No one told me on the tour that I would be given the opportunity to blog about art, creativity and my college experience in general if I chose IC. To me, art is something worth talking about. Delving deep into an artist’s inner sanctuary is a process that I enjoy; I often find myself trying to relate to the pieces I am looking at.
I think part of creativity is taking the things you enjoy and/or believe in and meshing it into works that will make someone else think. Art is created by bright imaginations and viewed through the lens of individuals who possess imaginations of their own. With that said, my trip (the thirty second walk from my dorm to the Handwerker Gallery) began with my favorite form of art: food. Having eaten unseasoned rice and other forms of semi-satisfactory college bites for 5 days, the brie cheese, herbed hummus, nutella and other fancy goodies sitting on the table made me feel like I had hit the jackpot. You can’t critique art without pretentious food, now can you.
My approach for examining the two exhibits was to look at each piece before gaining insight into what each respective artist was trying to create. This way, I could interpret each painting/sculpture in my own way without any outside influence.
Immediately upon glancing at Julia Randall’s surreal drawings, I felt a sense of nature incorporated with strange anatomy. I often couldn’t tell if I was staring at biological pictures or abstract art. The only knowledge on the exhibit I had was that it was called “Oral Fixations”. When I examined each piece along the wall I could tell that Julia Randall was indeed fixated with drawing detailed renditions of all things mouth, salivation, and human tissue. Some drawings like the ones in the first photograph reminded me of the introduction of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Some simply made me feel squeamish and uncomfortable the more I looked at them. One drawing featured a lovely bee dining on what looked like a cross between human flesh and salami. Whatever it was, it represented degeneration and decay to me. I was impressed with the amount of detail shown in every one of Randall’s works. The anatomy combined with art was something unique to my eye; I liked how I felt something different from each drawing. Whereas one moment I was looking at a drawing of a mouth home to a salivated bubble with cellular, ocean like objects (as pictured on the right in the middle row), the next moment I was glancing at what felt like human tissue being picked (shown in the middle photography of the first row). It seemed like a meaty version of bubblegum to me; I wasn’t sure if I should appreciate the beauty in the oddness or just squirm. The middle picture of the middle row shows a birdlike creature with with strings coming out of it as if it were perfume or a wind up toy. This piece was towards the end of the exhibit. I noticed that after having seen the whole show my eye went straight to the bird’s salivation. Randall’s composition and texture is something I think any artist or viewer can applaud. Overall, I felt like I was being dragged through a strange version of the human body. After having experienced this madness, I learned more about the artist and what she was trying to convey. For the most part, I was right with my thoughts. Then again, you can never really be ‘right’ when it comes to art. Randall is a hyperrealistic artist; one who enjoys drawing things of the natural world that are both fantasy driven and repulsive. I admire her creativity. It takes talent, skill and a huge imagination to come up with concepts that make peoples eyebrows move in every direction.
On a totally different note, Laura Moriarty’s work had me excited at first, but for the wrong reasons. I didn’t take into consideration that the exhibit was based on geology and the different layers of both man and Earth. I immediately thought of contour lines and my worst enemy in the eighth grade: earth science. I saw contour lines of color as pictured in the last photograph that resonated with my own personal art style. In fact, last year I had taken a sculpture class and created a sculpture out of wire and other materials that i splattered paint on to create peculiar yet beautiful swirls of color. Before talking to Ms. Moriarty, I was very intrigued to know how she physically even made these sculptures. “Are there layers? Is it a drawing? Paint? Are these stones? What does it look like inside?” Each of this questions bounced back and forth through my head as I struggled to understand what I was looking at. It took me a while to really understand the geology vibe the artist was trying to convey. I noticed many principles of art like line, color and space; many sculptures were jagged and placed in spots for a reason. Everything combined together to form a triangular, geological layered slice of cake in my imagination. I decided it was time to give up the speculation, and I approached the artist. You could tell she was a creative individual just by her outfit and her bubbly personality. I’m the type of person that notices the quirks in people that ultimately assist me in reading them. She explained to me that the sculptures were made from pigmented beeswax, whatever that fully means. Finally it was clarified to me that the colors derived from paint that was poured and crafted to create earth like models. When I asked her what made her want to create these works, she told me that she aimed at conveying how man has exploited the earth and how every personality is layered. She distinctly said “It’s poetry!” My mouth could have practically fallen to the ground because, at that moment, it all made sense. Ugh, such geniuses in the art world! I then imagined that her sculptures were merely symbols of the beauty beneath the earth and beneath every individual. Deep stuff.
A sip of apple cider and I decided I was content with my evaluation. I really liked the way in which I let my imagination take me on its own course as opposed to having gone in the room with prior knowledge about the exhibits. I was able to engage in personal thought, and a short while later, I could learn the truth and mesh the two together. Weird, abstract, tasty, fun, thought provoking…the experience was no doubt a good introduction to my creative future here at Ithaca College.