Sunday, September 30, 2012

Frans Wildenhain

Whether intended or not by the designers of Frans Wildenhain's exhibit at RIT, absence plays a significant role. One thing that is noticeably absent from the exhibit are descriptions of the art. Background information on art pieces is typically provides viewers with some insight as to what a piece might represent. It is important when an artist has a specific message, or response they want to evoke. There are a few possible reasons why little to no information was provided at the exhibit on each individual piece.

Frans Wildenhain may not have had specific intents for each piece  because of the sheer quantity he produced. It could have been too difficult to provide a detailed description of the hundred and fifty or so pieces in the gallery, therefore it was left out.

Another possible reason is the exhibition coordinator may have wanted to leave information absent so people would be more inclined to purchase the catalog that does provide more information. The exhibition obviously needs capital to operate.

Regardless of the reason, the effect of leaving information out is significant. It leaves interpretation of Wildenhain's art almost entirely up to the viewer, which for some, may make the exhibit more interesting.

Growing up in an age strongly influenced by computing, I have a personal preference for digital and interactive art. I still respect art that is hand crafted, but it looses my attention much quicker. This is an inherent bias that I have to be aware of when evaluating almost any type of art, especially the ceramics of Frans Wildenhain because his art is pretty simple and straight forward visually (although creating the ceramics is complex). He generally used only a few colors and maybe a basic pattern on most of the pieces displayed in the exhibit. This is not a bad thing, my eyes are just used to more busy art. Wildenhain's art would have a stronger appeal to an audience who grew up with primarily hand crafted art.

On the on a different side of the spectrum, the history nerd part of me tends to enjoy art that is or represents relics of an ancient civilization. The piece to the right appealed to me most because of this. I personally see history in this piece, maybe an old piece of furniture left from the ancient Egyptians. This was created in the mid 20th century, nowhere near the time of the ancient Egyptians. I need to be conscious of things like this when interpreting such art.

The simplicity of Wildenhain's art is matched by simplicity in the way the exhibit is organized. The space and separation of the art makes it easy for one to focus and interpret a single piece without any distraction. Some of the larger and more complex pieces were given their own display case with lighting. This left me to believe that these pieces may be more valuable in some sense. The lighting in the exhibit overall provided a welcoming, sort of homey feeling while not being too harsh and glaring off the art. As mentioned previously, the lack of information provided on each piece made it difficult for me to interpret. I was personally unsatisfied with this (lack of) feature in the gallery, but to someone more familiar with this type of art, it would not be as big of a problem.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Sentinel

"The Sentinel" is a piece of art on RIT's campus that is quite abstract, but I'll do my best to interpret it. Broken down, this piece is actually pretty simple. It is a few large pieces of metal bound together and sits in the near the front entrance of campus as a landmark, but why was it put there? And what does it mean?

In my opinion, the metal contents of the structure represent strength. It is amazing to think how something so heavy and tall stays together when it appears that the pieces are barely attached to each other. The artist most likely did this on purpose because strength is a characteristic one would use to represent a successful institute.

Helmer would agree that the purpose of this icon is to "make a mark on the world". It represents the creativity and strength of RIT and being located at the front entrance of campus, it is one of the first structures visitors see when the come to RIT. It has success as a signature of RIT, because it is a common place many students choose to meet up at because it is easy to find, being over 30 feet tall.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Burton Kramer

CBC logo
There were two things I found particularly interesting about Burton Kramer's presentation. One was the sheer amount of worked he produced in his lifetime. He has designed for hundreds of organizations while maintaining quality throughout his work. It astounds me how he did not run out of ideas. Kramer mentioned how he enjoyed using shapes and geometry in his work. This is prevalent in one my favorite designs by him, the CBC logo.

Another thing I found interesting about Burton Kramer was the fact that he produced all of his work without a computer. I can use a computer to design, but I would have no idea where to start if I had to design something without one. This strengthened my respect for him as a designer.

LineDance 3C
While Burton Kramer is unarguably a talented designer, I personally don't believe his designs reflect what popular in contemporary design. A look at his piece LineDance 3C gives me an "80's wallpaper" vibe. I don't personally find this art as appealing as his earlier work, but it is open to interpretation. A combination of different sized, asymmetric shapes gives a feeling of movement in this particular piece.  The proximity of the shapes makes it feel is if one is looking down on a city. The two red triangles on opposite sides of the canvas contrast the rest of the shapes. They display a brighter red and that pushes the eye across the piece. I think of a subway map in the 80's because of the pastel colors and the longer lines that could represent a train or a station.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


A photo I took from the top of the Grand Canyon.
Visual phenomenons that never cease to capture my attention are landscapes, typically nature ones. I am one who loves to travel and will never turn down an opportunity to experience a new destination. I have a bucket list of places that I plan to travel to sometime in my life and this summer, I was fortunate enough to knock one of those off my list, the Grand Canyon.

Most people have the same initial response when they see the Grand Canyon for the first time. It's an overwhelming feeling of amazement as you become consumed by the natural beauty of this vast landscape that took millions of years to form. One cannot help but to stare in awe. This photo does not justify seeing the Grand Canyon first hand, but it does give you an idea of how gargantuan and breath taking it truly is.

In context, I took this photo for my personal remembrance. This is most likely the only time this photo will be displayed publicly, and it might not have significance to many people, but every time I see it I will remember the once in a life time opportunity I had to hike the Grand Canyon. Those who have also been to the Grand Canyon are likely to have similar emotions evoked. It is a display of experience, but also the miracle of nature.