Saturday, October 19, 2013

Four, three dimensional circles stand on their own in a continuous sequence, five inches apart. The circles are made of polished wood, and the inner part of the circle is painted a dark periwinkle blue. None of the four circles are the same size. The furthest circle on the right is the smallest and as the viewers eye makes it way towards the left side, the circles get larger. The fourth circle from the left is the the largest circle out of all of them, and the last circle is only slightly smaller. The artist choice to place the largest circle towards the center, suggests that the artist was playing with the different levels of the within the ground, and adds depth to the installation. From afar the circles almost appear perfectly cut, but when observed closely the imperfections of the circles are noticeable, playing with the idea of the imperfection in the shape. The circles occupy the center space of the rotunda in Bucksbaum, showing that the artist wanted his installation to stop the people who are entering or passing by and question why it was there. The four circles are placed on the ground making the viewer look down on the piece. The florescent lighting that is in the rotunda doesn’t add or change the way that the installation is displayed. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Formal Description: Milk

Milk, a contemporary wall-hanging sculpture 8.2 feet long 2.4 feet tall, now located in the Faulconer Gallery, was made by artists Lucy + Jorge Orta in June, 2010. The sculpture is a large collection of seventeen free-standing cast-aluminum milk containers with a variety of shapes, patterns, and heights. The white containers are placed in a row on a long black shelf with glassy surface.
The milk containers are designed based on different geometric forms such as cylinders, pouch-shapes, rectangular prisms, cones, and cubes. Most of the milk containers’ bodies are rounded and taper from where the ridging ends and the edges smooth out to the top.
On close inspection, one can observe the artists’ sensitivity to detail, as displayed in the caps, handles, logos, and patterns. Every cap is highly detailed and has regular vertical ridges that imitate steel and plastic. On the bodies, the two artists made sunken ridges and dashed lines to vary and decorate each container. Two pouch-shaped bags have uneven, natural wrinkles that suggest the idea of fluid inside. Their surfaces are relatively rough compared with others and there are some barely perceptible creases on them. The artists made perceptible logos on the front side of two of the cylindrical bottles. With epoxy painting and meticulous shaping, the milk containers are realistically mimicking other materials such as plastic, glass, and steel.
    The use of black and white color makes an obvious visual contrast that also contributes to the overall success of the artists in creating an accurate representation of milk containers. The interaction of contrasting colors emphasizes on the contours and shape and establishes a prominent effect on the sculpture’s dominance and attractiveness. In summary, the optimal variation of containers makes the entire sculpture neither monotonous nor chaotic, and the designs made by Lucy+Jorge Orta create a quiet and contemplative artistic unity for viewers.

Danielle Huebner Rubbing Project

Danielle Huebner Blind Map Project

Merlin Mathews Blind Map

Merlin Mathews Rub/Smear Project

Daja Tyree-Smear Project

Daja Tyree-Wire Project

Daja Tyree-Blind Map Drawing

"I Am What I Eat" Description

I Am What I Eat, by Scott Blake, is a large collection of 32 hand-painted canvases that, together, make a rectangle about 16 feet long by 9 feet tall. The display is 2 dimensional in that it is made up of paintings, though it is 3 dimensional in that it is made up of a collection of canvases juxtaposed rather than one large canvas. Each canvas has a simple painted barcode on it. The barcodes are subtly distinct from one another in line variation and numbers, though compositionally, the black and white color scheme and similarities in patterns across all the canvases provide a high degree of repetition. Similarly, looking at all of the canvases together, the space between the paintings creates a kind of grid effect, further emphasizing the repetition of color and pattern. The brush strokes are very precise, making the paintings look, from afar, like exact replications of computer-generated bar codes, but up lose, it becomes clear that the artist took the time to intricately and impeccably paint each line, rectangle, and number with a steady hand. There is variation in the thickness of the many horizontal lines that cross each painting. On the right hand side, written sideways in a vertical fashion, there is a 10-digit number with two numbers on either corner surrounding it. These numbers provide round shapes that contrast with the straight lines to their left. The choice by the artist to put the numbers on the side rather than on the bottom—the way we are used to reading numbers, without turning our heads—draws the eye to the lines and variation in thickness rather than to the individual digits. A thick white border surrounds the rectangle made up of lines and numbers, which contrasts with the dark shadows case by the canvases on the wall behind each painting, giving each piece a slight 3rd dimension. The title, I am What I Eat, suggests that these paintings are barcodes of food consumed by the artist.

