Monday, March 18, 2013
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Friday, March 8, 2013
Above the Water, Yucatan
Oil on canvas
The painting might be an abstract interpretation of both the physical landscape of the Yucatán peninsula, with its emerald jungles and stunning coastlines, and the cultural landscape of that area. The alarming variety of pictorial elements seem to bear few similarities besides being on the same canvas, much like the many peoples of the Yucatan share that space. Native Americans, impoverished Latinos, and wealthy tourists inhabit the peninsula much like bright green, magenta, and muted brown co inhabit the painting. But like the history of the Yucatan, the composition is violent and jarring, with sharp vertical lines slice through the dazzling areas of pure color much like the Yucatan itself has been ceaselessly haunted by violence and intrusion. Above the Water, Yucatan presents a clash of colors and forms that truly forces the audience to observe beauty among great chaos.
Robert Polidori, Courtyard (1997). Photograph
Polidori’s photograph depicts a polychromatic scene of a residence area in Havana, Cuba. A large proportion of the background consists of the outer look of the residence buildings, such as white-bluish wall with mass areas of rust, semitransparent windows, and exposed bricks. At the top of the photograph, a small portion of high key bluish sky is presented in the middle and above the wall of the buildings. Attached to the wall at the top center of the photo are two parallel metal water pipes (maybe?), with a segment at the end of the left pipe sloping down towards the roof above the stairs. The dark wooden (or tile?) roof slopes down from the left to the right and under the roof is an area of low key greenish water-stained wall. The greenish color of the wall continues to the middle part of left side wall, connected by a cluster of green leaves of a plant. Besides, the darkness of the color of the wall increases gradually as does the darkness of the color of the roof. The two progressions of colors create a visual consistency in the photograph. On both sides, the wall of the buildings seems sloping upwards due to the effect of linear perspective. On the left side, there is a vertical stripe of low-value colored water stain, in contrast to the light color of the wall. Likewise, on the right, the low value and high intensity of the color of the eroded wooden structure contrasts against the light color of the wall. However, the two complementary colors—a dark orange and brownish color and a light bluish color—generate a harmonious visual effect. In general, there are three major colors presented in the background: a high-valued bluish white, a high-valued orange and a relatively high-valued green. The use of complementary and analogous colors creates a polychromatic scene in harmony.
Regarding the line composition, the majority of the lines in the background are geometric, and within these straight lines are vertical, horizontal and diagonal (the roof and a segment of the left water pipe). A rope hanging from the top of the left wall to the right, two ropes (or electric wires?) hanging down from the wooden structure, and the fan-shaped windows are three compositions of organic lines. Furthermore, by arranging the buildings, the roof, the stairs the wooden structure, and the little balcony on the left side wall at different levels of vertical location, Polidori creates a three-dimensional spatial visual effect. Also, in the middle area at the top of the piece, the photographer extends the space even further by including a view of the buildings behind the scene through a linear perspective.
What makes this piece more interesting is the bottom half of the photograph, which depicts the major characters, the two boys, and living plants. The value of the color presented in this half of the photo is relatively low and the intensity of the color is high; that is, the color is darker and more saturated as opposed to the light color at the top level of the piece. In this way, Polidori achieves a spatial composition by shifting the values of the colors through an atmospheric perspective because the closer the object is, the darker it is.
Polidori expresses the concept of this photograph by leaving certain objects or parts of objects vague. For example, there is a blurry contour of a lady in a white dress (maybe?) on the stairs, and she is going down the stairs with her head turning back. Also, if look closer, we can see that the contour of the two boys’ hands and arms is vague and thus we could assume that the photo was taken at the moment they were doing the poses. At this point, although these people are static, the vagueness suggests a potential of movement and makes the entire scene more active. The trees, all bending towards the left, are another factor that contributes to the movement and the liveliness of the photograph; besides, the various shapes of the leaves add more diversity to the composition of lines. In contrast, the contour of the fountain is relatively clear and there is no water flowing; therefore, it suggests a sense of calmness and stagnation.
|Unknown location on the 800 block of North Robertson Street. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA 2005-06 - Robert Polidori|
The first thing one will notice about the photograph/printing is that it is a 3-dimensional view of a room in a rathe chaotic state. The roof is either unfinished or has fallen in. The wallpaper has begun to unravel and fall down as well. In addition there are a numerous chairs and other broken items all on around the floor. Even the pictures that remain on the wall appear to be damaged, crooked and defaced.
