17 April 2008

a good time for art

the past month has been a mind-altering and inspiring time for art. i have had the opportunity to see some phenomenal works and collections of art. today began with a field trip to the portland art museum with my art education class. i must admit to being a bit skeptical, but instead had my mind blown by recent acquisitions of beautiful works by van gogh, matisse, monet, toulouse lautrec, raushenburg, kiki smith, ... i found myself on my knees a few times after laying eyes upon some particularly marvelous works by louise bourgeois (a firecracker of a woman born the same year as my tiny nana who reminds me more than a little of her) and marcel duchamp.  for a museum in a not-so-big city, i was amazed by the breadth and magnitude of their collections (a great many pieces have been gifted to the museum) in their contemporary wing alone.
this week especially has gotten me to thinking about the division between thinking about and feeling art. the spark for these thoughts came after seeing portland-based artist marie watt speak about her recent work. her work focuses on indigenous cultures, ideas about home, and community-building (through well-fed sewing circles). she was refreshingly open and presented important social commentary with honesty and depth of emotion.
my exposure to the art world during the past few years has been in thinking about art, dissecting art, and sterilizing the most beautifully messy aspects of the artistic endeavor.
i had almost allowed myself to disconnect from the importance of art as therapy. not only in creating art, but in looking at art do we have occasion to celebrate and feel.

...neither photograph adequately represents the grandeur of the each piece. the first by marie watt, entitled braids, is over 10 feet tall and 22 feet long. the second by kiki smith, entitled saint genevieve is about 8 feet tall and 12 feet long and is equipped with a motion sensor that plays the sounds of wolves crying. they are both incredibly evocative.

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