Sunday, May 23, 2010

sitting by things i probably shouldn't be sitting by.

I definitely had one of the best days I've had in a while today. Skidaway always seems to give me those days. I'm always presented with the most wonderfully unexpected experiences.

I seriously almost cried I was so happy at some points.

So first. Listen to how beautiful...and really interesting..Does anyone know what kind of bird this is? He was pretty small.



I went to Skidaway to work on my 3d fibers final..to be amongst the inspiration that is contributing to my piece...trees...and their lovely skin.

When I first got out there I realized that it was going to be hot, I was wearing jeans, and I really wanted a ponytail to put what little hair I do somewhat kind of have that might possibly fit into a ponytail in the back of my head..into a ponytail...and I had none. None the less...I progressed.
THEN as I was walking I realized that I was getting swarmed by gnats, mosquitoes, and horseflies... So I thought to myself..."yeahhh I'm just going to walk the trail then go home to felt...no stopping." Oh, by the way I went down a new trail this time.

As I was walking I kept thinking that everything looked SOOOO amazing, and I was comparing it to the trail I had been down a few times. It reminded me of John Cage and the interview I saw where he spoke about how he'd like to experience everything new again... to basically erase memories so that he can see things fully and new and different every time he experiences them.

Anywho. I came to a fork. I could either go around the loop and back to the entrance to my car...go home away from the gnats and work on my final...ooooorrrr I could go see what they meant by "Earthworks" down the new trail I hadn't gone on.

I went the new direction.

Pretty soon after I turned down that way I came upon this small little opening off of the trail. It was right by a tree and it overlooked the marsh and some fallen dead trees. The breeze was perfect, it was shady, and...the gnats were gone!

It said to me. SIT!

So I did. I hung out with some new friends while I was there. But first I just want to say that I made myself the happiest person EVER. Shush that's not being conceded..people should make themselves happy.

So for my fibers final I'm making tree bark out of felt..but I don't necessarily have an end result planted in my head. The main focus of my piece is about the PROCESS and not the END PRODUCT. I want to PLAY. So I did. and I absolutely love that it does not, in any way, feel like homework. BUT what made me so happy is that while I was stacking the pieces of felt to make the tree bark I kind of WRINKLED one part of it AND OH MY GOODNESS I'M FELTING TREE WRINKLES!!!!!!!!!!! It's soooooo aweeesomeeeeee. I'm excited.

:) So mi amigos. I realized that if you name things that annoy you..or just things in general they become a lot more pleasant.

This is Henry.

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He bit me on my foot twice. But then I caught on to his game. He though he was being stealthy by hanging out on my blanket for a while then slowly moving towards my foot. But I kept him in check.

Then there was Butch. He was a bigger horsefly. Bigger and LOUDER. He scared the piss out of me all day long. I almost needle felted my eye a few times. He pretty much followed me everywhere I went to. What a butthole.

There was also Horas. He was smaller and much more hyperactive... He may have been a gnat.

Sylvia Brown was a little golden sap colored spider who wanted to share a blanket with me. I didn't agree.

Thomas the beetle hung out for a little. He must have lived near the base of the tree I was by because he kept coming back and disappearing.

Martha flew by for about a minute.
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Then there was the assembly of fiddler crabs conducting a silent orchestra.


All of these guys kept me company.
then.


Throughout all of this, past experiences, and what happened next, I realize that being still and almost silent in the forest will produce veryyyy interesting occurrences. A person will witness things that they may not have had the chance to do had they just kept walking. It reminds me that we need to be more patient with life...that good things will come to those who wait...however cliche' that may be.

Though.. this could have definitely NOT been a good thing.
I was hangin out, felting some skin and I heard something....every so slightly. I took a glance to my left to see this looong black sssssnake looking at me...looking at me...two yards away. We were on the same level! So I froze and thought..."camera?...no" Then I looked away and stayed still. Then I looked back at him, he hadn't moved. So I looked away again and stayed pretty still. Then as quickly as I could I got up and ran to the trail!
I eased my way back to where my things were ( I heard him slither away as I ran) and he was no where in sight. Soooo I sat back down. Looked around a bit really paranoid and I saw

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this about 2 feet behind me. If a snake were a snake this would be his house. WHICH got me thinking. How do snakes dig their holes??? They don't have hands...do they drill it with their tails? I'm confused.

