Sunday, June 26, 2011

Art Critique (Form, Content, and Subject Matter) : Hunters in the Snow By Pieter Bruegel

June 24, 2011
Form, Content, and Subject Matter
            Pieter Bruegel's painting Hunters in the Snow presents in depth vision of everyday living and the different way of life people are leading at the same time frame. It co-relates the nature with living beings. This painting is large enough for us to look very closely to visualize parts of its form and combine it to come up with more detailed content.          
            A form is what we see – materials, color, shape, line, design etc (Frank, 52). Bruegel's painting uses the primary means of visual communication in the forms of straight stick, the trees and its branches, the grasses on the snow, to create the shape of the objects as houses, ladders, rope, tables, roads, hairs and tails of the animals and much more things. It uses implied lines to connect mountain and the valley below.

            We can see a lot of geometric shapes - triangular roof, rectangular windows, sphere and square shape of the houses. In my view, there is a presence of organic shape almost everywhere in the painting - semi circle and circular trees, rectangular skiing area, triangular mountains, curvy roads, infinite sky etc. Since we are dealing with two-dimensional media, mass is implied very smartly by the combination of colors. The use of dark colors in contrast to white show everywhere to represent objects as dogs, houses, playing space, birds and even the infinite sky is very impressive. Space is implied with the combination of colors and the overlapping of objects in two dimensional plane. We can see the front tree that is implied to be before the hunters, some of the dogs and rest of the objects in the pictures by overlapping the dogs, houses, snow on the ground, trees on the mountains and of course the infinite sky. Diminishing size of the trees to imply the depth as well as the vertical placement of the four trees back to back, gives us the illusion of depth. It uses atmospheric perspective to create depth by using dark colors for the near objects and lighter colors for the distant objects. We can see the difference in color of snow in the distant mountains and the one near to our view. People are smaller in play ground and bigger near us.

            Time and motion is evident in the forms of implied motion. The hunters and the dogs are walking to go down the valley. People are playing, burning fire, moving tables, pulling rope etc. Value is used by painting the near objects with dark colors and distant objects with much lighter colors. The mountains are shaded with dark colors where sunlight would not reach. The color of the distant sky as bluish green is a smart move to represent the feeling of an afternoon winter time. The implied texture of the closest tree seems to be rough. The snow seems to be very soft because we can see some footmarks. Woods used in the houses seem to be strong.

            The painting also uses seven key principles of design. The unity aspect of the painting is the use of white color to imply the effect of the snow. The color of the houses, birds, and the sky represent the unity as well. The variety in the art is the different levels of depth it portraits and, the different subject in each depth. It has asymmetrical balance. The light colors used as white for snow and green for sky balances the dark colors used as black for trees and dark orange for house walls and peoples. The height of mountain from where the hunters are walking balances the distant mountain above the valley. Bruegel creates emphasis and subordination to draw our attention and neglect some of the others. The size of the hunters creates emphasis with the distinct visible trees that are in certain line. Small sized people who are playing down the valley has subordination impact on the painting. Therefore, the focal point of the painting is most likely the hunters going down the valley which is emphasized.

            The trees, hunters walking with the dogs and their direction certainly create a path for our eyes to follow down the valley where people any playing and working. The smaller people down the valley and the hunters above is one of the best use of contrast. It has the repetition of houses, birds, trees, people etc as well as the rhythm of dogs and three hunters going downhill. The scale of people distant and near gives us the implication of depth. The size of painting is 46.4'' times 63.75''.  The observer can view the painting with ease and feel it, if allowed. The proportion of the first tree in the painting is the highest than any other objects in the painting which effects how we see the picture starting from the tree.

            The use of lines, geometric shape, organic shape and mass attracted me to appreciate this painting in the first place. I got the sense of valley in the picture with the visual elements - overlapping objects and atmospheric perspective. I sensed the time and motion by the movement of objects in the picture, even the birds flying. I can feel the roughness of the trees and the cold weather. The picture is not boring, simply because, it has many contrasting characteristics that the painter used in its design. I followed the hunters and the four trees consequently one after another. It gave me the direction, down the valley. Then, I sense the people playing, working, and the distant mountains. After that, I sense the birds and the infinite sky.