Given the time the photograph was taken and the chaotic state of the room, one can draw the conclusion that this was taken post Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans at the end of August. Polidori then moved to New Orleans to shoot photographs of the devastation for The New Yorker. He stayed longer than first planned, then went back and forth for weeks, taking hundreds of pictures with a large-format camera that produced wide detailed color photographs.
This particular photograph depicts the devastation that nature caused on the people of New Orleans. While there are no people in the photograph, it is quite clear that this room was lived in at one point in time and are now abandoned. I feel that this painting shows that sometimes life is not fair and that nature can be both beautiful but also destructive. All artists, make sense of a world that is often senseless. They derive beauty from destruction, art from meaningless objects, and can even turn victims of pain into objects of tribute.
Larry Joseph Homolka, Above the Water, Yucatan (1989). Oil on Canvas (46” x52”)
Homolka's large oil on canvas, portrays a variety of linear forms. These linear forms represent a spectrum of structure ranging from steadfast, heavy lines to linear shapes whose forms are created by the parameters defined by other figures. It appears as if some lines are more deliberately placed than others.Brush stroke aids in this idea by interacting with linear formations. Some line formations are unmistakably structured and defined; whereas some lines are solely dependent on the created illusion by the varying tints that the artist's varying brush strokes establish. Homolka utilizes a medley of varying hues which, combined with the array of linear formations, which create an interesting depth to the piece. Spatial boundaries are explored through the fluid movement of colors and linear size. For example, the prominent vertical black rectangle (a focal point of the piece) creates a window into another dimension. Its slanted portrayal allows the viewer to shift from a flat perspective into an additive illusion of a third dimension. Spatial contrast is also created through hues. Homolka juxtaposes varying blue values in the bottom right of the piece. This color contrast creates a boundary which adds another layer of depth as the values play off one another. The use of tint also creates almost three dimensional-like areas where a slightly organic depth is hinted at.
The use of perspective in color in this abstracted form could potentially overwhelm the viewer, given the scale of the piece. However, the work is located in a wide, open hallway on the first floor of Bucksbaum. The opposite wall is paneled with windows which increases the luminosity of the piece. The eye harmoniously follows the piece, in part due to the continuity of the lines merging into one another. When staring at the focal point (horizontal, central), I begin to see depths within depths which is an interesting effect that mimics what I feel when I looking down from a high vantage point. I see dimensions lose distinctness, merge amongst themselves, and additionally new dimensions materialize.
Without a title the viewer would have a difficult time deciphering the image. Thus, the title is an important element of the piece. It elucidates what is actually being displayed by giving the abstraction a contextual location and perspective. The colors emulate a sense of water (perhaps the sea?), sand, cliffs, and perhaps a variety of common flora and fauna. After reading the title and then looking at the piece, I can relate the metaphysical elements into recognizable scenery. When I examine the piece I see a landscape containing a body of water in the distance with perhaps cliffs or maybe street scene with alleyways in the forefront. Of course, with this style of artwork, much room is left for various interpretations.
