Saturday, March 27, 2010

Blog Entry #2: Aesthetics

Understanding a Photograph (John Berger Essay)*

Part 1—How Photography Differs From the Fine Artist

Here in this first part I decided to compare photography to painting. It is true, I think, of what John Berger states about photography, that it is an image of a thing seen and, that it essentially isolates, preserves and presents a moment taken from a continuum of time. We see images from photographs everyday, and practically everywhere. It is very easy to get a hold of a camera and take pictures. The everyday photographer sees composition as their primary means of expression. What you capture through the lens makes you unique, that and your subject.

I know several photographers who take pictures and create bodies of work through them, and they usually distinguish themselves as either fine art photographers or commercial. But what really is the difference? Is it because one sees they’re working in the commercial business, or because they want to be shown in galleries some day? Essentially I think it is because one can create meaning far differently through the thinking process in their work, and another sees photography as a fashionable, artistic visual outlet that applies to the everyday or particular consumer.

We don’t see the “true content” of a photographic image, only bits and pieces like “from a play, not with form, but with time.” This act of time can be preserved in a sophisticated act much like a fine artists way of thinking, but essentially the struggle and process is greatly different. To me, and according to Berger “Painting interprets the world, and translates it in its own language, but photography has no language of its own.” All its references are external to the self, whereas a fine art painters’ would be internal.

-Olivia DeMilta

Part 2—Understanding a Photograph that applies to my own Fine Art in Painting

It takes seeing the world in different ways, artists that is. By finding a process that holds dear to you, be it painting, photography, etc. one can use it to create a vast language that is visible to the viewer. Though mentioned above, this language of photography may be different then a true fine artists’ language. Nonetheless, photography has greatly applied to my work as a fine art painter, but in a conceptual way.

Many times I have observed photographs that I have taken and enjoyed them very much. Once I thought about painting an exact replica of a picture I took, but then someone asked me “why paint it when it’s already so beautiful?” Here I have grown to believe that though photography can be greatly influential to other painters, it must be either for depicting a subject’s form, or through an accompanied concept for which by using the photograph—like in my work now.

I see the external world as something more like a puzzle. Through all the images we see world is full of enjoyment, beauty, and tragedy. As we see images everyday, we are overloaded with information, which I describe as being much like parts to a puzzle. We subconsciously connect to certain images, gain aesthetically pleasing information and the sublime, but where does all the other information go? We are lost, only to search for truth by exploring the real world, but do we ever find it? This is the basis for my current series of work, called Time and Change.

-Olivia DeMilta

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Hey! Check out my 'Mini-Portfolio' . . . Illustrations & Graphic Design by Me :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Blog #1 Post 3: Aesthetics

Barnett Newman: Discussion on 'The First Man was an Artist' in relation to Newman's own Work as an Artist

By: Olivia DeMilta

Okay, so this post is going to be a big shorter than the other last two posts, but nonetheless its interesting. I found the article about Barnett Newman’s (1905-1970) ‘The First Man Was an Artist’ to be fulfilling in the sense that not always is science the right way of thinking or finding knowledge or evening excelling out of life. We are all meant to do one thing on this earth, and that is to live our life. Living is a dream in some eyes, to others is may be a dredge, but in so much of this matter, Newman speaks his view that the fall of man came from no other than the artist. That the earliest writings of human history (Book of Genesis) was not that of a social life, but one of the individual self living in a world much like that described in a dream. In the Garden of Eden, Newman sees the fall of man as not one like the religionists would have us believe, but rather that Adam, by eating from the tree of knowledge, “sought the creative life to be.”

I think this idea is interesting because Newman is one of an abstract expressionist painter, an "artist" whose work hangs in galleries and museums. And why? Because he paints, but more so because he's invited us into a new perspective on art. Newman’s theory about the fall of man is reflective of his work. When one sees his work, we see variations of color fields (wiki), wide and large dimensions of canvas, and different sorts of painting line and shape. But beside these various arrangements of paint, we feel something different than ordinary work prior to Newman's. We fall into his image a bit differently because of how different it is and it creates for some of us ideas about existence and humankind, and especially the individual (like how he discusses the individual vs the social). This artistic expression is that of an aesthetic one. That much like his first dream, this aesthetic experience is no more than that. Just like man’s first outcry was a “poetic outcry” rather than a “demand for communication.”

Newman is telling us, that we don’t need to paint like anyone or anything. We simply are born this way. His use of painting is not about technique, nor subjectivity. His concept is that artists have no boundaries and art is one of an aesthetic experience. This is something I like very much, as an artist myself. Bringing this Modern ideas into existence, postmodern art is influenced greatly from it. Thanks Newman!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Blog #1 Post 2: Aesthetics

An Analysis & Comparison to Fredric Jameson’s Theory of Postmodernism vs. Modernism

The Deconstruction of Expression by Fredric Jameson obviously is Jameson’s theorization on the development to Postmodernism, and the differences between that and High Modernism throughout the 20th century. Jameson closely compares and contrasts the work of van Gogh’s Peasant shoes, and Andy Warhol’s Diamond Dust Shoes. These two works of art, very significant for their time, are great examples to the ways in which these artist were thinking in context to their political standpoint in society, which Jameson talks about. Here, van Gogh, creates art that is said “symbolic” to his own life and those around him; Through the “stark rural poverty,” its “backbreaking peasant toil,” and “world [of] reduced, brutal, and menaced, state of being.” Jameson states that this is all compensated with van Gogh’s use of paint and color, for that of worldly suffering. Jameson sees this as a metaphor, that a “utopian” gesture is the compensation for the “tragedy” in van Gogh’s subjects, as in Peasant shoes and more. These views I find true, in that paint reflects emotion, and these emotions are quite valid. Jameson then goes further to contrast van Gogh with the work of Warhol, and his postmodern work of Diamond Dust Shoes. Here, his work is associated with affairs in that of Late Capitalism. For this time in America, Warhol comes about with his subdued view of the disoriented commodification and life of today’s people and lifestyle, and where suddenly now an image is being replaced by that of emotion, specifically this “superficiality,” as Jameson states.

