Special Problems in Photography: Honors Studio

Post your comments, reviews and critiques below. As stated in the course syllabus, reviews should be at least one paragraph in length (approx 250 words) and follow the general guidelines presented in course handouts, including: Talking and Writing about Art.

Again, this format is informal and the comments should be brief and concise. This is not a space for lengthy discourse or academic writing. I expect you to write as you would speak in class and elaborate beyond “I like…” or “, (the work) is awesome”. Be descriptive and specific in response to both the formal and conceptual elements of the work(s).



51 Responses to Special Problems in Photography: Honors Studio

  1. Matt Hoover says:

    James Marsh’s The Theory of Everything is an adaptation of Stephen Hawking’s rise to international prominence that focuses on his relationship with his (now ex-) wife, Jane Wilde, and the progression of his ALS disease. Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones stare has Hawking and Wilde, respectively. The Theory of Everything has received several award nominations and continues to receive fairly widespread critical acclaim, mostly regarding the two lead actors’ performances. Redmayne, especially, is outstanding in his portrayal of Hawking has his ALS disease gradually worsens and worsens over time. There are still some interesting things from a more technical perspective, though. James Marsh uses several short segments that are edited and filtered to look like segments of home recordings to indicate the passing of large chunks of time. The inoffensive background music and slight orange hue that accompany these montages give the scenes a very nostalgic feel. Outside of these few montages, the film uses a variety of lighting styles, but does not really venture outside of standard conventions. The critical consensus that this film is more impressive for its acting than its directing, cinematography, etc. is probably fair.

  2. Matt Hoover says:

    New York City’s Museum of Modern Art hosted a special exhibition of artist Henri Matisse’s “Cut-Outs” in October. Matisse created these cut outs later in life when he was losing his ability to paint, but could still use scissors to create shapes from different colors of paper and arrange them. By completing so many of the cut outs, Matisse successfully challenged typical conventions of what was an acceptable medium for fine art. The exhibit was relatively cluttered; each room was almost filled with cut outs. This mirrored the eclectic geometry and wide variety of colors that Matisse used in the pieces themselves, and really drew attention to the brightness of so may of the colors. There were several motifs that ran through the pieces themselves. There were many seaweed-like shapes of various colors and sizes that were the most prominent and memorable part of a nautical motif. Matisse emphasized the curvature of the human body when he portrayed human figures. They were vaguely reminiscent of ancient African cave paintings or near eastern hieroglyphics or something of the sort. These archaic-looking humanoid figures combined with the perceived crudity of the medium gives the exhibit a strange tone that draws from both our conception of something that is very ancient and crude and our conception of something distinctly contemporary.

  3. Matt Hoover says:

    Paul Strand’s photograph “Abstraction, Porch Shadows, Twin Lakes, Connecticut” was on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of their limited-time Paul Strand retrospective. Taken in 1916 (although not printed until the 1950s), Strand’s photo is indicative of his interest and innovation within the field of abstract photography. At first glance, it is quite difficult to tell exactly what is captured in the photograph since Strand reduces this commonplace occurrence into its basic geometric elements. Porch furniture is transformed into elongated trapezoids of a lighter shade seem to jut out across a darker background, with a similar occurrence happening in the furniture’s shadow. Interestingly, despite the presence of countless individual straight lines in the photograph, there does not seem to be even one right angle in the entire thing. Some angles are obscured by the presence of what seems to be a circular table on which the furniture casts its shadow, and the photograph is framed in a way that triangles appear near its corners. This lack of right angles contributes to the extreme geometricization of the scene and gives the piece a very modernist feel. This modernism is enhanced by the large amount of empty white space that surrounds the photograph in its frame. The frame draws attention to the darker places in the photograph.