artist name William Hogarth
title of work O, the Roast Beef of Old England
date created 1749
O, the Roast Beef of Old England is an engraving by the incredible William Hogarth (we just picked up a lifetime print and it is awesome.) It was originally a painting, and then translated into an engraving shortly after. The print is a scene that takes place in England, as the name suggests. The print makes use of a range of artistic elements to draw the viewer in to the subject matter, and leave them pondering the potential content of the piece. On the surface, the print depicts an aproned man carrying a large knuckle of roast beef on a spike presumably towards some kind of dining establishment. This is most definitely the focal point of the piece, though through the use of perspective the artist creates an equally interesting foreground and background. In the foreground a number of demonic looking women stare at the face of a manta ray. Their faces seem to be morphing into one homologous form mirroring that of the creature. Hogarth uses faces throughout the piece both create implied lines focusing on the giant piece of meet thus leading the viewer to the focal point. Hogarth also displays a wide range of facial expressions ranging from perversion (on the friar) to utter desolation (the man in the foreground on the right side of the piece). This sets an atmosphere of wonder, though with slightly disconcerting undertones since the majority of the faces are intensely unpleasant to look at.
Concretely suggesting the content of the piece is a bit difficult given how much is going on at once in the picture. It seems as if the piece of meat is the main point of contention given that the soldiers look at it being carried away from them with protest as they drink their presumably undesirable soup. If a famished soldier is wantonly pouring some out onto the ground it surely cannot be of that good. Passively in the background some religious elements are brought into the piece. Perhaps Hogarth is making the statement that religion was less important than the worldly needs of hunger and poverty, if the location is taken literally when determining possible meaning.
Any Act Red – Bruce E. Smith
Acrylic on canvas
This is an acrylic painting done by Bruce E. Smith, titled Any Act Red and, if you so choose, you can find it on the western side of Bucksbaum. There’s a lot going on here. The most identifiable part of this painting is the girl in the left hand corner. She is holding some kind of cup/can in her left hand and painting the headboard of a bed with her right. This is no ordinary bed, however. Alas, it lacks a mattress. The frame is partially painted with white, red, yellow and pink. There is a break in the foot of the bed, as well. The girl is wearing a blue dress with a white collar, belt and stockings. Her skin is also white and she pales in comparison to her wavy black hair and black shoes.
The rest of the image is composed of a variety of shapes, paint smudges, numerals and letters. Directly above the girl, the word “NAME” is printed and he number 10 has been partially painted over with white paint that is dripping on her head. There are many red splotches of paint, including one below the bed. Behind the girl and continuing into the right corner of the painting, there is some kind of structure behind her. Thinking logically, I’m going to say they are two pieces of furniture, because I think she’s in a bedroom. What appears to be a dresser also has a red splotch on the front where the drawers are would be located. Scattered on these structures and throughout the rest of the painting are lots “B”s and “BB”s. There are also the words “OR”, “OVER”, “HER”, “RED”, and “ACT”. “ABC” is painted in large letters on the far right side and in smaller letters, “ANY ACT RED BY HER TEN OR EPERGNE” is painted at the bottom.
So that’s what it looks like. Now I’ll tell you what I think the hidden meanings and secrets are. What comes to mind immediately when I look at this is Color by Numbers. The numbers and letters seem to be instructing someone (the viewer/the girl/both simultaneously). The red splotches indicate to me that those areas will be painted entirely in red at a later point, because in Color by Numbers, you often mark a spot with a dab of color so you’ll remember to do it later. The word “NAME” and the “ABC” remind me school, because we learn the alphabet in school and we have to put our name of every single damn activity paper.
There is one red splotch beneath the bed and for some reason it appears to be blood to me. I don’t find the rest of this painting daunting, so that seems unfitting. But I see what I see - and that’s a little pool of blood.
The girl isn’t wearing clothes that are worn nowadays. I’d say it’s more Victorian era. I’m unsure why the artist chose to depict her in historical attire. Maybe Color by Numbers is an activity more closely associated with their time period rather than present times. She’s also completely oblivious to the paint dripping on her head.
