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September 27, 2007

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September 18, 2007

Collaborative Portraits

This is our first project.

Collaborative Portrait : a portrait that communicates some aspect of the identity of each of the collaborators.

We will be using Photoshop CS2 to create collaborative portraits. You can also investigate free open source software GIMP to continue working with images beyond this project.

In the process of creating your collaborative portrait, you will work with 1 or 2 other people. We will begin with photographsof each person - portraits that can be altered in Photoshop. You can also scan objects or include other photographs in the collaborative portrait.

use photoshop

Here are some online sources of advice, how to guides, etc.

UC Berkley has tutorials for working with images, audio, video, etc.

SAD - Michelle

Selection 1: “The Still Time� by Charles Matson Lume
• How did this artwork catch your attention?
o As I walked into the museum, this work caught my attention because it was the first piece I saw. The circular mirrors were lying all over the ground, with nothing but a “Do not touch� sign preventing people from walking on it. It was so vulnerable to human carelessness. Walking past it, I decided to stop and look at what it was that was laying on the ground.
• What was your first impression of this work?
o There were three parts to this work. All very similar, yet still different in their own way. The first part I saw was made with mirrors and fishing wire. At first glance, I only saw the mirrors on the ground. What I saw caused me to feel frustration at the idea of someone being able to throw mirrors on the ground and get their artwork put into a museum. I then looked up to my right and saw the umbrellas and straws stuck to the side of the wall and had the same reaction. How did that get into the museum? Anybody could have easily done that. By the time I looked into the other room and saw the wall covered in glow in the dark icicle ornaments and the mirrors on the floor, my bitterness had subsided because I had already taken the time to study the other pieces of art, and knew what the artist was trying to portray. I was intrigued by the way he had created the flowing motion with the icicles.
• How did your perceptions of and response to this work change over time?
o As I began to study the three parts of this work, my perceptions completely transformed. After examining the first part created with fishing line and mirrors, I became fascinated by the use of light and shadows to create various circular/oval patterns on the wall. The artist formed the fishing line into countless circles, which created shadows on the wall, while the light hitting the mirrors on the ground radiated oblong circles, which mixed with the shadows. As I studied this, I began to realize the beauty in this piece and the thought that was put into making it appear as it did.
o As I studied the umbrella/straw piece, I was fascinated, again, by the artist’s use of light and shadows. The light shown through the umbrellas to create beautiful colors on the wall, which, combined with the shadows of the straws, created a lovely collage.
• Why do you think that the curator chose this artwork to include in the exhibition theme SAD?
o I think the curator included this artwork in the exhibition because of its portrayal of the seasons in Minnesota. By placing the works where he did, Charles Matson Lume showed how summer, represented by the brightly colored umbrellas and straws, is surrounded by winter, represented in the fishing line and the icicle on either side of the “summer� piece. The artist only used the seasons of summer and winter, because those are the two seasons that seem to define Minnesota weather. Everyone always looks forward to summer, but it seems like it will never come (this is portrayed by the umbrellas and straws being so high up on the wall). But even though the winters are harsh, the artist also portrayed them as having a sort of beauty.

Selection 2: “Sometimes It’s� by Ana Lois-Borzi
• How did this artwork catch your attention?
o As I walked past this piece, I was captivated by its simplicity and the colors that the artist used: light blue (my favorite color) with bold black lines. It was a gigantic scribble on the wall, and I was curious to find out what the artist’s intentions were in painting it.
• What was your first impression of this work?
o As I previously stated, I saw this piece and thought it looked like a scribble… a scribbled cloud with a long line connected to it. I was completely unaware of its meaning but noticed that it did portray a sort of gloom. I was intrigued that it could be so simple yet so artistically appealing at the same time.
• How did your perceptions of and response to this work change over time?
o After reading about this piece and studying it for a while, my perceptions changed in that I was able to relate to it more. I understood some of what the artist was trying to convey, which helped me to better appreciate it. The cloud was described as being “tethered to us like a child’s balloon.� How true that was!! It really did feel like it was just hanging there, attached to me. Every day, we experience so many hardships that “weigh us down,� and the author is portraying by connecting us to the cloud and the gloom that comes along with it.
• Why do you think that the curator chose this artwork to include in the exhibition theme SAD?
o I think the curator included this artwork in the exhibition because of its connections to the theme of SAD. First of all, SAD is a disorder, which causes people to feel depressed in the gloomy seasons, most likely when it is cloudy or snowy. By causing the viewer to feel physically attached to a cloud (one of the main causes of SAD), the artist is trying to share the feelings of sadness with them.

