Monday, May 4, 2009

Week Fourteen: To Sum up Nature

Coming to the end of the semester, looking back over a very stuffed note book of readings, there has been a lot covered. Topics that I would have never explored on my own, have given me a new prospective. By starting out reading the history of the definition of Nature and cultural view on Wilderness. It got me to start to think what is Nature and what defines wilderness, we soon found that this is no simple clear cut answer. That humans are not separate from nature we are part of it, and this was just the beginning of exploring how intertwined we are to nature. How nature has been depicted by artist varies greatly from Terry Evans photographs of the Prairie to Buckminster Fuller's domes ideas of utopia. 

Terry Evans,  From Prairie Images of Ground and Sky

However the topic that really hit home with me is the Biophilia Hypothesis.  The explanation to are built in desire of/for nature. Over all this class has made me look at my own work and the work of others in a different light. Why do we do what we do? This intense desire we each have to be in are environment, is depicted by what I have considered to be myself portrait and never realized it till now. However humans have done a really good job of messing up are relationship with nature till now, hopefully it not to late...

Self Portrait 

Monday, April 27, 2009

Week Thirteen: After Nature

This week we have looked at an past exhibit titled After Nature at the New Museum in NY. I find the title of the exhibit a bit contradictory if it is to be about what comes after nature it should be waste land, were nothing survives (just my opinion). Which brings us back to the question  what is nature which we have been trying to define all semester.  The exhibit is described as surveying a landscape of wilderness and ruins which have been darkened by uncertain catastrophe. Some of the pieces work for the exhibit if it's meant to be when nature takes back over earth and humans are know longer in conflict with nature.  How ever some of the pieces a bit contrived out of individual fantasy for example Allora and Calzadilla piece. Are we meant to be looking at an example of what has remained after we are gone and what has taken over is studying are culture that has been left behind?  I have to also criticise the way you view the online exhibition it is most frustrating when you not only have to browse up and down to see a piece but also side to side is just intolerable to me, it takes away from the enjoyment of viewing. I have yet to figure how the text relates to each piece of art and the way the links take to randomly to other pieces I found there to be 15 different lines on the art work and I am not sure how they relate to each other or even if they are to. I do how ever like William Christenberry's photography work of the Kudzu vine take over buildings, taking what was from nature back to nature. When man has lost or given up a battle with nature. I also was really really amused by August Strinberg's Celestograph, at that we can be fooled by nature because we took a picture of it. 

William Christenberry

August Strindberg

Monday, April 20, 2009

Week Twelve: Looking space into place

How the mind looks at the unknown or an unfamiliar landscape can be very disorienting. This weeks reading reminded me of Terry Evans work A Greenland Glacier: The Scales of Climate Change 2008 and how she talked about having a hard time relating to its scale without any human markers. The relationship to scale is an issue for the photographer and the viewer to figure out how to relate to. The viewer has to trust the photographer and their interpretation of the glacier, for all the viewer know these could be made up in a bath tub on a miniature scale to look like the real thing.

Terry Evans, Ice fjord leading to jakobshavn Glacier4

Terry Evans, Coming into Greenland

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Week eleven: What is Landscape photography to you?

What do you picture when some one says landscape photography, it comes in many forms here are three different ways I think of landscape. Which seem close and very far apart in propose and concept, yet give of a similar feel of emptiness, isolation, the horizon being the interest point. The form of these images are of particular interest to me they draw you into there center and push you across the horizon line which hold interest to the viewer. Depicting a tree line, a fence post or power lines.

James Rotz, from Detritus Night Series

James Rotz, from Detritus Day Series

Larry Chait, sat1644, 2005

Larry Chait, sat1625, 2005

Lynn Geesaman, Beloeil, Belgium (2004) [4-04-2c-6]

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Week Ten: Mythic Wilderness

This weeks reading on Subhankar Banerjee photography, his search to find a mythic wilderness and finding so much more. He found and shows in his work how connected and inhabited even the Arctic is, which is usually see as the last frontier unmarked by man. However it is inhabited, by natives that respect the environment and hundreds of species that migrate to and from the area. Wildlife that we would not normally think is so reliant on the Arctic, its more than just polar bears and ice.

