Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye… it also includes the inner pictures of the soul. — Edvard Munch (Virtual Art Academy)
A few days ago, I visited the Contemporary Museum of Los Angeles (MOCA) and saw and enjoyed Henry Taylor Side B show. The exhibition was a retrospective of Henry Taylor’s work—primarily portraits. The work, The Screaming Head, 1999, stopped me. Similar to Edvard Munch’s work The Scream, where I felt fear, panic, and anxiety down in my soul. Taylor’s screaming head, I got the absolute frustration and angst the artist must have experienced as a black man.
In order to experience a poem, we must understand it; in order to understand it; we must hear it, see it, contemplate it—convert it into an echo, a shadow, nothingness. Comprehension is a spiritual exercise.
Octavio Paz, Alternating Current, p. 49
I don’t think I am creating anything as profound as Paz describes, but as I said many times in this blog—I am on a path, which is not totally visible to me. I get glimpses, but never too sure what I see. I do want to say that just because I post works of art, I do not think they are grand, that the technique is refined, or the lines sure and sharp. I know they are not. However, as I do and study my ideas, my voice and path will clarify. There is one thing I want readers and friends to know, and that is that I believe in a power greater than ourselves, and there is a piece, a bit, of that power, that Light within each of us. I don’t know if I am a theist, non-theist, pantheist, or panentheist. Whatever I am, I seek to reach, connect, and engage with that Light that exists within me… and you. I am saying this partly because I have avoided saying it in the public eye of art critics and peers. OH MY GOD! I just came out again. 😆
This article came to me through a friend on LinkedIn that I respect very much, Chris Zuege. The article is by Robert Rose. Chris posts on LinkedIn often, and I always find his posts enlightening. This resonated with me because the work I do is very off the cuff. I often wonder as I am working and when it is done. Am I the tool or the creator? For me, this quote and article gave me an answer. I am the tool, and what I create was loved before it existed.
I know it has been quite a while since I posted to this blog. The truth is that I was off learning. I studied color… read philosophy… learned more about 3D digital art. I will be posting more regularly again.
Today’s post was important to me. First, to wish everyone a great holiday and an even more fabulous new year and then share my last drawing of 2021. Its title is Tumult. It fits for 2021.
The drawing wants to draw what is invisible to the naked eye.It’s very difficult.The effort to write is always beyond my strength. What you see here, these lines, these strokes, are rungs on the ladder of writing, the steps which I have cut with my fingernails in my own wall, in order to hoist myself up above and beyond myself.
Cixous, Hélène, and Catherine A. F. MacGillivray. “Without End No State of Drawingness No, Rather: The Executioner\’s Taking Off.” New Literary History, vol. 24, no. 1, 1993, pp. 91–103. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/469272
This drawing lingers for me. Not wanting to call itself done. Yet, even when I call it finished, it calls me back. A friend asked me what I was doing a few times when he called from New York, and I told him, “I am working on a drawing, and it won’t end.” He asked me, “How do you know when it is done… Don’t you stop?” Well, no. You don’t just stop. Some might say I should. I am moving on, but it sits on my desk. Done for the moment.
The problem that I seek to address as a faculty within the media arts area is how does a faculty member within the arts and humanities assess affective learning. Affective learning is growth in feelings and emotional areas such as attitudes. In the arts it would be valuing the worth or value a person attaches to a particular object, idea or approach to an aesthetic or beauty. How does one build a meaningful rubric and take into account both the students’ and instructors’ cultural and aesthetic bias?
This problem arises because we live in a post-modernistic era that is characterized by a rejection, in large part, of formal aesthetic theories and favors spontaneity and discovery in creation (Klages ).
Milton Glaser, an artist, illustrator and designer characterizes this schism well in the following statement from an article titled “Ten Things I Have Learned”. The article was composed from a lecture he gave in London as part of an AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) presentation. Here he creates a juxtaposition between the aesthetics of modernism and the post-modern movements. “LESS IS NOT NECESSARILY MORE”. Being a child of modernism I have heard this mantra all my life. Less is more. One morning upon awakening I realized that it was total nonsense, it is an absurd proposition and also fairly meaningless. But it sounds great because it contains within it a paradox that is resistant to understanding. But it simply does not obtain when you think about the visual of the history of the world. If you look at a Persian rug, you cannot say that less is more because you realize that every part of that rug, every change of color, every shift in form is absolutely essential for its aesthetic success. You cannot prove to me that a solid blue rug is in any way superior. That also goes for the work of Gaudi, Persian miniatures, art nouveau and everything else. However, I have an alternative to the proposition that I believe is more appropriate. “Just enough is more”. The funding would allow me to research and assemble processes that faculty within the arts might use to provide objective assessments of the affective aspects of creating compositions, art, photography, furniture making, architecture and design. I will, also, focus on discovering or developing a process/tool that would allow faculty to recognize and disclose their cultural bias and, at the same time, discover the students’ cultural influences. Then with both the faculties and students biases unveiled perhaps a meaningful rubric might be established, thus giving us an opportunity to effectively assess affective attitudes in a meaningful manner.
My findings will be presented as an article I hope to publish in an art education journal. I also would like to present this research and my findings at one of the conferences offered in the fall or spring. Such as: ITeach or Realizing Student Potential 2007. With this research in hand I would be comfortable enough to organize a teaching circle in the Fall, 2006. The teaching circle would allow our community to examine the processes and provide feedback to some of the conclusions I reached. The faculty could then implement or create their own assessments based on the research.