SAD Reflections - Broc Blegen

“Window Series�
Theresa Handy
This piece first caught my attention because of it’s repetition of shapes and colors, and because of it’s thin and long horizontal structure. One panel in particular kept my attention. This one was located in the left-center (there were 10 panels-this one was the fifth from the left) of the set, and was the only one with only one bird in it, and that bird was located in the center of the panel, whereas the other panels seem to have birds located in almost random places. This one panel might represent the loneliness felt by the person watching from behind the window.
My first impression was one of calmness and security. I think this is because the colors, although they are dull and grey, have a sort of soothing effect on me. And the horizontal structure, as opposed to a vertical or square one, also brings a feeling of security and solidarity. Also, I thought it was interesting that each board was so similar to all the others, yet none were the same, and could maybe even stand alone. The different colors make me think that each panel represents a different winter day, which is also suggested by the title, saying it’s a “series.� I’m sure that the panels represent winter days because the colors of the panels are mostly seen in the winter months, and the colors seem to be empty or lifeless, and winter is an empty and lifeless time of the year. I can picture someone, maybe sitting on a bench, looking out the window in the winter-maybe bored or lonely, or maybe calm and peaceful. I’m also curious about what the birds might mean to that person, or to the artist. Do they represent freedom? It would make sense to me because the person is forced to be confined in his/her own house during the winter, and might be envious of the freedom displayed by the birds. I also think its interesting that the birds are portrayed as black-because they are the only life in the painting, or even in the whole landscape, and black in general isn’t used to portray life. After thinking about this piece more, I think I better understood the potential meanings behind it.
I think this piece was included in the exhibit because of it’s association with the winter months, and because it might also represent or suggest lonely or bored feelings or responses from the viewer.

Shotgun Landscape-video
This artwork first caught my attention because of its size and video format, and its prominent position on the wall. I was curious about what the landscape behind the black painted board would look like, and if it would even be revealed to me by the artist (or if it would just be parts of the landscape). I was also curious about what he was shooting the board with, and the meaning behind it, and why it was included in the collection of artworks in the exhibit. I think the black board might represent SAD, and the shotgun punctures may be symbolic of the pain felt by one with the disease. Also, when it’s all black, that might be the climax of the disease, when one is consumed by the disease and is unable to experience anything else, except loneliness and isolation-which the black screen represents. And I think that the increasing light shown through the board (from the shotgun holes) may represent the healing process from the disease, one that is slow and painful (as represented by the shotgun bullets). I also thought it was interesting how the landscape at the end was almost a dead landscape, which might even show how one isn’t ever completely healed from the disease, or that although you may not show symptoms of the disease, it is still alive inside you, and is just dormant, like how the plants and trees were dormant for the winter, but will eventually come alive again with the increases in light. The increases in light also bring life back to a person with SAD, so this human-nature parallel is interesting. However, although the landscape isn’t beautiful in the traditional sense, it does have a sort of relieving calmness to it (which, in my opinion is beautiful), and I thought it was an amazing contrast to the destructive action of the shotgun bullets that were continuous throughout the entire first part of the video. Another interesting response I had from the video is that at first the bullet holes kind of confused me, or disgusted me, but because it continued, it forced me to get used to it, and think it’s normal. I think this is interesting because it might parallel how one with SAD is forced to just live with the disorder, and over time it just becomes a normal part of their day or even life, because there isn’t really a cure for the disease (at least I don’t think there is). Also, my first time I was watching the video, it was so painfully slow that I left after probably less than a minute. However, later I made myself sit down for the entire film, and it was so depressingly slow, oftentimes the spray of the shotgun bullets only made tiny holes and it seemed like we were no closer to getting the board down. I thought that this is a sort of metaphor for the painfully slow (and depressing) passage of time that one with SAD would experience. And also, those with SAD are unable to just walk away from it like a viewer at a museum would be able to; instead, they are forced to just deal with it. In one of my other classes I read a quote by Robert Rauschenberg that said that the job of the contemporary artist is to “act in the “gap� between art and life,� to serve as a linking bridge between art and life, and I believe that this work does a fantastic job of this. I think this piece was included in the exhibit because it helps people understand what it feels like to have SAD in a way that reflects the passage of time (through use of video), which, I believe is one of the most important aspects of SAD. Also, there is a clear interaction of light and dark in this work-with the black board (complete absence of light) and the shotgun holes that bring light to the screen.

September 17, 2007

Syllabus Sketch

Art in the Mix and the Making ~ Freshman Seminar
Syllabus: Sketch

This syllabus is a guide. It will help to give you a sense of the pace of the course, and the core, student–generated, course components. Essential readings and studio resources will be introduced throughout the course. Our expectations for you are high. When possible, I will respond to student interests in an improvisational manner and shape the course accordingly. I will, periodically, include readings, technical tips and conceptual frameworks to cultivate the inquiry and creative work that we expect from all students.

The specifics of the related artistic, intellectual, and technical resources will be posted on the course blog. It will be your responsibility to check regularly to learn about upcoming events and available resources.

Ongoing readings will be posted on the course Blog. These will guide in class discussions.

The Syllabus Sketch will evolve over the course of the semester. Check the blog for details regarding upcoming visits by guest artists, site visits to art events and art centers. Related readings will be posted on the blog as well.

Week 1
Introducing ourselves, the course topic

Week 2 Introduction to the course Blog, discuss readings
9/11 Visit to the SAD exhibition at the Weisman Museum of Art

Week 3 Artist Presentation introduction
9/18 Constructing Collaborative Portraits
Discussion of the SAD show

Week 4 Visit to Out of the Comfort Zone exhibition at the Nash Gallery
9/25 Expanding our Vocabulary of Response
Constructing Collaborative Portraits

Week 5 Visit to MCAD to see the Faculty exhibition: Rotten Sun
10/2 Visit to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Week 6 Present Collaborative Portraits
10/9 Artist Presentation - Eduardo Kac

Week 7 focus on Transgenic Art
10/16 Visit with Professor Neil Olszewski in the Biological Sciences Bldg
to discuss a project with Artist Eduardo Kac

Week 8
Introduce Interactive Works in Process / Special Guest Amon Millner
from the MIT Media Lab will introduce Scratch
10/23 Artist Presentations