            Basically, when I observed all the forms in the painting by Bruegel, I felt the winter season with snow all over the painting. Even though, the weather is challenging, the people on the painting are moving and adapting to the change by engaging themselves in the fun activities as hunting and playing games. Therefore, I made a meaning out of this painting which is very positive. We keep on working; we keep on burning fires, so that, we won't feel the cold or the pain. It's not only us who keep on moving; even the birds and the dogs do the same. Hence, the painting Hunters in the Snow connects nature with living beings and sends us a positive message of how we should look at our life, and enjoy every moment, despite of the obstacles we are facing, or, we would be facing. 

Works Cited:
Frank, Patrick. Prebles' Artforms. Tenth ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2011. Web. 4 June 2011

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Scale of Sculptures

The scale of a sculpture is the size of the sculpture in comparison to the viewer of the sculpture. We can come up with the ratio of scale (sculpture size / viewer size) which would be very important how we see the sculpture and how we would respond to it - in respect to how we see it.

We tend to have a different form when we look at the different sizes of the sculpture. If we see huge sculpture that has the same message by the artist as compared to the small sculpture by the same artist, we are most likely certain that we would have a different content as well as the subject matter for that piece of Art. We see the sculpture by the lights reflecting back from the object. If the object is huge, you have many more rays of light reflecting back to your eyes and it may, in general case, have a better and greater impact to you. But, we can't undermine the fact that if the sculpture was small enough to see it as well as feel it very closely would have better impact on how we respond to it. Hence, it is a matter of an individual and how he/she perceives the piece of art - big or small.

In my opinion, whether it is a large sculpture or a small one, they both have an equal probability of attracting the viewer and grabbing the attention. Large sculpture tend to seem more important that smaller one if we see from the perspective of its display in the common areas and accessible by many people. But, we can't undermine the importance of small sculptures with its mobility and closer look that give an opportunity for the viewers to feel it and get into that piece of Art. Therefore, both - small and large sculptures have its importance in their own way.

Viewing a sculpture is in itself an Art. Size really affects how we see a sculpture. The larger sculptures tend to have a larger impact on us in general term but, not always true. If we would have to view a large sculpture then we would have to walk around to different parts of the sculpture to see its form. We may observe one piece of the sculpture and certain content about the piece may come to our mind. And, after looking over all the parts of the huge sculpture, we can add up the form to make a combined meaning for the art piece. This may include us to drive around the sculpture or walk around it. But, if the sculpture is small, we can have a lesser time in observing its form and can make a meaning of it more quickly. We can feel the sculpture and see it clearly. We can make a holistic view of the sculpture and make a meaning which is one of the advantages of observing the small sculptures. 

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Photography & Camera Arts

Part I: "What do you think the world would be like without photography? 
How much of what we see in a photograph is real?
What do you feel are the “truthful” qualities of photography?

Share some of your experiences with photography and how it has impacted your life. 
Part II: View Bill Viola, The Reflecting Pool 
and share your thoughts with the class


I love physics and I'm very much interested in the optics aspect of physics as well. We see objects because the lights reflect back from the object that is exposed to light. If there is not a presence of light then we would not see anything as the light from the object would not reflect back to our eyes. The black color that we perceive are all the objects that would absorb the light. Isn't this interesting? I feel it very much interesting and I love the fact that Artist use this fact when they create their Art.

One of the forms of the visual Art is photography which literally means "light writing" or "light drawing" (Frank, 121). We use the light reflecting back from the form that an artist thinks has a content and certain subject matter to record it in the forms of a photograph which is basically a carbon copy of the Art that an artist sees.

The fact that it is almost a carbon copy of the subject matter and it can be captured using camera, which can be saved in numerous quantity, the importance of photography is vital in today's world where everyone can be an artist and, share their art and information to the rest of the world. As Edwin Land said, "Photography can teach people to look, to feel, to remember in a way that they didn't know they could" (Frank, 121), I think it has changed the way we look our world today and I can't imagine the world without photography. Photography has become a way of life for most of us and those individuals who think it hasn't been then they are wrong. They have taken pictures or at least been a part of a photography - may be when they get their driver's license!

Photography is not only important to Art but it is equally important for any other fields as well. Science, social change, politics, business and almost all the field has relied on photography to carry message or a medium to further develop the particular field since its development. I can't imagine the world without photographs as it has become an integral part of our culture. Even then, if I have to imagine world without photography then it would be dull and separated as countries, area and distance.

