Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ART Event

During art week I attended the faculty throw down. I was not sure what type of questions to expect because I am a freshman and did not attend it last year. Also, as a biology major, I was not sure how much I would enjoy the event because I knew that the questions would be art related which is not an area that I am strong in. I was pleasantly surprised about the event, I thought the event would be fun, but I did not think that I would find the type of questions interesting.

This event was interesting because there was a discussion and debate of current topics in art with art professors at the school. Having the debater’s working in the field of art, they brought a unique perspective to the debate. There was a wide range of questions, but the final question was the most memorable. The last question was “to pick a work of art that you think had the most substantial influence on society in the last 10 years.” The first professor selected a traditional piece of art, which is what I expected and explained why they thought this work of art was important. When Mr. Caldwell gave his answer, I was taken by surprise. Mr. Caldwell selected Stephan Colbert as the most influential piece of art work in the last 10 years. I was expecting a major photograph but instead he selected a prominent figure in the media. Mr. Caldwell described art in a new way that never occurred to me. He described how Colbert gathered such a huge following through the media. Through this following, Colbert has the power to change viewers’ opinions on popular topics. I had never thought that art could be the way a person uses the media to influence people. To me this showed me how art can be seen in almost everything, depending on the viewer. I would recommend that people come to this event next year because it was fun and interesting.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Karley Klopfenstein art exhibit

I attended the Karley Klopfenstein art exhibition in the Boyden Gallery on its grand opening on October 25. I had heard that she had created sculptures out of fabric and had seen the various knitted creations hung around Montgomery hall adorning the doors, lights, and sculptures throughout the building. I went into this thinking that it would be a very whimsical and feminine exhibit, and in part it was, but I certainly didn’t expect to see a lot of the art creations in the exhibition. True to my expectations, all of the works of art were created out of fabric of some sort, whether that be a textile, carpeting, or yarn, and yes without a doubt she is extremely talented with this medium (I could hardly tell several of the sculptures were even made of fabric until I closely analyzed them).

However, what shocked me the most was how graphic and grotesque the sculptures were in one half of the exhibit (sewn together human figures either half dismembered or horribly disfigured). This sat juxtaposed with the other half of the exhibit, lighthearted and bright colored tanks and bombs as well as various other weapons. Ms. Klopfenstein really made me think about what statement she was intending to make. At first I thought this could have easily been an exhibit that protests the war, mocking the weapons we use by creating them in such a lighthearted and happy way, while on the other hand making an obvious statement on the devastating toll these weapons have on human life. I expected something of this nature taking into consideration that this is such a peace loving liberal school. On the other hand however, I think her intention of this exhibit and what she wanted her viewers to get from her art could easily swing the other way, protesting more how the general public and the media thinks of war rather than the war itself. At first glance in the exhibit the first thing you are drawn to are the iconic images of the tank and bomb, created in eye catching colors and patterns; it isn’t for a few seconds that you notice the corpses made in muted colors that almost blend into the neutral wall color at the other side of the room. The American public sees photos and news clippings of war all the time, especially when it comes to tanks driving through cities and bombs going off. What we don’t see is the human devastation that it has (just as her bodies are not nearly as noticeable at first glance). The American public is highly sheltered from seeing the sights that people (whether in the military or innocent civilians that happened to live in these war stricken areas), and this is because, just as when I caught glimpse of the bodies in the exhibit, it is extremely disturbing. War is a very serious matter, whether you are against the war or not. People are risking their lives every day and seeing terrible things we cannot even imagine, and yet the general public sees these images on the news of the war and think nothing of it really and move on with their life. I still am struggling with what Karley Klopfenstein actually wanted us to get out of her art, but no matter what her thoughts on the matter of war are, or the thoughts of the viewers of her art, it made a huge statement and made everyone really think about the situation at hand in a new light. Which isn’t that the goal of art in the first place - to get people to really stop and think?

