Friday, May 23, 2008

A Final English Essay

This is a piece of work where I've used research discussion, and a lot of my time. It feels so relieving when you finish something of this caliber.

1 comment:

Steve T5 said...

Over time, the interest of the people desiring entertainment changes. It can change slightly or greatly, and can occasionally change genre. So in order for an entertainer to stay in business, the entertainer needs to change appropriately. For an artist, it means the political responses vibed off their canvases may need to change while their technique and skill remains high. This is essential in order to keep their job, but is not easy or simple. Considering the techniques the artist may have solidified towards one specific manner of painting or drawing may need a whole new approach. The person may need to re-educate himself or herself, and learn new styles, but a select few have done this properly, like Wadinsky, or Amy Sillman.
For Amy Sillman, and for the artists around her time of being young, there was a talk against being decorative in pictures, and that most abstract pictures leaned towards being decorative. They were also criticized for being old media, played out, new-idea stunted, and out of sync with contemporary life and thought (Macadam, 110). So artists had to cope with a new interest in paintings, or one or more that fit the modern style. Some of these artists, specifically Amy Sillman, thought that since the contemporary life has this new feeling for concrete reality, her abstract works that fused the dry fantasy of surrealism harmonized perfectly with the new environmental conditions (Lambert, 2). Even so, she still had obstacles, and she needed to learn how to not be decorative, and add a sense of originality and creativeness in her new paintings. For this, she went back to school at New York’s Bard College in 1995, and what she found was calligraphy (Sillman, 1).
The real connection for Sillman was to Japanese Calligraphy. Sillman thought it had a relationship to letter-writing, making it very intimate and very influenced by language, so she added it to her paintings (Sillman, 1). She was already striving for a way to display emotion in order to create communication between the spectator and the canvas, and the conversation would be about modern times. Considering, they say that paintings have much to tell of history of the periods in which they were produced, their climate of belief and mode of thought, social conditions and manner of life (Gaunt, 9). Therefore, when the spectator will realize the painting is modern and will have a simpler time in relating to the painting. So Amy learned a lot at Bard College, but even though she changed, she still thrived for painting with free association and other psychoanalytic idea (Bui, 1). Meaning, regardless of conforming to the new modern style, she was able to keep her own interests and ideals in her paintings. She is able to express her emotions, using language in the paintings, and she is able to use surrealism and abstraction, but gaining the ability to do so took a lot of education, time, and obviously the determination. When learning linguistics, she could have leaned to a career more related to writing, but it was her enjoyment in painting previously in the past, that she wanted to retrieve when going back into college. Now, from that determination, she is known for paintings that are really good (Butler, 1).
As stated, the politics in Amy Silman’s artwork was so significant, enough for the circumstances to require an alibi for every motive or work done (Bui, 1). Amy Sillman, hindered by these circumstances, decided to go to college, and study to use calligraphy as her basis in abstract art. This made her artwork less “decorative” and more “calligraphic,” in terms a spectator will use to appreciate her paintings more. Later Amy used Language in her art, and progressed to surrealism in order to not only become a master of diverse art, but to conform to the changes in the modern world.
