Assignment #1


Please visit the Katherine E. Nash Gallery exhibit, Vis/a/Vis: U of M Faculty Show, and pick one work of art from the show to which you felt a strong connection. Write a 2-3 paragraph comment on the main blog page beneath this entry describing the piece you chose and the connection you felt to it. Then answer these 3 questions:

  • 1. Is there a story and, if so, whose story is it?

  • 2. Whose point of view is being expressed in this piece?

  • 3. What do you feel is the "truth" of this piece?

Please post your entry by midnight, Sunday Sept. 19. This Assignment is in addition to your weekly journal entry, which is also due at that time. Late assignments and journal entries will not be given credit.

For information on the Nash Gallery and this event:


I went to the Vis-a-vis exhibit an hour ago and was completely alone to soak up the art. I liked that.

I chose a large painting on the far wall that had black, gray, and white blobs on a scribbly background. It was quite large and when you stood closely it completely immersed your field of vision.

I don't feel there was necessarily a story in this piece of art, but more a feeling. It seemed to come from not just one person's narrative but from their mind directly. When I took in the layers of objects and their different scales of size I felt a three dimensional intensity that I was compeled to explore further. The minutiae of the work was quite interesting from the small scale of the quirky little shapes to the intrigue of the linked rings on the medium scale to the overall trend of the rare gray blobs forming a streak across the painting. It seemed like an ecosystem of thought.

As for the "truth" of the painting, I felt that while a lot of the complexity was shown in the painting I also felt that much of it was hidden away. Perhaps behind a large white or black mass, or outside of the realm of view. One of the first thoughts I had when I looked at it was that it looked a lot like a fractal. I have a personal love of fractals and what they mean on a metaphysical level. To me the concept of a shape that does not change or repeats as you change the scale of it represents absolute truth. It demonstrates a unity that transcends scale and makes you feel a connection to both the smallest of microbes as the largest of galaxies because each one would view a fractal and see the same thing. I definitely believe that this was a property of the painting that the artist considered because many part of the painting closely resemble the famous mandelbrot fractal:

That was my take on it!

I too had a similar experience to Gavins. I visited the Katherine E. Nash Gallery on Tuesday evening after class and aside from me, the gallery attendant and the audio-visual disembodied voices that were coming from another art piece.

The piece I was drawn to was drawn to the most was by Allison Aune. The piece called " Body - Holding Life," was extremely beautiful to me, even upon first glance when I turned the last corner of the gallery and discovered it.

1. I feel that the story is two fold. The title alone plays a lot into the actual image as it is a female body, that is visibly pregnant, or holding another life inside of it. I also think it could be a comment on the female form in general. Few people find a larger woman to be beautiful especially in today's society, let alone a bigger woman who is pregnant. The designs painted all over her body seems to also mean something to the piece that I am still unaware of. I think it could be a self portrait, or personal experience, but I do not know the artist so it could simply be about any woman, holding life.

2. The womans point of view is being expressed in this piece. it's a full frontal piece of work that leaves the woman subject completely open and somewhat vulnerable but mostly proud.

3. I think the subject is trying to express the beautiful nature that is holding another life within yourself. The other ornamentation painted on her nude body could also become a cover for her shyness in the nudity, but also could be reinforcing the beauty of life in general.

Check it out, it's very stunning.

The piece that caught my eye was a video entitled, "Blow Away". The video cuts between 3 different scenes in a continuous loop. I am not exactly sure where the cycle is supposed to start but, there's a few second long scene of just a person's eyes, a scene where 9 glass or metal obelisks explode, and a scene where an owl tries to fly away while attached to an owl handler's arm.

The story I took away from this piece was a critique of what humankind has done to nature. The obelisks to me were representative of nature, a beautiful, and mysterious in some ways, thing. And before it explodes, the eyes appear, as to say people are watching nature die, and do nothing. And then the owl appears following the explosions, is spooked by something and tries to fly away but can't, as if to say the animals want to escape from the destruction but where can they escape to? And once again the eyes appear before the cycle repeats itself, reemphasizing that people see this and do nothing.

The story and point of view are specifically the artist's, because they are the one who created it. However, the story is meant to be everyone's because it is essentially a wake up call. While the truth is that we are all those just watching eyes.

