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...?