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Eileen Jakeway Julie Hicks LBST 1105 9/12/13 Rowe Arts Faculty Exhibit Response Walking into the

Rowe Center, the first thing I noticed was the lighting. The gallery was warm, with soft light flooding the space. I felt at peace among the natural wood and brick of the structure. The beige, neutral colors put my heart and my mind at ease while focusing all of my attention on the art. While the two sections of the lower level of Rowe were definitely distinct, they still worked really well together. My eyes went first to the abstract-seeming sculptures I saw out of the corner of my right eye. However, I was equally as interested in the painted pictures I saw to my left, because of their unusual composition and obvious political messages. Despite being unique from one another, I still felt that the exhibits were close enough in composition to complement each other. Both artists used neutral, unimposing colors and caught the viewers attention by focusing on structure, rather than the shock factor of bright colors. The computers were far enough away to be out of my original sight of vision. This more futuristic aspect of the gallery did not really divert me at all, because Apple computers have become such an accustomed sight in my day-to-day experience. The two pieces that enraptured me the most with their composition were not really the focus of my classmates attention. One girl even came up to me while I was standing mesmerized in front of Cubiculum of Leonis and asked, Im sorry, but do you get anything out of this? I tried to convince her of this works value, that maybe the

point of this exercise was not to look for something to get but just to exist within the same realm as the art itself and consider this relationship, becoming consciously aware of what it means to just be. She shrugged and walked off, no doubt thinking I was a crazy person. A similar effect occurred as I was ascending the stairs to the upper portion of the exhibit. I stopped mid-stride and could not tear my gaze from this magnificently tumultuous whirlwind of stationary activity. I could not help but smile as I read the caption : Celebration of the Composition VII. So I stopped and I stared. I walked around upstairs but didnt really absorb much at all; my mind was still whirling in the paint and acrylic composition or should I say, celebration of the composition, I had just seen. Personally, I think that art should be an experience. Something about these two pieces lured me in and connected with me intimately; this is why I chose to write about them. The first piece, composed of art history pages on paper, was easy to glance over. The reason I was drawn to it was the way it was positioned, in contrast to the somewhat more flamboyant Parakeet on an Upside Down Margarita. While my peers were entranced by the two-way mirror sculpture, I was drawn to the experience of looking at these pages glued down on, around and within, other pages. It was a kind of meta-art, if you think that the artist was creating art with art history pages. The material used was just paper, taken from another source. But the way the artist used it had taken on such a new form, it was difficult to look away. This is an interesting concept, but the composition itself was so dynamic. From far away, it was structured to look like anything; to me, it was a landmass floating on the ocean. To someone else, it could have been a glob of paint on an easel. To yet another passerby, maybe it was the pendant of a necklace. As I walked closer, my perception of

the work changed. I saw fine details that fleeted and loped, leading my eye to another spot as soon as I had landed on one. I noticed little heads of people, designs and art within the artwork: drawings, symbols and what looked like ancient pottery. My sight was constantly being drawn into and around the work. I looked even closer and became aware of the minute precision with which the artist mustve cut the pages and pasted them onto the page. He overlaps in an intricate manner, distorting the viewers depth perception so that they are encouraged to keep on looking. The feeling of movement created in the art, makes the interaction with the work always evolving and never complete. The title of the piece also resonates with me more clearly now that I was able to do some research. It is the name of the Catacomb of Commodilla, near Rome, emblematic of early Christian art. Looking at the pictures of this sight, there is no doubt that the pages of art history were describing this art. This aspect of the composition crafts an even more intimate connection with the viewer. If you are at all perplexed by a name you do not recognize, as is the case with me, and you do some research on this topic, then you will end up learning more about art, beyond this one particular piece. The artist is fostering a curiosity for knowledge and love for all art in his conversation with his viewers. My connection to the art was emotional and intellectual. My initial curiosity was sparked by its composition, but the comment made by my peer mentioned above is what encouraged me to keep looking. The question was so rudimentary, almost insulting but also very insightful: Did I get anything out of this? I had no reason toIve never taken an art history class or know anything about the Cubiculum of Leonis. Im not an artist