The piece that I found I connected with right away was titled "Pine Lake Panorama" by Steve Bardolph. It was the first piece on the right that you see when you walk into the gallery. The piece was a 130''x44'' photograph taken by a man sitting in the back of a canoe with a woman paddling in the front. A small, fluffy dog is laying in the bottom of the canoe next to a map and compass. Surrounding the canoe is a spectacular view of the lake, with hills covered in trees on both sides of the picture. Long grass is laying on the surface of the clear, glassy-looking lake. This picture was spliced into smaller portions (some were also enlarged more than others), which were then overlapped over each other to create something pretty unique.
This piece reminded me of me and my family's trips to the Boundary Waters--which is why I connected to it immediately.
1. I think there's definitely a story. There's always an interesting story behind a canoeing trip or a camping trip. The story would probably be the man's (who was taking the picture) and/or the woman's (who was sitting in the front of the canoe). It could also potentially be the little dog's story (who was laying at the bottom of the canoe).
2. The point of view in this piece is the man's (who was taking the picture). When you look at the picture, you're viewing things from his perspective at the back of the canoe.
3. I think the piece was trying to express how important it is to take in and appreciate the small details in nature and how we often take those little things in life for granted.

Ok so I'm sitting on the floor in the Nash gallery towards the back right now, next to this tree thingy. It's connected to a Samsung microchip board with a HALO ethernet jack, PLUGGED INTO THE INTERNET. Then they've also got it on a HomeWorks protoboard type dealy with a simple motor and some (power?) connected on a breadboard. Supposedly it's grabbing internet data from a sensor from Duluth, but I think it's kind of stuck.

I'm resisting the very strong urge to "fix" it - you can plainly see that the tree thingy has fallen out of the 6 screws that are supposed to be holding it together. That's probably really bad for the electric motor that it's connected to. Actually sec, gonna see if I can tell this dude up front that it's broken.

HELL YES IT WORKS. IT'S ALIVE!!! We fixed it, apparently the tree was wedged in, just like I called. Now it's waving about, gotta move it almost hit me in the face. Ok that was cool, we totally fixed the art. And it wasn't even a software problem. It was a hardware problem. Like literally, a tree was the problem. Not even a semiconductor hardware problem, but like the kind you get from a hardware store (no pun intended).

Ok I digress. My emotional connection to this would stem (PUN INTENDED) from the fact that I've spent hours and hours (and hours and hours) in lab programming microcontrollers before. I only scratched the surface of doing network programming on them (a simple CAN bus architecture), and I know how painful that can be. I've spent upwards of 20++ hours in a single week in lab trying to fix crap like this.

So do I think there's a story to it? No I don't think so, but it does show how you can use the internet to connect different locations. I really like how they've got some type of PHYSICAL connection - connecting a tree in Duluth to a "tree" here, via the internet. Usually there's just an electronic "connection" over the internet, not relaying into physical objects. Even some of the cooler stuff like VR video conferencing would be pretty much "not physical", because it's all just light & sound. It does present some difficult problems with scalability though, so it really only works as a novelty piece I guess.

Also there isn't really a point of view here in the original sense. You can sort of see how we're seeing the physical interaction between this tree and the tree in Duluth, which is an extension of two views. Like it's as though we had a looking glass that we could see to Duluth from here, but not really (just recreated with digital technology). I can personally see a point of view of incredible frustration form the artist (just because I know how much of a hell it is to program this stuff). Especially given the fact that it was broken when we showed up.

Ok now this thing might be stuck again. It hasn't moved for a long time. Ok now Bo just poked it and it's moving like crazy. There's gotta be some kind of bug in the code, because it hangs after awhile. Without input on our side (someone poking it), it dies after awhile. Maybe it's just possessed code. Without seeing the source I don't really trust wtf it's doing.

What's the truth? The internet is totally awesome I guess :P I never thought of this possibility before today, but now that I have seen it, it seems like such an incredible idea. Connecting to physical things via the internet... genius.

Ok now it's waving back and forth again by itself, this thing is creepy. It'll probably get stuck again. Man I want to see the source code for this thing....