Art Event: Karley Klopfenstein

Karley Klopfenstein had an exhibition at our school (St. Mary's College of Maryland) on October 25 in the Boyden Art Gallery in Montgomery Hall. She currently lives in South Florida and is interested in the way that violence, horror, and war make their way subtly into the comfort of our everyday lives. She got her undergraduate degree in Sociology, Anthropology, and Fine Art at our very own school in 1997. Even though she specializes in sculpture, Klopfenstein also studied photography, printmaking, and philosophy. Klopfenstein's body of work focuses on specific American military weaponry turning domestic with traditional craft techniques. Her work is influenced by the mass media representation and exploitation of fear and military culture. She went to graduate school for sculpture at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. It is funny how she and my father both went to the same graduate school for art and majored in the same thing with a sculpture focus. She is the former Director of Exhibitions for Sculpture Key West, an internationally recognized outdoor sculpture exhibition. Karley Klopfenstein has many skills such as knitting, crocheting, marcramé, weaving, and so much more. For some background on craft techniques, it used to appear in contemporary art as being political. The feminist movement in the 1960s took traditional “women’s” art and empowered it in defiance of the dominant simple materials and forms of that era. Karley Klopfenstein uses this through her pieces by putting stereotypically male and female imagery together creating a dark humor. I really enjoy her work because she makes such serious machinery so comical through her art and in a way; she changes the negative connotations of these dangerous objects. I was very impressed with her half-scale M1 Abrams Military Tank covered in hand-made carpet. An almost life-sized war tank turned from scary and lethal to something soft and harmless.

Mirta Kapferminc Response

Mirta Kupferinc presented her work titled The Skin: Space for Repression and Expression. Mirta was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is a daughter of an Auschwitz survivor. She showed some of her works and talked about how the effect of the holocaust influenced her work.

Being the daughter of a holocaust survivor, most of Mirta works are Jewish related. She grew up without grandparents or close relatives, without photographs or belongings of other people before her parents. This deeply shaped her art and her concerns with her identity and cultural heritage. Her works are usually edited digitally. She prefers to work with objects rather than sculptors. Objects are permanent and it is very important to her

She talked about the tattoo, numbered 80264, that her mother received during the holocaust. She said some people want to erase the tattoo because they don’t want to remember the experience of the holocaust. However, her mother decided to keep her tattoo because that is her identity; the tattoo is a part of her and she accepts it as a memory. There was a picture of her sitting with a doll in white background. What she was sitting on was not shown. She said the doll represent the holocaust survivors and she wanted to portrait that she is sitting in no where and that she doesn’t know much about her identity or cultural heritage. One of her noticeable included a chair with wings.

In one of her videos, she showed, from the inside, a needle piercing through a fabric. The image created painful feelings and it looked as if the needle was piercing through a person’s skin. She said that the sewing and knitting symbolized feminine in Argentina and the needle represented the pain. She said that the skin represented her parents’ skin and that she is inside watching on as her parents suffer. She couldn’t believe this could really happen.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Response to Jennifer Cognard-Black’s Reading

At her packed reading, JCB read two poems, a letter written from Harriet Beecher Stowe to George Eliote, and three of her short stories. Her two poems were written about her daughter, whose 11th birthday was the day of the reading. One of her stories was metafictional, a story about a story. I really loved it. I think that most amateur writers fall into the trap of writing a story about a writer who is having trouble writing a story. Those stories rarely are any good. This one was miles better than any other metafictional stories I’ve read (which aren’t too many, to be honest). I loved how there was still a story (an abused farm wife leaving her family), along with the commentary on writing.

Her second story that she read was a collaboration between her story and a painting by Carrie Patterson. The story was entitled “Gifts”, I believe. I don’t remember how the collaboration started or who had the original idea, but the overall origin of the story seemed to come from a cathedral. Carrie Patterson started with sketches and paintings of the cathedral, which evolved into a much more symbolic painting than an actual depiction of the cathedral. Although we were not privy to the revisions that JCB did in her story, the story became to be about more than just a cathedral as well, just as the painting was more than just a picture of a church. The story took place in a cathedral at a man’s funeral. The in-home nurse attending the funeral spent the time remembering the good and bad of the man she served.

