Sign for a Locksmith
To say I am not an artistic person is not completely accurate; I am not a two dimensionally artistic person. I can appreciate art and the talent that it takes to create beautiful paintings, but I rarely have intense emotional connections to images of things and people I do not know. Three-dimensional art, however, makes sense to me. It has a purpose, functional or not, and, having taken 3D art all four years of high school and worked with a variety of mediums, I can see how much work went into each individual element of an object. Because of this distinction I generally find art galleries and museums to be painful. I have to force myself to think about the paintings. I do not see a painting and just know this is the emotion I am meant to be feeling right now or the artist’s use of light is to symbolize the dreariness in the subject’s heart. But I can see a sculpture and know the artist must have spent ages getting those angles right or these elements were a bitch to assemble. This is what made the Barnes Foundation so refreshing: it was not a typical art museum. I could look at the Renoirs and Cézannes and then look up and see hinges and ladles and one giant key.
Stepping into the Barnes Foundation was nothing short of majestic. I had been looking forward to going to the Barnes for several months; even Cordelia knew how excited I was. Some people say that when you build up something you haven’t experienced in your head, all that happens is that you get disappointed. Fortunately, while I did build the museum up in my head onto a lofty pedestal, “disappointed” was definitely a word I would never use to describe my time at the Barnes Foundation.
I chose Le linge, or The Laundry, painted by Édouard Manet in 1875 to study in isolation. The painting is of a woman and a child doing the laundry in a garden. Impressionism is one of my favorite periods of art – to be honest, it’s probably everyone’s favorite period of art. There’s something about the soft, quick brushstrokes of this art period that makes me feel at ease. The painting of a woman and (possibly) her child creates a personal atmosphere, rendering it a domestic scene typical of many paintings during this time.
The eyes. He is staring at you, at every angle. I was attracted at the first glance of “The post man” by Van Gogh. People will be swamped into his deep eyes with complex emotions. I couldn’t resist sticking to that pair of eyes. At first, I feel the sadness, and then I find a sense of pride and even arrogance inside. (Maybe because he stares at me directly as the way I stare at him for a long time.) The whole painting is full of lines and mixed colors. His mustaches are twisted, curly and dark; his face is not that clear with various tones of colors combined (warm color such as orange, red and pink, cold colors such as cyan, gray and dark green); however, in sharp contrast, his eyes are so clear. The blue eyes are breathtakingly beautiful like a holy lake surrounded by the messed forest. It has a magic power that I can’t move away my sight. After a long time, I find that it is not sad, not arrogant, but innocent. No. It is some kind of innocent grief that being expressed from his eyes.
This weekend I had the good luck to pick the painting that simply does not exist outside of one small side-gallery full of Picassos and Manets. In other words, “The Novice” by Afro Basaldella is incredibly obscure (it was not listed on the Barnes website or even in the artist’s own archive), so I am, unfortunately, required to describe a complex piece without even the luxury of a picture.
Let’s begin this nigh impossible task: The background is two different shades of blue-green. Divided by a red-brown line that bends sharply in the middle of the canvas. Below the line, there is a light greenish color, while above the line the darker blue-green dominates. Littering the entire background are barely noticeable hints of red, like a paint brush dipped in nearly-dry paint and dragged lightly over a few patches of the canvas. From afar, they disappear into the blue-green. In the middle of the picture is a figure of a boy. The figure begins at the bottom with two lines (of the same red-brown color from earlier), which taper slightly inwards to form the neck and sitting on top of this neck is an ovular face. A trapezoidal nose sits in the middle of the face while on the left side of the nose is a black pupil-ed eye with an iris of the same color as the lines. Even further to the left lies a pink ear jutting out from the side of the head. Neither of these features are mirrored on the right side of the face.
I found the conversation on Tuesday interesting about the right to silence and to know what others are thinking. I was uncomfortable with the idea that someone else has the right to know what I’m thinking. I think that in an academic environment there is an obligation to speak but I don’t think we ever should feel that we don’t have the right to be silent. At the same time I think that silence can become a crutch. There is a difference between choosing to be silent as a way to express yourself or your ideas and being silent because its convenient or you don’t want to speak. I think that by attributing such positive things to being silent that it creates an environment where people may just not speak. I still believe and appreciate the right to be silent but I think that it is better to express yourself and speak up if you are able and it is the right thing to do. I still don’t think that anyone has a right to my thoughts but I have an obligation to speak.
Within the beautiful modern architecture of the Barnes Foundation, hundreds of insanely famous artists and masterpieces are showcased. After a few hours of being overwhelmed by the different rooms, I decided to sit down for a bit. I rested on a bench in front of a giant painting by Henri Matisse. I stared at the work, not especially liking what I saw. As I sat there, however, the piece grew on me, and before I knew it, thirty minutes had passed.
Some things I noticed from looking at the painting:
The colors are very vibrant. The contrasting dark green versus pink versus teal drew my attention to it in the first place. When I first glanced at it, it appeared gaudy, clown-like, and like a cry for attention, but I soon noticed the smaller details, like the shading on the man’s face, which showed true skill.
Something that is on my mind since our discussion in class (as well as with the Butler reading) is the nature of mourning. Mourning is not an act that is set to accomplish anything, but rather a kind of reflection and attempt at closure for the sake of oneself. In a way, mourning is more centered on those who mourn rather than the person or object that is being mourned. We mourn, not because of the death or departure of who/what we mourn, but because we have lost something that can no longer provide for us. People never truly mourn for the sake other people or objects. People mourn for the sake of themselves.
I thought Tuesday’s discussion about whether or not a person has a right to know what I am thinking in the classroom was very interesting. Personally, I do not think that anyone has right to my thoughts. There certainly is a requirement to speak for participation reasons but is a requirement the same as a right? My first Serendip web event focused on silence in the classroom and a possible strategy to overcome that silence but one of the essays I read for this web event talked about the vulnerability to silence.
(Here is the reference made in my web event)
In the essay, "The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People's Children,” Lisa Deplit claims that speaking in class should make us “vulnerable enough to allow the world to turn upside down in order to allow the realities of other to edge themselves into our consciousness” (297).
Re-reading my web event with this new context of a right to hear thoughts made me wonder if anyone has a right to my vulnerability. It may not be the intention but it can be a consequence. Forced speech could become forced vulnerability. This may or may not be the thought process of the people who maintain their right to silence but I thought it was an interesting connection.
"in mourning, one discovers horizons, banisters, firmaments, and foundations of life so taken for granted that they were mostly unknown until they were shaken. A mourning being also learns a new temporality...the future is unmoored from parts of the past, thus puncturing conceits of linearity with a different way of living time." (p. 100).
Change is inevitable. A constant. Everything moves. Everything falters? Or does it melt?