  4. Valerie Balock says:

    The Paul Strand Exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art was disconcerting for me, in that it didn’t leave much of an impression on me at all. The gallery was well planned and put together, allowing for foot traffic and careful consideration of the pieces, but that’s where the problem lies. Paul Strand, one of the most important American photographers, with one of the longest careers in recorded history, almost bored me. I had a hard time trying to discern the meaning behind many of his photographs, and in many cases, I was unsuccessful. Although I did enjoy some of his more formalist work, such as the pictures of foliage in the forest, I can’t say that I was ever “wowed” by him. The way the work was presented was lovely, all black and white on glossy paper in plain black and white frames, but the work itself is decidedly not memorable. Other than the picture of the white picket fence on a dark background, I have a hard time recalling any other specific pieces from my memory. Call me cynical, but I think the reason Paul Strand got to be so celebrated was because he was around for such a long time. In all the movements he might have been involved in (though formalism is obviously what he is most famous for) I dare say that there are many other artists who did it better. I appreciate him for his extensive body of work and the dedication with which he pursued his art, but I’d rather look at a Weston.

  5. Valerie Balock says:

    While visiting the MoMA to see Matisse, I had the privilege to visit an exhibition called “The Production Line of Happiness”, a collection of work by photographer Christopher Williams. The entire exhibit was well laid out and not especially crowded, with separate walls that had been erected to segment the pieces. While the exhibit lacked a unifying theme of the content, the visual style came through brilliantly. It was easy to see the formalist influence in Williams’ work, particularly in regard to the use of form and color. My favorite piece in the exhibition was an untitled photograph of a bisected camera, its insides embellished with gold and silver, reminiscent of an engine block, or perhaps art deco architecture. While the photograph reminded me of Metropolis, it also reminded me that cameras are machines, or at the very least, tools. While I’m sure certain photographers have brought light upon this subject before, I’m not sure that any of them have created an image that uses form so perfectly to express its message. In addition to being thought provoking, the piece is also very beautiful, so much so that I was disappointed when they didn’t have a print of it in the gift shop that I could purchase. The entirety of “The Production Line of Happiness” was fulfilling and thought provoking, in many of the ways that the Matisse exhibit was not. It was refreshing to find modern art that made sense to me, and I’m glad this exhibition was put together with such care and devotion regarding an artist’s personal style.

  6. Valerie Balock says:

    When it comes to Henri Matisse, and the exhibition of his works at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, I am torn admiring the dedication of a blind, dying man to continue to make the art he loved, and my wish that he would have used different colors. The gallery exhibit itself was well put together, although the space was clearly not designed with the large amount of foot traffic the gallery would receive in mind. Additionally, the clustering of so many brightly colored pieces became overwhelming after a time, and soon I found myself anxious to move on to other rooms of the exhibition simply to give my eyes a break. The art itself is clearly an expression of joy. Most of the pieces feature bright colors in interesting shapes, cut from painted sheets of paper, and glued onto more painted sheets of paper. It is easy to see the love that Matisse had for his work and his life, and it is good to know that even when he was blind and sick, he was still able to do what he loved. That being said, I find myself put off by the bright, incongruous colors and palm frond shapes. Even as I try to remember that this is the only way that he could express himself towards the end of his life, and that I should really just be grateful that I saw it at all, I cannot reconcile these facts with my almost immediate dislike for the work displayed in this exhibit. I’m glad that Matisse was able to do what he loved, but I would not be remiss if I never had to look at another cutout again.

  7. Valerie Balock says:

    This is a critique of a sketch titled “Leda and the Swan” created by Mel Chin, activist and artist. I find this piece alluring to me for many reasons, the first of which is that it is visually striking. The faint black outline of a woman pregnant with a swan is almost overshadowed by the red outline of her skeleton beneath it. It has a sketch-like quality, and when combined with the evidence that it the drawing was torn out of a book (the page is ripped and it still has the remnants of the paper that attached it to the metal rings of the notebook) gives it an almost informal quality that is reminiscent of the rest of the pieces in the exhibit. Leda’s expression is also alluring to me; her heavily hooded eyes give her a seductive appearance, suggesting perhaps that it was Leda who seduced the swan, not the other way around. In fact, everything about her, from the position of her hands by her side and the coy angle of her head, suggests that Leda has more sexual agency than the myth would have you believe. However, rather than seeming wanton, she keeps her delicate femininity in the shape of her thighs and the gentle curve of her pregnant stomach. Unfortunately, there was no paragraph explaining the drawing in the exhibit guided handed out at the gallery opening, but based on my speculations, I think that Mel Chin is attempting to make a statement about femininity and sex, and what it means to have sexual agency in such uncertain times as these. After all, historians are still arguing about whether or not Leda was seduced or raped. Either way, it’s a beautiful piece, and I’m glad I got the opportunity to see it.

