I've already included this photo in a blog, but it's so good I think it deserves a redo.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Thanks to Miss Stacia Franz, this past term I learned how to air brush! So in this photo, I used my new found skill to bronze up Kiley! She looks like she's fresh off the plane from a long, tropical vacation. It's like an electronic makeup brush! Also in this photo, the beautiful Jasmine Tara, and the gorgeous Andrew Kress.
Review on André Kertész: Shadow Marks
At the Winnipeg Art Gallery
André Kertész: Shadow Marks is a photography ehibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG). Because the 30 plus photos are set up chronologically, and the order takes you through the artist’s life, it is necessary to give a brief bio on this famous photographer.
André Kertész is a pioneer of hand-held photography who was born in Budapest in 1894, and died in New York in 1985. In his young adult life, he had a job in the Budapest Stock Exchange, where he gained the funds necessary to buy his first hand-held camera, which would ignite Kertész’s life ambition.
When he was drafted in 1914 into the army, he brought his newfound passion with him. However, the pictures Kertész took were quite different then previous war photos. He focused on the lives and moments of soldiers and his environment away from the action, to create captivating images out of subtlety.
Kertész remained in Hungary until 1925, when he moved to Paris. There he found new inspiration and developed one of his most famous collections, Distortion, in the 1930s.
He then moved to New York in 1936, where due to the war, he became stuck. Kertész’s career slowed until the end of the 1960s, when his work was shown regularly in Paris, Tokyo, Budapest, New York, and London.
Rarely does an artist witness the development of his own art form. Kertész is one of the main founders of modern hand-held photography.
As you enter the exhibit, the first thing you notice is that the entire room is black and white: the photos, ceramic works, walls, floors and signage. There is a short bio of the artist on the wall, and positioned throughout the room are contemporary ceramic works, that the Winnipeg Art Gallery website states, “share similar monochromatic and graphic nature of Kertész’s images.”
The shadows cast by the display cases, along with the lack of colour, evoke a feeling of eeriness right away. A feeling that doesn’t seem to leave for the duration of the stay.
As stated on the WAG’s website, “These images are drawn from the WAG’s collection of 180 photographs by Kertész which were donated to the Gallery in 1985, marking the beginning of the special collecting area dedicated to photography. Many of the pieces on display have never been on view before.”
The first photos you see were taken in his birthplace, Hungary. What you really notice is the contrast between light and shadow in his photographs. My Mother’s Hands, Budapest, 1919, is truly captivating, somehow bringing motion to a black and white photo of two hands.
After that photo, and once we leave the collection from Budapest, the photographs turn more abstract and dark. The next section of the exhibit is from Kertész’s time in Paris. When you see Untitled (Distortion, Paris), 1933 and Distortion #48, Paris, 1933, you can’t help but stop and stare. With the use of mirrors and unexpected camera angles, Kertész turns female nude portraits into something else. It’s apparent that in this period of his life, there was a disturbing aspect to his work.
The next section of the exhibit is made up of photos taken from Kertész’s time in New York. There is a noticeable gap in time within this section. It begins with a disturbing photo, Untitled (Fan New York), 1937, then after a few photos, the time begins in the late 1960s. The final photos are mostly from New York in the 60s and 70s, and are quite calm compared to his works of the 30s.
After a calming yet eerie start, and a disturbing middle, the last photos give a sense of completeness to the exhibit. It’s almost like you’re taken on the journey of his life through his photos.
I believe this exhibit accomplished what it intended to. As stated on the short bio mounted on the wall at the start of the collection, “At the heart of Kertész’s mastery is his ability to create an image wherein the subject appears to change and shift into something else wholly new.”
Even the way Kertész deals with the treatment of shadows on his subjects changed throughout his life, which seems to agree with the WAS’s statement. He began with an eerie, yet calm effect, then changed to a harsh, almost disturbing treatment, then finished with photos that had a feeling of resolve.
Overall, a very good exhibit that accomplished showcasing the artists’ works as well as his life.
Why/how is composition important in affecting/creating our response to a painting?
Nighthawks, (Edward Hopper, located in the Art Institute of Chicago)
The composition in Nighthawks greatly influences our reaction to it. With the use of contrast, in colour, lighting, and shapes, many viewers of the painting see loneliness.
According to an Edward Hopper website, we are shut out from the scene by the glass. So not only do we perceive the characters to be lonely but we are also secluded ourselves. Also, the fact that we don’t see an entrance is also meant as a barrier to the interior of the diner.
We also feel eeriness, or a foreboding due to the lighting contrast between the interior and the night outside. The inside of the diner is brightly lit, and that light is spilling into the dark night creating ominous shadows. Yet the lighting is still balanced. If you look at the bottom left corner, the cement is brightly lit which is balanced diagonally in the upper right corner, where the light source is mainly coming from.
Also, the strong geometric shapes that make up a lot of the composition in Nighthawks appear balanced. According to thefreelibrary.com, “the angular lines are balanced by the diagonal row of buildings in the background.”
As the National Gallery of Art website states, “Nighthawks is a composition of contrasts held in balance.” I agree with this completely. I feel the loneliness in this painting, and I’m also left with anticipation because I feel like I’m looking at the calm before the storm. The contrasts do work in harmony, but I’m left with a feeling that that harmony is soon to be disturbed.