Friday, November 18, 2011
The Serpent Mound is the piece I found most interesting while flipping through the book. My first thoughts about this was who built this, and why did they build it. The lines created by the mound caught my eye and made me wonder how exactly it was made with such detail that can only be truly seen from high above. I wondered if this was a design made in respect for the dead or a monument to honor the gods. It also made me question if it was a burial mound like the less ornate mounds of Cahokia.
After researching the mound further in the Art Beyond the West book I discovered that the Serpent mound isn't a burial mound but an effigy mount representing the importance of animals in Adena rituals. The books relates it to the Nazca Geoglyphs and it is believed that it was built to be viewed by the gods. The serpent is in an unraveling coil design and appears to be swallowing a large egg. It was built nearing the end of the Hopewell period (about 1070 CE). This is one of the finest examples of a mound effigy in the Mid-West.
My reaction after completing my research of the Serpent Mound still remains that of amazement. The research brought clarification as to what the mound was built for and its representation's significance. I am surprised to find that it is located in Ohio and that it is such a grand example of a mound effigy. I now feel that this work is much more important than I had originally thought.
Information from: Art Beyond the West by Michael Kampen O'Riley
Thursday, November 17, 2011
The Killer Whale by Bill Reid really stood out and caught my eye. The intricate carvings on the whale are very Native American in nature. The whale also has these large and jagged teeth which is not typical of an actual killer whale. The rather large fin on the back of the whale also strikes me as odd because while the back fin does stick out on a killer whale, it has been over exaggerated just as the teeth. I believe when this was constructed in 1984, it was not for any specific purpose except decoration.
In actuality, The Killer Whale by Bill Reid was in fact influenced by Native American culture, Haida to be exact. Reid's family were Haida artists and his Great Uncle was the final Haida artist to work within a traditional society. Reid worked to captivate a sense of purity and still use the traditional style of Haida art with out a direct copy of it. It is said that "the traditional Haida vocabulary of curved, flowing lines and crescent-shaped forms are the individual forms of the whale's anatomy is rendered in light of."
After my research I found that the carvings on the whale were indeed Native American. Yet they were not just Native American decoration, but actually the Haida vocabulary intertwined on the surface of the whale. It was created out of bronze as a decoration over a pool in the Vancouver Aquarium. I was surprised to find that the decorations were in fact the vocabulary of the Haida people. It is such a wonderful piece and is there not only for decoration but actually an insight to a Native American culture that we may not have known otherwise.
Information courtesy of the following link
Picture courtesy of the following link.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
This is the Thillai Nataraj Temple in Chidambaram, India. This temple was created for one of the Hindu gods Shiva. The Thillai Nataraj Temple, is located in the center of the town Chidambaram. The temple grounds spread across 40 acres, and has been a worshiping place of Shiva since the classical period. This temple is one of five Pancha Bootha Sthalams, the holiest Shiva temples that depict one of the five elements. The one that this temple represents is akasha, which in the material world means the basis and essence of all living things.
Some of the cool Architecture of this temple, is that it is built on the center point of the Earth's equator. Two of the other temples mentioned above, and this temple, are all on a straight line on the same longitudinal line. These temples are depicted to represent the human body, the roof of this temple has 26,000 golden tiles, which ironically are the number of breathes a person has in one day. These tiles are put in place by 72,000 nails, which is the amount of invisible ducts that carry energy to the body.
Post written by Matthew Spangler
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Kailasanatha Temple in Ellora, India is an enormous stone structure carved into the cliff side during the Rashtrakuta dynasty. The towering cliffs surround an excavated area nearly the size of a football field. Excavation of the volcanic rock began in 757 and took 100 years to finish. Kailasanatha Temple was dedicated to Shiva as the Lord of Kailasa. The temple is actually a series of caves that have been carved very ornately into several shrines.
Although the temple was originally white washed to symbolize Shiva's snow-covered mountain, all of the natural stone is currently exposed. As one approaches the temple, they are greeted by a series of columns with intricately sculpted statues lining the bottom of the structure. On the top of the temple there is a set of three rings stacked on top of one another. Perched upon these rings are four bull statues that appear to be surrounding some sort of box. To me it seems like they are guarding the structure for Shiva.
