Saturday, April 16, 2011

Entry #3

Read about German Expressionism in Chapter 7, study the Expressionistic sculptures featured on pages 152 & 153.

Choose one sculpture that possesses Expressionistic qualities.

Identify the sculpture’s title and artist.

Georg Kolbe
Junge Frau (Young Woman), bronze, 1926

Discuss: What specific emotion or psychological state does your chosen sculpture convey and how, specifically, does the artist express this feeling? Consider medium, size, proportions, texture, line, posture, etc.

I believe Kolbe's Junge Frau (Young Woman) conveys vulnerability, humility, and submissiveness. Koble has positioned the young woman with arms down and head to the side looking over her shoulder, eyes cast down. One hand is turned slightly outward toward the viewer which makes me think that she is pleading with the viewer. Does she want the view to stop gazing upon her? or does she want something more esoteric? Maybe answers to life's unknown questions or a look into her future?

The size of the sculpture as a whole is surprisingly diminutive which adds to the emotional vulnerability of the piece, although the young woman's torso and legs appear to be muscular and strong which creates a kind of tension in what I imagine is the story of the young woman: the strength of her body juxtaposed with the humility of her posture. The slightly lumpy texture of the young woman's skin creates further tension within the piece - tension between youth and maturity; refinement and simplicity.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Entry #2

· After reading Chapter 4, reflect on the Arts & Crafts movement of the 19th & 20th centuries. William Morris, the leader of this movement, wrote and lectured extensively about his concerns for the future of art and aesthetics. In reference to the affect of technology and factories on material culture in England and America, Morris said that the world grew “uglier” day by day. Discuss the following:

· Do you think Morris’ fears have come true? Explain in clear detail.

· Consider the appearance of most of your everyday items: furniture, dishes, clothing. How much of it was mass produced (by a factory)? How much was made by an individual craftsman/woman?

I most certainly agree with Morris' assertion. While mass production has allowed people in the middle and lower class (me) to raise their (my) standard of living it has also mass produced and normalized a certain aesthetic that is void of uniqueness.

Throughout my childhood my mother collected antiques. At first her favorite style was Early American but this shifted as she and my dad began to collect older and older pieces of furniture and collectibles, finally becoming collectors of primitives. These are handcrafted pieces of furniture. The bed I slept on through my teen years was a hand-made rope bed...instead of a box spring the mattress was held by rope stung across pegs on the sides of the bed frame.

This is one of the reason's I've always liked to make my own clothing. I like thinking that I'm the only one in the world wearing my particular sweater, hat, scarf or pair of socks. I may follow a pattern that others have made but something about my knitting will make is unique to me...either the yarn I chose or the way I decide to finish the sleeves. Rarely do I knit a piece exactly as the pattern is written. I have designed one or two pieces which makes them truly unique - hopefully I'll do more in the future.

In terms of my own home, I would say that 90% of what's in it is mass produced. I would like that number to be far less but the (justified) cost of handcrafted items makes that prohibitive for me right now.

I told someone this past week that if I were independently wealthy I would be an AWESOME arts patron!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Entry #1

· As you reflect on the artistic developments described in Chapters 1 & 2, noting that Realism is presented as one of the theoretical foundations of modern art, discuss how Realism’s influence can be seen across various media (painting, sculpture, photography, prints…). Provide specific examples and explain. (Note: Realism does not necessarily equal realistic or naturalistic in reference to art.


Mark Twain's books about Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are examples of Realism in literature. Twain writes phonetically, capturing regional dialect and the characters are all flawed, as are real people. Descriptions of events are realistic to the characters describing them (Huck), as is the voice. Although Twain modeled the main characters after himself and two friends, the stories are fictional. Mark Twain uses realism to show the ugliness of society during the time of slavery.


Realism in theatre is based on the premise of the stage as an environment, rather than as an acting platform. The actors "act" in a way similar to that of everyday behavior as well as deal with the problem and issues of everyday. This is in contrast to theatre prior to the introduction of Realism, which was mostly "melodramas, spectacle plays (disasters, ect.), comic operas, and vaudevilles."


We talked at length in class about examples of Realism in painting and I thought I had a good grasp of what Realism was but when I approached this journal entry I got confused as to what Realism is when it's not 'realistic' and / or 'natural'. Then I came to realize that Impressionism is neither realistic or natural but is still able to convey reality. Van Gogh's Starry Night is a perfect example if this. When viewing the painting there is no doubt as to what the scene is but the way in which it is rendered is far from "realistic" or "natural."


This sculpture at the corner of Xenia Avenue and Corry Street in Yellow Springs, OH is an example of Realism in sculpture. I don't know what it's made of but it is a functional sculpture that serves as a bench. Actually, I think it resembles a couch. It begs the viewer to sit down, get comfortable and watch the world go by. Pieces embedded in the sculpture tell a myriad of 'real' stories about Yellow Springs and the people who live there.


As with Printing we talked at length in class about Realism in Photography. Since I've been struggling with distinguishing Realism that isn't "real" or "natural" I went looking for a photo:

This photograph depicts what we all know as a real bathroom, real penguin, a real man, real ice cubes, but while the man being in the bathtub may be "natural" it is far from natural to be in a bathtub with penguin buried under a pile of ice cubes.

I've learned that the big "R" Realism has many sub-categories. This particular photo would probably fall in the category of surreal-realism.

"My Favorite Artistic Advice" Tales Of Mere Existence

First Post...

...just to post.

Here's hoping this little journal will be a little more inspiring than it's name.