  8. Ngozi Ofobuzo says:

    Critique 3
    Paul Strand (1890-1976) was a phenomenal photographer who played a significant role in the discernment of photography as a fine art. I got the opportunity to visit a Paul Strand’s exhibition (the expatriate series) at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and couldn’t be more grateful. This exhibition exposed me to the work that eclipsed humanism and helped shape modern photography. The most moving work for me at the exhibition was his Ghana’s African portrait. Watching the story of Ghana at its joyous post-independence years unfold in a collection of portraits and photos was captivating. One of my favorite pictures in this series is the “place portrait” of four young men who were photographed working their jobs as tailors. I especially liked this photo because of all the themes it depicts. Paul sought to capture the modernization of a small nation through his humanist lens and he accomplished just that. When I look at the picture I see 4 young men who are adapting to the industrialization of their land. Their faces portray no negative emotions as they seem to be enjoying what they do. I have no idea if the photo was contrived or candid but the expressions on their faces look genuine like as if they were attesting to the euphoria of that time. Ghana today must have changed from when Paul captured it during the beginning of its transformation in the 60’s. I must say, the African portrait was not just a book of photos displaying the history of a nation but a collection of photos that indeed captured the “present emerging from the past”.

  9. Robert Walko says:

    Final Critique: Good Will Hunting

    Good Will Hunting is a movie about the struggles of a young genius who was abused as a child by various foster parents and has grown up to have severe psychological problems due to his harsh upbringing. He is forced by court mandate to see a therapist and after having several give up on him, he finds a therapist that can reach him. The most impressive thing about this movie is the young age at which Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote it and how well they were able to capture the varying emotions in a very troubled human and portray them in a movie. The relationships in this movie are deeper and more realistic than almost any other movie you will ever watch. From a personal note, a very much enjoy the mathematical elements of the movie as a physics major and math enthusiast. It adds another level of intrigue for me. However for those people who are not into math, there are many other things about this movie to draw you in, from classic lines like “how do you like them apples” to Robin Williams classic speech to Will which successfully makes a true genius feel like an ignorant little kid. Although the movie is about a mathematical genius, which is a feeling that isn’t very relatable to most viewers, it brings Will and all the characters down to a very human level and exposes their raw emotions in such a relatable way. While it is not a movie for the people who want a blockbuster thriller, it is a fantastic movie for those who appreciate depictions of the deep complexity of all human beings.

  10. Hannah Hoag says:

    For my final critique, I am trying something different. I am going to talk about the Fallingwater house (A.K.A Kaufmann Residence) located in southwestern PA. I first learned about this house, and actually did a small project on it in high school. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935. The best part about this home is its location. It is completely surrounded by nature and was actually designed and built atop a natural waterfall. The Wright used the natural resources to add character to the home. Part of the stream actually runs into the home and then back out. While the house is built in stone and wood, the strong horizonal and vertical lines actually contradict, or stand out, against the natural background. This is what I love most about the design. I love that it blends in, but at the same time is still able to stand out. Wright also used very earthly colors. He used light browns and earthy reds. This is one of my favorite houses and definitely one of the interesting architectural designs I have ever looked at.

  11. TJ Morgan says:

    Critique #4

    For my fourth critique, I will be reviewing a photograph by Ryan Schude who is a photographer from Los Angeles. He did this photo in collaboration with Lauren Randolph in 2010. The work depicts the aftermath of a summer party. There are people in bathing suits and party attire sleeping everywhere and on everything. One girl is sleeping with a drink in her hand. Another guy is passed out with cheese curls on his stomach. There is a a guy in a panda costume using the head as a pillow with a bottle in his hand. One man is sleeping on the counter. The house is a mess. There are streamers hanging from the ceiling, plants and decorations knocked over, and food all over the place. The front door is wide open and outside it is daylight. This adds to the craziness of the party because it gives the sense that these people literally partied all night until they passed out. It was the ideal epic summer bash. I would say this photo would fit the tableau or narrative genre. It tells a story of the night before. In our heads we picture a raging party with music, drinking, and people dancing all night. The picture shows the morning after when everyone is still sleeping. From this we are able to piece together the party with all the elements in the room. Overall, I believe the picture was successful in what it was trying to accomplish.

