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I consider abstract expressionist/ cubist/ impressionist painting to be the highest form of art. For me, the artist's who worked in this manner broke down painting to it's simplest degree and freed themselves from the cages of the academy. In doing this, painting became a more free - form of creation rather than one to replicate and capture portraiture through. I do think my opinions are partially influenced by culture and society, especially influenced by opinions of those I have learned from. I prefer this art type because it encapsulates me and intrigues me from being able to examine each brushstroke in a piece of art. However, I do not think I would appreciate this type of painting as much if it wasn't for it's high pedestal in museums and in art history textbooks. I think a big part of the reason I am so interested by ab ex/ cubist paintings is that they are the one's I have learned most about throughout highschool and college. While viewing a painting of this demeanor, in example, "Les Demoiselles de Avignon" (Picasso) or "Water Lilies" (Monet), I am immediately drawn into each brushstroke, how one color lays next to another, and how shape is either focused on or taken away from. Many spectators view these paintings as expensive, worthy, and beautiful and in doing that, we as society are catered to hear these things before we see the work with our own eyes. I think that before I had ever seen paintings of these styles, I had pre-fab opinions on what I would think of them.
Laylah Ali and Sarah Sze work in two different mediums yet have similar working styles. Ali's work first struck me because of the small details and her careful way of working. The use of stark colors with simple shapes called more attention to her use of tiny line work within the detailed scarves and head pieces on her figures. Sze's work interested me because of how mathematical everything had to be. I also appreciated her node to nature while in NYC. By making her work to fit in with the natural vegetation that had began growing on the High Line and encouraging birds to then nest and feed on her work, she was incorporating both the city and the natural world into one piece of work. Their working methods may differ, but the artists do have similar ways of thinking about the way they make art. Ali works with gouache on paper and paints different figures that relate to current events and how they affect her. She works in a very organized manner- cutting out images from newspapers, organizing them by categories that make sense in her work, and then doing several preliminary sketches before starting a final painting. Sarah Sze works with different installation materials to create sculptures. Her sculptures are often referred to as "multimedia landscapes". When approaching her work, she builds small scale models and tests different methods to make sure each angle and piece fits perfectly. Ali and Sze are similar in that they both work hard to prepare preliminary models of their work before making the actual finished piece. While Ali's methods are more organizational and thought provoked, Sze's methods are more mathematical and carefully calculated. Something in the Art21 videos I found in common between the two of them was that both artists found that while building their preliminary pieces, the final would change and differ from that. For Ali, her sketches were used to find what details she would keep when working on her larger final piece. For Sze, her small model helped her discover that she liked her measuring methods and wanted those to be carried over into the final piece as well.

Laylah Ali's work makes commentary on events that are happening and how they make her feel. In some ways, her pieces make comments on political protest and violence in todays society. More so, I think she makes her work for the viewer to interpret mostly on their own. For her, the paintings are from what she directly feels and how she is directly affected by things around her. Ali works in ways that force the viewer to insert themselves into the conversation and comment on her work in ways they feel. Contrastingly, Sarah Sze's work is for the viewer to experience. Her work is large in scale and allows a viewer to walk through it and view it from different angles. It is to be approached and then entered as it surrounds one. Her work is mean't to blend in with the city behind it while also adding to the natural vegetation it is put it. The work acted as a bird, butterfly, and insect observatory that allowed visitors to interact with it in space. Sze's work evoked both urban construction and growth of nature.
Hyperrealism is a genre of painting or sculpture that is mean't to resemble real life in an unusual or striking manner. Hyperrealist works typically resemble that of a high- resolution photograph. Ron Mueck constructs hyperrealistic sculptures of human beings while playing with the scale. The sculptures are extremely detailed and captivating up close but may be several times larger or smaller than one would expect.

Mueck plays with the line between beauty and ugliness by large part with the scale of these sculptures. A viewer may become uncomfortable and confused while trying to comprehend exactly what they are looking at. Each of his sculptures are extreme in detail and the viewer gets to experience something that has only been experienced intimately before. Most people do not know exactly what the skin of another looks like when it is in their face and that is exactly what Mueck shows them. This portrayal of intimacy in not only the sculptures themselves, but between the sculpture and viewer is an uncomfortable moment for oneself.

