Saturday, December 8, 2007

More on Blues M21 by Ann Wolff

This piece is one of my favorites in the "Shy Boy, She Devil and Isis: The Art of Conceptual Craft" exhibition at the MFA. My partner from class, Claudia, gave a great description of it in an earlier post. I think the piece really encapsulates the feeling of sorrow and hardship with the blue hues and the melancholy figure of a face cast inside the glass.

The other glass pieces adjacent to Blues M21 really help to balance out this part of the exhibition with the cold colored pieces surrounding the warm one in the center. The well positioned light behind and underneath the figures really helps to bring out their beauty.
I think that Blues M21 connects with a lot of other pieces not only in the same exhibit but in the entire museum. There are simple links that can be drawn from the medium - glass, there are at least dozens of other glass works in the museum, many in the same exhibit. It can relate to sculpture in the way that even tho it was casted glass, the mold had to be sculpted to achieve the right shape in the casting. As Claudia said it is also a strong piece of modern art, very modern in that it was only made in 2006, and like many other pieces, its "open to many different interpretations based on the viewer alone."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Pelican Feeding Her Young

While I know this was in the original "Drawing: A Broader Definition" gallery, my photographs of the one we found on our own did not transfer to my computer well and did not look great, so since these pictures came out much better, I thought I would post about this piece of art instead. 

This is quite a small painting, made mainly with watercolors, gouage, which is a type of opaque watercolor, and inks. At first glance, I really noticed the contrast of colors, using the warmer reds, oranges and yellows, with a little black, but surrounding it on a mounted white background. Its exhibit is significant, because I feel the white draws your eyes in, when all the other pieces surrounding it were much larger and pronounced. 

I observed it first before reading its title. The colors and layout are what struck me the most. After reading the title, I was able to see that the pelican was infact feeding her young, which at first I thought may be some sort of plant or something. It is extremely detailed, from the designs on the pelican and her young, and pays attention to the fact that it's so small, yet so full of detail. There was no "mood" so to speak that I immediately thought of, but it seems quite serene, just something you may see everyday. We also came to the conclusion that it may be part of a larger piece of work. What tipped us off to that was the fact that it's clearly cut and has boarders, but could have very well been part of something much larger. 

After reading the description and it's mention of the pelican as a connection to Christ in medieval times, which I found extremely interesting, as I had never heard of that before. This also sort of confirmed my thought that it probably was part of a larger work, which may of had religious connotations as well.

While I don't have any pictures of what was directly next to this piece of art, I remember one of them being a very ancient pot, which had engravings of a pig and some sort of bird. The exhibit was infact all animals, and mostly birds were present in the art. Another thing that I noticed was that all the time frames of when the pieces of art were made was a very wide range. Our piece dated to the 19th century, but the pot as I mentioned earlier was thousands of years old. Shows that the same subjects are have been around since the beginning of art, so to speak. Aside from connecting to pieces at the museum that related to animals, it also has that religious connotation that it has going for it. It is also rather abstract, in the way it is presented and in the way it is painted, relying heavily on shape, like triangles but in a form much more free. While the museum had it properly exhibited with other drawings/paintings/forms of art all animal related, it could easily be seen in an exhibit with religious undertones that may not be immediately noticeable, like in the case of this. Also possibly medieval inspired art, even though this was from the United States. 

There are many places in which this piece would fit, but in any gallery, it would catch my attention as being unique and simple, yet complex and symbolic.
-Nicole Labrecque

Monday, December 3, 2007

In Class Today

In class today, we'll look at Scott McCloud's six steps of the creative process:


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ann Wolff's Blues M21

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Given the medium, subject of a distressed face, and color of this piece, I believe it suggests personal struggle and sadness, and perhaps a feeling of entrapment. The face is displayed, eyes shut, within the confines of the square-shaped cast glass. When the viewer looks closely at this artwork, they may notice bubbles from the casting process, as well as many beautiful shades of blue. A shape to the right of the face covers nearly the entirety of its features. There is a sense of slumber and peacefulness in this work.

The surroundings of this art piece, in my opinion, only add to the experience, if anything. Because this piece is so powerful alone, it is difficult to allow its surroundings to have any effect on the experience. Both pieces to it’s left are also made of glass. The object directly to its left is a striking color of orange, while the blue piece next to that balances out the three, as it is nearly the same color of our piece.

This gallery is a perfect one for Ann Wolff’s Blues M21. This exhibition features the collection of Anita and Ronald Wornick. These pieces are all contemporary artworks, varying in medium, size and background. While many of these pieces are similar to Blues M21 in individuality and beauty, each piece is easy to experience without distraction thanks to simple arranging of the art and a very large gallery space. As I remember, it is at least four large rooms, with many walls to create intimate corners for pieces. I feel that this space does not in any way limit interpretations of this work.

This work connects with many pieces in the museum as it is a strong individual piece of modern art open to many different interpretations based on the viewer alone.

