far back of the picture (near the sink), and the rabbit almost blends in with the wall. The rabbit looks as if he caressing the snake's "neck"; and the snake appears to be enjoying it. Both the rabbits and the snakes have blue eyes, showing a common ground between these two completely different creatures.

The contrast between human and animal, which Skoglund uses frequently, can be tied in with the feeling first given off by this picture: a warm, comfortable aroma. But once the audience realizes the serpents inhabiting the same room as the humans, the feelings changes to an uneasy, worried feelings--somewhat like walking on egg shells. Once the audience realizes the snakes are not harming the humans, a relaxed feeling washes over the audience. However, the eggs throw off the relaxed feeling once again. Skoglund creates a mixed-emotion picture by juxtaposing elements that are usually not seen together (humans walking on eggs, humans with snakes, snakes with rabbits) in a peaceful environment. This effect generates the question as to why she puts these elements together.

Skoglund's masterpiece is well balanced, both in color and shape. Though the humans are on the upper half of the picture, they are balanced out with the darker, longer snakes at the bottom. The picture is almost symmetrical. The women are parallel to each other (they are standing at a few feet away from the other. The two women are also at the top center of the picture), the two snake couples are nearly side-to-side, and two of the snake/rabbit pair are at the same horizontal level. The fixed wall is balanced out with the jagged ground; while the perplexed feeling of seeing humans and snakes together is balanced with seeing the tranquillity of the women.

Skoglund uses contemporary material to create her picture: eggs, paper, and clay, creating a modernized look. As an audience, I was captivated by the use of vivid colors, patterns, and interesting elements. Skoglund incorporates humans and animals to either tell a story or share an idea of her beliefs (or both). This is one of my favorite pieces by Skoglund.

R. Gallagher said...

note to self: it is after due date

Vanessa G. said...