Week 9
Visit with Professor John Comazzi, Architecture
10/30 Continue working on Interactive Works in Process
Artist Presentations

Week 10
11/6 Continue working on Interactive Works in Process
Artist Presentations

Week 11
11/13 Discuss Collaborative Project
Present Interactive Works in Process

Week 12 Present Interactive Works in Process continued
11/20 Discuss project proposals /Continue working on Collaborative Project
Artist Presentations

Week 13 Walker Art Center Brave New Worlds Exhibition
11/27 Presentation of in-process sketches/research

Week 14 Continue working on Collaborative Project, prepare for presentation
12/4 In Progress Critique of Collaborative Project

Week 15
Collaborative Project Presentation
12/11 Final Blog entries due

Course Description

Art in the Mix and the Making ~ Freshman Seminar

This seminar explores some of the ideas and processes of contemporary artists whose artwork crosses boundaries into other disciplines. We will focus on artists who are thinking about things that bring them into dialogue with scientific ideas and ecological processes, new media theories and cultural perspectives, architectural experiments and design innovations. We will have direct experience with some of the ways that artists mix and make content with multimedia and the web, mapping processes in geography, approaches to healing in medicine and innovative uses of new materials in architecture and design. Through a series of readings and small group discussions, guest artist visits and field trips to local cultural sites, we will expand our conceptions of the ways that artists engage in interdisciplinary dialogues as both the content and process of contemporary art.


What can you expect as a full participant in this course?

This is a hybrid discussion-based seminar / studio art course devoted to the exploration of contemporary art and your evolving relationship to its processes, practices, and ideas. The seminar is also designed to introduce you to a small group of students and one UMN professor as you explore some of the contemporary art resources at UMN and the Twin Cities. Our special focus will be to consider the range of disciplines that inform the work of contemporary artists.

We will anticipate opportunities to visit museum and gallery exhibitions, talk with artists and experience contemporary art in non-traditional venues. Each student will have authoring access to the course blog. This will be an essential feature of the course and students will use it to document their ongoing perspectives and reflections. Three art projects will offer students the opportunity to work individually or collaboratively with a range of concepts, media, and techniques.

To expand the collective knowledge of all involved, each student will make an Artist Presentation in class and archive it via the course blog. This presentation focuses on the artwork and creative process of an individual artist or a group of artists working together in related areas of new media, hybrid forms or interdisciplinary approaches.


30% Participation/Attendance/ Blog Activity

15% Artist Presentations

15% Short Papers:
Periodic Exhibition Reviews

40% Projects:
Collaborative Portrait 10%
Interactive Art 10%
Collaborative Project 20%

Administrative Details:

Your attendance is essential to the success of the course experience for you and the class. You will be allowed one absence. Each absence thereafter will lower your grade by 1/2 letter grade per absence. All critique days must be attended and engaged in with full participation.

The nature of a studio art course is such that you will need to devote out of class time to creating artwork, doing research and developing your own relationship to contemporary art processes and theories.

This course exists as a catalyst for your artistic development and cultural fluency, as a context for producing art and as a community of people committed to stimulating dialogue about art and ideas as they relate to us individually and socially.

September 16, 2007

SAD Chris

Jan Estep: Wishing the Endless Day
- The reason that this piece of work caught my eye was because of the moving image of the bright sun. Being a teenager at heart, I can't just ignore something moving in a room full of still objects.
- My first impression of the art was to wonder why someone would choose to videotape the moving sun, but I liked the piece right off the bat.
- My perception of the piece changed as I thought about my mom, who has SAD, and I immediately understood why the never ending day would be a wish that all people with SAD would want to come true. If the sun never went down at night, they would never have to worry about becoming more and more depressed as the light wanes.
- The piece is included in the exhibit because the never ending day will probably not happen on this earth, so it may be a way for the creator to cope with the winter days. It could serve as a symbol of what is to come in the summer months to come.

Chris Larson: Shotgun Landscape (Black Board)
- This work caught my attention due tho the fact that the main piece is just a black board. If I were to create something for SAD, it would probably be as colorful as I could make it. But this has the abscense of all color, Black, painted all over the piece, which is definitely symbolic.
- My first impression was to think; COOL, I can create art with some videotapes and a bunch of guns and bullets.
- When I started to think about the symptoms of SAD (forms of depression) I began to realize that the artist is counting down the days until he can't enjoy the day fully and that made him angry. The anger of the waning days is brought to life in the bullets and he is gradually revealing the bleak landscape that is his way of life with SAD.
- The piece was included because it shows the ignorant and doubtful what living with SAD is really like. It can become the black cloud that lies over your head and prevents you from being yourself.

September 12, 2007

SAD - Kim Heyer

Theresa Handy - Twins

1) This artwork caught my attention because the way it was put together. There are several different sizes of
rectangles and different scenes put together to form this piece. All the different things that were going on was
what attracted me to it.

2) My first impression of this art was that it was made to show the different stages of seasons. Each square signifies a different season, and different stage of life all at the same time.

3) My perceptions and responses changed a lot once i got home. My response changed to be that this artist had
been observing these seasons quite vivdly. My perceptions ended up being that the first rectangle in the upper
left signified the first swim of spring. The next rectangle in the lower left signified summer, when you play at night
because you see a light pole starting to turn on. The middle rectangle is the largest of them all, and I think is
signifies fall once all the leaves are off the trees. In this middle rectangle, you see from a view that seems to put
you next to trees, and in the distance you see trucks driving away leaving you in the midst of nothing. Then the
last rectangle to the right shows a scene of winter. It looks to almost be after you have turned around from the
trucks leaving you, and you see a little shack with some snow on it and a sunken picnic table to which of both
you own. This is when you feel all alone, when winter has arrived and all your friends are gone...