After reading this, I began to further venture into the idea and difference between Modernism and Postmodernism, and I concluded that De Kooning and Saville were two great artists that I could essentially juxtapose this idea with. Knowing there are many areas in which to jump into, I decided to compare the very differences of each other, while still showing the similar connotations that apply to their expression, use of time, and space. What I find when I see these two artists’ paintings, is that they are very different in the sense that one is reflective of its personal feelings and life, and one is not, not meaning—specific to the sense that the subject and content is merely “impersonal” and therefore “devoid of feeling,” which Jameson states as pertaining to postmodern art. Here, Saville is creating work that much differently than De Kooning, in that her subject is not meant to be expressive of herself in its entirety. It is reflecting society in some way, but its not saying this is what is happening now, all the time, and to everyone around. The obese bodies, and burn victims are not hers nor anyone specific to her. She is merely working with this concept, and creating it in such a way that will bring in the viewer. It too “explicitly foregrounds the commodity [of] fetishism, [in] transition to late capital[ism],” like with Warhol’s work.

Artists today have this certain void to them that makes them more mysterious in that its subject and content is more directed to a crowd then merely the self. Not that this is a bad thing, artists can now separate themselves from their art, this “waning of affect” which Jameson mentions—which where expression has become deconstructed in its very aesthetic. DeKooning (much like Van Gogh), stood by this very aesthetic of expression. His voice and outward cry was his beauty. We are not alone with these feelings, we can all relate to anger, anxiety, death, despair. Here, and certainly during in his time—this was his life.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Blog #1 Aesthetics

Plato’s Philosophy of Art Today

By Olivia DeMilta

Being my last semester here at LCAD, for the first time I am being ask what is it I’m doing, what it means to be an artist, and what makes a painting art? For me art is an expression, a mode in which I have known to be in many times throughout my life. For one to ask the question now of what it all means, is a bit scary and intimidating at the same time. When I first came to art school I was attracted to the idea of making images that appealed to people. To appeal, I suppose now, means many things, but specifically making something “pretty” or “cool!” As I’ve grown older and wiser, seeing the world for what it is, I’ve begun to understand the importance of these expressions; that art can express many different things, meanings, and more importantly possibly the meaning of life and existence. Here, through my studies, is where I begin to see a “connection” with my own work and my own reality that I know.

Through the work I’ve produced in the past, to my current series of work, I begin to see a connecting line that answers some questions regarding my strengths and weaknesses in a both subjective context and objective too. When comparing my work, I begin to think of Plato’s ideas of the real and the imagined, specifically what he mentions in the Allegory of the Cave about imperfect “reflections” of the ultimate forms that subsequently represent truth and reality. That images we see aren’t always the real thing, and that there is an existence far beyond what is directly in front of us. For me, I was too na├»ve to understand what it was I really wanted when entering art school, so I went for learning about the first thing that would make me money one day, illustrating. I thought I could eventually have my work published in articles for making nice pictures, and that I could just do whatever I wanted. But it suddenly changed when I actually began studying the field, and seeing how you really can’t just do anything you want. Thankfully, you are required to take fundamentals of drawing classes, and here I began learning about the “form”. For the first time here, I felt what it was like to be connected to something other than myself, actually connecting to a living human being, object or structure. Eventually I would have moved up to my elective classes, which is where I began to choose painting. Only soon to again, feel the connection that I was longing for so long.; Paint, this pure element with pigments from the earth, soon to be eloped onto the canvas, only soon to depict the model with pure form, variety, and intention.

These experiences I was having, the need to connect with physical form and human relation, seemed very real to me. That even though the changing physical world is “poor” something important escapes from the human experience, something positive, and real. Now faced with the challenge of creating my own ideas and bringing them to life, I begin to search for those feelings I have once felt when stepping into that experience the first time, constantly exploring, seeking truth, in order to make a pure work of art. This process can at times be enduring, even exonerating. Studying work of art and ideas beyond the pictorial space, and what makes something art are very intriguing, but I don’t know if necessary. In Plato’s philosophy, he sees art as being 3 steps outside the real. For art, those steps are even placed back further, that art is an illusion of an illusion. But was Plato around when the Internet came around, and how suddenly millions of images are viewed through this tiny screen we call a computer? Now, art is being displayed even further from reality. It’s printed in books, posted on television screens, printed and displayed in all forms and sizes. If Plato doesn’t believe that art can’t be called real simply from its original source, the canvas, installation, film, etc., then how is he to say that these other imitations of art are only a few steps behind those of the original? Is it still just as far away from being to that of the original source? The original art is far more significant in my eyes, in that it shows true form. It shows that it is real, that it was created, and that pure thought was established in the making of these creations. For me, its not about whether what it is I’m creating is the most pure or most knowledgeable of all creations of art, but that it’s about the experience and actually being a part of the piece through its process, and essentially being a part of its creation of reality as close as possible.