In Jean-Michel Basquiat's painting Charles The First, he depicts English history the best way he knows best. In the painting, it seems as though it is divided into three sections, vertically, each expressing an artistic version of his subject. My first reaction with the painting was its bright, vivid, and contrasting colors. In the first section, it is all yellow, somewhat a gold tint, with a splash or two of a snowy white. There's also a random splotch of black towards the center of the first column with some writing symbols using cornflower, a powdery blue, and also with scarlet shade. It took me a few moments to realize the word “HALOES FIFTY NINE CENT” spelled across the top of the column. I'm not too sure what he is trying to say with this phrase but I did some quick research and found that most of his artwork reflect money, real life, evil, and more. Since this painting is about Charles I of England, his history of reigning was negative, to the point where he was beheaded. Charles I believed he had the Divine Right directly from Heaven and he also administered plans that were disagreeable and would most likely benefit him in the end. Basquiat probably wrote this in a way to mock Charles I believing that he could purchase his way to Heaven. It's also appropriate to assume that he was mocking him because he put such a low, cheap price of only fifty-nine cents. Also, Basquiat has the name “THOR” boxed with a crown on top of it. Thor is known to be the German god of thunder and protected his German tribe from outside trouble. Basquiat most likely boxed Thor's name and put a crown over his head because Thor contrasts Charles I, since Thor actually helped and protected his people, rather than being selfish. I also noticed the Superman symbol. I'm assuming his references to superheroes are his way of depicting how leaders, or kings, should be or should have been. Jean-Michel Basquiat also added another phrase “MOST KINGS GET THIER HEAD” (I know it's spelled incorrectly but that's how it's written). This phrase sounds incomplete and I'm assuming that he was attempting to say that most kings get their heads chopped off or something of that sort, since that's what his subject Charles I experienced (beheading). Not only that, but next to the phrase is what seems to be a coffin with a body laying on top of it. But then I looked back at it again and realized it says the word “YOUNG”. I see he makes many political statements in his artwork, possibly expressing his views and opinions. The second column's background is a chalky baby blue and gold again. I see that the top half of the column is the chalky sky blue color...possibly to indicate the sky or Heaven. Also, in the middle of the sky are numbers “2-1953”. After looking further into the date, I noticed that it had to do with an art movement, Abstract Expressionism and this is the type of art Jean-Michel Basquiat creates his work on. What also caught my eye while examining the second column is the black splotch in the center with an “S” in blue. I also see another year written down “1994”. It also looks like there's a part of an arm, meaning it was cut off. On top of the hand drawing are the words “FEET” and “HANDS” and “HANDS” is crossed off in a bloody red color. It is evident that there are scribbles all over the painting. The last column is what confuses me the most. It is divided into four horizontal rows. The firs and third box from the top are pitch black. The second and last box are golden yellow. The top box has a “#1” and the word “OPERA” written across it with a neon blue circle floating atop it. I think this is one of Jean-Michel Basquiat's many artistic techniques that he utilizes to portray his artistic expression. The randomness of the figures in his artwork reflect his personality, especially since he is known for being a drug addict. The second box portrays some leaves in the same blue that he has been using previously. Also, the word “CHEROKEE” is written in the box, too—circled as a matter-of-fact. I researched the possible meaning of the word but before I did, my first impression is that it had something to do with the Native American tribe because nature elements (the leaves) were depicted by the word. However, it actually originated from the jazz artist Charlie Parker and the word “CHEROKEE” is one of Charlie Parker's songs on his album. Parker is Basquiat's hero as mentioned in the New York Times Art Review by Roberta Smith. I tried to juggle the possible reasons why Basquiat would include in his drawing his favorite jazz hero, who happened to be his “hero”. But then I realized that it might have some corresponding link to the first column about superheroes and ineffective leaders. I suppose Charlie Parker belongs in that section. The crown under the picture as Roberta Smith says represents Charlie Parker's symbol, which is really a “W” stretched out. I forgot to mention that in the second column, there is a symbol that looks like a sideways “alpha” symbol. I bring this up because I see it in the third column of the last box, too. Alpha means creation or beginning and I think it is possible that he is trying to say that his hero(s) is the beginning of some sort of idea or belief that he possesses. The third box has a giant hand outlined in white aiming downward, like the hand of a “high power” reaching down for something. I am not too sure what the hand could possibly reaching for because the last box looks like scribbled figures. There are scarlet red lines that looks like an attempt to form some type of figure. It makes it a little more difficult that the chalky rose-colored mark is set left of the alpha-resembling symbol. I noticed another feature of the painting that I did not see before. The hand that appeared to be cut off from an arm in the second column looks like it's reaching for the giant hand in the third column. I suppose this means that the small hand represents the smaller things, such as the human population in general reaching for the larger hand, which again represents a “higher power”. Jean-Michel Basquiat's unique artistic impression can be concluded that his inspirations originate from his experiences and society around him, or maybe even what he learned.

Vanessa G. said...

I always have problem doing this but here's the picture
It's called "Charles The First"

Kayla P said...

