Today is studio Monday. I’m working on a new large collage of transparent colors
But yesterday was a day for sculpture and learning.
Two things impressed me Sunday morning. First: Eleven people were motivated to show up in rainy weather to walk around downtown DeLand to learn about our public sculptures. (I was the tour guide. But I will give more credit to the motivation of the after-tour brunch that was planned.)
Second: that we actually have a well-established and interesting public sculpture program in DeLand, Florida to visit — a tribute to our City government’s support, an active museum committee and lots of volunteers and supporters.
As we walked from sculpture to sculpture, I hoped to fill the rainy adventure with a few art take-aways. When you walk up to a sculpture, or any artwork, and it doesn’t immediately resonate or speak to you, how do you respond? I believe people sometimes feel intimidated by viewing work in a Museum. If it’s there you figure it must have some value. But what if you don’t get it – or don’t like it? Out on a sidewalk art feels more accessible.
So, at each step, our group talked through a 3-step process.
Step 1: Just react with your gut. Some works are an immediate “Yes! I love this!” Some are works are a “Hmmmm, I’m just not getting anything from this.” And some are a “No. I have an immediate negative reaction to this work.” Any of those initial gut responses is acceptable and permissible.
Step 2: Try naming the elements. Elements of design are found in varying degrees in all artwork. Color. Line. Shape. Volume. Positive-and-negative space. Values. Direction. Rhythm. Pattern. Working your way through an artwork, looking for these things and identifying them, is a way to become more involved with the work beyond the initial response.
A few times on our walk there were some “Aha” moments. “Look at that line, how it goes up on a curve. I wonder why the artist did that?” Asking the questions and wondering about the answers can help a work start to make more sense.
Step 3: Find out what you can from the artist’s statement or other resources. Even the title of a work can add insight. Knowing that an artist was once a biology teacher, for example, might explain a work’s relationship with nature. Descriptions of materials and methods help too. Imagine the experience of carving marble. Or imagine the process of welding steel pieces. All this background information can deepen the understanding of a work.
On our tour we had a few “Hmmm I’m not sure” reactions go up to a “Yes!” after reacting more with the work. (We didn’t get much change on the “No” reaction.) All OK. I enjoy living in a City where our downtown allows the chance to interact with art.
Now it’s back to the studio for me.
This is Bobbi with another sculpture from downtown DeLand: Three Point One” by Alex Mendez. This photo was taken on a nice sunny evening during the opening event, when the work had just been installed.
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