4) I think the curator chose this particular artwork because it portrays all seasons, and how it effects a person
when the season change. It is a good example of SAD...

Bernard Frize - Paradisio

1) This work caught my attention because all the bright vivid colors all blended together in a good melancholy. The
way the art just bends, twist, and weaves draws me closer to the painting. It makes me curious to how he
managed to paint the way he did.

2) My first impression of this work was that he put much thought into how he put all the colors together, and how
he was going to weave it all into one painting.

3) My response to this painting is that the artist has went through many challenges in his life. My perception of the
color used is undescribable. His use or vivd colors at the top and I believe the beginning of his painting shows
that he was happy and content with his life. The weaving, twisting, and turning all signify the issues that he
encountered in his life, and the ways he turned. Toward the end of the painting when it goes off the canvas all
the colors have become dull and unlively. This proved to me that his life was becoming boring and almost non-

4) I think the curator chose this artwork for the SAD exhibition because it shows the "seasons" of life that the
artist went through, and how it changed him as a person.

September 11, 2007

SAD- Nellie Brau

Chosen Works:
A. Molly Roth- I'm So Happy You're Here
B. Piotr Szyhalski- Labor Camp Study Room A

1.A. This piece is rather large and it takes so much three-demensional space. It easily caught my eye. The use of yarn for a medium is the piece has many features that are appealing and attractive.
B. The piece is interactive, so it seemed inviting. Also, the screen display contains movement which is always alluring.

2.A. My first impression of the piece was thoughts of something simple and child-like because of the use of yarn...
The pieve seems playful at first...I could see a small child or a kitten playing with the yarn.
B. This piece seemed very eerie and serious upon first glance. The title "Labor Camp" almost immediatly makes one think of sorrow. But its sorrowful seriousness is subdued by the fact that it is an interactive piece which, contradictory, makes it inviting/welcoming.

3.A. As I searched for a deeper meaning in this piece I felt it was no longer playful but painful. The statement "I'm So Happy You're Here" seems to be said with an expressionless tone. It almost seems that the person who presumably "said" this statement is ashamed they are so happy for the arrival of this someone else whom they are speaking to...This person whom is speaking is obviously desperate and needs the support of another person to live without some sort of troubling pain. It seems the person speaking is shamed of his/her attachment. Though, the expression also seems to be true sign of relief that the "other person" has arrived. There is obvious amounts of desperate feelings by the person stating "I'm So Happy You're Here."
B.The more time you spend with the Labor Camp piece, the lighter and more understandable it can become. The music you interact with while viewing the screen is sung in a different language so it is difficult to understand. However, I feel that the music has a positive flow and perks my interests. The music is easy to listen to. Though, I cannot make organized sense of the things written on the chalkboard screen...but everything seems somehow a positive way. I could spend quite some time, even hours, exploring/investigating this piece.

4.A. The curator obviously picked up the desparte and melancolic tones of in the statement of "I'm so Happy You're Here." These tones are also commuinicated in an artistic way because of physical attachment of the yarn to the wall and the floor. Not only is this piece visually appealing, but its use of a unique medium and the fact that it conveys a sense of melancholy make it a perfect piece for the SAD exhibit.
B. I belive the fact that this piece is interactive made it attractive to the curator, just as it makes the piece attractive to its viewers. The large selection of music is interesting and the random statement written on a blackboard via screen make this piece appealing to more than one sense. The idea of a labor camp is were I belive the connection to SAD comes in. Also, some of the statements written on the blackboard make one sad, and others make one view the simplicity in life. I think the curator must have understood that this piece could mean something different to everyone and its varity would be a great addition to the SAD exhibit.


1st Artwork: The first piece of artwork I chose was the "I'm So Happy You're Here" one by Molly Roth. The piece captured my attention just by the simplicity of it and that it wasn't just your typical painting-on -a-canvas type thing you usually see. My first impression of the piece was that it was a cute little phrase displayed in a creative way. This changed after a while after reading the information about it. I came to realize that it was indeed a bittersweet phrase and "surface a declaration of happiness, the phrase divulges the sadness that underlies the sentiment". I think that this piece was chosen by the curator to be in SAD exhibit because of the sense of isolation from the black lettering and spindles against the white wall making it seem very bleak.

2nd Artwork: The second piece of artwork I chose from the SAD exhibit was the "I'll Call You" by Ana Lois-Borzi. This piece also captured my attention by the simplicity and bleakness of it. My first impression of this piece was that it was interesting but I didn't really understand what it meant. I think I got to understand it better after reading the information about it. The piece represents the "tragedy of everyday promises not kept". I think that the cloud represents the promises and the bullet piercing the cloud and the rain dripping out represents them not being kept. The gradual fading also represents broken promises. I think that the curator chose this piece for the SAD exhibit because, like the "I'm So Happy You're Here" piece, represents the depression and sadness of SAD. Also, the piece was influenced by Andrew Solomon's book "The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression.

*** I also thought the piece "Flashland " by Andrea Stanislav was interesting. The images were dark and eerie and reminded me of something out of a horror movie. Also, the image of the sunken mill house was pretty cool and is located in Duluth, MN-which is where I'm from!