Anyway, so I convinced myself that he went into his hole and thought about staying to felt more..just facing the hole to watch him if he came out. Then I realized that this was all a bad idea so I packed up my things to leave. After everything was packed and I'm standing on the trail I look over to see

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This guy, who I've now named Ronald, watching me. Insteaaaaad of heading back the opposite direction of me... because I really wanted to finish the loop I was on and because.... I wanted to get a better picture of him, I eased my way around and TADAH

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Ronald is loooooooooooong. I think he's a black racer.

So by this point I'm reallly paranoid about everything that moves. But it was still a very pleasant walk. This new trail had A LOT of lizards. The ..tree? lizards. You know those green ones that turn brown sometimes? plus salamanders and then there was......

THIS BIG GUY!

I saw a few of him around but I wasn't able to get any good pictures. This one must have wanted to boast about his half eaten meal because he hung out for a good solid 30 seconds.

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HE'S EATING HIS COUSIN!!!! He's a broad-headed skink! and apparently he can grow to be THIRTEEN INCHES LONG! ahh

I stood on that trail, with my mouth open...in shock...for a while.


Then I continued on. I discovered this toottalllyyy awesome gazebo thing that extended OUT INTO THE WATER! : 0

It was a good day.
it was a goooooooood dayyyy.

yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyay

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Egon Schiele and Lucian Freud Paint a Paradox

Egon Schiele and Lucian Freud Paint a Paradox



Egon Schiele Female Nude 1910

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Lucian Freud Naked Girl 1966

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This paper will compare and contrast the German Expressionist piece, Female Nude of 1910, by Egon Schiele and the Postwar Europe piece, Naked Girl of 1966, by Lucian Freud. Both artist's painted many personal, evocative, and raw nudes. One could say that within each mans' body of work, each of their nudes have the same goal and purpose of investigation. Schiele's Female Nude and Freud's Naked Girl are great representations of their nude bodies of work. This paper will focus on those two particular works and how both pieces embody a paradox; both pieces carry contradictions within themselves and in comparison to each other. I will discuss the aesthetic paradoxes and the conceptual paradoxes.

The first piece, Egon Schiele's Female Nude of 1910, is one of at least seven other drawings of the same model done from a single sitting. Schiele uses gouache, watercolor, and black crayon with a very gestural line and minimal color to describe the figure. He has omitted the model's right arm, left forearm, and both legs just under the mid-thigh area. She is positioned off center and diagonally on the paper with her right thigh going off of the format, leaving a blank area around the right side, top, and bottom of the model. Her dark stockings mark the end of his depiction of her thighs. These stockings were probably blue black in reality, but Schiele has rendered them with dark, but vibrant, opaque strokes of blues and violets. These colors are also used to describe her scattered and radial hair, which falls all around her head and neck and ends behind her shoulders. The same violet tones are used in a much thinner fashion to describe the volumes of the body. Author Jane Kallir states that "brushstrokes score the flesh though thin veils of wash, and pools of paint accumulate at strategic junctures such as knuckles and other bony protrusions." Schiele also "emphasizes the contour of the figure in opaque white giving the body volume." The model is almost fully nude, with the exception of her dark stockings that reach to her mid-thigh. She is comfortably reclined back diagonally, with her left hand resting just below her left breast, and her right arm, in reality, leaning against something. Her head seems to be propped up and resting possibly on a pillow. Her eyelids are very heavy showing only a sliver of her eyes and the corners of her mouth are pointing upwards, giving her a sort of comfortable smirk. Because her pelvis is shifted upwards on her left side and downwards on the right, one might assume that her left leg is straight while her right leg is bent. This is also suggested by the width of her right thigh versus her left. The model seems to be very comfortable and confident in her nudity. There seems to be a passiveness to her, by virtue of her facial expression and body position. Schiele's diagonal point of view, where her bottom half is in the foreground and her upper half receding into space, and the slight parting of her legs, puts the model's vagina right in the viewer's face; though, Schiele describes this area only through the pubic hair.

