Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Final Blog Post

This semester I studied German expressionist artist, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. He was known for his elaborate landscapes and portrait paintings; which employed vibrant color schemes and atypical depictions of reality. I tried to do capture this style by creating four separate pieces, each intended to symbolize one season, then I arranged them into one larger piece. To do so, I decided on one color scheme that I felt represented each season and created a very abstract background using these colors; Kirchner’s work always consisted of very defined brush strokes, so I was sure to do this as well. To kind of contrast with Kirchner’s atypical depiction of typical forms, I decided to put the Earth – a geometric shape -  in the center of the work in an effort to add some order. Being that his work depicted forms in unconventional ways, much of Kirchner’s work felt like it was open to interpretation of the viewer. To try and capture this theme, I didn’t paint landscapes that made it clear what they were trying to depict; I wanted to leave a lot of this interpretation open to the viewer.
As someone who spent several days of elementary school recess in their art teachers’ classroom because my work wasn’t “done right,” I have always kind of hated art and honestly was dreading taking this class (hence my putting it off until my last semester).  Over the semester, however, I grew to really enjoy it because much of what we did was open to our own interpretation; there wasn’t just one way to do anything, which is how art was always taught to me and ultimately why I hated it. I liked how we were encouraged to see things through multiple perspectives and to step outside of our comfort zones. I think the importance of taking a step back and seeing things through alternate perspectives is an important concept learned in this class that I can continue to apply to my everyday life.

Overall, I really enjoyed this class. There were times, however, that it felt very rushed and almost too fast. I know there is a curriculum in place, but I personally think it would be more effective to learn less styles and concepts, and spend more time really getting familiar with a few concepts. Data visualization unit/project, for example, was kind of fun and overall interesting, but I also didn’t really think it was necessary to spend two plus weeks on it. Also, I think it would definitely be helpful to lay out all due dates at the beginning of the semester. The class schedule only went until I think February, so I often found myself overwhelmed because I would have no idea something was due until a day or two before. I also almost never had any idea when the blog posts were due. Again, I really enjoyed your class overall and had a lot of fun… thank you!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Postmodern Mixed Media Project

“We live in a world where there is more and more information, and less and less meaning.”

The denotative meaning  I was trying to convey with this piece was complete chaos and a lot of ambiguity. When I was trying to decide on a focal point, I decided use the bright yellow smiley face towards the middle of the page, because this reminded me of emojis, which have become an acceptable form of communication of sorts in our society today; which, to me, serves as a representation of this quote and the information overload that is our society. My goal was to create a kind of outward spiraling eye-path by adding the two images of a cartoon yelling directly at another plugging her ears; which is a further representation of information overload that I was trying to portray. However, I didn’t want the eye path to be too clear because my goal was for this piece to lack any traditional order and to leave the viewer somewhat confused. As the right spiral eye-path continues, I placed an image of a hammer above a brain clip art with a smile in order to convey the meaning of chaos.  Next, I decided to create a complementary color scheme paint and pastel chalk in blue tones, in order to contrast with the yellow focal point. I then decided to incorporate shades of pink and green, another set of complementary colors, which are analogous to the blue-yellow scheme, in order to further convey the chaos. I felt these two color schemes that work together while simultaneously contrast created a paradox that furthered my meaning. I then used ink sporadically around the page to try to calm down the vibrant colors and make it a little bit less chaotic; I also felt the ink served as a way to emphasize certain areas. 

This quote really stood out to me and helped me arrive at the connotative meaning I wanted to convey. We are exposed to massive amounts of information virtually every waking second of every day that often times its almost impossible to even process what we’re looking at. When I read this quote I thought of how often I catch myself scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, having “liked” several posts, but with little recollection as to what exactly I just looked at, despite having seemingly expressed a public liking of it. This quote reminded me of the data visualization unit we previously covered; that information is really just words, numbers, or characters on its own, and is virtually useless without any meaning or order attached. Our society has become so saturated with information that it often takes away from the meaning of it; we have caused a great deal of information to become almost useless.  I wanted this piece to symbolize the importance of taking a step back or disconnecting, because with the influx of information we are exposed to, it is very difficult to make any sense of it, or to find any meaning from it. I added various hashtags around the page as well, with pretty meaningless words following some of them. I felt this helped portray my connotative meaning,  as hashtags are often mindlessly typed on social media in attempt to increase buzz surrounding a certain topic, or to make it “trend.” Hashtags in many ways perpetuate the mindlessness our society exercises when it comes to viewing endless information with little effort to attach meaning to it. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017


  • Our culture has evolved into a very blended people with multiple belief systems and view points 
  • There isn't really a clear sense differentiation between cultural groups 
  • Constant change; "new realities" constantly erupting 
  • "Postmodernism artistis, just like explorers of past centuries, simply plunge into the unknown and then try to represent it." 
    • I found this to be really interesting; I like the idea that the artists are trying new things and taking risks 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Kubler: "The Shape of Time"

I think Kubler’s analogy of comparing a single artists life as a unit of study to a single travelers experience on a railroad to be very interesting and extremely applicable to the tangible world. What he means is that while a single artist’s life are important to an artwork or a trend in art, the true meaning of it stems so much further beyond; the artists before and after also need to be considered in order to fully understand. 