The image of the polar bear relates to back to biophilia

Which is why we love anything polar bear

A better way of see how the world is connected. by Buckminster Fuller
Which may help people see just how connected the world really is, we are all connected by one body of water there are no walls to start and stop the flow from coast to coast of different countries and land masses are also actually much closer than they appear in a 
more traditional view of the world that cuts the view in half 
making the environments seem separate and cut off.
We need to be reminded how connected we really all are. Were do all the birds go they don't live in one place which Banerjee depicts in his images and caption of migratory birds and caribou reminding us of how important this land that seem total uninhabitable really is used by these animals and is very fragile. As it is in todays news I was reading about and ice shelf that is part of a bridge that is about to break away from the Antarctic coast.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Week Nine: Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller (link to his Bio) has been described as a philosopher, designer, architect, artist, engineer, entrepreneur, author, mathematician, teacher and inventor he considered himself a "Comprehensive anticipatory design scientist". I however consider him an explorer,  a visionary thinker ahead of his time creating a new frontier. 

He has inspired many to think outside of the box or inside the dome? Above all he was a inventor that inspired artist which makes me question why he has a exhibition in a fine art museum? What makes his work art to be museum worthy? Why is in not just theoretical architecture, very few of his ideas made it into production. Due to the fact that he refused for production to start after accepting orders because he was not convinced that the design was perfect, the lack of materials and also the lack of  acceptance from the general public as a norm for is advanced designs. So why an Art Museum and not a science or history museum? Is it because he has influenced so many artist and only a few scientists. That's were this weeks reading by Elizabeth A.T. Smith is lacking she skims over the top of the subject Fuller himself spouting out a bunch of names of artist and writers with little description to n
one of their work. She does little to talk about Fuller's own work except to name some of his concepts. I am interested to see the exhibit at the MCA this week hopefully it will give me a greater depth of his inspiration. 

Monday, March 16, 2009

week eight: What does a landscape mean to you?

After reading the catalogue Manifest Destiny/ Manifest Responsibility: Environmentalism and the Art of the American Landscape, I was left questioning the use of landscape as subject in art. Was a landscape painting ever just a painting or have artist been illustrating a hierarchy of nature all along?  Painting that I though were just landscapes have become so much more outlining the shift from Anthropocentric to Biocentric, man being in the middle to part of the circle. That we Euro-American
 have sought harmony with nature for longer than first though after we got over the wildness of the landscape and are entitlement and domination over it. 

Yet I wonder why we have come to retrace are foots steps and recreate images that have already been captured. As Mark Klett is doing in his work Yosemite in time, are there really know interesting view that have not been captured. He has included the images of past photographers which does not convey that there has been any change in these pristine landscapes, that is just that these landscapes are pristine there should be know change. So what is the point? look at me I can make the same image over?

Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe, Lake Teanaya, 2002 from Yosemite in Time

And what about this newer tendency to create artificial landscapes from objects takes from the landscape. Why are we using stand ins for the landscape? Have we destroyed and polluted so much of are environment that it is less interesting and even depressing to look at. 

Ernie Button, grape nuts dune #7, from Cerealism

Monday, March 2, 2009

Week six: we are connected

The Environmentalist and The Artist do they go together? In Every Corner is Alive  we get a glimpse  of a photographer  Eliot Porter as an environmentalist and his relationship with the Sierra Club. Photographs of nature give access without impact however what about the production of the image, Kodak was one of the largest polluters, the paper we print on has to come from some where. So it is easy to point fingers and hard to put a handle on the problem. So it is hard to justify environmental landscapes and not feel as though we are all part of the whole problem of pollution because we humans come first in are minds. (Its a survival instinct)

We must remember that we are all connected. And of special interest to ALL.

Eliot Porter

Ansel Adams

Terry Evans, Prairie

Terry Evans, Steel Work-Part Two

I find that Terry Evans work is interesting to contemplate about after this weeks readings. Almost all of her work has a quite stillness to it and is peaceful even though the Prairie is very different in contest to her Steel-Work. This extreme juxtaposition make  me hurt in side by the reality that my consuming attributes to is vast devastation of the earth. And yet to survive we continue to consume and the environment is the by-lines of are daily life. 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Week Five: For the Birds

This weeks reading (A bird Tapestry by David S. Rubin) was based on the use of birds and their symbolism in art and art to document scientific discovery. Artist have been using animals as symbols, from the earliest known forms of art i.e. cave paintings consisted of animals and not much else. 
The bird however has taken on a prominent role in the symbolism of contemporary art. However its use has some what become cliche in its over use as a symbol. I have listed some of the meanings birds have symbolised  mentioned in the readings in the diagram below. 
While a generic bird has many meanings, bird species have historically carried very specif meanings. In Nature and its Symbols there is a whole section dedicated just to different bird species. I have listed some of the species and their meanings below.  
I would like to bring up Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison which use the bird heavily in their imagery. Their work is about the struggles with nature and artifice, in their created world nature is domesticated and controlled. Flight is also a fantasy that is depicted in the images that man can't and birds can.