  12. Frank Ieradi says:

    Critique 4
    For my final critique, I decided to review the film Gravity. I recently watched Gravity along with some of my friends, and I have to say it was quite an interesting film. While much of it could probably never happen in real life, the film got me into thinking about space disasters such as Apollo 13. I have always had an interest in space; from a young age I wanted to be an astronaut. This film caught my attention because of its performance at the Academy Awards, where it won 7 out of 10 nominations. The acting in the film was superb. Sandra Bullock is able to pull the weight of the film, especially considering she was alone for a majority of the film. I could feel the emotional impact of being alone in space. She was the perfect casting for the movie; I can’t think of another actress that could be casted in this role. The special effects in the film were Oscar worthy. I truly felt like I was in space and was part of the action, especially since we blacked out the apartment to watch the film. I am surprised by how far film technology has come so far since other space films such as Star Wars was released. This film had an emotional impact as there is speculation behind how it truly ends (though I can’t say any spoilers!). Overall I would rate this film as an A-, although the graphics were incredible.

  13. Frank Ieradi says:

    Critique 3
    For my third critique I decided to review the television show The Office. This is a series I have watched many times through, and have enjoyed every time. However, my roommate has only seen random bits and pieces, so we have been watching it a lot this semester in chronological order. The reason this series really attracts me is the simplicity in the story, yet the deep character development. The show centers on a boss who doesn’t know how to do his job, yet somehow manages a very successful regional branch in a paper company. As the series goes on from season to season, I fell in love with the characters and their quirks. The actors, who in the first season are awkward and don’t work well together slowly come together to form a cast which, in my opinion, could never be casted in a different way. For example, Steve Carell is the boss Michael Scott and Michael Scott is Steve Carell. Another interesting aspect of this show is the way it is shot. The cameras are mainly on cameramen’s shoulders, which creates a view that makes you seem like you are actually in the office, watching events unfold right before your eyes. I also really enjoy how the show creates awkward situations between characters; these situations make you want to bite your fist and scream, yet they are situations which you could actually encounter in a work day. The final part of this series which really sets it apart from regular sitcoms is the documentary style presentation. By having characters do short interviews during the show, you can see what they really think and feel about events going on. This show is one of my favorites, and personally ranks along the lines of Breaking Bad and Prison Break in my mind.

  14. Frank Ieradi says:

    Critique 2
    I found the Paul Strand exhibit to be very interesting. I really liked how it was laid out, going mainly in chronological order while following the trips he took across the world. At first I found the early works and experiments he had to be boring. I quite simply was not attracted to them for a reason I can’t pinpoint. However, I did find his ability to take pictures of people not realizing they are being photographed to be unique. The fact that he would disguise the way his camera was facing in order to trick people is not only creepy, it is also unique, which is something I really enjoy in photography. I found it fascinating to see how comfortable people became when they thought they were not being photographed, only for pictures to actually be taken. My favorite picture in the gallery came from the Luzzara exhibit. Titled “The Mayor,” this image struck out from the wall and grabbed my attention. The hardened expression on the mayor’s face, as well as his suit and the black and white nature of the photograph attracted me over to the image. The tight framing of the close up shot, as well as the wall on the left side which provided a slight distraction from the mayor’s gaze over the camera make the image the most complete, as well as my favorite in the gallery. As I neared the end of the gallery, I came across the antique cameras which Strand used in his journeys. Looking at the size and mechanisms of the cameras really got me into thinking about how far technology has come since Strand’s photographs were taken. I feel as though the inclusion of the antiques at the end really helped to tie the entire gallery together, as it started with his experiments into photography and ended with the cameras he used to perform these experiments.