The second piece, Lucian Freud's Naked Girl of 1966, is said to be the greatest of his female nudes done in the 1960s. Freud renders the model in oil on canvas using rather broad brush strokes with defined areas of light and shadow or "close-toned hues." The figure almost looks as though she is glowing from within. Her skin is very fleshy to the eye, with areas of light blue reflective light and areas of intense reddish-pink. Some areas, such as her belly seem to be milky and almost smooth, whereas others, such as the sheet, seem to be more textural with visible brush strokes. Freud has positioned her in the center of the square canvas, with her body reclining back into space; she is cropped just below the knees. She is fully nude lying atop an ocean of white jumbled sheets with a sliver of the dark room painted above her head. Her head is tilted to her right and her eyelids are heavy with a deep, but almost blank, gaze, going passed the viewer's left. Her lips are slightly parted and both of her arms are bent upwards. Her left hand is resting right atop her left breast and her right hand is resting on the sheets beside her head. Her body position looks like nothing special; it looks as though she just lied down and began to daydream. The models legs are closed together but her "pink fleshy sex" is squeezed in between her thighs and fully rendered.

Both pieces embody a paradox of when compared to each other and within each piece. A paradox occurs aesthetically and at the surface of both paintings. While Schiele uses a more preliminary means of depicting the figure through gesture on paper, Freud uses a more complete traditional means through oil on canvas. Yet one could say that through the very apparent brush strokes and blocks of color, that Freud's painting, although done very painstakingly, appears to be very loose and expressionistic; and that while Schiele's piece is done in a very gestural way, because of the bold and very confident lines that describe the body, it is a carefully thought out, intentional, and tight drawing. Schiele's colors are more representational than accurate, while Freud's use of color is much more realistic. Though, if the viewer were to compare the two pieces, he or she would note that they are very similar in color scheme. Schiele allows the peachy color of the paper to become the dominant skin tone color, adding in red violet and blue violet for shadows and variations in the skin and also a light blue for reflective light and places of emphasis. Even though Freud fully renders his model's skin tone, it becomes a similar color to that of Schiele's paper, and Freud also uses similar red violet, blue violet, and light blue hues for the same means as Schiele. Freud's hand leaves a much more realistic figure whereas Schiele's is more illustrative, yet both images convey a very real and raw figure. While Schiele does take more of an artistic license to slightly distort and stylize some of the anatomy of his model and Freud, for the most part, depicts a more correct image of his model, Freud does emphasize and skew parts of his model as well.

The paradox also occurs under the surface of these paintings, in a more conceptual way. Both artists seem to be painting for personal investigation, but while Schiele painted more in search of who he was, Freud painted the components of his interests that made up who he was. Author Helen Borowitz quotes critic Danielle Knafo as stating, "Schiele's [existence] was a lifelong journey in which he searched for his lost parents in himself and for his lost self in his art... He employed his art as a corrective emotional experience whereupon he repeatedly nurtured, and apparently repaired, a battered psyche. " In Schiele's Nude Female, one might see Knafo's words reflected. He did not spend a large amount of time perfecting one final piece, rather he completed many gestural investigations of the same model, possibly searching for what felt right. One might assume that the model's limbs play a vanishing act not simply because he did not feel like drawing them, but more likely because of personal and psychological reasons.

Freud is quoted as saying, "My work is purely autobiographical, it is about myself and my surroundings. It is an attempt at a record. I work from people that interest me, and that I care about and think about, in rooms that I live in and know." It is apparent that Freud's Naked Girl was produced under these personal circumstances by virtue of the simplistic bedroom setting and how completely naked yet completely passive and comfortable the model is about it all. So much so, that it is as though Freud is not even present in the room, and that she is totally alone in her own world. Freud renders her with so much tact and life that it is difficult to believe that this piece is in any way impersonal. Author Sebastian Smee comments on how Freud "wanted to set down very specific truths about what it is like to occupy this particular body, in this particular situation, over this particular period of time." Freud absolutely accomplishes these goals with Naked Girl.