Her last short story was from a collaboration her Advanced Fiction class and Professor Caldwell’s Photo Book class. The project was entitled Eye and I. Since every fiction student was paired with a photo student, JCB and Colby paired up to create “Blink”. The story was about a young girl growing up and her love of photography, along with the story of a female photographer from the 1800s, during the birth of photography. Sometimes, the photos appeared to be ones that the characters (whether the girl or the 1800s woman) would’ve or could’ve taken. When the young girl became obsessed with taking photos of round objects, the photo next to that block words was full of round objects. Sometimes, they appeared more tenuously linked.

In all of her stories, there was no dialogue. I found this very interesting. I didn’t feel that her stories suffered any from the lack of dialogue, but it is usually such a key element in other stories that it was surprising. I wonder if this is a common trait in all of her stories or if that’s just how to worked out this time. All of her main characters were female as well. I don’t know if people are more likely to write from main characters that are their gender. It would be interesting to examine.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sally Mann Response

Sally Mann's work expresses the truths about life, even when they are often unseen or not wanted to be seen. She used to photograph her children in their every day lives. She often photographed her young children naked, which created a huge discrepincy. Many people questioned if this was right or not, and about the morals surrounding her photographs. Now that her children have grown up she needed to find new subject matter. Then there was a bitter sweet occurance, a prisoner was headed toward her house and they shot his hip then he shot himself in the head. This started her fascination with death and the organic elements of it. The Flesh and the Spirit revolved around her collections about life, but mostly death and her experimentation with new mediums.
As you entered the exhibit the first thing you saw was a large grid of self portraits which she had used a process called wet plateing on black glass. Although very distorted the pictures were mysterious and made me want to look at them closer to figure out just what her facial expressions were or even what I was seeing. I remember one on the grid reminded me of a famous picture of Harriet Tubman. The next room focused on her husband and distinct parts of his body. I did not learn until later during the documentary that he had a disease. his disease is eating away at his muscled and on one side of his body it is noticible. She is trying to show through her work how life really is and what death approaching looks like. She then focused on battle fields and how they look different then a normal landscape. As if the earth is different in those areas because of all the blood and lives lost.
Her fascination with death continued into what I thought was the most disturbing part of the exhibit. She traveled to a forensic site where they studied decaying bodies. She photographed the decaying bodies from different angles and expressing particular parts of their body. One man she photographed she enphasized the wrinkles of his foot via her perspective and vantage point. She then took pictures of a rotting face, a skeleton a pulled out view of the site and many more disturbing photos. To me this series of photos from the forensic site were the most stomach turning and shocking photos.
Overall Sally Mann's exhibit was very successful and interesting. I loved the Documentary at the end of the show it helped tie up all the lose ends I was questioning in my head. Unlike what she said in the movie, she has not disappeared and became an old news photographer, I think with this show she has proven herself to not being old news. She is still a dynamic artist.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

President Obama's portrait

This is the official portrait released by the government of President Obama. This picture was taken by Pete Souza who is the, new, official White House Photographer. One interesting fact is that this is the first presidential portrait to be taken with a digital camera instead of a film camera.

This is a successful portrait of Barak Obama because of the lighting the photographer used. The photographer decided to not use dramatic lighting in order to show Obama’s happiness of becoming president. If half of Obama’s face was dark and the other half bright, then this image would take on a hole other meaning that would suggest that Obama had a dark or unpleasant side to him (which is not something that a newly elected president would want to be told). Instead the photographer uses not too bright or too dark lighting on his face which creates the feeling of soft lighting. This lighting helps the photographer bring out Obama’s sincerity as he is about to lead the United States of America.

The choice of a background is also a key piece on making this a successful portrait of a new president. By choosing to have the American flag in the background amongst a white wall expresses Obama’s patriotism. The American flag is a symbol of strength which is a quality that the American public would want in a portrait of their president. The American flag is also accompanied by a flag with the emblem of the Presidential office, this shows which position the main subject (Obama) is in. The flags are slightly out of focus, because this is not the main subject of this photograph. If the flags were in perfect focus, then it would distract the viewer from the new president. Instead having the flag out of focus, but still recognizable, shows who Obama is representing and what position he is in, but does not take away from the president. Even the facial expression of Obama is important in this photograph. Obama’s face hides his delight of becoming president, but shows his seriousness and desire to perform his job well.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Please post your example of Portrait, and the critical writing in a separate Post here. The writing should include brief context and bio details - but then move into how it signifies the ideas surrounding the Portrait.