Art Description: Store Buyout

“Store Buyout,” the collaborative work of five artists (Hal Kirkland, Kyle MacDonald, Gary LaChance, Jody Gnant, and Matt Fiddler) is currently on display in Grinnell College’s Faulconer Gallery. It is a performance piece documented in two parts. First, a television screen plays a repeating, 2 minute and 58 second montage of the artists purchasing every single item from a small, independently owned New York City grocery store, “Hercules Fancy Grocery.” Beside it, the original receipt of purchase, which reaches 57 feet, is displayed on a roll inside a glass case, serving as a physical record of the events represented onscreen. Two pairs of headphones are mounted under the television, through which viewers can listen to an accompanying audio track which layers the sounds of the artists explaining and executing their project with the song “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Lights Orchestra. The video clip on display splices together shots of the artists expressing their intention to buy out every item from “Hercules Fancy Grocery,” displaying a briefcase full of cash they have gathered for this endeavor, and surprising the store’s owner with their request. It then transitions to a montage of the artists picking up, checking out, and removing every item from the store as the store’s owner, Hercules, hugs his cat and prints their lengthy receipt.
A nearby plaque offers context that further illuminates the work’s significance, explaining that the choice to enact their buyout on “Hercules Fancy Grocery” was spurred by the news that the store’s longtime owner, Hercules Dimitratos, was behind on his lease and was facing eviction. The items purchased from the store were later displayed and sold as art pieces in a gallery, introducing a level of meta-consumerism to the piece. These items are thus ultimately sold twice, albeit in markedly disparate contexts, and garner different prices when sold as “art items” than they had when sold in their original setting, despite remaining essentially unchanged. By highlighting this absurdity, “Store Buyout” interrogates the natures of both art and consumerism and the power they hold to bestow meaning on objects. 

Preserved Memory: A Description of "Flesh Cloud"

Stuck to a wall in the Bucksbaum rotunda is a large photograph. Swedish photographer Anders Krisar took the photograph in 2003 and called it “Flesh Cloud, #1”.

A cobbled street takes up the bottom half of the photo, while the worn brick wall takes up the upper half. The scene looks like an old European neighborhood. The photo is taken at an angle, so that the line created by the point of contact between the street and the building is diagonal. Dark splotches and signs of use and decay are evident on the brick wall. The bricks run horizontal and the cobblestones run in a line coming towards and away from the viewer. The wall and the floor resemble each other, both creating a collage effect--little pieces stuck together to form a whole.

The photograph is printed in chromogenic color, and encased in a glass of medium density fiberboard (MDF). The glass adds another dimension to the photo. The ceiling lights of the rotunda are reflected in the glass; faint, floating bulbs fading into the old, brick wall.

The abstraction of this representational photograph is in the center. The “flesh cloud” is suspended above the street, yellow and ephemeral, causing the wall to blur and its colors to fade. Two concentrated, beige horizontal streaks at the center of the photo slowly blur outwards. Despite it’s lack of substance, the cloud creates a shadow on the street below it. The blurred horizontal streaks give it the illusion of movement. The cloud looks like a ghost.

Furthermore, there are two, yellow, vertical rectangles at either end of the photograph. They seem like almost-invisible doorways. They make everything within them have a yellow hue.

The name “flesh cloud” suggests that the cloud somehow symbolizes the human. This work is both representational and abstract. It’s old, worn scenery with the traces of human flesh make me think of memory.