Both pieces, within themselves, are contradicting. Schiele's piece, in one aspect, could be considered very salacious and sexual (especially for the time period in which it was produced), yet it conveys something other than erotica. It depicts a nude un-idealized emaciated woman with a protruding hip bone and shoulder bone, and one long boney hand resting below her awkward shaped breasts. Author Patrick Werkner states that "Schiele was constantly searching for the hidden, demonic, and unwholesome aspects in his subjects." So even though Schiele depicts a very open and comfortable female nude reclined back with her legs parted, it is not about the sex, it does not evoke eroticism; rather it embodies the personal investigation and "reveals the scars, the vulnerability, the dark sides that are concealed behind sleek personal fa├žades. Schiele saw the abyss that lies beneath seemingly innocuous appearances." He wasn't painting a sugar coated delicate and beautiful nude, as so many before him did; he was more interested in the real and the psychological. Werkner points out that, "his nudes were not just naked figures, they were the proponents of a reality; conductors of impressions extending beyond the confines of the pictures, the medium for a concrete idea, the conveyors of a vitality that wasn’t fictive, but instead actualized and made manifest."

In Freud's piece, "the girl's pose is at once self-protecting (legs together) and abandoned (her arms have fallen into place in the most natural, unselfconscious way)." While her most private of parts are totally exposed they are "not inviting in any salacious way- just there." So, although the girl is completely nude, completely naked and exposed, and lying on a bed, she is not evoking any eroticism. She just is what she is. Freud is quoted as saying "I paint people not because of what they are like, not exactly in spite of what they are like, but how they happen to be."
There are many paradoxes in both Schile's Female Nude and Freud's Naked Girl when compared to one another and in the works themselves, both aesthetically and conceptually. Looseness, freshness, and realness play a huge role in both pieces aesthetically. Nakedness, rawness, and the psychology of both the model and the artist play a large role in both pieces conceptually, both pieces utilizing these qualities in their own unique and sometimes complex ways.

Bibliography
Borowitz, Helen. "Youth as a Metaphor and Image in Wedekind, Koschka, and Schiele." Art Jounral, vol. 33, no. 3 (Spring 1974)
Kallir, Jane. Egon Schiele: The Complete Works. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1990.
Schroder, Klaus. Egon Schiele. New York: Prestel, 1991.
Smee, Sebastian. Lucian Freud. Los Angeles: Taschen, 2007.
Werkner, Patrick. Egon Schiele: Art, Sexuality, and Viennese Modernism. Palo Alto: The Society for the Promotion of Science and Scholarship, Inc., 1994.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

paper paper people people

So I'm writing another history paper (actually this is me procrastinating)...but I just wanted to share how much more INTENSE (I feel) these pieces become when they are compared to one another. By they way the colors are awful in these reproductions..

Egon Schiele's Female Nude 1910

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Lucian Freud's Naked Girl 1966

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They have very similar compositions and even expressions of the models, rendered so differently with Schiele's loose gestural line and splotchy watered down paint marks and Freud's thick juicy application of oil. But yet rendered so similar when comparing the areas of solid color placed next to another hue of solid color. Both artist allow their painting tools to speak as they touch and form the volumes of these figures. They each have this wonderful essence of personality and raw nonchalant nakedness...

They both evoke such simultaneous contradicting expressions. All at once I feel an intense rush mixed with a blanket of calm.

ahh

Now...lets write that into a 6 page paper! YEAH

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Modern Judith

A visual analysis of Gustav Klimt's Judith und Holofernes

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This essay will discuss how Gustav Klimt conveys the biblical story of Judith beheading Holofernes in a modern painting. Through Klimt's depiction, composition, and technique; the social atmosphere of the time; and his personal life and ties to the model, Judith und Holofernes becomes far more than just a historical painting.

Historically, Judith is a widow who is chosen by God to leave her city of Bethulia and go to the camp of Holofernes and his army, where they await to destroy her city. Judith gains trust into the camp and into the tent of Holofernes, where she seduces him and gets him drunk. When he falls asleep from a drunken stupor she beheads him with his own sword. With the severed head in tow, she heads back to Bethulia to display the triumph over Holofernes and his army. When the army discovers the headless Holofernes in his tent they flee the camp.