Drop Sneakers
In this picture done by Shepard Fairey, the only colors are black, white, and a reddish tone. The white is also not pure white, but more of a cream or eggshell color. This picture is very eye-catching to me because of the colors, and the boldness of the shapes. When I first looked, I thought it seemed like a dark red, but as I stare at it, it seems to have pink undertones. It’s between “rose” and “tomato.” It looks like something from war time. It also seems to have a communist style about it. Though it looks like a war time poster, it’s really anti-war. The sneakers have a drawing on the side that looks like fish or perhaps a type of bomb. I think it’s a bomb, because the same image is found on the side of the poster. It looks sort of like a grenade maybe. There is a star on the side that just looks regular at first, but I just realized it was Fairey’s “Andre The Giant” who always has the message “Obey” on his posters. This seems like a subliminal message. That fits in with the general communist feeling of the poster though because it seems to be all about having that feel to it. It has bold lettering. The first word that caught my eye was “Not bombs”. That grabbed me, because there is always so much talk about war. Though these words are at the bottom, since they were not surrounded by any other image, and were blocked off, they were the ones that really popped out. “Not” is a solid white. It shows the importance of the word in the picture. “Bombs” has just the outline of the word. “Drop Sneakers” which is above these words is filled in the opposite way. “Drop” is created from only the outline, where as “sneakers’ is filled in with a solid white. The lines in the images and the lettering are bold. They are also very precise. No line looks out of place. The main image is placed in a perfect circle. There are airplanes dropping sneakers. The planes are painted white, red, and black. The sneakers are also all of those colors. The sneakers are detailed, yet to the bare minimum. Behind it, the sky is not a solid color. Instead it is made of thin white lines. The clouds, which are generally thought of to be white, are instead red. On the right side, opposite the Andre the Giant star is a circle that looks as if it has a car logo on it. It looks somewhat like the Mercedes Benz logo, yet more fleshed out. Everything in this poster is very plain, but because of the use of lines, it seems more detailed at first glance. The shapes are very basic, adding to the communist look. In the top left and right hand corners, it appears that there is a globe and underneath it a grenade perhaps. There are arrows pointing toward both globes. They are not solid circles, but instead a few different lines to show curves and depth. This is the most depth this poster has, because the solid colors do not leave room for shadow and light. This seems to be something common in Fairey’s work, because as a graffiti artist who generally uses a pallet of three to four colors, he doesn’t get a chance to create the light and shadows that, say, a watercolor artist would. The grenades are black, and also have an arrow on them, pointing downwards. This message could either be that the world needs to “drop” bombs, drop in this case meaning to get rid of, or it could literally mean drop bombs. The plane does not looking like a plane that would be used in war time. Instead it looks like one that people would take a trip on, just the average plane. This goes along with the average-ness of sneakers. Sneakers are not something most people would choose for this type of subject matter. Bombs and sneakers are not usually seen in the same light. Perhaps this is what Shepard Fairey was meaning to achieve.

No Thanks
The second picture is done yet again in white, black, and red. Yet, this time, he has added more shadows. It appears as if sunlight is streaming through this mildly gruesome picture. A soldier is holding a dove, a symbol of peace, yet the dove is missing its head. Blood is dripping from the soldier’s mouth. The symbol in which the rays of sun seem to be coming from is an eagle over a skull. The caption underneath reads “No…I’m vegetarian.” Though the soldier wears many medals, as well as a large smile, he also wears a skull on his cap, and the shocking images of the dove, as well as the skull next to the eagle, our symbol of freedom, and finally the newspaper clippings in the background portrays a powerful message. Fairey creates the initial look of a picture perfect government and military, yet once the viewer begins to look, all these things begin to pop out. First, they notice the dove’s head is missing, which then leads to the blood dripping down his face. Soon other things, like the newspaper clippings in the background, the skulls, and the capitalistic look of it all begin to sink in. The reader suddenly notices that this isn’t the picture perfect image they expected it would be. Fairey’s popular Andre the Giant pops out again in this image, yet again, his face in a star. He appears in the badge on the soldier’s left shoulder. Since his message is “obey” this picture seems to grow even more frightening. It appears as if all we are doing is obeying. But who? I believe that is what this picture is asking: who are we really listening to? This smiling happy man says that, yes, he is a vegetarian, yet clearly there is blood dripping from his mouth. Was he so eager to please this higher power that he would so willingly do whatever he was told? This picture is very interesting for many reasons.

CarlaC said...

urano en Casa 4

In the painting Urano en casa 4 by Jorge de la Vega he uses different colors, abstract paintings techniques and textures in his painting. At first glance you are really taken back by the painting it is so much to take in De la Vega uses bold colors in his painting like red, orange, turquoise, blue, light yellow, and grey on a cream colored canvas that he did not completely color but regardless of whether he colored it or not it is actually a part of the painting. Black is also a color that almost hides in this painting while I was looking at it I was so taken in by the other colors and textures I barley noticed it. I was trying to figure out how he mad those textures appear on his painting but I still can not figure it out, the audience would think he just painted it on himself like it was just an optical illusion but if you look closely he actually created the texture out of cloth or paper.