that is intrigued by the structure of the work. But I am a human being. And since this piece is the creation of another human being, I feel that I am inherently connected to it. I felt drawn in by the colors and by its format. Especially since I had just completed a collage of my own, I could appreciate the intricacies of the placement of the pieces on the page. I was really curious if this piece could appeal to all people like it did to me. It did not, but could it? Although this is an impossible question to answer, my time spent in absorption of the piece was certainly valuable. If anything, it allowed me to focus on one thing. To have one objective: look at this piece of art and think about it. I could finally put aside all the stress and demands of my everyday hectic routine and just have this one goal. And that was a beautiful thing to me. I think that the meaning of this work is to engage uninterested teenagers like the one in my class in the experience of art. Both the title and the use of textbook paper engages the notion of education and passion for all art. I believe that the artist is trying to prove that a student can learn as much by engaging with a piece of art as reading a textbook. Universal themes of curiosity, patience and exploration are prominent in this work. We can look at our own past and history to make sense of our world, but it requires some effort. We use art to combat apathy so that we can synthesize what we learn from our past, so we might apply it in new ways and create something new. The other work was not actually displayed as part of the exhibit. Part of its appeal to me was its permanence. Why was it separate from the exhibit? It was also done by a graduate of the program. The notion that an artwork could last and appeal to all the people that walked through Rowe really caught my attention. The aesthetic qualities of this piece were quite difficult to keep track of. It was made of acrylic, oil stick and screen

print. The eclectic mix of material certainly made the piece interesting to look at. It was painted on two panels boarded together. The harder I looked, the less I could understand its composition. It was also extremely colorful and active. The pastels kept drawing my eye in all different direction to numerous focal points. The piece was balanced, with a great yellow splotch balanced out by an equally prominent red bucket on the other half, but was quite busy. The lines were curvilinear and inter-connected, encouraging me to follow them but winding me around and around in a never-ending whirlwind. Another aspect of the piece that had me sitting and looking at it from afar and up close was its varying texture. Not only were there different materials used in its creation, but the artist layered the paint to create various textures. While some parts appeared to me smooth, others were quite rough. At some points, pencil was used and the writing really highlighted the texture of the surface. It was magnificently done, with so much going on, that one could stare at it for the rest of ones life and still find something new with each glance. There was major repetition of form. In just one viewing, I saw the semi-circle used as an arch, rainbow, bridge, bucket, animal, sperm, breasts, wings and waves. I saw nails dotting the eclectic landscape and even a person perched subtly in the middle of the piece. The most interesting part of the aesthetic experience, however, was how well these elements worked together. Despite the many things going on within the work, there is still a sense of unity that ties it all together. The reason I was intrigued by this piece was the feeling that it should not have attracted me. Ive always grown up appreciating very classical styles of art; this is what my mom really favors. And I find that the traditional is familiar to me. All the action and disarray of this piece really threw me off balance internally. However, I found myself

drown to this unbalance. I was curious about its construction and the motivations of the artist. I was thoroughly impressed that someone could create something so intricate; just by looking at it, I felt I was going crazy! This level of admiration and appreciation for something foreign was the basis for my relationship with this piece. Even if I were able to create art, I know that my art would not look like this piece did. It was not a reflection of myself. Instead, it encompassed a whole other person: the artist. And this insight is what made the experience emotional to me. The piece was so raw and intense that it seemed almost private. I felt that I was barging in on something personal, yet I felt that it was meant to be seen. It was hard to figure out what this painting was saying, even more so to uncover what the artist wanted me to think it was saying. This selected work of art uses one form, the semi-circle, to represent many different things. Simultaneously, it uses many different elements and materials to form one single masterpiece. In extension, the artist used multiple masterpieces to create a collection. I believe that this piece is meant to point out the various, eclectic parts of our world that dont seem to fit together initially, but actually meld beautifully to create one harmonious whole. I think that we have to take time to see and craft these connections on our own, but that they are there and go even deeper than we can imagine. The artist speaks to the universality of this theme, connecting us to others to the world and our world to other worlds. Every interaction we have brings us more in touch with our own souls and to the world at large; I would argue that this artist believes they are one and the same. It is needless to say that these 2 pieces of art deeply moved me. Every interaction with art is an interaction with the essence of my world and teaches me how to exist in it.