Reality is different for different individuals. The form that is seen in the photography can be manipulated. For instance, the color, contrast, hue of the form in the picture can be edited with modern software application that the photographers may use. This may change the reality and the perception of reality by the viewers of the picture. But, the content and subject matter may stay same and it may just enhance the reality that the artist wants to portrait. But, if an artist manipulate the whole picture to give different content and subject matter from the one that he/she took the picture of, then; yes! the objects in the photograph may disregard the reality. But, basic trend is that the pictures would never lie and speak for itself.   

One of the truthful qualities of photography should definitely be its ability to capture events, arts and subject without manipulating the content. A true photographer just recognizes the art and uses the camera to capture as it is. Now, it is his art to capture it in a way he would wanted others to view it rather than manipulating the content after he takes the picture. Photography would always be used as a medium to capture moments of life to share.

I always feel good to see the broad aspect of everything even if it's very minute. I never get tired to see a full moon, stars, sky and clouds. In 2008, everyone was sleeping in the jet plane but I was on my own world communicating with infinite sky and clouds and the broader view of the lives down below. Now, I realize that all I was observing and feeling was an Art and I wanted to capture it. I'm enjoying my piece of art now. If I wouldn't have captured it that time then I couldn't recall what I felt as much as I do now!

To be true, I was smiling when I first saw the video Bill Viola, The Reflecting Pool. It didn't grab my attention which would have if I were, may be, a 10 year old. This is because I know exactly what is happening out there in the video.

A video is basically a combination of many images that work together in time (Frank, 134) We can manipulate the sequence of these pictures before or after the actual sequence to create the moving image which is the video. We use the frame to edit the images in the video.

We can notice that when the man is standing by the pool and when he is up in the air, the frame or the video changed from light contrast to a dark. Then, slowly the man in the air tends to disappear in the consecutive frame which is made lighter and lighter to match the color of the light green color of the leaves of the tree. Then, the reflection of people in the pool without them actually present is also manipulated very smartly.
For myself, this is not at art. I don't see any message on this piece of video. It may be for other individual or I may find an Art in to it by looking at it more closely. I saw the movie called " Green Lantern" today and I saw infinite number of Arts on this movie. I would consider it as an Art not the video by Bill Viola, The Reflecting Pool!

Works Cited:
Frank, Patrick. Prebles' Artforms. Tenth ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2011. Web. 4 June 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

Relationship between form, content, and subject matter

In the visual communication aspect of Art, a form is what we see – materials, color, shape, line, and design (Frank, 52). After we see the work, our perception comes to act in a certain way so that we make a meaning of the work of the art that the artist wants to communicate to us which is called content (Frank, 52). We practice form and content everyday in our lives (Frank, 53). Even though, the subject matter would be same; for instance two artists trying to portrait happiness, they may come up with different form and content in their individual works of Art.

Giacometti’s sculpture “Man Pointing” has an open form that interacts with environment and the outer space. The materials from which it is made, makes us think of it in the process of erosion and seems like its existence, as a human being is soon going to vanish. Its purpose is going to end. Though, it has sense of temporary presence, it seem to point at other human existence and try to convey his message or say, make other people aware of his/her existence that most of us have forgotten.

For myself, the form of this sculpture made me think about its content as if human existence is in jeopardy. It’s content to me is scary. It's color makes me think of its unidentified existence in this world. The eroded head to almost half makes me think that is has no aims in life and don’t want anything from it either. It's slender and almost equal to zero presence of its body makes me sad and makes me feel that things were not easy with this individual and it’s trying to portrait things are not right with individuals like him. He is trying to point at us, warning us that we might be in this situation as well. So, I was scared as if he was pointing at me. The subject matter for this piece of Art is the fleeting essence of human life (Frank, 26).

Looking at the sculptures by Moore, the form I developed are sad color, closed form, old cracked wood piece intelligently cut, characteristics of a women etc. The content that I developed with the color is that it is antique and unique.  It is hardly interacting with the environment and is composed and calm within itself. She is not trying to expose her, but just trying to keep her identity to her own self and don’t want to be bother as well as be bothered by others. The hands are closed and I feel like she can’t do anything which is very sad to me. Her legs are resting and seems like she can’t make use of it as well. She is helpless and can’t move by her own. When we look at her face, it is hardly visible which makes me think of her identity that is being questioned and most likely lost. This is a representational art of a very sad women in our world who are helpless and it reminds me of their pain and sorrow.