When considering the entire piece, I get the impression that this is a work-in-progress and that it has to do with childhood. I like it because the Color by Numbers thing engages the viewer. It’s like a puzzle that we have to finish. The only thing that bothers me is the unexplained use of “RED”. It’s in the title and on the painting, but I can’t figure out its importance. – Hannah Kelley
Polidori depicts a very ornate white door with a security camera and a bright red box, which I am assuming is some type of fire alarm in his photograph “Security Camera and Boiserie Detail, Grand Cabinet de Madame Victoire, (54)”. It is unclear what that red box actually is, since the writing is not big enough to see. But that red box does matches red wire coming out of the security camera, with a black wire next to it. The camera is a light gray with a darker gray lenses, it points at a 45, give or take a few degrees, angle out from the all white walls. It juts out of the wall, on a white pedestal, next to what appears to be a thin piece of wood right in the corner. The only other color in the picture is that of the golden hinges, and the golden, what I think is a lock. Both of which are perpendicular. Everything else is backed by floral design, which constants with the very strict lines of the doors and walls. But the most action show up right near the camera. Where a cherub is encased in a floral pattern with fruits looking objects. The last object that saw was the oval door handle and keyhole that is not quite as bright as the hinges and lock. The wall and hinges and lock looks worn and of a style that is I find to be old fashion.
The focal points seems to be the camera and red box. The picture seems very still and private in a way. It doses not seem that the door will open anytime soon and that the camera is actually looking at something of extreme interesting, to that point that the camera is personified. I find that he gets that personified effect by the juxtaposition of the parallel lines, either horizontally or vertically and faded out design of background, and the 45 degree angle of a dark camera. But we know it not private since there is name tag like object near the door frame, which leads me to believe that this is public domain. The camera also juxtaposes, as a modern piece of technology, against the old fashion design of the walls. Then the two red objects, the wire and box, gives a boldness to the picture. I feel that it would be boring without that red box and wire. The door handle shows that what ever is happening in this room is happening by choice, since they are there by choice. Also since that door handle is oval, while very small and vaguely dull, gives an interest to that part of the picture.
For me the bright white box under the camera is distracting since it doesn't just fade into the background or stand out like the red box does. It is just seems to be there not really adding anything. In fact, I feel that it detracts from the sstringency of piece.
Robert Polidori, Salles d’Afrique, Portrait of Louis XVI by Callet #2, Chateau de Versailles (2007). Color Photograph.
This photograph shows a painted portrait of Louis XVI propped up against a wheeled trolley. This painting is placed in a wooden frame, and interestingly enough, the painting is laid horizontally in a clockwise manner on the trolley. In the background, there is an intersection between two walls – the paint on each wall seems to be decaying. There is another painting of what seems like either desert oasis/camp or Native American scenery, but this painting is displayed hung up on the right wall. The portrait of Louis XVI is positioned in front of this painting, however, and hides a large part of it from view within the photograph. The floor of the room seems to have a wooden finish, with rectangular panels arranged in an angular pattern. There is also what seems like rolled up paper lying horizontally on the ground towards the bottom left hand side of the photograph. It has to be said that there are almost no organic lines within this photograph. The photographer uses the overlap between the two paintings to create an illusion of depth. The intersection between the two walls in the background also contributes to this effect. The light in this photograph seems to be coming from the top left hand corner – this can be seen through the position of the shadows cast by the portrait. This seems to be a good position, as the photographed area as a whole seems decently lit. The use of color around the photograph is also interesting, as the room seems to consist of mostly cool colors. However, there is an object (probably a pillow) within the portrait, which seems to be the most warmly colored spot in the entire photograph, and jumps out towards the eye. The decay on the walls, as well as the rolled up paper on the ground (which could be another painting) suggests to me that the subject here is a room, which is being emptied, probably for renovation. Also, the horizontal placement of the portrait on the wheeled trolley suggests that it is about to be moved from its original position (its placement seems to be the most efficient way of placing it on the trolley). The positioning of the trolley and portrait at the forefront of the photograph suggests to me a potential for movement/action, which further supports my view that the painting is about to be moved out of the subject area, and that area is about to be cleared.