(Image from Flickr, Source of factual information Art Beyond the West Second Edition by Michael Kampen O'Riley)
Monday, April 4, 2011
Up until sometime in 1949, Kline's sketches for his paintings were rather small, measuring in inches. He drew on more than just small pads however, choosing to draw on what was on hand. Some of such were: napkins, the backs of bills, or menus. After a fated visit to one of his friends who was utilizing a Bell-Opticon to enlarge small sketches, Franz forever changed. He began drawing on canvas that measured in feet instead. This reflected in his works, as he began to paint increasingly larger scale.
Franz Kooning had to retire in the winter of 1961-62 due to a recurrent illness, which later claimed his life the following May. He was 51 when he passed.
Information from: Franz Kline Memorial Exhibition published by the Washington Gallery of Modern Art.
Image from: www.flickr.com from Nather Bowers' photostream
Willem de Kooning (born April 24, 1904) once started out as a "commercial" artist. He studied in night classes while apprenticing to other commercial artists. In 1926 he became one of many stowaways to travel to the United States, a year later finding himself in Manhattan. During his time here he was inspired by other artists of his time: Arshille Gorky, Franz Kline and, somewhat noticeable in his later work, Jackson Pollack.
His early influences were reflecting European and Mexican Art. However, it wasn't until the early 1930's when he began to explore Abstract Art and started to use simple geometric shapes to convey his voice on canvas. His most controversial art was his pieces of women in the 1950's. de Kooning began to paint exclusively of in later in his career, making abstract forms of the female body. His geometric shapes, painting abstract yet concrete at the same time. His women have ghastly appearances, which suggest sexuality, but at the same time is exploding with color and runaway lines that it can hardly stand for anything. Crowds were intrigued, but also furious at suggesting that women could ever be shown in such a manner.
(above) Seated Woman (1952),
Pencil, Pastel and Oil on two sheets of paper,
12 1/8 x 9 1/2"
Due to his diagnoses of Alzheimzer Disease in 1980, his work began few and far in between, being seen with less substance than his earlier work. As time drew on, de Kooning's work became less active, yet more lucrative at the same time, his earlier pieces selling for millions. He died March 19, 1997, leaving his works of Abstract Expressionism to the masses, to refer to it as how they wanted it to be.
"Whatever an artist's personal feelings are, as soon as an artist fills a certain area on the canvas or circumscribes it, he becomes historical. He acts from or upon other artists"-Willem de Kooning
Sources: 1. http://www.biography.com/articles/Willem-de-Kooning-9270057?part=2 2. http://www.willem-de-kooning.com/ 3. (Quote) http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/w/willem_de_kooning.html Images: 1. (Saturday Night) http://kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu/collection/explore/artwork/847 Copyright: The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artist Right Society (ARS), New York 2.(Seated Woman) http://moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?object_id=33413 Copyright: The Willem de Kooning Foundation/ Arist Right Society (ARS), New York
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Throughout the 1930’s Barnett Newman did a number of works that could be described as an expressionist style, but he eventually destroyed all of them. His first surviving artwork was made in 1945, three years prior to his first art exhibition. Up until this point Newman had studied Philosophy at the College of New York, and worked as a writer, critic, and exhibition organizer. Throughout the 1940’s Newman worked in a very surrealist style, characterized by multi-tonal vibrant monochromatic color separated by thin vertical lines he called “zips.” The zips are used as devices to divide the color, but rather than divide the canvas into separate large paintings, they actually lend unity and structure to the composition as a whole. Later in his life Newman used hard edged areas of flat color, which can be viewed as a source of inspiration for later minimalist works.
The large size of Newman’s paintings is very indicative of his art philosophy. For Newman, he wanted people to view the art and get a sense of the scale, and to also understand that there is a mystery and a metaphysical fact held within the painting. Newman stated with regards to this concept that he and his colleges “favor the simple expression of the complex thought. We are for the large shape because it has the impact of the unequivocal. We wish to reassert the picture plane. We are for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth.” He hoped that his paintings would give his viewers the feeling of their own totality, separateness, and individuality, but at the same time express their connection to all others.
"Barnett Newman." Absolute Astronomy. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Apr 2011.
"Barnett Newman and Frank Stella; Art and the Sublime." The Free Library. N.p., 2008. Web. 3 Apr 2011.
"Chronology of the Artist’s Life." The Barnett Newman Foundation. N.p., 2005. Web. 3 Apr 2011.