Charles Matson Lume "The Still Time (For Gatway Kinnell)"
Walking into the Weisman's main hall, my attention was immediately brought to the ceiling by a colorful array of straws and decorative umbrellas made for drinks. My first instinct was one of confusion, what could this piece possibly mean? Upon further discovery, I found the other two pieces that coincide with this colorful commotion. The mirrors laid on the floor opposite the umbrella wall creates a mystical light source that contrasts with the bright color. At first I shrugged the piece off as a study opposites with a creative twist, but when I entered the room directly behind the "umbrella wall" I realized that here was another mirrored display with plastic icicles creating patterns to play off of the light. That is when I became intrigued. After my second time visiting this exhibit I finally figured out that two mirrored displays are representative of winter. The icicles and fishing line are to demonstrate the patterns of the sun throughout the season. However, I wonder if the artist has experienced a winter in Minnesota because they are not usually portrayed as so meek, mild and mysterious. The umbrellas and straws are representative of the summer, and the elevated feelings during that time. They were placed up high because sometimes during winter, the summer seems like it will never come. It almost seems that the artist made this work especially for this exhibit. The curator did an excellent job in choosing this piece for the SAD exhibit. It was also a good idea to place it as the first piece in order to set the mood for the exhibit. The mystery of having half the piece behind a wall also adds to the exhibit in bringing the melancholy feeling into a different room of the museum.

Jan Estep "Ha ha ha ha ha"
I wasn't drawn to this piece right away. It's simple design and earth tones make it easy to miss. However, when I took the time to investigate, I realized that this was a impressive piece with a good message behind it. The initial idea when I looked at this embroidered canvas was that it was representative of the happy times of Seasonal Affective Disorder, but after some thought I understood what it really meant. Estep is not really embracing the joys of laughter, she is tapping into the truth behind it. The pain of pretending to be happy is never really discussed, or brought up to the public, but many with SAD go without anyone else knowing it. These people live a lie every day by pretending to be happy when really they just want someone to know they aren't having all that great of a day. "Ha ha ha ha" is hand stitched to make the viewer and the artist alike understand how painstaking that sort of life could be. This piece is not light hearted like it is at first glance, but rather sarcastic and sad. The curator chose this piece because it explains the deeper layers of the disorder rather than just having happy or sad moods. This piece also serves to bring the viewer into the life of someone with this problem in order to get to know how it feels.

SAD Jessica

Art Work 1-
The first piece of work that caught my eye was the very first piece that you see when you walk into the exhibit. "The Still Time," by Charles Matson Lume was very original and creative. Lume used bright colors from the umbrellas and reflections from the little mirrors to catch your attention and show you something that you wouldn't normally see in an art gallery.
My first impression of this piece was that it looked fun and like something I would like to have on my bedroom wall. At first glance, the piece didn't seem to appear very deep or meaningful, it was just fun.
The longer I looked at this piece and the more I thought about it, the more I came to understand the meaning behind it and it's relationship to the SAD theme. "The Still Time" is a very diverse piece first in the fact that it comes in three different parts, and second because those parts belong on opposite ends of the spectrum. The umbrellas express an extreme happy and enjoyment that usually comes in the summer. The reflections on the wall represent a more melancholy feeling that some people tend to get in the winter or when it rains. The shadows give you an empty feeling with only dark emotions, opposed to the bright lively colors found just opposite the wall. This piece gives you the "high highs" and the "low lows" that come with SAD.

Art Work 2-
The second piece of art I found interesting was the "Shot Gun Landscape." I paid special attention to this piece of work because it really looked like Minnesota. I felt like I could see the same thing if I looked out the window in my hometown, except Chris Laison put a unique twist to the familiar scene. This piece was actually five pictures put together in a progression sequence. The first photo started out with a large portion of a black backdrop with only a small part of the landscape visible. The final picture was just the opposite, mostly landscape with a little backdrop.
The artists choose the perfect time of year to give the audience the feeling of autumn. Autumn gives off the feeling of change and almost dread of the coming months. In the fall, you know that the cold, dark days of winter are coming and there is nothing you can do about it. For people with SAD, it is like knowing you are going to be extremely sad, vulnerable, and possibly depressed in the upcoming months.

SAD - Betsy

This first piece that stood out to me when I walked into the Weisman was Still Time by Charles Lume. I think the reason it really stood out was that it was so different, and such an abstract way to view Minnesota seasons, yet, it made sense to me. The artwork mainly caught my attention, literally, due to the mirrors laying on the ground. The way they caught the light drew my eye right to the wall. I didn't even see the pieces of glow - in - the - dark string hanging off of the wall. I was dazzled and slightly curious as to what this could represent. I then read the description of the piece and realized it was representing winter. Then I saw the piece in a new light, literally. The mirror reflections bouncing off the walls were now snowflakes and the sunlight filtering in the windows made that light twinkle. It was then I looked over and saw the 'summer' part of the piece. The drinking straws and umbrellas were so vibrantly colorful I stared for a long time to take it all in. I moved underneth the piece and looked right up the wall, seeing a new angle of everlasting colorful tree-like structures. It made me want to smile, and then I knew Lume knew this would cause this certain reaction, which people also experience in the summer season. The backside of this wall was similar to the mirror display from the otherside but had sweeping glow - in - the - dark strings to represent blustering winds in the midst of the glittering snow. The three-part piece was so unique and really made me want to look close. I knew I liked the piece when later that day, that was the piece I chose to tell others about, and the one that stood out to me the most. I really loved it after I looked at it closely and realized what it represted, but I didn't feel that way when I first saw it. When I intially saw the piece I was confused and a little cynical. I have never felt that modern art spoke to me, and didn't understand the message that modern art tries to tell. But taking a second to look over the piece and see the complex layout and the process it must have taken to construct such a piece, I was impressed. I think, after seeing Lume's piece, the curator knew that Lume could speak through his art in ways that viewers may intially find strange, but come to appreciate. His work required one to think and really look close. I spent the most time out of any piece I viewed, looking at this piece. It truly does represent a seasonal change in mood, as the mood changes in the viewer after looking at the mirrored 'winter', to the vibrant 'summer' and back to a sweepingly cold-looking 'winter. I loved this piece.