It looks like the painting is just a mess of colors but if you study the contours of the lines and what they create a shape slowly starts forming. The colors reminded me of a circus because how the were really bold and in your face and I had seen this painting before and thought it was fascinating but when I did this assignment I saw something in the painting that I had not seen before or noticed at all there is an elephant in Jorge De la Vega’s painting. So when I thought about it those bold and crazy colors that had reminded me of a circus before now fit perfectly. The painting gives this feeling of hectic ness and stress but at the same time it is really calming.

So if you were to picture it think of this whirl wind of colors on this cream canvas it almost seems like you are being pulled in by this gravitational pull. It gives you this feeling that you want to be a part of it; the viewer is almost hypnotized by it. Then as you see this whirl wind and swirl of colors things almost appear to slow down and you look closely and see this shape start to come through and as you look closer it this animal jumps out at you and elephant. Then your almost thrown back like you can hear its trunk swinging out at you and then this calm appears again and you almost become a part of it like the viewer and the elephant become one. So when this calm replaces again you feel almost satisfied like it changed your mood. It makes the viewer think of the world and how there are so many obstacles, and hurdles to jump. How some times the noise all around you grows so loud you can barley hear yourself breathe let alone think. People always feel like the have to get away from the noise and find some silence by going to the country side or going on vacation or leaving their everyday lives to escape.

After looking at his painting I noticed that when you are surrounded by all this noise and craziness you are able to find yourself and sometimes the noise is more calming then the silence, De la Vega makes you realize that the silence is not always comforting. De la Vega shows you that every day you pass by millions of people and all these faces just go by and no one ever stops to get to know them and life is just like that but that is how you live it.

I wanted to talk about De la Vega’s technique you really need to look at this painting to understand it if you just stare at it nothing come out but when you look at it more than once you start to feel its atmosphere, then you get lost in it and find the true meaning of it, its almost mind blowing to see all the things you had missed before.
The fact that he choose an elephant is really interesting because elephants have a lot of different meanings to them. People say elephants are a symbol for fertility which is interesting to the viewer of the art because could De la Vega be saying something about birth, it is a possibility. Elephants are also a symbol for strength, an elephant ways about two tons so it is easy to see why strength would be a symbol for an elephant.

Wisdom is also something that is connected with elephants, which fits in with the theme of De la Vegas painting because it gives you a new perspective on life. And this elephant’s presence makes the paintings whole purpose be communicated to the viewer. This wisdom given by the elephant gives a whole new meaning it makes the viewer feel as if they are the elephants this strong, and wise being with all this potential and drive to live their life. Elephants are also a symbol for luck, like an elephants presence is a good luck charm. So this gives the painting a feeling of a spiritual sense as well as a metaphorical sense. So obviously De la Vega had many reasons as to why he included and elephant as the animal in his painting other than something else.

In Jorge De la Vega’s painting Urano en Casa 4, he creates this world for his viewer of craziness and hectic-ness to make this feeling of uneasiness but as the viewer looks at the painting they slowly start to see what De la Vega was trying to show them. That our lives are this jumbled, crazy mess but in all of the craziness there is beauty and if you are so narrow minded and can only focus on the bad you miss out on the bigger picture in front of you. Silence is nice because it allows you to get away from your life and think about everything you are going through, but what De la Vega is trying to show you is that the running away to that silence doesn’t always solve your problems sometimes it just makes it worse, and De la Vega does this effortlessly.

CarlaC said...

i hope you received my email and i posted it as soon as i noticed it was not here

emily said...