I chose the painting of David Hockney "A Bigger Splash" which is at the page 101 of our text book and is the cover of our text book as well. I can see combination of lines, shape, space in three dimension, two point linear perspective, implied motion, attractive colors etc.

It uses the primary means of visual communication very smartly. The two lines filled with different color (light) in between the implied house and the pool is good way to paint this painting. The splash at the pool also uses this means of visual communication. Lines are also used at the window, chair and almost every part of the painting.

Large portion of this painting uses geometric shapes such as square, rectangle, cube etc. The painter tries to communicate with the viewer more informally with the use of shapes that tends to more successfully communicate relaxed mood that the painting is trying to convey.
 Space in three dimension that is used in this painting could be used by an architect to actually make this art in to real object for us to live.

I can sense the two point linear perspective in this picture as well. The yellow board, the right corner of the house convinces me of the use of this visual element by the painter.

I can also sense the implied motion with painting of splash in the pool.

The use of colors as visual element is simply mind blowing. Blue is considered to be a color that is calm (Frank, 42) and it is used to represent the pool with dark blue. Since, the sky is distant, it is represented with light blue color. The painter has used very pleasing and relaxing colors that are light to our eyes, giving no sense of fear or anything like that. Hence, the color used gives the viewers of an impression of relaxation, beauty and a reminder of vacation.

Basically, this painting is a representational art and it's subject is related to positives that our life has to offer. I like the fact that this painting encourages an individual to enjoy life and be thankful!

Works Cited:
Frank, Patrick. Prebles' Artforms. Tenth ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2011. Web. 4 June 2011

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

What is Art? What is the purpose of Visual Arts?

Creativity and imagination is the main source of an Art and anything that has these factors can be considered as an Art. It is an individual who decides if it's as Art or not and not anyone else as far as I understood about Art after reading and researching about it.

Kant defines art as a kind of representation that is purposive in itself and, though without an end, nevertheless promotes the cultivation of the mental powers for sociable communication.” (Adajian, Thomas)
I like this definition of Art because of its focus on an individual's ability to think and communicate with the society.

"A work of art is the visual expression of an idea or experience, formed with skill, through the use of a medium " (Frank, Patrick)

"Art is created when an artist creates a beautiful object, or produces a stimulating experience that is considered by his audience to have artistic merit." (Art Definition, Meaning: How to Define "Fine Arts)

After reading and gaining some knowledge about Art, I'm more confused about its definition for myself. I think Art can be different for different individuals. Since, I'm more interested in technology, Art for me would be how creatively an individual, an organization or even a nation organizes things around that has some purpose and I get to use it or appreciate it. An organization such as Google is art for me with the enormous amount of application they bring in to market which has value and are very creative. An individual who modifies his/her car which catches my eyes is Art for me. A nation that organizes its infrastructure and the system that motivates me to work hard for my goals is Art for me.
Everything I experience may be an Art for me - the shoes that I wear, the car that I drive & the house that I live in. I think everything that a human mind can create and perceive is all - one or the other forms of Art.

Visual Arts

One of the forms of Art, so called the Visual Arts is more likely useful in communication, in my opinion. For instance, if I want to share my achievements with other people then I might visually put it in the forms of paintings, photograph, dwelling or poster and wish other people understand it. Hence, visual Arts would help us communicate an individual's purpose with the other beings.

Works Cited:
Adajian, Thomas. "The Definition of Art (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)." Stanford Encyclopedia of             Philosophy. 23 Oct. 2007. Web. 04 June 2011. <         definition/>.

"Art Definition, Meaning: How to Define "Fine Arts", "Visual Arts", Aesthetics, Crafts: Classification     Questions, History of Definitions." Art Encyclopedia: Visual Arts Guide To European, Irish,   American Painting & Sculpture: Greatest Artists, Best Museums, History of Art Movements,   Renaissance. Art Encyclopedia: 2011. Web. 04 June 2011. <  definition.htm>.

Frank, Patrick. Prebles' Artforms. Tenth ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2011. Web. 4 June 2011