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.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent examples! Sometimes it is best, for clarity's sake, to keep in mind that although works from the Realist movement CAN be naturalistic in appearance, that is less important than whether the subject and message convey reality and truth (harsh, ugly, or otherwise). I like your exploration of the influence of Realism in literature and other arts.