Artists in an earlier date also had the same problem with society, culture, and politics. At a point in time, some said color was no where as significant as form in a canvas. They said colour was no more than a pleasing accessory and it reflected credit on the compounder of pigments rather than on the painter who used them (Gaunt, 11). In the 1930s, using the word spiritual was near-heresy and dangerous (Tuchman, 18). Spirituality was not precisely fit for use in paintings, but the intellectuals in that period of time looked towards aesthetics, which can occasionally branch from a spiritual perception of a painting, depending on the person. That shows how aesthetics seem to always correlate with spirituality, and also the politics that set boundaries in paintings, though as all these borderlines are being placed on paintings throughout history, the definition of beautiful is attempted to be standardized over and over again everywhere. Setting a standard to judge all art in terms of beauty leads to purely philosophic arguments, and changes in results as new art arises. Greek sculpture, the wistful angularity of Botticelli’s Venus, the dynamic force of a Sybil conceived by Michelangelo, all of these are very different pieces of art, but caused the need for the definition and standard of beauty to be very flexible (Gaunt, 2). The standard would need to encompass all art, and it was eventually realized that the expansion in how flexible it needed to be was limitless, considering the amount of opinions and interpretations on art is multiplied per person, making it infinite. Furthermore, there is a strong inclination to avoid specific physical resemblances to the work of others in favor of inducing a high degree of personal creativeness within the selected pattern of contemporary orientation (Janis, 16). Thus the artist is inclined to do any amount of different things, making no two artists the same, even if contemporary (Gaunt, 10). This, and the fact that the greater the artist, the more individually distinct they become, eventually set the standard of beauty to be the ability of a painting to display the artist’s individual emotions and multiple interpretations creatively (Gaunt, 10). The artist needs to apply emotion into the canvas, and spectators need to be probed by the many ways the painting can be looked at, to be beautiful. That is what artists like Amy Sillman strive for, being appreciated for beautiful artwork in the modern day.
Amy Sillman creatively adds emotion into her artwork, like the artists before her, because the feelings of the painter, the completeness and originality of a painter’s self-expression, needs to be in the painting (Gaunt, 10). As thought when standardizing beauty, without the stimulus of emotion, poetry sinks to a prosaic level, just as a painting without an intensity of feeling becomes prosaically photographic or a lifeless copy of some prevailing style (Gaunt, 11). So every artist puts a part of their individual emotion into a painting, though more can be interpreted from the displayed emotion on the canvas than feelings, giving even more credit to the standard of judging beauty. For example, the way paintings have much to tell of history and manners of the current lifestyle, which relates to how work in the 1930s avoided being “spiritual,” or how Sillman avoided painting abstract art “decoratively” because it was not appreciated in her first years of painting. Sometimes even the actual character or thoughts of an artist can be studied through the painting, using the painting, considering the self-portraits of Rembrandt are a biography in themselves. The hopes, struggles, and despair of Van Gogh come out in his impassioned canvases (Gaunt, 10). So personality, emotion, and lifestyle are all placed in masterful pieces of art.
Another factor is the quality of the artwork, but the greatest factor remains to rely on the opinions of the spectator towards the techniques and styles used by the artist; relating the spectators likes and dislikes.
Since there is no specific way to lean to everyone’s interest at the same time, the artist leans continuously to the standard of beauty for paintings, while staying with their genre they expertise in, regarding quality. For Amy Sillman, that genre is and will always be abstract art, due to her ability in actual abstraction, though to follow the standard of beauty to a higher, more creative level, she would need to avoid physical resemblances to not only other artists’ works of art, but to common pictures. Spectators want to see something new, modern, and creative in pictures, unlike what they normally see on a daily, normal basis and want to enjoy spectating. So some painters and sculptors, like Sillman, rather than imitating their subject’s natural appearance, deliberately change the persons or objects in the painting to their liking, to their feelings. They stretch or bend forms, break up shapes, and give objects unlikely textures or colors (NGACLASSROOM, 1). They make these transformations in an effort to communicate something they cannot convey through common, realistic treatment, but through many interpretations, associating to the standard of beauty for paintings (NGACLASSROOMS, 1). These works of art that went through transformations and reframe nature for expressive effect are called abstract (NGACLASSROOM, 1). Anabel Daou, an abstract artist, says, “I think abstraction is a mental process where the artist extracts form and creates form. For instance, I looked out of my window across the street. One frame was slightly off-kilter, and I began to think of an off-kilter grid. And from there, how the tiny shift in the big grid changed everything. It becomes a new world (Macadam, 115).” In this sense, using abstraction in art is using forms or designs that have little or no connection with objective or observable reality (Mifflin, 2). Another example is when the Australian Aboriginal draws Australia Bull-roarer, drawing various series of curved lines to indicate the leaping movements of a kangaroo. It is clear the curved lines cannot be considered to portray the actual animal in motion, but the track and direction of the movement itself (Viking, 20). Most abstraction follow this approach for the most part, but Sillman adds one more idea into her abstraction; in the paintings of Amy Sillman, there is an effort to make every decision, visible in the painting, of the painting (Macadam, 112). Meaning ever factor in the painting is meant to have a visible meaning in it, but it doesn’t need a known meaning. This makes her paintings thick, and if with feelings, strong. Her approach completely contradicts the approach to being decorative, which tends to be repetitive and flashy, by being thick and probing, which defines Unearth, one of her paintings in 2003, perfectly. The canvas is 66 x 78 inches, and full of bright color, without being irritable to the eye. The painting is abstract, but visibly, there are structures, boats, perhaps a picture of Atlantis, but it is unknown, and can be many places or things.