  15. Ryan Boonstra says:

    Critique #4
    ITS BACK! The official Star Wars 7 trailer was released over thanksgiving break and although it did not reveal much, the world is talking about it. The trailer opens with a narrator immediately grabbing your attention by saying “There’s been an awakening….Have you felt it?” Not only does this get you into the Star Wars mood but it defines the subtitle the movie carries with it; “The Force Awakens.” So who is this narrator and what does he know of the force? Then BAM! We are immediately pushed into a seen on a desert planet (could this be Tatooine?) A stormtrooper jumps up without his helmet and is in a state of panic. We know he is not a clone because of his physical appearance, however we do not know where his allegiances lie. He could be part of the rebel alliance and be working undercover, or he could be someone who enlisted with the Empire. Either way he is terrified about something and the viewer is left in a state of wonder. The next seen gives viewers practically nothing as we are introduced to a new type of droid. However the seen after this is very exciting as we get a glimpse of the new stormtroopers, and man do they look fancy! Upgraded gear and suits shows how technology has advanced in the 30 years since the last movie took place, but they still have that classic stormtrooper look that we all immediately recognize. Scene 4 introduces the new female character of the movie, but like the narrator and the stormtrooper from scene 1 we do not know their relation to the force. What we do know is she is dressed in rebel attire and appears to be on the same desert planet (I hope its Tatooine) and she is riding towards something on a new speeder with haste. Hold on just a second though, her goggles seem to be salvaged from an old stormtrooper helmet, this means she and the Empire obviously don’t get along. Onto the next scene, which made a lot of hearts drop, we see a rebel squadron of X-wings flying low in formation over a lake. Are they on their way to an attack or coming back from one? Clearly in this scene JJ Abrams is showing off what he can do with new CGI technology, and man do I love it. Scence 6 has caused the most controversy and there certainly is not enough space to discuss it here, but we are introduced to the supposed new villain. A cloaked figured is stumbling through a frozen forest when he suddenly stops and reveals his weapon. A scarlet red lightsaber, but heres the kicker and the controversy, this fancy new blade features a CROSSGUARD! Many discussions and theories revolve around this but that could be discussed for hours. My opinion? This is the villain, but he is not a part of the sith. The blade seems to be laggy, so I think this person knows the force and is experimenting with the dark side, hence the abnormal lightsaber. I would classify him/her as a mercenary. Last but not least is the grand finale of the preview. The Millennium Falcon in all her glory engaged in a battle with tie fighters over a desert planet! At this point my jaw drops and the screen goes black revealing the Star Wars: The Force Awakens logo and the classic theme song. It may be just a teaser, but it has the Star Wars community buzzing. Many are worried that it will be all CGI and nothing but explosions, but I don’t think thats the case. JJ Abrams did an excellent job with the new Star Trek movies and think the movie is in good hands. Only time will tell, and theres plenty of time as Star Wars 7 isn’t due in theaters until December 18, 2015!

  16. Ngozi Ofobuzo says:

    The centrifugal brain project is an award winning mockumentary film created by digital artist, Till Nowak. I first came across a video clip from the film on my face book page and was taken aback by the bizarre amusement park rides featured in the video. Excitement and disbelief enveloped my mood as I pondered the authenticity of the clip. With further investigation I came across the short film on the internet. In the film, audience are introduced to a Dr. Nick Laslowicz, scientist and engineer at the Institute for Centrifugal Research who explains his experiments, designs and concepts behind the crazy amusement rides featured in them. The audience is then shown what is supposed to be the actual ride, built and in working condition in a seemingly real amusement park. Each new ride shown was more bizarre and wilder than the former. I wanted to believe that what I was seeing was unreal but the seriousness of the fictitious Dr. Laslowicz and the computer generated images of the contrivances within the confines of a real world made me believe for an instant that what I was viewing was real. I applaud Till Nowak’s work with this film. It is likely he accomplished deceit with it to a substantial amount of people due to his crafty use of digital effects. The hilarity of Dr. Laslowicz as a mad scientist opposing concrete scientific facts like gravity was a nice addition to the film. I also liked how Nowak included bits that revealed the absurdity of the film which could be detected with keen and observant eyes (there was a segment in the film when a woman walked past talking on a cell phone when the period was supposedly the 80’s decade). All in all it was a funny, whimsical and excellently executed mockumentary.

