I really want to like Andrea Zittel’s work. But in all honesty, her sculptural office spaces and living spaces that are installed in natural surroundings feel very cubicle-ish to me. I don’t like that. It doesn’t feel like the right structure for the landscapes she is immersed in. But then again, maybe that is the point. And me liking it or not is really not what matters. It is the message. Perhaps, we are living in a cubicle world circumposed in our natural surroundings.
These structures also remind me of the whole little house movement. I love the idea of living in a tiny little house that I can easily move around to new surroundings. The structures are also very cool and modern. They represent contemporary society quite well, but there is an element of simplicity to it. Maybe that represents a need for simplicity in life and letting go of materialism? I am not sure if that is the point of her work. They are certainly functional structures, which I like. But, again, kinda cubicle-ish.
Untitled 19, Richard Long
Richard Long’s drawings feel very primitive to me. I chose to focus on his drawings because there was an element of simplicity and rawness to them. I also see a great deal of texture in this piece, which entices me considering it is a drawing.
Untitled 19 reminds me of a calendar. It could also be a counting or numbering system. I read a book about the first homo sapiens and about their techniques of counting. They did not develop or understand the concepts of numbers in the sense that we do (like counting “0”, “1”, “2”, …). Rather, they made marks on wood or stone to count days, nights, cycles, etc. But most importantly, they counted for agricultural development. This “primitive” system of counting stuck with me. Maybe it’s because of my math background. This piece by Richard Long reminds me of counting. It kind of looks like a calendar carved from wood that marks some pattern. Maybe days, maybe nights. It looks like it could have been symbols on a tree that was preserved and exhibited for us to study primitive cultures. It is also very minimal, but it looks like it serves a purpose.
This art is serious, yet satirical. We see what looks like a holy man of some sort, or a devout follower of some spiritual practice, texting (I think?) as fighter jets fly above. This shows the relationships we have in the contemporary world with faith, technology, and violence. I think he is wearing bandanas on his arms to symbolize some sort of unity with a political group. There is a CD next to him, which actually seems outdated to me. And despite all of the very modern and maybe potentially controversial (?) items around, he is sitting on a prayer rug. Blood splatters seem to adorn the sky, or wall, behind him.
I am finding myself questioning a lot of my observations when looking at this piece, which is probably why I like it. It also represents the confusing conflicts society has with the balance amongst spirituality, technology, and violence. This piece particularly reminds me of the Asheville-based artist, Dustin Spagnola. Its commentary on political and cultural norms is blatantly obvious. But there is a lot of room for interpretation. I’m not sure how to feel or think about it. Do I agree with the statement being made? I’m not sure. I think it is identifying a very present human condition. How do we juggle the complete access to information through the web, while maintaining our connection with a higher power (or whatever you believe), and fighting for what we believe in? How do they coexist? I don’t really know the answer to any of these questions. But this piece by Severn Eaton makes me think of all this.
An Elusive Equivalence, 2016
This work makes me think about human interaction with the environment. While many of Richard T. Walker’s pieces contrast a human element with a natural element, the hand that is precariously holding a rock symbolizes human interaction with nature…in a very “hands-on” way.
When looking at this piece, I think of the impact that human development has had on the natural world. The red outline of the hand represents a violent component to human involvement with nature. The rock in the hand represents how we are precariously handling the world in which we live in. The mountain peak in the background shows the immensity and grandness of the world in which we live in.
While this work by Richard T. Walker’s provides a look at the human experience in nature, it also shows our less than positive influence on our surroundings.
This painting perfectly contrasts and compares man-made structures with the colossal figures of a canyon/rock formation. They are seemingly similar, but the fact that the natural form is pasted on top of the cityscape shows, perhaps, its lesser value or impermanence in comparison to the building. Of course the rock formation has been around much longer than the building, but its importance to humanity is subsiding (I think) and that is where the idea of impermanence/unimportance comes from. The lines connecting points on the canvas show an interconnectedness of nature and city. It looks like the lines indicate that they are dependent on one another. Would the man-made structure exist without the nature made structure? Or furthermore, would we exist? Probably not.
Ana Mendieta reminds me of Frida Kahlo. The raw and unforgiving femininity is humbling and disturbing. I love it. Although I love the work where Ana Mendieta is honoring/displaying the female form, this image struck me. I am not sure why… maybe it is the calmness in her face, but violent innuendos of the blood running down her forehead. She looks solemn and at peace. Maybe it is a commentary on violence towards women and the unwilling silence that has protected women for generations. I have always been a fan of dark and disturbing images and ideas. This image gives a glimpse into the darkness that is her thoughts and is likely a part of every women’s thoughts. The darkness feels empowering and the honesty feels like a breath of fresh air. I guess I can find something to relate to in her facial expression.
Woven Branch Arch, 1986
While browsing through photos of Andy Goldsworthy’s sculptures, I remembered that I have actually seen a documentary about his work! It was a few years ago. but I remember thinking “man this guy must be super OCD”. Anyway, I think a lot of his work represents a very well-thought out precision that must take a lot of insight into how pieces fit together to make a hole.
I chose this photo specifically because it reminds me of Pan’s Labyrinth. It looks scary and pointy and sharp, but at the same time is very open and welcoming. It is amazing how Andy Goldsworthy makes each branch balance perfectly. It seems to defy gravity. I wonder how many times he has messed up a project and gotten really really frustrated.