The sculptures themselves also touch on the line of beauty and ugliness. For one to view a such detailed image in 3D of a person, it is new and confusing. Mueck does not stray away from leaving detail behind- one can view wrinkle lines, facial pores, individual hairs, imperfect skin, ect, in his sculptures. Bringing these minor things to the forefront gives the viewer an unexpected- uncomfortable view of a stranger, but also potentially themselves. Most people do not closely examine their skin and features with a magnifying glass but Mueck puts his sculptures out there for us to view as such. By seeing each imperfection and mark in an individuals skin and features, it may almost look ugly. We do not think of our own imperfections as beautiful, but instead lean more towards covering them up and hiding them from strangers. Here, Mueck embraces the 'ugliness' of a human and puts it on show for all to see.

In making these sculptures so hyperrealistic and playing with scale, Mueck reaches into a realm of what viewers might at first be intrigued by, then repulsed the closer they get to his sculptures.
Kiki Smith views herself as a populist artist; she wants her art to be accessible to the many rather than the few. Smith grew up in the working class- among those who had less access to many things. Her movement in making her work accessible and informative was charged by her youth. For a time, Smith worked alongside a group of populist artists- working to make things more accessible and to demystify them. Smith's works do not directly refer to her specific personal history but do relate to her life as a woman.

Smith's work explores the body and she has a special fascination in bodily fluids. This steams from her transparency to Western medicine- in that western medicine makes a separation between parts of the body that function and those that don't. This transfers in to society in which the dysfunctional are separated out and accessibility becomes a class issue. By focusing her works on the human body and it's parts, Smith expands her viewers knowledge by giving them new ways to look at the body, women specifically, and at the animal world. She cross-references religion and fairy tales. Smith, in classifying herself as a populist artist, expresses an interest in not only creating art to be accessed by many, but also creating art that can expand a viewers mind and give them information readily. Smith also addresses her viewers in her work itself. In her subject matter, she does not make images that are specific or a identifiable person. She instead makes subjects that are more general so that more viewers are able to identify with the subjects of her work. She does this so that the viewer can potentially put themselves into the situation.

In her work specifically, Smith works in many modes- but she makes prints for a reason. Smith works with printmaking because they can be multiples and print has a history of being accessible by the masses. This notion is that more people can afford to have a Smith multiple than a one-of-a-kind painting.
Durer's image of Adam and Eve was created using intaglio engraving, this allowed for clean lines and high detail. Durer chose this method so that the print itself would look more like an original drawing than something that could be recreated multiple times. The process makes this print appear as though it might be a graphite drawing. It looks as if it was the artists hand that touched it and it was not in fact a print. Durer chose to this method for business reasons as well and paid engravers to make his printing plate so that he could make more copies to sell. Beckmann chose drypoint intaglio which leaves a rough edge. The lines then appear more irregular than Durer's image of the same subject. Beckmann chose this method because of it's uneven quality of line and expressed the unpredictability and naturalness of the subject matter. In his image, Adam and Eve have already eaten the apple and they are beginning to express a sense of shame in their nakedness. The uncertainty of the line adds to Adam and Eve's own uncertainty of what will happen next. Rembrandt uses the method of Etching. Etching allows for greater control of subtle value changes. In his etching, he brings out details by marring the plate surface more in areas that will be darker. Rembrandt used this method to allow for more shading and detail according to the light in the scene. This method created the scene and allowed for so much detail in the value shifts. This makes the figures and the background seem less flat and more as though it is an image.

The different processes imply different things about Adam and Eve. In Durer's print, Adam and Eve seem strong and statue-like. This does not show if they are worried or uncertain, like in Beckmann's work. Beckmann's process gave into the uncertainty and worries that Adam and Eve were expressing. Rembrandt's print gives a foreshadowing feeling with the deepness of the values. The values allow for the print to give off mystery and action.