Well when I walked into the Art Exhibit, there was no one there but the information desk lady. It was pretty hard to choose which Art to write about because their were some that was really cool, such as the "Pine Lake Panorama" by Steve Bardolph, and the the little electronic tree figure, blowing from the wind. From all of the pieces I decided to select the "Life is Struggle" by David Feinberg, however; he did collaborate with some of the victims of this Art. I was connected to this piece because I am a Tibetan and the Tibetan kids in our generations grand parents have experienced the torture and seen genocide in their eyes from the Chinese republic Army back from 1959 to Present time.

1. I believe that there is defiantly a story in this Art, The stories are about the victims of Genocide from all around the world, the names of the victims were, Bunkheans from cambodia which chose a broken wagon wheel because that was the symbol of how broken his country was back then. Christine was a Native American which chose a film strip because when she was little she was forced to watch pornography as a sign of torture. Ting from Sudan selected a picture of an airplane which reminded him of a terrible object that was used to torture the Sudanese. Fred Amran was in the Holocaust and he drew a Letter A because the A stands for Alice, which was the first person he wrote to during the Nazi regime. I forgot the last survivors name but, he/she was from Rwanda and that person chose a cow because the cow represented your status in Rwanda.

2. I really think that the point of view that is being expressed is by the Genocide survivor because the Author really didn't put the Art together, it was the survivors that chose items and put it in a rectangular box, the artist Feinberg just analyzed all the pieces and summarized it into one meaning which was about Genocide survivors and how life is a struggle.

3. The truth about this piece is that all the items chosen really do give us a picture in our head that these items had to do something with the survivors genocidal life, I really don't see any lies about this art unless the victims lie about there stories, which I doubt.

I went to the Nash Gallery Friday evening, during the gallery opening. I stumbled into a catered VIP situation, so I put on my best artsy fartsy social skills and with my biscotti in hand ventured into the gallery.
I came upon a large cylindrical tank of water equipped with an under water microphone. Nearby was a dish with some chunks of white power. Before I could give it much thought, a girl working the exhibit came by and tossed one of those chunks of mystery material into the tank. I watched it fiz and the girl remarked "You're supposed to be able to hear it".
Well, I was curious at this point so I hung around and read the tag. The piece is by Diane Willow and is titled "effervescent". It is an interactive sound installation. I was then joined by another individual who directed me to stand on a felt circle about ten feet from the tank. That I did, and this willing participant put the effervescing powder into the tank for me.
Then the sound of the fiz became clear because of a localized speaker hanging directly over me. Only I could hear the sounds picked up from the underwater mic. My partner and I exchanged an understanding of the point of the work then.
Was this piece telling a story? I think it was helping to create one. The experience required that I work with another individual to fully figure out what was going on. This person may have had help doing the same on an earlier occasion and then passed the knowledge on to me so that I could experience the generally pleasurable sound of fizzing powder.
The truth of the piece, for me, was the experience of observation and the satisfaction of problem solving. A short while later I watched a couple pondering over the piece like I had done and I was able to pass on my experience to them. Full circle, definitely.

The piece that i chose was the one by Mr. Gray.

The piece that I chose is from a series of photographs by Janice Kmetz. The particular photo I chose was entitled “Widow’s Journey series 3, no. 3”. It is a black and white picture of two empty chairs side by side that look as though they haven’t been sat in for a while. They sit at the bottom of a hill near a stairway that leads up to an old house. The photograph is framed by trees on either side.

I connected with this picture so much because of the story it tells. It embodies the fear and loneliness that accompanies the loss of a spouse. I’m sure I sound silly, but my boyfriend is my other half, my best friend, and my home. I truly cannot imagine living without him. I really connected with this photo because it basically illustrated my greatest fear.

As aforementioned, I believe there is a story and that it is the story of a woman who has lost her husband and the feelings that accompany that deep loss and that it is being told from her point of view. I’m not sure what I would call the “truth” of this piece. Perhaps the “truth” is that there are some things that once lost, can never be found again and that the lack of them can leave an empty void in your life never to be truly filled.

The first time I viewed the Nash Gallery I walked through the entire gallery without stopping to look at specific artworks. Despite being very impressed by the entire show as a whole, my impression of the art changed dramatically when I went through and looked at each piece of work individually.

My favorite piece of work that held my attention wasn’t one that had originally caught my eye the first time viewing the gallery. A video projection by Lynn Lukkas measuring 15’ x 20’ named Telling Time: Chantal Ackerman was a work that made me so entranced by the footage that I sat down and watched the video.