  17. Pallavi Chary says:

    I am critiquing By June the Light Begins to Breathe by Keith Jacobshagen. This painting was featured in an exhibit that had beige walls (which is why it caught my attention). Most of the painting is a deep light blue sky with clouds that are dispersed. The richness of the colors stood out in the art. The light sky colors contrasted greatly with the dark green grass. The size of this piece of art was bigger than a normal poster board and added to the effect. Simply standing two feet from the drawing, my eyes could only see the painting and I was lost in the white clouds that were drawn (like I was watching the scene firsthand). For this type of painting, I don’t think size would make too much of a difference, the clouds could be scaled proportionally to this painting if it was bigger or smaller- or more open area could be seen. The frame of the painting was the same as the color of the wall so it looked like a window in the wall, through which one could see a landscape of mostly terrain land. This painting was based off of a scene in Lincoln, Nebraska (painter’s homeland). Jacobshagen believed that the best landscape painters were the ones who were able to do something unique with the clichéd genre. I believe this landscape stood out to me because I usually think of landscape as mountains or fields with the sky acting a backdrop. In this piece of work, the sky was accentuated as the main focus (which makes it different from the clichéd landscape artworks).

  18. Patrick Bik says:

    Critique 4

    “Mount Tavurvur”
    Oliver Bluett

    Oliver Bluett’s “Mount Tavurvur” is an incredible image of the volcanic eruption of Mount Tavurvur, an active volcano located in Eastern Papua New Guinea. It appears that Bluett’s intention was to capture this volcanic eruption for documentation purposes rather than for a piece of art to display in a photography gallery. Nevertheless, this is an artistic image that will grasp the attention of many. I believe “Mount Tavurvur” is a captivating yet ironic photograph because Bluett captures the aesthetics of a phenomenon that may ultimately lead to a natural disaster. With the volcano stationed on an island, Bluett photographs the eruption from a distant shoreline. Hence, he captures the entire eruption, from the volcanic foundation to the gargantuan spew of ash that coats the sky. Bluett’s positioning provides depth and allows the observer to compare the enormous size of the volcanic eruption with the boats, palm trees, and shrubs that inhabit the shoreline. The image exhibits green vegetation on the shore, various shades of blue from the ocean to the sky, and a grey could of ash that reflects vibrant yellows from the sun. Thus, Bluett’s position on the shoreline was an ideal location to capture the light of the sunset reflecting from the towering, cotton-like clouds of ash. The surface of the blank, wrinkled ash allowed the sun to paint bright yellow colors directly on the spew of ash. The variety of colors and textures, along with the robust volcanic eruption, provides a compelling image that displays the ironic beauty in a potential natural disaster.

  19. Hannah Hoag says:

    For this critique, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite Netflix Original series, House of Cards. In particular, I am going to talk about Season 2 which was released on Valentine’s Day 2014. The show is set in Washington, D.C. in the heart of the White House. The main character, Francis Underwood, is played by Kevin Spacey. He is a ruthless politician who spends his time sabotaging everyone in his way of the presidency. His wife, Claire Underwood, played by Robin Wright, could arguably be more ruthless than Francis himself. Season 2 is much darker than the first season. It starts off with a bloody murder and ends with another. Throughout the course of the season, cyber espionage, government shutdowns, and relationships are exposed. Season 2 really allows the viewers to understand the true nature of their favorite characters. It leaves you questioning the power of some characters, but never the power of the Underwoods. I feel that Netflix has developed a power couple that has never even seen before either on Netflix or on television. Their loveless marriage is filled with drive and passion for power. It honestly makes me question the authenticity of politicians, as well as the media.
    The overall coloring of the series only confirms the dark content it portrays. It appears as if it is always overcast in Washington D.C. Nothing about the series is bright, not even the colors in the Underwood home or the color of the dresses that Claire Underwood wears. I would not recommend this series to anyone who is looking for a quick, light-hearted show. You need to mentally prepare as well as carve out time to complete the series. I recommend this to anyone looking for drama, politics, and mind-blowing twists. Season 3 will be released in February 2015, and hopefully it’s even crazier than this last season.