Elinor Carucci

Elinor Carucci is a Israeli photographer. She has several series, “Closer,” “Diary of a Dancer,” “Crisis,” “Comfort,” and “Pain.” Each of these series uses portraits to explore personal themes, such as family life, marital problems, or the chronic back pain she experienced for a year. Her portraits bring the audience into these personal situations and experiences. Her series “Closer” invades her family’s life. She photographs her family in intimate situations and different “home” moments, such as her grandfather in the shower, a finger with stitches, or a toilet filled with menstrual blood. This series is a magnification of the private life that strangers are not usually privy to. It’s uncomfortable and endearing.
Another series by Carucci, titled “Pain,” is composed of seven self portraits which detail her yearlong chronic back pain. In the portraits in which her face is seen, the pain is apparent. The portraits also documents the different ways which she uses to relieve the pain. The picture “Pain 11, 2003” doesn’t show Carucci’s face, however the pain, desperation, and despair in her pain is apparent. She is framed by walls on each side, isolating her body in the center of the frame. Her body is draped over a wooden pole balanced on each counter, with a saddle-like apparatus that supports her stomach. Her back fills the center of the frame, making it the focus of the photograph. Her spine meets her shoulders in an almost upside down cross. Everything comes back to her back, to the focus of her pain. Her back is not only the focus of the picture, but the most interesting part even apart from the concepts behind the photograph. The bumps of her spine, her back muscles, even the continuation of her neck from her hair hanging down out of the frame.

(Elinor's website: Pain 11, 2003 is the last picture on this page:

Steven Gelberg's artist

This photo was taken by Steven Gelberg and to me is a very soft and peaceful portrait. When searching for a photo this one caught my eye because the subject appears to be drawing, an art all her own, while the photographer snaps a shot of her, his art. Yet, then as i began to research the photographer I became more interested in the photo. Gelberg's work spoke to me more not because of the quality of his prints but because of his own life story and the auto biography on his website in which i could connect to because he is a lot like me in some aspects.

He was born in post war suburbia and was once a nature seeker much like myself. He then became a Vietnam war protester and what he calls himself a "counterculture rebel". After one year of college he became a world transcending Hindu monk then 17 years later went to Harvard Divinity school to study comparative religion then in 1994 photography answered his prayers and set a new path in life for him. Photography became his passion and much like myself he fell in love with the dark room and the energy that comes along with it. I believe that imagination comes through in the photographs you make with your hands, and with the chemicals that make images magically appear. Photography was his self discovery, I believe this is true for me also.

Gelberg's photo of a woman sitting in what appears to be a train station caught my eye mainly because of the looking glass and mirror effect of two artists seeing the world in different perspectives. This is a successful photograph for many reasons. First of all the subject clearly is at ease yet still nervous about maybe the person she is drawing. Also the position of her arm and tablet leave much to be wondered about. There is a sense of mystery because we cannot see what she is drawing, also there is a great tonal range that allows us to see her facial expression which leads to many more questions?