The second piece that really spoke to me that day was Molly Roth's 'I'm So Happy You're Here'. The piece caught my attention because it was different. It was a three-dimensional work that literally came out of the wall. Also, it was different because the medium that was used, yarn, was different than any artwork I'd previously seen. The piece itself, spelling out it's title on the wall, "I'm So Happy You're Here" was large and written in almost a person's handwriting. This made it look personal, which in turn made the message seem more realistic. The thing that was unique was that after each word, the hand-knit chain was attached to the end of the word and the end of that chain lay in a little bundle on the floor. One word, 'You're', I believe, even had the bundle that was attached to the word hanging on the wall underneth the piece. At first, I didn't understand why each word had a string hanging off of it, but after reading the description of Roth's piece, I understood. The plaque on the wall explaining the piece described that "on the surface..." there was a "declaration of happiness...." but underlying that was a "sadness." It said that the happy message had an "underlying sentiment" which literally showed attachment. The attachment of the strings to the words gave a visual explanation of the attachment of a person to another person. A "literal idea of attachment in a positive and negative sense." This, I found, to be powerful. The black color of the words represented, I felt, the darker nature of the piece, the neverending attachment. The words, written in such a personal way were a surface happiness, a statement with a different emotion behind it. This changed the way I viewed the piece, I stepped back and took it all in again. I then saw what the description meant, two different ways to really see the meaning of the words, one a happy exclamation, the other a addictional attachment of one person to another. I think this really fit the SAD theme because it showed an almost depressive emotion behind a happy statement, which is seen everyday. Those actually affected by SAD or depression in general have this sadness hidden behind the words they speak. The piece physically showed this, which I found to be very powerful.

Both of these pieces, along with many others I viewed, opened my eyes to the different realms of modern art. I learned that looking into what a piece means can help me understand and appreciate the message an artist is trying to get across with their pieces. I found the exhibit to be an eye-opener not only into the world of modern art, the physcial state of SAD, but to the unique and diverse talent we have in Minnesota artists.

SAD- NiCk DeCkEr

A. I'll Call You - Borzi
B. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha...... Jan Estep

1)a. This specific piece of artwork caught by eye just by the size alone. It took up most of the wall where it was painted. Just the simple aspects of the piece are interesting. Without reading the description the three pieces in the painting are interesting to bind together. That alone made me stop and think what this piece was telling

b. Honestly to tell the truth, this piece only caught my mind as a critic. The little artistic value and colors led me to make this artwork one of the worsts I have seen. Go ahead people yell at me if you want i just want to have two pieces that i thought were totally different and thought i should negate one.

2)a. My first impression was why is there a checkerboard a cloud and some words in this painting. When sitting there and trying to analyze it. I absoutely thought this was one of the best pieces there. I thought that all the pieces in the artwork tied well together and worked as a artwork that should belong in the SAD exhibit.

b. I couldn't believe that this was called artwork when i first saw it. I read her discription on why she did it but that is what a book is for not art. You can tell a book through a piece of artwork but not words to relate to art. That is pretty hard to do and i thought she did an awful job at that.

3) a. I won't probably change my mind over time with this piece, it is one of those artworks that jsut grabs your attention and won't leave. As i become an adult i will begin to appreciate artwork more and might see how this piece might change in my mind but i will have the same attitude towards it since i first saw it.

b. my perceptions of this artwork changed a little about this artist but not that much. Was she trying to prove something or trying to get attention? Maybe over time i might appreciate it more, but as a college student i really must have missed the point.

4)a. I believe that this artist chose this piece because it shows the emotion someone feels when their friend or love one forgets to call them back for important reasons. The way the cloud looks like it is going to rain basically shows how one feels when this certain incident happens.

b. Again you heard it before, don't know what she was thinking putting this piece in the SAD exhibit. A bunch of words on brown parchment. Wow could of fooled me!!

SAD - Andrew

The first artwork that I chose was I'll Call You by Ana Lois-Borzu. It first caught my attention because of the "graffiti-style" rain cloud at the top of the piece. My first impression of this work was that it was very interesting, but I could not instantly understand the meaning of it. After looking at it for a while, it seemed the the solid checkboard pattern at the bottom of the piece symbolized solidarity. As the pattern faded into the phrase "I'll Call You", it seems to show the loss of stability. Once the viewer gets to the rain cloud at top of the piece, it shows the full cycle of putting your trust into someone until you realize that you should not have trusted them. I think the curator included this piece in this exhibition because it displays the sadness present in everyday life.