  20. Carrington Thompson says:

    Critique #4

    For this critique, I’d like to talk about an article that I found from the New York Times’ blogs. It is from their section on photography, video, and visual journalism, and the blog is titled “Perfect Timing on the Right Side of the Tracks.” This article is about Krisanne Johnson and her work as a photographer. For the particular project that is discussed in the blog, she was working in New York City. It was actually a project that I think could be considered as social landscape. Ms. Johnson called it street photography. This blog had a slideshow of some of the pictures from this project, and I found them to be really captivating and telling. Ms. Johnson, I felt, did a wonderful job of not only finding the intimate moments of life in New York City, but she caught these moments with the backdrop of the infrastructure that is so prominent in the city. It is similar to soft against harsh, very contrasting. There is one picture of hers in particular that strongly depicts this, and it is mentioned in the blog. It is a photograph of a woman in Chinatown hanging her laundry on the rooftop. Ms. Johnson herself says, “I like the picture. I like her body language, that she was on eye level of the laundry, taking her laundry down with the bridge, you can just see this massive presence of the infrastructure and this sweet woman, too.” Some other photos of hers that I enjoyed were those that were taken under the JMZ subway line. These photos intrigue me, because I like the depth and symmetry that the subway line creates. One of the pictures that shows this very clearly is that which is titled “Broadway and Flushing Avenue under the JMZ subway line. Brooklyn.” Here is the link for the references that I made to the blog and photographs.

  21. Crystal Holt says:

    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1 is yet another example of a book-to-film franchise splitting the final novel into two movies. Though in some cases this move is justified by a large amount of content to cover, Mockingjay-Part 1 is obviously fueled by monetary motives. Although this installment was perfectly fine, it was a bit lacking in the action and drama of it’s predecessors. Mockingjay-Part 1’s feeling was that of a place-holder, buying time until the grand finale. It wasn’t until about 3/4 through that the movie’s pace picked up, bringing a wave of suspense and slight terror, until suddenly the end credits are rolling. Needless to say, Mockingjay-Part 1 ended with a definite cliffhanger. However successful the film may be at building anticipation for the climax, I don’t believe that it was actually necessary to split Suzanne Collins’s third novel into two distinct movies. Aside from this caveat, the marvelous cast, lead by Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, and the few truly emotionally moving scenes (the hanging tree, anyone?) lead to another satisfying film from Lionsgate. Along with the masses, I will be eagerly awaiting what I’m sure will be an extraordinary end to this trilogy (as it should have stayed).

  22. Patrick Bik says:

    Critique 3

    “Tramonto a Rosola”
    Masotti Primo

    Masotti Primo, an Italian landscape photographer, has an excellent ability to capture the beauty of nature in many forms. His work focuses on the forests, mountains, and valleys throughout various cities in Italy. I enjoyed viewing his diverse collection of images, specifically his work that incorporates medieval Italian castles. One picture in particular, titled “Tramonto a Rosola,” really captured my attention. “Tramonto a Rosola” shows a farmed hillside resting between mountains. A silhouette of an Italian medieval castle stands on top of the farmed hill and a mountain range is shown in the distance. Primo’s piece demonstrates formalism through the position of the castle, mountains, and trees. There is also a nice balance of color in the image. Shaded areas scattered throughout the hills and mountains are countered with rich green colors. A bright band of white and yellow light, which sits between the mountain range and castle, creates a haunting silhouette of the castle. The pale blades of grass shown at the base of the image resemble thin sharpened knives. This adds another element to the haunting theme of his work. It also demonstrates the exquisite detail in Primo’s piece. From sharp blades of grass to soft farmed soil resting along the hillside, the textures shown throughout the image are intriguing. Furthermore, the plethora of slopes within the piece provide excellent depth and may even induce a feeling of vertigo. I believe Primo’s “Tramonto a Rosola” is a successful image because it incorporates formal elements of photography to capture haunting elements that exist in nature’s landscapes.