Steven Gelberg


Annie Leibovitz was born in 1949 in Waterbury, Connecticut and enrolled in the San Francisco Art Institute intent on studying painting. It was not until she and her mother traveled to Japan after her sophomore year that she discovered her interest in taking photographs. In 1970, she photographed for the Rolling Stone magazine and became chief photographer just two years later. Leibovitz has photographed many celebrities such as John Lennon. She has created influential advertising campaigns for American Express and the Gap and has contributed frequently to the Got Milk? campaign. Annie Leibovitz has worked with many arts organizations, including American Ballet Theatre, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Mark Morris Dance Group, and with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Her books include Annie Leibovitz: Photographs (1983), Photographs: Annie Leibovitz 1970–1990 (1991), Olympic Portraits (1996), Women (1999), American Music (2003), A Photographer’s Life: 1990–2005 (2006), and Annie Leibovitz at Work (2008). Exhibitions of her images have appeared at museums and galleries all over the world including the National Portrait Gallery and the Corcoran Gallery, in Washington, D.C.; the International Center of Photography, in New York; the Brooklyn Museum; the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; the Centre National de la Photographie, in Paris; and the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Annie Lebovitz took this photograph of Louise Bourgeois. The composition in this image is intriguing because of the way the subject creates positive and negative space. Where Bourgeois’s hand is, really creates an interesting shape to the background. The tone of the lighting in this photograph matches the mood of the subject. There seems to be some parallelism between the wrinkles of her skin and the wrinkles of her clothes that really brings this image together. The portrait only shows a side profile of Bourgeois’s face to give a sense of mystery where the viewer does not really know what this subject has gone through.

I believe that this photograph is a successful portrait because it really captures what Louise Bourgeois portrays in her own work through sculpture. Her gesture gives a sense of anxiety while her face is expressing sadness and despair. Since the portrait only consists of one person with this somewhat depressing mood, the viewer can also draw out a feeling of loneliness and hardship. This portrait mirrors Louise Bourgeois’s own work with suggestions of the human figure and expressions of themes such as betrayal, anxiety, and loneliness.

This is a photograph taken by Richard Avedon during his time in the west photographing regular people in their everyday lives. In this picture, Richard takes a photo of a coal miner after work. Richard evokes a strong emotion with this picture, through the workers facial expression and appearance. The focus of the picture, points straight to the workers face especially the eyes. The eyes of the worker are very hard to explain. Instead of the worker looking at the camera, they are pointed lower than eye level, at if he is looking through your heart or even soul. Since the coal miner is not making eye contact, it’s as if he’s isolated and alone. Just the vantage point of his eyes made me wonder what he was thinking. Whether if he believes he even exists or if life is worth living?

Secondly, his clothing and appearance make a strong impression on the mood of the picture. Since he is a coal miner he is very dirty and tired after a hard day of work. The coal smudges add to his expression, as if he doesn’t care they’re their. Also his clothes including his overalls show that he doesn’t care for his appearance or the clothing he wears.

Avedon exposes his audiences into everyday lives of the people of the west and shows us a glimpse into how they live. Avedon successfully includes the facial expression of the coal miner as well as the context of his job to effectively produce a portrait which tells a strong narrative

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Portrait Post

This is a photo of Bill Brandt taken by Michael Birt. This photo was on display at Fulham Palace, England. Bill Brandt was an influential British photographer and photojournalist best known for his high-contrast images of British society and his distorted nudes and landscapes. In this photo, Brandt is sitting on a chair, showing some of his work.

One thing I liked about this portrait is that once you see it, you can immediately tell that he is a photographer and that he is showing examples of his work. I liked the windows in the background, which splits the background in half. I liked how his head rests in between the two windows and I also liked the curtain on the upper right and upper left edges.

I think this is a successful portrait because it tells you something about the person in it. The photo itself has a high contrast, which is what Brandt is known for. The fact that he is showing some of his own photographs (nude images, which is again what he is known for) just adds originality and authenticity to this portrait. This portrait also gives Brandt some kind of power or authority created by the low vantage point and the way Brandt stares right into the camera. The expression on his face gave me an impression that Brandt is tired of what he's been doing. How the light creates shadow on the left side of his face suggests that there might be a darker side to him that we might not know of.