The size of the projection made the video and the woman’s face overwhelming and intense and her mannerisms even more entertaining. I was able to see the tiniest, most subtle facial movement as the women was interviewed. Being surrounded by the video in the corner of the gallery as well as the work having sound made me very engrossed in the experience.

I would consider this video to have Chantal Ackerman's story being told since she is the person being interviewed about her work and about the story she told through her film. I also feel that for the most part she is also the person who's point of view is being expressed since she is giving her opinion on the questions and topics being talked about. Lastly, we can assume that the opinions and answers the artist has recorded of Chantal Ackerman are true and are what she actually said is being shown un-altered and is the truth.

I went to the Nash Gallery and looked through everything. I found a lot of art that I really liked, especially the ones with the fish, but nothing extraordinary that I could identify with. On my second trip around, I saw three pots/vase sitting near the entrance part of the first section. The one in the back said "failure is" and "the new success."

The piece "The New Success" was by James Kleug. I am not sure if there is any specific story, as there is only the quote on it and hands shaking in the front and back, but I am just assuming that he failed at something in his life that had a significant impact or that it was just some advice given to him that inspired him.

I think it is coming from his point of view as he is the author of the work. Instead of having some colors and random objects on it that are put together to convey the message that says "failure is the new success," he directly has it written on the piece. I think he does in order have the audience interpret that meaning in one general sense.

I feel the truth about this piece is just motivation. The saying is not the most positive one I have heard, but it feels more realistic and down to earth for me because it is saying that something good can always come out of something bad.

I feel connected to it because of how I am not sure of what I want to do with my life at this stage. I am in my third year at the U, and I have not officially declared my major yet even. I will be on track for graduating still, however, I just need to stay on my planned path of Studies in Cinema and Media Culture now. I have thought about my life and what I want out of my schooling, and I have chosen to pursue happiness over a successful career with loads of money. I know that is just loser talk, but I keep forgetting how simplistic of a man I am with my needs. This piece just makes me feel better about my current position.

As I walked through the Nash Gallery on Saturday, I was struck by the often enormous size of many of the works. That being said, I was pleased to find a small, unobtrusive piece entitled "Tele-Present Wind" by David Bowen. A small branch attached to a series of servo motors and circuits, it precisely replicates the motion caused by wind at a distant location (in this case, across the state).
The story, as far as I could tell, was about the interface of nature and technology. In showing how complex a system must be to replicate a natural phenomenon, themes of real vs artificial are explored, albeit somewhat simplistically. Ultimately, I feel that the piece tells the story of somewhat attempting to duplicate a simplistic process of nature, and the result being an ungainly amalgam of electronics.
This does not have a terribly explicit point of view, and I feel it's presented rather factually as more of a metaphor. If anything, the point of view is almost deliberately lacking.
Finally, there is the "truth" expressed in this piece. In my opinion, the work portrays the human struggle to understand and, indeed, master the elements. Through the convoluted process of gathering incoming data, transmission and finally translation into movement in a series of servo motors, we see how the technological process is almost made a mockery. The piece seems to say, "look how hard we had to work to show you what wind does." Conversely, the piece also strongly portrays notions of detachment and separation, as can be brought on by over-usage of technology. As the branch is separated from the actual wind and moves only by proxy, so too can people be separated by each other. All said, a very intriguing and well made piece of sculpture.

-John Fischer

I choose a work of art called "The Ladder" by Christine Stark. This is an art work containing both two dimensions drawing and a three dimensions ladder, the only color that the artist used is black, and she drew a lot of twisted, random and messy lines which are scattered around the central line. It gives me really a strong impression. I felt strong connection to this work of art because the following reasons: Firstly, the drawing is different from some ordinary ones, it combines both 2D and 3D elements, secondly, many random and messy black lines can really catch my eyes, I immediately recognized the story that the artist wanted to express, it is about her miserable life and she wanted to struggle against her destiny, the ladder is the metaphor of her footprint of growing, fortunately I guess right, so these elements in the work of art is recognizable. Lastly, because its style, the work of art only use the color black but it actually states almost the whole life of the artist, the drawing is outstanding with so many detailed information, all of these information require visitors to perceive.
There is a story in this work of art, this is a story about Christine Stark. This is a first person point of view, the artist Christine Stark's point of view. This is the truth about a miserable and dark society really gives a tremendous impact on ordinary citizens, she was maltreated by her father and grandfather, the childhood of the artist was totally disaster, so she tried to use work of art for impliciting these potential and despairing issues in the society.

