Thursday, July 29, 2010

Shockingly Unshocking

                                            Ingres (1780- 1867)

                                                      Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)

Is sex really a source of shock in our society? I have been thinking about this for awhile and it was exacerbated by the ”Shock Art” episode on Bravo’s Work of Art. ( I realize that this was aired awhile ago but I have been out of town and dealing with more important family matters lately) I have included a link to the artwork from this show for anyone who doesn't watch the show. A majority of the artists on this show chose to do something sex-related as a way of shocking their audience. America is one of the few countries who still seem to find sex and our sexuality “shocking”. For most countries this is simply a daily activity. For centuries artists have shocked their audiences with sexually based artwork. I have included some within this blog and trust me when I tell you that this is in no way even scratching the surface. If this is the case, is it really shocking still? Seriously? After all of this time?

                                                          Schiele (1890- 1918)

I almost wish that Work of Art extended themselves to include artists from other countries. I feel pretty sure( though I may be wrong) that their shock related art would be about quite different subject matters. I personally think that the atrocities of war or tyrannical governments are shocking. The fact that we have become so desensitized to violence and that we want to see actual live executions broadcasted on the television is pretty shocking. The buying and selling of young girls for sex is pretty shocking. The lengths to which we are willing to go for beauty and sex., the disfiguration, pain and even death… these are shocking ideas. Yet no one seemed to touch these ideas. I see it time and time again whenever an assignment like this is given to artists at school and now I’m seeing it yet again with artists who have long since graduated. The world is falling to pieces around us and is progressing in new and sometimes dangerous ways, but all we can think about is what’s in our underpants.

                                                       Beardsley (1872-1898)

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Study of Crawling

I am currently on vacation visiting my little sister and my 8 month old niece, Coralie. She has recently started to try her hand at crawling and I feel so lucky to be here to witness it. I watch her little legs shaking as they strain to propel her forward. I see her fall, or lay down and cry in frustration. She's doing a wobbly crawl at best right now,but she continues to push herself forward and always gets to her destination no matter how long it takes her. Her perseverance is astonishing.

I think that there is something to be learned from this. We all, at one point in our lives, were just like her. We all started off having to learn how to do everything. We all pushed ourselves through the bumps, bruises and frustrations to get to our destination. We were fearless and tenacious. What happens to us as we get older? How do we all of a sudden let fear stop us from getting to our goals? Fear of rejection, of failure...

We often think only of the things that we have to teach our children but I definitely think that we should be paying more attention to the things that they can teach us.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Some Thoughts About Beginnings and Ends

My grandmother is unfortunately not doing very well. I had visited her at the nursing home and noticed a slight discoloration on one of her cheeks. The nurses later realized that this was the beginning of jaundice. Since then we've discovered that she has pancreatic cancer so hospice has been called in to care for her. Obviously this is a horribly conflicted time for myself and my family. On one hand my grandmother has been slowly slipping away with dementia so her passing away can easily be viewed as a blessing. We believe that there is a heaven after death and therefore see death as a way to reach better things. However that doesn't stop us from mourning the imminent loss of one so dear to us.

On one of my recent visits with my grandmother I decided to do some sketches of her. She tends to sleep most of the time that you are with her so it can be a tad boring without something to do. I didn't have much in the way of supplies with me. Just a pen and my sketchbook. So I decided to just do some simple studies of her poor arthritic hands. It's horribly brutal sometimes how aging can affect our bodies. When I was home looking over the sketches I realized that I had used the page directly across from a quick color study that I had done for a painting that I am working on. The painting is for a friend who wishes to have it to celebrate the upcoming birth of her grandson. The amazing contrast between these two images stunned me momentarily. It's amazing how we all begin as these beautiful glowing perfect little babies and then end up so fragile and deformed as we reach our death. Another thought that crossed my mind is what if we are really just making a complete circle in our lives? Going from being birthed into this new world as a helpless creature, living life and then ending up a helpless creature yet again before we are "birthed" into the next life.