This photo was taken by Rosie Hardy, an 18 year old from England. This photo shows a girl dressed as a clown, squatting on a chair in a darkened corner, looking frightened. The walls behind her have shadows of fingers pointing and grasping towards the clown.
I chose this photo for multiple reasons. It is a self-portrait, which I specifically looked for since I’m attempting self-portraiture for this project. It is also both whimsical and scary. I really enjoy the juxtaposition of the clown costume and the scary shadow puppets. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to laugh at or feel sorry for the clown. The imagery is scary enough, and also the emotional face of the clown, that I can’t help but feel sympathy for the clown.
I liked that the photo is telling a story. We are exposed to a frozen moment of this clown’s life and I also liked that Rosie made the background a part of the story as well. I think that in a lot of portraits, the background is ignored or taken away by just having a white wall to help emphasize the subject. Rosie started with a simple background (grayish mottle walls) and added elements that draws your attention to the subject even more, rather than distracting. I think that this is a successful portrait, because Rosie obviously considered all elements of the photo before taking it. She created a character of a scared clown and both dressed and expressed herself appropriately for that character, she worked the background to her advantage, instead of ignoring it, and she made sure that the lighting was perfect for both the hand shadows and for darkening the corner with the clown in it.

Monday, November 15, 2010


This is a photo of Elie Wiesel taken by Sergey Bermeniev. Elie Wiesel is a survivor of the World War II Holocaust under Hitler, and the author of 57 books, including the popular novel, Night. Also a peace activist, Elie Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, and was called a 'messenger of mankind'. Wiesel spent time in concentration camps Auschwitz and Buchenwald, where over three million people were killed or died from diseases.
In this photo we see Elie Wiesel's face, centered in the photograph, deranged from painful memories and a traumatic past. There are deep lines in his face from age and wear and tear that throw long shadows against the light. Part of his face is completely in shadow, though the rest of him is lit, and he seems to glow against the black background. His hair is crazy and white, and his expression is thoughtful as his gaze leaves the photograph to the right, almost disgusted as he is probably remembering what has happened to him.
I believe this is a successful portrait of Elie Wiesel because his expression clearly shows the pain he has felt, but its hesitant, like he knows that as hard as he tries to let people in, no one can really understand. Though he looks hesitant, the face is also very open and raw, letting the viewer see his inner suffering. It makes the viewer feel like an outsider. Everyone knows who Elie Wiesel is, and everyone knows what happened during the Holocaust, and how many people were killed, but few experienced it, and are alive to tell the story. It is the blatant memory of experience here that makes this portrait so strong and successful.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Faculty Throwdown, Art Event review

The crowd surrounded the two benches like spectators surrounding the ring at a boxing match. The contenders were introduced in much the same way. In one corner you had Colby Caldwell (Photography & Digital Media) and Billy Friebele (Digital Media), in the opposite corner Joe Lucchesi (European & American Art) and Lisa Scheer (Sculpture, Writing & Art Theory). After the announcer explained the rules, the 2010 Faculty Throwdown was about to begin!

In the first round, the question under discussion was: True or false, Art is the moral compass for society? Money was suggested as the true moral compass for society. Money makes the world go ‘round, and even artists “sell out” and take money because they need it to continue their craft. It was countered that feeling, not reason was the basis for morality, and feeling cuts through the superficial materiality of money.

I feel that creative artistic expression is something that can only be done when you have the time to do so. In order to have leisure time, you need money to facilitate things like buying food and supplies. Money can act as the moral compass of society because money is society’s way of stating, indirectly what it finds to be valuable.

In the next round, the question was: which is more important in the defense of Freedom: Guns or Art? Both sides of this debate brought up several interesting points. It was argued that in simple dollars spent, weaponry far exceeds any other government expenditure, which was countered by the point that debates over art are much louder than debates over defense. The point was made that art has almost unlimited purview, whereas the defense of weapons, like handguns, is much more limited, which was countered by the argument that WMDs were still of a great concern, that weapons drive society, art drives academia.

For this question, it is much harder to pronounce a clear winner. Weapons can protect us physically, but Art protects us mentally. It’s impossible to express yourself with a gun at your back, but without a gun to protect yourself, that can very well be what happens. In the end, however, I would have to side that Art is more important in the defense of freedom, but you have to be free enough to be able to express that freedom.

The third round dealt with limits of free speech concerning visual art. With no limits on free speech, art can be used to promote hate speech, but community standards are more exclusionary that inclusive. Without limits, there is no difference between the gallery wall and the bathroom wall, but with limits, the issues that are highlighted by art are less likely to be discussed.