“Free association, it’s inclusive: maybe what comes to mind is a combination of the personal and the abstract, and the political, and the humorous. Free association is also a description of a linguistic process that is opened to randomness: dissociative junctures, accidents, overlaps, coincidences, mistakes, and things that leave you in a zigzag path (Bui, 1).” Even when Sillman says this, she also believes that Abstract painting creates a background to her, which forms a sharp contrast to language, inventing a sense of language (Lambert, 2). So in a sense, the zigzags and the lines that coincidently collided together create a story for Sillman.
In Sillman’s own abstraction, there is a story behind her lines and colors, but for a spectator who is not related to Sillman’s perspectives, it may be hard to scope a setting in the canvas, except eventually Sillman began including surrealism into her paintings. Surrealism, is a 20th-century literary and artist movement that attempts to express the workings of the subconscious by fantastic imagery and incongruous parallel of matter under consideration in a matter under consideration in a written work or speech (Mifflin, 684). It uses dream-like pictures to portray subconscious drives, and fantasy, but sometimes surrealism, as far-fetched as it sounds, can be used for realistic purposes, like politics, and culture. Considering, much of the work today is more in spirit of earlier 20th-century artists like Malevich, where abstraction and/or surrealism emerged out of something real, controversial, and revolutionary, like war or radical social, economic, and cultural upheavals (Macadam, 112). A good example is some of Sillman’s latest, surrealist works that are real and controversial, are her latest works on sex.
In one of the the latest series of paintings made by Amy Sillman, sex, and the feelings or thoughts towards that subject are associated with the actual aspects within the paintings. Considering Amy Sillman already works with a manner where she attempts showing every decision visible to spectators, the spectators will give attention to each aspect of the painting, every decision made by Amy Sillman, all under the topic of sex, and there are a lot of thoughts, different thoughts, on sex. While that is true, Sillman places her own ideas of sex into her paintings, because for Sillman, “painting is a physical thinking process to continue an interior dialogue, a way to engage in a kind of internal discourse, or sublanguage-mumbling… (Sillman, 1)” Surrealism can then be used to display her internal discourse, her sublanguage-mumbling and subconscious thoughts.
“A Bird in the Hand,” is one of the latest works created by Amy Sillman with oil. It shows a spinach-colored hand reaching across a lavender field holding a little bird. From the bottom left the, lavender field stretches towards the top right, but only reaching half way to be cut off by the stated hand. The hand is a spinach color, and stretches out across the right to the top left. This overly sized arm stretches from its original location of being on the right, and connects to a gray-blue form. This form resembles a body, a human body. The only unusual factors on this human body, is its connection to the green arm, and the color of the form. First, the color of the human is blue, but as the spectator strafes his sight to the left, to the front of the human body, the color becomes shadier on the figure. The color in front of the human body is dark gray, and from the dark gray, the arm protrudes. The arm, coming from the shady area of the human, also seems to be coming from the crotch of the human form. The crotch, being shady and dark, is where the arm sticks out, resembling a penis. Not only is a penis usually covered up with clothing, it is an anatomical piece of a males body that is a controversial, important part of life as people know it. Also seeing how it is such a spinach-green, it would stick out as significant in this picture.
Aside, but correlated with the arm is the Lavender field. It stretches out towards the top right, eventually being overlapped by the green arm. Then, after continuing past the spinach-green arm, the lavender field turns green, just like the arm, as though the green, like a virus or poison, contaminated the field.