The second artwork that I chose was Field and Wire by Theresa Handy. This artwork first caught my attention by its use of warm colors, which stood out among the other, bleaker pieces surrounding it. My first impression of this work was that it was inviting, but over time it seems that the warm colors help mask the melancholic nature of the scenes in the piece. I think the curator chose this artwork to be in the exhibition because the stark landscapes seem to symbolize the emptyness that one feels when they are alone.

Word to the wise: Don't take 2 hrs to do you post during the football game, because your session will time out and you will have to do it again, like me. :-D

SAD - Ethan

I'll Call You - Ana Lois-Borzi

1. This artwork caught my eye because of the bright colors used against the blank white wall. The style of the graphic was also very intriguing, because it seem to be almost comic like with the very defined lines.
2. My first impression of the piece was that the theme was relating to how often picnics get rained out. The red squares reminded me of a classic table cloth often used for dinning and the words mean't that nobody wants rain unless we need it, escpecially if you are planning a picnic.
3. My response later changed after I read the info on the piece. It described how often enough people will say they are going to do something but never do. It is very easy to become depressed from the letdown depending on the job itself.
4. I think the curator chose this piece of artwork for the SAD show, because the artist did a wonderful job relating the dark, gloomy feeling of a thunderstorm to the feeling of being letdown by a friend.

Window Series - Theresa Handy

1. This piece caught my eye becuase of the number of panels all displaying a very simmple bird design. It was interesting to see the differnet positions each bird had against the dull, muted background colors.
2. My first impression was that each scene is as if a person is lying in a hospital bed and everyday all they see are birds in the sky. The color of the sky changes everyday but they are always a bleak color.
3. After looking at the painting some more, I realized that the birds are flying in the same direction in each panel. This reminded me of the few months leading up to winter (i.e. Oct.,Nov.,Dec.). During those months the sky normally has the same grey color and the birds are also migrating south for the winter.
4. I think the curator chose this piece for the SAD show because if all I could see were birds flying away it would be very depressing and sad. The colors themselves just don't portray a happy feeling.


SAD: Julia

First Piece of Artwork:
Charles Matson Lume
The Still Time

The artwork grabbed my attention by the use of COLOR! The bright colors of the umbrellas were the first things that made my head turn.

My first impression of this work was that it was fun. As I walked in the museum, the first thing I saw was the colorful arc of umbrellas and straws. At that point I thought I had seen the whole piece and questioned how it pertained to the theme SAD.

As I walked in and turned around, I saw the mirrors and the reflecting light. It was once again in arc. After reading the explanation on the wall, the mirrors and glow in the dark icicles illustrated a beautiful winter. It was actually one that I could imagine (Wisconsin winters are not much different from Minnesota winters). It was winters during which the reflections of the sun off the snow are blinding, but at the same time are calming as well. Calming in that the sun still exists, however, soon summer will come and bring hours of sunlight and heat. As the beauty of winter shined through, by his use of materials capturing and reflecting light, the lightness and freedom of summer became even brighter. As childish as it my sound, the umbrellas reminded me of when my friends and I used to play at the pool and drink lemonade. As more time passed, I felt a sense that summer was harder to reach (maybe because it had recently just ended and there are many more months to pass before it will come again). While summer was unreachable and became harder to feel the bliss of summer days and winter seemed to surround us, being the inevitable.

I guess, I first noticed the colors and beauty of the chosen materials. I then started to focus on the joys of summer which then ended with a feeling of powerlessness that nothing I could do would help me escape the long winter ahead. The sense of loneliness and seasonal effect on emotions pull the piece into the theme of SAD. The fact that the arcs also represent the way the sun hits Minnesota specifically draws into the theme too; how specifically seasonal changes can affect the minds and health of people who experience the Minnesota year.

Second Piece of Artwork:
Ana Lois Borzi
Sometimes It’s
Acryllic and Latex Paint

What caught my attention was... as I turned a corner of the gallery, the wall was painted a different color. It was a blue-gray color. As I looked up, I saw a squiggle of a black line. I actually had stopped because I did not get it.

At first, I thought it was childish because of the simplicity. It was the simplicity of a plain colored background and a black line with no depth or value taking no distinct shape. It reminded me of a ball of yarn with a long string trailing behind (literally down).

As I continued to look, my mind perceived it more as a cloud in the sky on a rainy day represented by the gray tint to the blue background. I then thought of a ball of yarn. I felt a more boring sadness (not that the work was boring… more, I just did not know what or how I felt… all I knew is that I didn’t feel good). After reading the explanation on the wall of the artist’s interpretation of Julia Kristeva’s description of sadness, “An infinite number of misfortunes weigh us down every day,� the confusion of the sadness I felt became more concrete (yes, it is/was sadness I feel/felt!). I could also perceive the black squiggle as a child’s balloon at the same time as picturing it as a dark cloud.

The idea that something is always weighing us down can stress us out, frustrate us, confuse us, fluster us, or not make us feel good or free. The constant nagging of something “behind us� (i.e. meeting a deadline, other responsibilities, having to get something done before doing something else, etc) brings a sadness and exhaustion to our minds. The sadness and exhaustion are underlying components of the theme SAD.

SAD-- Jingjing

SAD Julianna

First Artwork:
"Shotgun Landscape" by Chris Larson
(The HD Video. Not the photos or the real life piece)

1. It caught my attention because of its extremely tedious progression. I wanted to know what was going on with it, since it started out black and was slowly revealing something else .