My favorite piece in from the Vis/a/Vis exhibit was Diane Willow's "Effervescent." The piece consisted of a small bowl with "effervescing powders and nuggets," a large cylinder container filled with water and an underwater microphone, and a felt circle underneath an amplified speaker. The piece was also interactive. The directions next to it instructed you to take a nugget, drop it into the container of water and stand on the piece of felt. After following the directions, the sounds of the fizzing nuggets washes over you from the speakerwhile you stand on the felt.
I was a bit confused when I saw it at first because the directions don't really ready as actual directions, but once I figured it out, I was pleasantly surprised. There was an instant feeling of calmness and relief that came over me as hear the sounds and watched the bubbles from the nuggets cascade down to the bottom of the cylinder.
I don't think this piece was so much telling you a story, but making you apart of one. There is definitely a lot of focus on the participant as much as there is in the piece itself since with out someone to drop the nuggets into the water, there is no meaning to the piece. I think the true of the piece is mostly the feeling you get from the whole process of being a part of the work, and how you make the piece come alive.

I was drawn to this piece because I recently talked with the artist about techniques in art. I saw Mr. Gray’s art studio off Como Ave. The stories around a lot of his works come from the most random things. Example: A line from a song, a design from a piece of cloth, a mirage/ convergence of ideas etc. The story I get from this piece what do we show future generations from the resources we have and that we have utilized or not. What is our story on what we have, what we are, what we use now? What have we become in this day and age? Do we have no outlet for the materials and resources that we have used? Have we all become part of some mass industry?
I think the point of view that can be expressed in this piece is on how each of us can interpret it differently. Every one of us can see the struggles that the industry of how we live and survive in this world – the things we need, the things we want, the things think we need. I think we all get to the point that we may interpret things of what think we need by the way we were brought up and what the media has instilled in us. So how do we go about changing this, are there things we could learn to live without?
Yes, the authors voice come out in a way that he expresses these things or truths that he wants to be express. I think it is a matter of how well does his point of view expressed. I did have a bit of a hard time expressing or typing what i was trying to get from these pieces.

I think the Title – “The Sun and the Oil” has to do with using showing the truth about using what’s natural. Instead of always looking for another product or material to solve a problem we need to go back to what we already have, what we can use without abusing or misusing things. As in many things everything is somehow connected, like a chain, one linked to another and another. So what we do has an effect even though we don’t always think about it at the moment. A lot of times this happens and if we forget a lot then things in this world can have an adverse effect and those effects will keep adding up. Just because we want to ignore or think that if we think it isn’t there it will go away or the problem will disappear. We all affect each other in one way or another….. it reminds me of when we were sharing in the circle about a person having an effect on how we see the world. We need to see with eyes unclouded and see with the purity of things like a small child

Bee Lee

The piece that I chose is called, "Widow's Journey, series 3" by Janice D. Knetz. It's a series of 3 pictures that consists of a picture of a house, a face, and a rose. The first picture has two chairs with a stair leading to the house in the background; the second picture has a face covered in shadows, and the last picture has a dried up rose. As the title suggests, it tells the story of a widow, and is from the widow's point of view. The second picture makes me think that the widow could be a man or woman because I couldn't tell if the face belonged to a man or a woman.
In this story, there were first the two of them (hence the two chairs in the first picture), and then a tragedy occurred, and now all that's left is this emptiness inside. The point of view that is expressed is that of the widow, but I believe it is expressed through the emotions that each picture portrays. I don't believe there is a certain truth from this piece, but it tells of the sadness and grief left behind when a loved one dies.
I have not had a personal experience like this one before, but when my dad had to go to the hospital, I was worried because without my dad, my family would not survive. It makes me grateful for everything he has done to get us by, and I am thankful that I can finally do something in return for his support.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by GiGi published on September 13, 2010 1:44 AM.

Assignment #2: Spark Festival is the next entry in this blog.

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