The most important piece in this picture, or so it seems, are the birds at the top of the picture. Every bird in this picture is moving to the top left, as if in flight, though a few of them are different in color. The birds seem to be black initially, but when the spinach green arm, which has its fingers and grip on one of the birds, seems to change the captured bird’s color to the same color of the arm. Not only did the spinach arm change the lavender field to green, but also the bird to green. Then, near the body of the tall human is a bird so close to the human form that it seems to have been “contaminated” as well. Everything that passed by the male body has turned green, the birds, and the environment. It is believed from spectators, that the picture shows how much of an impact a male’s penis has on sentient beings, the environment, and the world itself in so many different ways the artist conveys on the picture.
These sexual pictures then continue throughout Amy Sillman’s works; pictures of jumbled, naked bodies, and the faces of confused and satisfied humans. In one, untitled, work of art, an arrangement of shapes and colors give so many possible opinions a spectator may have on what the artist may be trying to say with her artwork. After first glance, to continue observing the artwork would confuse the spectator due to the multitude of factors. In the untitled picture, there is what looks like a bed with a yellow mattress, and has a small end table attached. Then upon this bed, is a jumble of black and white shapes that have a small significance to human appendages. These shapes, jumbled upon a bed, are immediately related to sex in the spectators mind, considering the image of appendages, naked, on a bed, but there seems to be a females body inside of the jumbled of shapes, overlapped but still visible. This is easy to tell due to the breasts drawn in the picture, and the shape of the body extending from the thoracic area of the body.
On the left of this picture, is a clean, easy-to-see maroon colored girl with long hair. This girl is looking at the scene on the right of the picture, and looks confused. One eyebrow is making the shape of an arch, the international facial expression of “something fishy is going on, but I don’t quite get it.” Justifying her confusion, aside from the jumble of appendages, is how the appendages, and the bed, are right side up. The bed’s base is on the right side of the picture, and moves to the left while being right side up. The girl, standing correctly, looking upon the appendages confused, resembles not only the confusion a spectator may have from trying to understand the appendages, or the entire picture as a whole, but also the confusion a spectator, or the artist, may have on the subject of sex itself. The girl in the photo, obviously confused by possibly some of the natures of sex, may intensify the possibility of the spectator having the same feelings towards sex, confusion. Considering sex, being as important as it is in the world, is so controversial, confusion due to the many factors of it is understandable, and all of these factors are placed inside of Amy Sillman’s picture by the abundance of colors, and shapes used in such abstract, surrealist ways.
“Sillman’s paintings are really good. Her abstraction is vaguely architectural and figural and dominated by a masterful sense of color. The forms of Sillman’s paintings evolve on the canvas; they feel hard-won without looking overworked, and her colors emerge strong, separate and unmuddied (Butler, 1).” She is able to use abstraction, and the dry fantasy of surrealism, even though abstraction and surrealism were considered counter-movements and over-lapped rarely (Janis, 16); She fuses abstraction and surrealism because of the new feelings for paintings that are real, revolutionary, and controversial, and the best example of Sillman supplying the demand for these paintings is not only her works on sex, but My Pirate, made in 2005.
In My Pirate, a masterful amount of shapes, forms and colors are used, and there seems to be ship masts piled up on one another. On these escalating masts are humans, men working on the sails, and a female down below, perhaps fantasizing the scene. Birds gather on the sails, and clouds hover over, but above all, is how dream-like the painting is. The painting is like a fantasy, a good dream, a child’s day-dream, and most of all, a great painting to look at and enjoy.
Later, Amy Sillman is asked why her works on sex and her latest works are so aggressive. Sillman responds with, “I’m just letting my aggression out. It has been a couple of intense years for me. So of course, psychologically the paintings are merely a conduit to all those complicated feelings. And I don’t want to make something that seems like candy-box beauty, because we are going through some terrible times (Bui, 1).” This response further gives Sillman the reputation for being intimate, psychological and full of humor and pathos in her paintings, and at this point, she has become politically appreciated.