Wire Project

Blind Mapping


Drew Formal Critique

Circumscription by Rad Collier Acton is a medium sized marble sculpture about two feet tall and a foot and a half across in either direction. It is mostly spherical in shape, but this form is made of a single line of grey marble looping through itself three times, almost like a three dimensional Celtic knot. This form is sitting on a marble post of the same material, which is then attached to a short, black, cylindrical, marble pedestal. The marble form is composed of a single block of marble that has been carved to look like a single line that swoops up and back, twisting in on itself and passing through the center of the sculpture three times. The carving is curved on the outside, and straight on the inside, creating the implied form of a sphere.
cir·cum·scrip·tion: The act of drawing a shape around another shape. This title is very telling of this sculpture. The carving is an abstracted form, a knot carved out of a single block of grey marble. It is an implied sphere created around a set of lines. This piece engages it’s space well. It has great positive and negative space, and the knot like form forces the viewer’s eye to trace over the entire piece. It seems like a lot of decisions were made here, about how the form should move around in the space to optimize how it is viewed. The major line of the piece is almost vertical, but it is bisected by a line that curves backward and away from the viewer. These lines then travel around the entire piece. The one problem with this arrangement is that this sculpture is put back into an alcove, so it is impossible to walk all the way around it. This is unfortunate, because it engages space in a way that makes the viewer want to look at it from all angles and figure out how the knot works. It’s size makes in an intimate piece, one that draws viewers in, and the color/texture of the work is inviting as well.

Mailroom Textures and Blind Map Drawing



Chris Re-Scherer Art Piece Description - Three Forms of Shiva

The work of art that I am examining is a wood carving piece depicting three forms of the Hindu god Shiva.  Created in the 19th century in India, the identity of the creator is unknown.  It is carved from a sheet of wood with an outer border embellished with vines and flowers.  The inner space depicts three different forms of Shiva along with about a dozen other smaller figures surrounding them carved with negative space, causing the figures to “pop out” of the background.  The vine-motif border, as well as the figures have highly detailed carvings on their clothing but relatively little texture or embellishment on their visible portions of their bodies or faces.  Over top of the wood carving a solid coat of dull grey paint has been evenly spread.  Signs of wear are visible on the two century old piece, as the wood is splitting in places, revealing the unpainted surface underneath and splinters of wood have fallen off the edges of the carving. 
The piece is highly representational, despite the non-human features of the figures involved.  Some of the forms of Shiva portrayed have extra arms, yet all the features are very clearly intended to be recognized as particular parts of plants, specific body parts or certain articles of clothing.  The three Shiva depictions (The three-headed Creator Preserver and Destroyer, Shiva’s wedding and Shiva as the Lord of Dance) seem to be emphasized by the presence of other figures.  The roughly dozen other similar but smaller figures surrounding the three Shiva carvings appear to be in place to make each Shiva appear larger by comparison, as the smaller individuals do not differ perceptibly nor have any obvious relevance to the particular form of Shiva that they are adjacent to.  It also appears that scale, rather than type is the contrast emphasized, as the smaller figures share the same type of body parts and articles of clothing in style as the three Shiva depictions.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Art Description

“The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America” made by Julian Montague is composed of twelve images placed two inches away from one another. Each of the light jet prints is mounted onto Plexiglas. There is a common theme among these photographs: misplaced and littered shopping carts in different landscapes. The majority of the shopping carts are shown in an angle. Although a lot of the shopping carts seem to have been tossed within the snow, it is not easy to determine the time of the year for all twelve pictures.

As I stated before and is shown in the image, many of the images show us a shopping cart tossed. In the second image from the top left hand corner the red cart is under some wood and covered in snow. Similarly, the one below that one is also covered but instead with leaves. However, the second one from the bottom right hand side is exposed and laying on top of the snow. The shopping cart image to the left of that one is not as revealing, it seems to have been tossed in a garbage can.

Also, it is interesting when noticing the various angles in which the photographer took these images. The shots are not too close to the shopping carts but not that far either. About half of the shopping carts are placed in the center of the frame, which might have been intentional.  

