Summer Fun @ Danforth

Ever wondered about:

> Expressing your feelings through creativity?
> Creating engaging doodles for your loved ones?
> Having fun playing with crayons, clay or water colors?
> Commencing that long-thought canvas illustration?
> Develop your Visual thinking skills?

If you answered Yes to either of these, you must visit Danforth Museum soon:)  Regardless of your age or experience with creating beautiful Art, Danforth Museum of Art offers art classes and workshops for all-from kindergartners to accomplished adult artists! Some useful web links are this & this !  Hope to see you at one of the upcoming events at Danforth soon :)
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. Pablo Picasso


Empty and Full

Cross Posted at Gnome Mag
The ocean can look very different, depending on whether you are standing at the shore, swimming beneath ocean waves, soaring above in a glider or cruising the waters in a ship. Members of the ever burgeoning Art community may call this phenomenon as perspective. The magnificent images in ongoing exhibit ‘Empty and Full’ at Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in Boston elucidates a thought provoking perspective on Duality. The exhibit illustrates awe-inspiring work titled Twelve Miles to the Horizon by Catherine Opie, a revered American photojournalist of contemporary times.

A plethora of things attribute to making Twelve Miles to the Horizon an instantly engaging work. In her work, Catherine Opie narrates her voyage from Busan (South Korea) to Long Beach (California, USA) using images as the medium. These unedited images, shot over a period of ten days on her trans-Pacific journey, and mounted in huge frames [50 by 371/2 inches] look spectacular amidst the white-washed walls at ICA. At first, the viewer is intrigued by so many juxtaposed images of sunrise & sunset on display. The intrigue then translates into sincere admiration upon learning that all the panoramic images were shot by Catherine from the deck of a container ship at sunrise and sunset everyday during her excursion through the Pacific ocean. These twenty images have been meticulously captured with utmost exactness and thus they share the same horizon line precisely at centre of the image.  Amidst water continuously rolling off the ship, turbulence in ever changing weather and unpredictable ocean waves, keeping the heavy camera equipment still on ship’s desk would have been a herculean task.
These cyclical images shot at dawn & dusk appear to portray duality. There’s abundance of water on one hand but total absence of land on the other.  Her images also reinforce the static versus dynamic nature of our environment. The omnipresent sun, ethereal moon & usually calm sky being static elements whereas turbulent waters, twirling container ship & ever changing perspective being dynamic elements. All images taken together makes the viewer ascertain and evaluate the nature of relationship between organic (photographer, ship crew) and inorganic (ship, camera) elements.

Enterprising spirit of photographer contrasts sharply with serenity of the ocean especially at dawn. Warm colors at dawn seems to make viewer feel rejuvenated, ready to start another day enthusiastically. The cool colors at dusk however imply a sense of loneliness and similar connotations of everything dark. The first (departure from South Korea) and the last image (arrival at California, USA) also seem to accentuate the contrast between rational (ethereal natural beauty, nature imposed order etc) versus irrational (civilised societies governed by strict rules, government imposed order etc).

The strong visual energy portrayed in these life size landscape photographs makes viewer wonder-Why artist decided on venturing out all alone on such a never-seen-or-heard before voyage in first place? Perhaps artist wished to break free from burgeoning cities and complex lifestyle to a far flung place where she could capture vibrant colors of nature, seek plenty of inspiration and narrate a visual story. Perhaps the excitement of capturing the unknown, remarkable possibilities of meeting new people & adventure of sea voyage engaged her inquisitive mind.

One of the most crucial aspects of life in modern times is the notion of freedom and the notion of bondage. The final goal is to experience freedom in its entirety but to understand what freedom is we first have to understand what bondage is. Catherine’s landscape photographs illustrate both very well. One one hand she is out in the open sea doing what she loves to the core (freedom) but on the other hand, in-spite of possessing best photographic equipment,  she can only capture her subjects and not her feelings in photographs (boundaries). Most of us live in a hallucinated state where we are restricted by our own projections and thus we seldom achieve breakthroughs.

At the outset, her Empty and Full exhibit seems to advocate to spectator to suggest shifting into an open & adventure seeking mindset. Once our minds are open, we can commence filling them with all the splendid people, places and experiences that we have always longed for. Very soon we might find our lives full of spirit and remarkable times similar to her breathtaking landscapes. These images seem to be a wake-up call from artist to the viewer, suggesting the viewer to pursue their true passions, march forward towards their long term goals and ultimately matter!

Despite being devoid human presence, Catherine all-encompassing surreal oceanscapes leave viewer feeling little perplexed, quite amazed and romantically dreamy.
[Images Courtesy - Catherine Opie]