Interlude, Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison

Flying Lessons, Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison

The Guardian, Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison

I would like to bring up the horse and its role in art as symbolism and scientific discovery. The horse has been used as a symbol in imagery almost as much as birds. Horses symbolise power, grace, strength, vitality, victory, pride and lust.
Shire, Keith Carter

Bird Cage, Keith Carter

Monday, February 16, 2009

Week Four: Biophilia

Biophilia is the built in connection humans have to nature, that Edward O. Wilson talks about in Biophilia and the Conservation Ethic in this weeks reading. The hypothesis of biophilia is tested by are innate fear and fascination of snakes has come from natural selection. Snakes and serpents come up more often in dreams than any other creatures among all cultures. With this genetically built in connection to nature the question of what will happen to us humans as the natural environment disappears (at are hand nonetheless). It is proven that we relate to and prefer nature to civilization.  This is the way I have visualized the nine typology values of biophilia (start top left going clockwise) Utilitarian, Naturalistic, Ecologistic-Scientific, Aesthetic, Symbolic, Humanistic, Moralistic, Dominionistic and Negativistic. 

This connection to and interest in nature is cause for the need to create art. Leading me to the second article Toward an Aesthetic Marine Biology by J. Malcolm Shick, which discuses art in sciences. Over time we have had deeper and deeper interests in different sciences and art has developed and advanced in order to recorded and express these discoveries. From drawing to painting  to photography art has recorded and exhibited the living world for all to see. The study of Marine biology has however done more for art than be recorded by it, it has continually inspired artist through time from Matisse to Jackson Pollock.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Week Three: look but don't touch

After reading Art is Nature (An Artist's Perspective on a New Paradigm) by George Gessert, I wondered about the sustainability of biological art. I don't believe plant breeding is or should be considered High Art even though a few artists have tried it though the years. Even though Andy Warhol states that "Art is what the Artist can Get away with" and seems to be the case more and more. So science has provided us with many different ways to look at nature, from microscopes, to X-rays, to MRI's all the while complicating the question of what is nature. Looking at images of nature as art is one thing but including nature (biology) as a work brings up another whole "can of worm". One is the change of ownership to custodianship and what that means for the future of  the art piece. Which makes me think about Damien Hirst and his Shark at the Met. It  no longer is the same shark, it had to be replaced because it was roting from the inside out. So it is know longer the original piece of work which brings in to question its value and its sustainability. What happens if the artist is know longer around to chose a new shark the next time?
The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind...

The second reading for this week The biological gaze by Evelyn Fox Keller talk about looking with out touching and how that it is becoming more and more difficult to do with that advance of science ability to look.  The introduction and advancement of the Microscope brought in to question what is seeing, if you can see and not touch is it real?  This question make me think of these Photographers and there way of seeing which in more invasive and less invasive. 
Colgate maxfresh, Kiss me mint, Erik Boker

Untitled #12, Carlos Tarrats

Monday, February 2, 2009

Week One: What is Wild and Free?

When ever I herd the word Natural, Wild, or Wilderness these images by Carleton E. Watkins came to mind. Now however the reading this week opened up the possibility of what is Natural, Wild or Wilderness.  I was shocked to find that are parks only account for 2% of the land in the United States, I though at least 5-8%. I wonder is these views are still the same or is there a ranger station and trail sign smack in the middle.

The Valley from Mariposa Trail, Yosemite, California, 1863

The Three Brothers, Yosemite
So this is what I got from the Dictionary of the History of Ideas reading that ...
Nature trumps Artificial.
Supernatural trumps Natural.
Natural= unmodified by man.
House, clothing, cooked food and
Social Organization are not Natural.
1st: be true to the common nature of their fellowmen
2nd: be true to themselves
Which is some thing to always live by to be true to yourself is to be at one with your self, if you don't know, trust and love yourself how can you know, trust and love any one else. 
The Arts are seen as 
expression of an
individuals nature
Instead of:
being an imitation of nature.
What is an individuals nature, you always here its in there nature.
+ to nurture, to care, to teach, to help....
- to cause pain, to destroy, to be evil....

What is wild and free?
Wild= unruliness, disorder and violence
Wilderness= Home

I grew up close to the wilderness/ wild, at least as close as you can get in Indiana. My parents had a cabin next to Brown County State Park, my mother makes healing salve from plants around the yard and in the woods she was taught by and old healer. (Funny thing is my Dr. Uncle tells us relatives to use my moms salve when we show him a wound) We uses to walk for hours deep through the park, were it is to remote for most campers to get, if we did cut back on to a trail and ran into campers they use to panic that two small children and a dog were lost deep in the wood, though it was just are backyard. do you know what plants heal? other than aloe...?