Drew Wire Sculpture

Drew Rubbing Project

Drew Blind Maping

String Project

Allie Kuppenbender-Wire Project

Allie Kuppenbender-Formal Critique

Lucas/Rug, created by American Chuck Close in 1940, is silk with a linen wrap, essentially a large rug meant to be hung like a tapestry from the wall. Upon the rug, there is a depiction of a male face, presumably middle aged, perhaps with scruffy hair and beard. These details are unclear as the entire work is created with dots, splotches and streaks of various colors in almost a Pointillist-inspired technique. The colors used are mainly greens, blues, oranges, browns, and purples, with pale yellows in the face and hair. While these colors seem random upon initial examination, with closer examination it becomes evident that there is a circular nature to the dots, drawing a clear focus into the face and eyes in particular. The farther away you view this piece, the more evident this pattern becomes.  This is perhaps true because the attributes of this man also become more defined from a farther away vantage point.
These attributes help to define the man’s emotional state captured within the work. He is very much a dominating figure.  First of all, this face is much larger than the viewer--larger than the average person’s standing height.  He is also hung higher up, thus appearing to look down on the viewer. The circular nature of the dots also draw the viewer’s attention to the eyes of the man (centered almost exactly in the middle of the rug), which seem to be staring right at the viewer.  His eyes are bright and piercing, almost glaring at the viewer, as if to question their presence. The colors used--predominantly darker, cooler and saturated--also help to establish this idea of dominance and even intimidation. In the end, the use of color, the size and scope of this face, and the circular pattern of the work all establish the overall dominating element to Close’e Lucas/Rug.

Wire Project

Wrapped Project

James Marlow Burling Texture Map

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wire Project View 2 Chris Re-Scherer

Wire Project View 1 Chris Re-Scherer

Textured map of laurel leaf

Allie Kuppenbender-Mapping of Burling

Allie Kuppenbender-Rubbing Assignment

Flesh Cloud #1 (2003), Anders Krisar (James Marlow Formal Critique)

Flesh Cloud #1 (2003), Anders Krisar
Swedish artist Anders Krisar’s photographic work,
Flesh Cloud #1 (2003), is located outside Grinnell College’s Faulconer Gallery. A large format work, Flesh Cloud #1 is a C-Print under glass, mounted on medium-density fiberboard, and has an exceptionally glossy surface that produces a fascinating interplay with the light in the surrounding space. Formally, the work depicts an urban setting, with the top half of the photograph dominated by the red brick of what appears to be a nineteenth-century warehouse, while the the bottom half is defined by the light greys of a cobblestone street. Bridging these two color fields together is a nebulous, transparent field of beige, a seemingly ephemeral form without definition or a representational identity. Within the cloud itself, two lighter beige forms are present, the lengthwise nature of which only serve to reinforce the horizontality of the composition at large. It is unclear whether the presence of this disruptive cloud is the result of an additive process added to an initial photograph, or whether the abstract form is the result of a long exposure of a moving body, producing this notion of a diffuse cloud-like object.

Stylistically, Krisar’s work holds an affinity with other artists who have used representational photography as a means to approach abstraction, such as Gerhard Richter or Andreas Gursky. Richter utilizes a technique in which he replicated photographs in paintings, and then distorts them with a blur, while Gursky attempts to explore the postmodern sublime through photographic means, decontextualizing the familiar visual language of urbanism and capitalism, by searching for abstract patterns within them. Krisar’s work may have less of an inherent narrative behind his use of abstract forms within representational photography, but a formal relationship is present within the work. Through the incorporation of an abstract body within the work, Krisar is able to transform the familiar visual language of urban masonry into an abstracted field of color.

Danielle Huebner Wire Prject

Wire project

Rubbing Project

Blind-mapping Project Chris Re-Scherer

Rubbing Project Chris Re-Scherer


Leaf Project

Rubbing Exercise#1---Taffe Tang

Blind Map exercise#1---Taffe Tang