Friday, March 6, 2009

Just talking about some art: Taken from the Shnitzer

I had to do an art critique for my color theory class, so I thought I would post some of it.

Portrait of Virginia Haseltine
Henk Pander, 1983
This piece is really odd when I think about it but somehow my eye and imagination is fascinated by it. First off, this piece caught my eye more than any other piece in the Schnitzer, I was literally in the next room and the paintings bright blue color brought me to it. At a closer look, the painting is serene with its light blue and grey pastel colors, but on the other side it in not very serene if you look at the subject matter. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT OLD WOMEN DOING UP THERE? Why is she sitting on the edge of that building? It is hard to imagine what is going on in this painting especially if you look at her facial expression and her posture. She is as calm as can be; as if she was sitting at home in her favorite chair watching Jeopardy. This leads me to my next thought of how this painting gives off a very strong fictional feel and how it plays with reality. In the upper right, taking up almost a quarter of the painting is the silhouette of a planet or moon. It is very strange to have such a realistic cityscape with such an unrealistic object. The vibe I get from this is that of a dream or fantasy. I should be scared for this woman with the situation she is in, but I am not. She seems confident. With the serene colors and the fantasy atmosphere the woman conveys a peaceful god like quality. She reminds me of The Architect in the Matrix movie.

“Wreck of the Ol’ 97”
Thomas Hart 1944. Lithograph
The picture is very intense with its high contrast and high amount of movement. Thomas deliberately uses the high amount of contrast to create a great amount of intensity, almost like classic film noir. Its darks are deep black and its whites are bright. The shading is very dark which makes everything in the picture pop up and give it extra motion. If the piece didn’t have strong shading I believe the picture would loose a lot of drama and fall flat like a graphic picture. Every element is used (except for color) to create a heightened amount of drama and suspense much like a climactic moment in a movie. The eye first gets lead into dark train against the bright white background where the contrast is the strongest. The lean of the train on the tracks is exaggerated to help foreshadow its destiny with the broken tracks ahead. Smoke billows out of the train and gives it extra speed. The smoke also helps to lead the eye around the picture. Silhouetted against the dark black smoke is the white horse where my eye is lead to second. This area has the greatest sense of movement, with the men in the carriage wrenching back on the horse as it jumps back in fright, the man leaping out in front of the horse, and the women in the lower right falling in midair out of the carriage. This picture greatly depicts the dramatic tragedy which is about to unfold.
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