Another point I found to be really interesting was that similarly to how two scientists of different specialities will likely struggle to understand each other, two painters from different schools have nothing to learn from each other and are incapable of communicating soundly with one another. While I think I understand what Kubler means by this, I personally have a hard time agreeing with it and think it in some ways contradicts his previous point of an artist's biography not being enough information because it does not adequately depict the "whole picture." I feel that as students, we are taught from our earliest years of schooling that we can learn something from everyone. For example, one of my roommates is a biology major and I am a business major, but there have been several instances where things I have learned in my classes have proved to be helpful in her studies and vice versa because it offers a different perspective or new way of thinking. 

Fractured Histories: Ancient Greek Pottery from Haverford's Allen Collection Gallery Opening

 When I first entered the gallery I thought I was just looking at intricately made pieces of pottery. However, after the lecture, I learned that these pieces were sacred to the Ancient Greeks and served many purposes. The designs painted on them were used to depict the beliefs of the Greeks or to tell stories, which I found to be very interesting. I was also pretty amazed by the age of these pieces and how well they’ve withstood the test of time; which I think is a testament to the craftsmanship that was put into them. 

Another thing I found to be really interesting is the functionality of the pieces;  that they weren’t just supposed to be decorative vases. The historian explained how each piece was designed with a specific  use in mind. For example, vases intended to carry oil or other valuable commodities featured a narrow opening at the top so it wouldn’t spill when being poured. Whereas a vase designed to carry water- a more plentiful resource- had a wide opening and handles on either side to make pouring easier. The vase used to carry water is called a hydria and was my favorite piece in the exhibit, I’ve included a photo below.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Data Visualization

I really enjoyed this video because I feel like the topic of data visualization is something that we can all relate to. Today, we are surrounded by an overwhelming amount of data every single day; every message sent or received  on our smart phone, every scroll through Instagram, and even each time we swipe into a building on campus, is generating some form of data. Due to the almost infinite amount of data generated on a daily basis, data visualization is so important because it allows us to make more sense of a this information. 

This video reminded me of a data visualization application called Tableau, which I learned to use In one of my info systems classes. The purpose of this software is to take data from applications such as Excel or Access and create visual representations of the data. When we look at data as just numbers or letters, such as how they appear in an Excel worksheet for example, they’re really just letters and numbers on a page; they don’t make much sense to the human brain. By creating some sort of a visual representation of the same information, however, it allows people to make sense of it and draw important conclusions. 

Monday, February 27, 2017


The first photo below is of a roll of paper towels in front of a white cabinet  with the lights on and the second is the same objects, but with one light switch off. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

John Berger “Ways of Seeing"

“No other kind of relic or text from the past can offer such a direct testimony about the world which surrounded other people at other times. In this respect images are more precise and richer than literature” (10). This quote really resonated with me; because I feel that it in some ways contradicts some of the previous points Berger makes. For example Berger points out that how we, as humans, “see things is affected by what we know or what we believe… We only see what we look at” (8). I feel that these two points contradict each other. While an image is a powerful means of learning about the past, it only really offers us one person’s vision; we are only seeing what the artist wants us to see. We all have our own interpretational bias’ based on the individual events in our lives; all of which cause us to view the world differently. This phenomenon of interpretational bias is the reason I don’t feel images should be seen as the most powerful insight to history. I think they are important and can show us a lot, but they are also somewhat narrow in what they show us; we are not necessarily seeing the “whole picture.” 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Flower Beds in the Dresden Garden

This was by far my favorite painting I saw all day. It is oil on canvas piece was created by German artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner c. 1910. What initially drew me to this piece was the vibrant colors and simple lines, it really seemed to pop off the wall and out of the frame. Kirchner's choice to use such vibrant colors for a landscape, as opposed to Earth tones, to me gives this piece an almost mystical feeling, as you don't typically see such vibrant colors in an average landscape.

Large Cliff with Fish

This oil on canvas piece was made by Henri Matisse in 1920. What I enjoyed most about this piece is the simplicity of lines and colors. Personally, I  felt the simplicity was fitting, as I get the same feeling when viewing a landscape of an ocean or another body of water in real life. 

View of St. Lazare Railway Station, Paris

This oil on canvas piece was created by French artist, Norbert Goeneutte in 1887. I enjoyed this piece because it kind of reminded me of a photograph; as it really seems to capture real, everyday life. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Italo Calvino - "Visibility"

After reading Italo Calvino’s “Visibility,” I have gained new insight to imagination and its importance. One point that particularly stands out to me is “We may distinguish between two types of imaginative process: the one that starts with the words and arrives at the visual image, and the one that starts with the visual image and arrives at its verbal expression” (83). To me, this reminded me of reading a book before it is adapted into a movie, or vice versa. Personally, I feel that the first imaginative process, starting with the word, is so much more powerful. There have been several times I have read and been in awe of a book, but find myself extremely disappointed and almost angry when I watch the movie-version because the visual representation before me just isn’t what I imagined it to be; as it is the visual representation of someone else’s imagination. This article reminded me of Saltz's point of art being an escape from reality. To me, imagination can have the same effect; getting "lost" in a book being a perfect example of this notion. in addition, I feel that art and imagination are, in many ways, one in the same and that one can't really exist without the other.