This round of debate was another tough call. John Stuart Mill states “An opinion that corn-dealers are starvers of the poor, or that private property is robbery, ought to be unmolested when simply circulated through the press, but may justly incur punishment when delivered orally to an excited mob assembled before the house of a corn-dealer, or when handed about among the same mob in the form of a placard.” Essentially, what Mill is saying here is that context is very important to when and how views are expressed. Art is bound to offend someone, somewhere, and when that happens it is important to debate the issue and get to the root of the problem. It is problematic when art is meant to shock or offend, and there is no such debate that takes place, because there ought to be. Ultimately then, I would say that there should be no limit on the freedom of expression of art if a discussion of the issues raised by that art can take place.

The next round asked each participant to name, in the last decade, which work had the greatest impact of society. In this round, one debater chose, James Turrell’s Roden Crater, because it was the embodiment of how art shapes the Earth, the Earth connects to the mind, and connects us to prehistory. Shepard Fairey’s Barack Obama "Hope" was the next work to be cited, because of the extreme significance of the image and its incredible dissemination into the popular culture. Stephen Colbert was cited as the greatest performance artist, because he is able to take issues at present them in a way that will promote discussion and thought about them in a way that does not immediately exclude anyone. Lastly, The Holy Virgin Mary, by Chris Ofili was chosen as an important work because it caused debate over the public funding of art.

I would have to say clearly that Barack Obama Hope has had the most impact on society over the last decade. Art is meant to be seen, and no piece of art has done so more than Hope. Colbert would be a close second, because he is seen and he does promote discussion, but he ranks second, because Hope was disseminated so quickly to a huge audience, while Colbert is seen by people who have access to Comedy Central.

The second-to-last question in the debate was: Can Art ever be divorced from Politics? It was argued that even having no position is, in itself, a position. When we can’t respond to something in a framework, it’s prepolitical. It was also argued that the real question here was what sphere should art occupy? Should it be public or sequestered, and can society and art exist without serious conflict? My opinion is that both politics and art are social expressions of the people, and that unless there’s complete agreement, there’s always going to be conflict over art in politics.

The last question dealt with what the role of intentionality was in Art. It was argued that intention is important to understand on the receptive side, and that intention was important to understand as related to context. Both points of view here are equally valid, and I am not of an opinion on either of them (which means that I hold an opinion anyway)

At the beginning, 4 Professors entered, and at the end only 1 left alive. Professor Colby Caldwell was pronounced the master debater, and gained the bragging rights he so rightly deserved. The Event as a whole was a great success that should gather crowds for years to come, and if I wasn’t graduating, I’d come back for this event next year.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spatial Hierarchy

This image expresses spatial hierarchy by attracting the viewers eye to one location. The viewer's eye is immediately drawn down the lines of the railroad track. You can't actually see what the track ends at, which is one of the interesting aspects of this picture. At the begining of the track you can see clear detail of the railroad track (the individual boards inbetween the rails), and as your eyes move down the picture the amount of detail that is able to be seen decreases.

Vantage Point: Flatness

In this picture it appears that the beach actually rests on top of the boat. From this actual vantage point in 3D, you would be able to tell that the beach is in the distance. However in this photograph, the 3D image is turned into a 2D image which changes the meaning of the picture. The flatness of this photograph creates the image that the beach is actually resting on the boat.

Monday, October 25, 2010


This image shows how flatness of a 2-D photograph can create/suggest the depth of field. When this person took this picture, everything was of course in 3 dimension. But he/she shows that a 2-D photograph can be used to complete and suggest the reality in 3-D.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Flatness and Hierarchy

Above is a really interesting photo that exploits the flatness of the photographic medium to create a scene in our minds that could never exist in reality. A person can't actually hold the sun in their hands, but yet in this image, they appear to be doing just that.