This historical event was a very popular subject of earlier history paintings: artist such as Botticelli, Donatello, Caravaggio, and Artemisia Gentileschi all paid homage to Judith. These and most of the historical depictions of Judith, all show the heroine dressed in the clothing of her time. She is wearing an opaque draped dress of a commoner. Judith is depicted as being strong and somewhat manly, clutching a sword, and often, actively beheading Holofernes. Her gaze is towards her victim and what she has just done. She seems to be very concentrated and in deep thought about what she is doing. The setting of the event is often in Holoferne's tent. Accompanying her, in most cases, is her serving maid.

Klimt's depiction of Judith beheading Holofernes is much different than his predecessors'. Judith's shoulders are delicately draped in a transparent robe exposing her breasts. She is lavishly decorated with golden motifs, a high golden choker, and a golden armband. She is extremely feminine. Her cheeks are rosy and her skin looks pale, shimmery, and alive. Even the way she clutches the head of Holofernes is very soft and delicate. Only half of his head is shown because it is cut off by the elaborate golden frame. Holofernes does not seem to be of much importance, but instead focus remains on her. Her gaze is not at her victim, but at the audience. Her head is tilted back and only a sliver of eye is shown beneath her heavy eyelids. Her lips are subtly parted, showing a little of her teeth, and her head is slightly tilted to her right. She seems to be in a state of dream-like euphoria, but also very proud and important. Her image gives off a great sense of sexual tension. She emits alluring vibrations. The setting of his work is not in the dark gloomy tent of Holofernes, but instead it is outside among shimmering golden trees and glowing turquoise grass. Her serving maid is not with her, instead she is alone.

Not only the elements Klimt employed in his painting of Judith give the historical reference a modern feel, but also the atmosphere and culture of the time in which it was painted. At the time, there was a huge interest in depicting the femme-fatale, which Judith would be considered. The viewer of the time might recognize Judith as a contemporary woman, being "one of those beautiful Jewish socialites whom one meets everywhere and who, sweeping along in their silk gowns, attract men's eyes at all the premieres," stated Felix Salten. Klimt depicts Judith as being both powerful and domineering, but also alluring and desirable. Men of the day had fantasies of sex with a "dark and dangerous Jewess." Though, the literature of the day encompassed that "sex was a female vice which, left unchecked, would rob a man of his intellectual capabilities--which would, as Judith had, sever brain from body. Making Judith seem even more dangerous is that instead of the historical depiction of the heroine "killing a man who has been overcome by his erotic impulses, she herself is overwhelmed by erotic feelings, and this makes her appear dangerously unpredictable." At the time, there were shifts in the roles of women within society. Women were gaining jobs and higher status; they were becoming more powerful. With that, Judith could also be seen as an allegory of this shift.

It could also be assumed that the events of Klimt's personal life could have influenced this piece. The model for Judith was Adele Bloch-Bauer, the young wife of a wealthy banker and sugar manufacturer. She is the only socialite who Klimt painted twice. The most famous of his "Golden Period," is of a portrait of Adel and he allowed himself seven years to complete it. It is now known that the two had an affair. Susan Partsch points out that "Klimt was fascinated by the woman, and at the same time feared her. From Klimt's point of view, she wants to cut off his head, the very head she then caresses." Comparing this statement to his painting, Judith und Holofernes, one could see the definite influence and truth behind this statement. There is also personal reference to Adel, which is her choker. Adel owns a very similar pearl choker, like the one Judith is wearing in the painting.

Klimt's version of Judith beheading Holofernes carries a more modern context and utilizes modern techniques and influences. Just by reading the title, one may assume what Judith und Holofernes is about, from a historical context. Just by a quick glance, one might note that it is more modern than the traditional renditions, but by careful visual study and a little knowledge of the time, one can uncover the many social and personal influences that went into this piece. It's incredible how intricate the underlying psychological-structure and inner-workings of this piece are. It is not a mere history painting, but a major statement of the time and of the artist.


Bibliography
Fliedl, Gottfried. Klimt. Los Angeles: Taschen, 2003.
Kallir, Jane. Gustav Klimt 25 Masterworks. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.,1995.
Partsch, Susan. Gustav Klimt Painter of Women. New York: Prestel Publishing, 2006.
Sine, Nadine. "Cases of Mistaken Identity: Salome and Judith at the Turn of the Century." German Studies Review, vol. 11, no. 1 (February 1988),