Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Whitney Museum Response

I thought most of the art we saw at the Whitney Museum was worthwhile. It was hard to try and cover everything, even without a time limit. I found Georga O’Keeffe’s paintings probably the most visually appealing. And they were probably most closely related to the kind of work I’m looking to produce this semester in the class. The number of paintings on display however was somewhat overwhelming, so I regret not having spent more time with a greater number of the works. I think the museum should have chosen a selection of the pieces to show rather than everything it had.
Dan Graham’s work was probably the most fun for me. His exhibition offered up a lot of very minimalist pieces playing on form, space and reflection. I thought his execution of idea was very well done, and I can appreciate the museum’s collaboration with the artist and the amount of work that goes into setting up an exhibition like his. The work was playful, and I wasn’t the only one who seemed amused by some of the work. Even one of the museum attendants was jovial in informing me that I could actually walk into one of the works.
The most thought provoking piece of the trip for me was my last stop back on the first floor – “Play Pause”. It was thought provoking for me not because of its content, but again in execution. The content itself was entertaining, but I sort of lost the artist’s track after a little past the halfway point of the movie. What really caught and kept my attention was Saide Benning’s implication of video as a medium. There was very little actual motion picture in the movie at all. It was mostly crude and simple hand drawings in slides timed to the soundtrack (whose acoustics greatly enhanced the piece overall). Even color was used sparingly. I was therefore surprised at how incredibly effective the movie was with such an elemental approach, and I’ll certainly keep this in mind in my own work in the future. It’s no secret that effective art isn’t necessarily complicated. But I’m not sure I’ve ever seen video employed this well with such simplicity before.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Readings 2 & 3 - Sourcing Inspiration

The article on external sourcing presented a number of artists and how they use external sources to generate their work. Some artists react to any number of things in their surroundings as I'm sure many of us do as well. Others hone in on a particular issue or subject matter that is very personally important to them. William Kentridge's work was particularly interesting to me both conceptually a visually. His art spans multiple mediums from theatre and puppetry, to film and drawing. But his subject matter primarily relates to events that he has personally experienced and has been very affected by...

So, is Kentridge's "external" inspiration truly external? Or does much of his work stem from his internalizing of these political and social events? He obviously has a deep reaction to the political events that are and have occured in South Africa, and his work is dark and tormented. I'm willing to argue that truly external sourcing of one's inspiration alone leads to superficial artwork. If art is going to make me think (which, after all, is the point of most modern art), it has to hit home. It has to be internalized, digested.

Further, without an internal component present in Kentridge's work, what would happen when his primary external source ceases to exist? Does he cease to make art? Or does the same internal drive that sparked his reactions to South African events move on to something else? Currently much of Kentridge's art investigates a similar situation that had occured in Russia.

I think these last two articles raised as many questions for me as they answered. And more importantly I think that they failed in their attempt to separate internal and external sources of inspiration.

Check out William Kentridge's video discussed at length in the article, "History of The Main Complaint". What an awesome way to make an animation - by reworking the same charcoal drawings, leaving traces from previous frames behind.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Reading 1 - Plato Response

Plato’s analogy of the prisoners and their shadows in the cave I thought to be very effective in relation to politics and knowledge. We perceive the world through the filters of our experiences and what we understand to be truths – both of which can significantly skew what actually is. He goes on to explain his reasoning for why philosophers never seek to govern or involve themselves in politics. He argues that philosophers do not seek personal gain, and therefore do no seek to govern over or forcefully influence others. I found this particularly interesting since overall I found the piece to be extremely insightful. After reading the piece through the first time, one of my first thoughts left me wondering why we continue to face such struggles for power and inequality today, when a philosopher who lived over 2000 years ago seems to have it all figured out.

Artist Statement

My name is Brandon Rodkewitz. I developed a strong interest in conveying my world through photography from relatively early age. My education has provided me with a healthy experience and appreciation for the foundation and the history of my chosen medium, and I have fully embraced the digital age. As an artist I am by far my harshest critic. I have high self-expectations from my work and a piece that I personally find to be successful is both rewarding and motivating. I love the way that the lens and frame can direct the viewer’s eye and mind. The primary goal of my work is to help others view things in a way in which they have never seen before – my works have been both widely interpretable, and focused and informational.