Claudia Carty

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Pablo Picasso was a Spanish Communist Exiled in France, according to his quote "I am a communist and my painting is a communist painting. But if I were a shoemaker, royalist or communist or anything else, I would not necessarily hammer my shoes in any special way to sho my politics" on an interview in 1945, besides becoming a member of the French Communist party. 
This period was very controversial in Europe for the ascent of the General Fransisco Franco to the power in Spain after the Spanish Civil War, the anti-communist alliance with Hitler and the Armies of Mussolini during WWII in which Franco participated with the Condor Legion that supported Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. He was also supported by American Troops and Catholic Church as a Martyr of War fighting atheist Communist in Europe. The executions authorized by Franco over-passed the 70.000 lives and brought a massive immigration to the American continent and France mostly that icluded many artist knowned as the Generation of 27', that included artist as Federico Garcia Lorca, Raphael Alberti, just to name a few.
Is not in any records that in this period Picasso was a member of the Generation of 27', because he remained as a pasifist during the years of Franco but he used to talk bad about him and clearly being an enemy of the Spanish Ruler.
With all of this Historical and Political Background is where i build the interpretation of THE GREEN FISH ON A WHITE PLATE located at the MFA. 
Picasso whent thought different stages of Cubist art, and his thinking as a communist and an exile during the rule of terror in Spain, he presents a marble ceramic fish, that is grotesc in size and relieve, on a simple white dish. Because of Picassos "African cubist period" this dish can be an interpretation of Spain, that has being the European country that has being conected with the roots of africa and mediterranean culiany traditions. Plates in south spain are plain, not like the ones of French or German that had been Adorned on various geometrical and heavy designs.
The fish for its size and placement gives a lot of sence of the Ichthys (that is the Greek symbol of Chist *the Christian fish*) that if we link it to picasso has a perfect concordance with the cubist drawings of picasso like the bull or the minotaur.
if we link it togheter FRANCO, SPAIN, ABUNDANCE, CHRISTIANITY, PICASSO, EXILE, we can interprete this sculpure as a critique of the Abuse and Exesive power of the Spanish Dictator over his people in early XX century that ruled a Catholic Anti-Communist Spain.

Steven Dagenais

Monday, November 26, 2007

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


Today's activity asks you think your way outside of the boxes of interpretation, and combine the skills of interpretation we practiced during our last trip to the MFA with ideas about how the possibilities offered by digital media can create new ways of seeing.

Discuss each question with your partner.

1) Go to the Trustman Galleries to the Special Exhibition “Drawing: A Broader Definition.” First, isolate one work and develop an interpretation of its meaning. Then consider how the exhibition provides a context for interpreting that piece by the way it groups the pieces. With your partner, discuss how the individual piece is related to the larger work, and how isolating it or seeing it in context changes your interpretation. Consider how the works are displayed in the installation space as well as the larger image they make up when you see them together.

2) Now go to another gallery in the museum and choose an individual work. With your partner, offer an interpretation of the work.

3) Now shift your attention to what is on either side (or around) the work you chose for #2. How does looking at the work in the context provided by its display in the museum suggest new interpretations? Take a picture of the works if you have a camera phone.

4) Then move your attention to the gallery the work is in. How does the gallery as a whole provide a context that creates new interpretations? Or do the contexts limit interpretations?

5) This is the biggest leap you will have to make, and indeed it does take you outside the boxes of the frame, the wall, the gallery, the museum and into the imaginary realm of cyberspace, where physical proximity doesn’t matter, but the connections or links between things do. In the book Interface Culture : How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate, Steven Johnson explains, “As the word suggests, a link is a way of drawing connections between things, a way of forging semantic relationships” (Steven Johnson 492). How might the work you chose for #2 be linked to other works in the museum? Think of 2 or 3 links, and draw a diagram of them. Then, later, write a journal entry that explains the new interpretations that can be made by the connections your links suggest. How are they different (or not) from the connections created by the exhibitions in the museum? Next week, post your entry on our class blog.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Welcome to Our Class Blog/VisCult Fall 07

This is the class blog for LHUM 333: Approaches to Visual Culture, at Berklee College of Music in the Fall 2007 semester.

Course Description: Images are everywhere and they shape our ideas, values, and desires. How has the image come to be so powerful? How can we navigate the barrage of still and moving images? We will explore a range of critical and theoretical approaches to understanding the meanings we make of images, icons, and visual representations.

“Visual culture” is a term that includes what has traditionally been thought of as the “fine” arts as well as more “popular” forms of visible media such as comics, advertising, television, film, decorative arts, video, installations, performance art, and digital and new media art.

This course is based on the belief that learning about art, media, and culture happened best when we combine critical and creative work. In other words, you have to make visual culture as well as read about it, analyze it, and interpret it. Moreover, this course asks you to think of yourself as an artist in the broadest sense of the word. Artists show us what we’ve not perceived before, or new things about what’s familiar. Therefore, assignments will be both analytical and creative, and will incorporate writing, drawing, and collage. Don’t worry about your artistic talent—you won’t be graded on your artistic ability, but on your artistic sensibility!