2. The video itself is fifteen minutes and the first few times i passed it, very little progress had been made in the film. So i was sort of aggitated, and kind of hated it, and I sort of avoided it for awhile. My first impression is kind of like, it was this big black thing and I didn't care about it, so i stayed away and checked out the rest of the exhibit.

3. However, when I came back to glance at it, a lot had changed. A barren Minnesota landscape had been revealed with the help of the shotgun blasting holes through the frame. I liked it a lot, i like that the shooter had persevered and been thorough enough to show everybody what he was striving for during those fifteen minutes.

4. I believe that the curator chose this for the SAD show because it sort of gives you this eternal feeling of darkness, which can represent fall and winter. Something that seemingly lasts for a very long time. It's everywhere, you can't escape it until slowly but surely the days start getting longer and there is actually light existing once again. The symbolism is huge in this work, i think the artist has done well to represent this disorder in a very clear cut way.

Second Artwork:
"ha ha ha ha ha"
by Jan Estep

1. This artwork caught my attention by being very long and horizontal. It's also quite unassuming and dark and boring colored and small. You can't quite tell what it is from even a few feet away so the artist pretty genius because you have to come in close and check it out.

2. My first impression from afar was all of those things from question one. My impression from up close was that this artist is snarky and sarcastic and witty and cynical, so naturally i loved the work.

3. My perceptions of it changed just a touch during my visit to the museum. I still felt like the artist was all of those things, but I also started to see some sadness in this long isolated line of laughs. I thought that the word HA was used sort of ironically here, which gives it a little depth in meaning.

4. The curator might have chose this work for the SAD show because of its isolation and darkness. The colors are black and brown, two colors that are sort of connotated with winter and darkness in general. The word chosen was "ha". This is sort of an ironic statement maybe because they just want to laugh a lot but they just aren't able too. i thought it was a good addition to the show.

SAD- Allison

Chosen art piece: Tomato sad
Artist: Ana Lois-Borzi

Honestly this piece only caught my attention because of its peculiarity. I find myself wanting to write about other pieces but this one just keeps popping into my mind, so I decided to write about it. I have always been skeptical about the simplicity and abstractness of modern art. This piece really flared that up in me. I didn’t think it could possibly have any deep meaningful story behind it without it seeming weak and pointless. However, once I read the information on the piece I was proved wrong.

When I first looked at it I thought it seemed dark, even creepy. I was not impressed originally. The words on the sides “Welcome Stranger� were mysterious and I didn’t get how they tied in. Also, the first time I saw this piece, which was on a more crowded day, I did not hear the voice speaking from within the cushion. Once I realized it, I was really shocked and confused. Listening to the man’s voice was eerie and discomforting.

After reading the description and aim of the piece, I could actually relate. The idea behind the voice was to create that empty feeling of condolences once they are repeated too often. It is common when a person is in a difficult place to feel isolated. When some one comes up to them and says, “I know how you feel,� it never really resonates with sincerity. This piece mirrored that feeling in me. After really standing there and letting the meaning behind the piece sink in, I gained an appreciation for it. It takes the viewer back to a time when the heartache of loss was nearly an everyday occurrence due to lack of innovations and discoveries. I shows a lot about the progression of science as well as everyday life. It points out the harsh realities of life even in such potentially joyful times as childbirth and love.

I think the curator made a good decision when choosing this piece. It ties in to the meaning behind the SAD collection because of its representation of time. With its many different aspects, the piece represents the progression of life simply because it is being viewed in modern times. If people had shown this piece 60 years ago, it wouldn’t have had any meaning. It takes us back to a different time, when things were so different, and yet the condolences stay the same today. This creates a sense of familiarity in the viewer. It also tied in to the darker side that many of the pieces in the collection held.

Chosen art piece: The Still Time
Artist: Charles Lume

This piece is pretty hard to miss, being the first piece in the collection. The shadows and reflections of the first “winter� portion are what caught my attention first.

My first thought was just that it was “kinda cool.� It was an interesting arrangement, though I must admit I did not see a meaning behind it originally. I also did not realize that the piece had three parts. I thought it was solely an exercise to present the effectiveness of light and shadow on creating an intriguing piece. I was interested in knowing how they attached the straws and umbrellas to the wall!

After reading the description, I was really impressed by the meaning of the three pieces together. The symbolism of the umbrellas being in a “trapped� area, similar to the northern summers was a very interesting concept. The second winter part was very appealing. The plastic, glow in the dark icicles were arranged in a way which I think represented the winter wind blowing the snow around. The mirrors created an awesome effect, which seemed to create the snowfall of any classic winter scene. The colors of the summer portion created a fun atmosphere when people walked in to the museum. I also thought it was interesting that the “summer sphere� was just out of reach of the viewers. It was rather symbolic.

This piece is the epitome of the aim of the SAD exhibit. It captures the feeling of every northern citizen. The savoring of summer, contrasted by the seemingly never-ending winter, which characterizes the northern states, is very effectively represented in this piece. This is a perfect piece to kick off the SAD exhibit.

SAD Exhibition Reflections

Select 2 artworks within the SAD Exhibition that you found most compelling.

Describe each of these artworks by discussing the following:

- How did this artwork catch your attention?

- What was your first impression of this work?

- How did your perceptions of and response to this work change over time?

- Why do you think that the curator chose this art work to include in the exhibition theme SAD?

Weisman Art Museum

Today we will visit the Weisman Art Museum to see the SAD Exhibition