Pearblossom Highway

When I first looked at David Hockney's photo collage "Pearblossom Highway" the most striking feature was the distortion of the image. It appears to be made up of hundreds or even thousands of squares and rectangles, all of different sizes and shapes. These images overlap and are tilted in all different directions. Despite this, there are no spaces or white areas in the image, and it's a normal rectangular shape. The most prominent and obvious color in the image is the blue that takes up most of the top half of the frame. It's mostly sky blue, appropriately, as it makes up the sky of the landscape. The blue is darker in the middle of each small picture, and as it approaches the edges of the squares gets lighter, even white in some places. Especially around the trees on the left and the signs on the right- the sky is very, very light blue here, and some parts of the squares are actually white. This also happens where the sky meets the horizon around the moutains. However, toward the edges of the entire collage, the sky blue takes on a greener tone. It's almost a sea green color. The mountains just on the horizon are also blue-ish, but are again have green undertones. Specifically in the frame that makes up part of the mountain range, just to the left of the middle of the road, they appear very green. On the left of the picture is a light tan, sandy desert. The grains and pebbles that are part of the sand are visible, in shades of grey, brown, and even black, and are most noticeable in the foreground. The cacti growing in the sand seem to make a sort of reverse perspective triangle, culminating in the largest of them in the center of the right side of the image, directly in the foreground. (There are over 10 cacti visible on this side of the image) The cactus in the foreground is tall and slightly bent to the left. There are two branches coming out of the top of it. The top is dark green on the left, growing lighter toward the right and is almost tan on the far right side. It's made up of what look like pine needles. The trunk of the cactus is tan and also composed of the pine needle like, wispy but probably prickly bits. The ground on the invisible triangle formed by the cacti is darker than the sand near it. There are small shrubs and weeds on the desert floor here, and have the same stringy quality to them as the cactus does. They're almost grey. Just to the left of the big cactus are two sienna brown bigger weeds, and at the base of the trunk is something black that might be part of the cactus that is rotting or might be a dark colored weed. In front of this is a hairy looking plant that is grey on the left and white on the right. On the same side, the ground is clean and tan next to the road in as it approaches the horizon, but in the foreground trash litters the sand. There is a large box casting a small shadow on the sand, what might be a playing card, four small beer bottles, three teal colored cigarette boxes, a larger beer bottle right near the road, a green beer can that is also casting a small shadow and something else that's unidentifiable. The sand takes on a slightly darker shade of tan on the boarder of the desert and the pavement. The road itself is the grey color that faded asphalt takes on; very light, with tan undertones. In the foreground of the left side of the road, gravel and wear is visible on the pavement. Toward the back on the same side, one of the small frames of sand cuts about halfway across the road. The sides of the road are uneven. There is a double yellow line dividing the highway, and a black line runs down the center of the two yellow lines. The right side of the dividing lines the words "Stop Ahead" are painted on the road, with "stop" closes to the front edge of the image, as words are painted on streets for the driver to be able to read the phrase in order. "Stop" is more neatly written than "ahead," although neither word has the razored quality that painted lines on the road have in real life. For some reason the ground is darker under the white painted words, more noticeably under "ahead," where it's very dark grey. "Ahead" looks, actually, more like it says "ahied," as the collaging creates the effect of an extra letter. Just above "ahead" about five squares make up a lighter patch of pavement, that is so tan that it almost blends in to the sand on the right side of the road. In the front right hand corner, just to the right of "stop" is a crushed can of some sort, red and blue with two blue lines horizontally near the top of it. The frames on both sides of the lines are blue-grey, especially as the road extends toward the horizon. The desert on the right side of the highway is filled with more of the same kinds of shrubs as on the left side, however, there is more green on this side-mostly forest green and pea green. There is another big cactus with three branches, and a smaller one father back. Four street signs line this side of the road, and a streetlight is visible in way in the back of the image, just to the left of the center of the road. The biggest sign, closest to the viewer, warns about a stop ahead. It's a mustard yellow diamond with a red octagon outlined in yellow bellow a black arrow. Beneath the diamond is a rectangular piece of the same color, with "stop ahead" printed across it in all capitals. The sign rests on a wooden pole and casts a misshapen shadow to the right. Just beyond this is a faded green sign on a metal post that reads "California 138" and has an arrow with two heads on the lower part of it. Next comes a stop sign that shows up as mostly blue, with the red of the octagon appearing almost black. Just next to this, and clearly on the same depth field, is a street sign that says "Pearblossom hwy" It is slightly taller than the stop sign, and although is probably green with white writing in real life, looks black and the writing has an almost indiscernable extremely pale yellow tint to it.