Even though this photo is of one thing, I really like how the different folds of the fungus thing overlap with each other as they move towards the background. There may have been many different angles to take this picture from, but none of them would look exactly like this, having the same orientiation of the objects as this does.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


This shows how the flatness of a picture can make certain things appear true. For example in the picture the green roof appears to be sitting right on top of the extended fence posts above the colorful seats. I believe this is also well framed because of the two pilings on either side of this photo giving it natural framing.

spatial heirarchy and flatness shown through photography

I believe this picture shows spatial heirarchy because your eyes see the leading lines and follow the light poles spanning across to the middle of the photo. Then from the right side your eyes follow the wall to the middle of the picture which creates this depth in the picture then finally you begin to notice that there is actually a person sitting on the ground in the middle of the picture.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Flatness and Spatial Hierarchy

At first, this image seems to be a mess of lines and tone. The vines hanging from the tops of the trees drag the eyes down while, at the same time, the vantage point of the image directs the eyes up, following the trunks of the tree. The image was taken looking up, which is why our eyes follow the trunks; however, once they reach the top, the thin vines (without any markers of depth) drag them back down. The flatness of this picture allows for this contradiction, for the up and down movement our eyes make. Because the image is flat rather than three dimensional, the illusion of depth (or lack of depth as portrayed by the vines) can exist. In this way, the image is "solved" rather than composed. From another vantage point, the images would just be flat trees without any kind of interesting directional movement of the eyes (such as the up and down contradiction created here).

At first the eye is drawn to the people in the image. They're the main focus of the image, and they're dressed funny. In the foreground of the image is a camera, framing the people. While the camera is not quite in focus and the function is more of a framing nature, the camera is important. We see that the man is positioning the people and that (because the camera is there) he is a photographer. This makes the image he is about to take much more deliberate than perhaps the subject (what seems to be members of some kind of native tribe) should be. The size of the camera suggests it's importance and perhaps what the meaning the photographer is trying to get across.

Spatial hierarchy and flatness

This photo shows spatial hierarchy. The eye is drawn to the 2 little kids in the foreground of this picture because they are the biggest objects in the frame, are the most in focus, and the lines of the road in the picture draw your eyes from the background to the forgroud where these two kids are walking. This picture shows depth, and allows the viewer to see the world around these two kids, however the viewer initially notices these two kids before everything else.

This picture shows how the flatness of a photograph can really be used by the photographer to solve a picture. In real lifethis picture would not at all look like two little guys are hanging from a mans tie, because we can see depth. This photo however lines up in just the right way so that although we can technically see the depth in the photograph, however we visually see the allusion of the gyus hanging on the tie because of the flatness of a photograph. So this photo represents both the depth a flat picture can show, but also how the photographer can use the flatness of a picture when composing a photograph.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Spatial Hierarchy and Flatness

This photo shows spatial hierarchy. The bamboo poles jut out into the front of the photo, with the car, men, and trees falling into the background. The busiest of the lower half of the photo caused by the bamboo and car is paralleled with the blank upper right corner.

This picture by Gordon Gahan shows how the flatness of a photograph can affect change the perception of the subject. We know that this picture is showing the reflection of light off of water, but the flat photograph shows a different side. The angles of the light beams and reflections makes a series of 'greater than' signs moving from smaller to larger as your eyes move left to right. This photo has the ability to show both depth, as your eyes are drawn down the tunnel, and flatness, as the light angles meld together.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ways of Seeing

This photograph was taken by Musa Nor Azmi. It shows many examples of division and separation. The paths diverging would be the most obvious one to find as it divides the grassy areas, which could symbolize decision-making in life. The person walking in the photo shows segments of time passing by as each step is captured. The element of line is used very effectively here. We see the repetition of trees that create vertical lines as well as the leaves that are dangling from the top. There are also horizontal lines where the grass ends in the distance and where the branches are overlapping. The lines and repetition in this photograph seem to give us a sense of rhythm as this person takes a walk in the park.

Way of Seeing

This photograph is by Ansel Adams. This photograph is broken into 4 separate pictures. You have the left and right river banks that are separated by the river. The river is the third picture, and then the fourth picture is above the horrizon which is the mountains above the horizon. This picture is broken up by the sharp contrast of black land and the white river. The picture is also broken up by the rising landscape.