  23. mattrhoff says:

    Artist: Collection of many

    Piece: The “Inverted Normals” Gallery in it’s entirety (2014)

    This gallery as a whole was interesting to say the least. At first glance, it gave me a feeling of normality. I looked at the pieces and saw fairly “normal” artwork; pieces that had to be looked at no differently than most other art I was familiar with. But, when I integrated the technological aspect of the gallery, I was taken into a world of abstraction. The pieces turned on their heads, and gave me a sense of wonder, and almost fantastical. The gallery as a whole exploded before me in a new light, and I myself (by use of my cellphone) became part of the artwork. I had a hard time describing it, and the way that each piece integrated the viewer into it made it very personal to me. For lack of a better analogy, it was almost like an LSD-induced trip without the drug. I saw incredible, fantastical things right before me, and it was like I was a part of them. A very, very cool gallery.

  24. Matt Hoffman says:

    Artist: Collection of many

    Piece: The “Inverted Normals” Gallery in it’s entirety (2014)

    This gallery as a whole was interesting to say the least. At first glance, it gave me a feeling of normality. I looked at the pieces and saw fairly “normal” artwork; pieces that had to be looked at no differently than most other art I was familiar with. But, when I integrated the technological aspect of the gallery, I was taken into a world of abstraction. The pieces turned on their heads, and gave me a sense of wonder, and almost fantastical. The gallery as a whole exploded before me in a new light, and I myself (by use of my cellphone) became part of the artwork. I had a hard time describing it, and the way that each piece integrated the viewer into it made it very personal to me. For lack of a better analogy, it was almost like an LSD-induced trip without the drug. I saw incredible, fantastical things right before me, and it was like I was a part of them. A very, very cool gallery.

  25. Pallavi Chary says:

    I am doing a critique on Still Life with Sleeping Woman by Henry Matisse. This artwork is done by the same artist whose work was featured at the MOMA exhibit. This was different from the exhibit because it was a painting, as opposed to cutouts. One thing that stood out to me was the fact that this painting was titled still life. I thought still life’s were pictures of inanimate objects (this one features a sleeping woman). It is possible that this goes back to a notion I had made in an earlier critique of how Matisse objectifies women in his art. Another thing I noticed about this painting was that the cutout ‘seaweed’ shaped objects were painted in the background of the painting. In addition to leave shaped objects, it also had a plant and fruit on the table. However, these items were not arranged in a typical still life set up. The colors used were lighter and it was bright (not much contrast between the colors). This one had a child element to it (similar to the exhibit at MOMA). This could be attributed to the fact that this artwork was revolutionary during its time but has become commonplace in today’s world. Compared to the abstractness presented in the exhibit, this painting incorporated Matisse’s cutouts but also a real life element. Personally, this helped me appreciate Matisse as an artist (and the rest of the exhibit featuring his work) much more than the cutout exhibit.

  26. Hannah says:

    Paul Strand’s exhibit at Philadelphia’s Museum of Art was one of the best exhibits I had seen at the museum. While there was a large variety of images and subject matter, everything seemed to connect. The exhibit shows the photographs that Strand took throughout his entire career. They show his ex-wife, inanimate objects, people from various countries and backgrounds, wildlife, and landscapes. The most intriguing pictures were the of the people he saw around the world. One picture in particular, “Blind”, really stood out. The woman in the photo is clearly blind, but if you didn’t know that, it would become pretty obvious by the sign hanging around her neck. The emotion in the picture is what really caught my attention. Strand captured the struggles of being blind in an instant, and that’s not something that any photographer can do. The pictures of Strand’s ex-wife also really stood out to me. They were all lined up on one wall, side by side. This placement really emphasized Strand’s love he had for her. She was making a different facial expression or looking a different direction in each photograph. Most pictures were very close up, showing the intimacy between husband and wife. As a photographer, taking pictures of people you care about can be very special, and therefore difficult. The realness and the delicacy of the pictures of his ex-wife, were some of my favorite from the entire exhibit.

  27. Carrington Thompson says:

    This critique is on the student gallery presentation titled “Hypnogogia” (I might have messed up the spelling). The ideas put forth in this gallery are that of dreams and nightmares, which are all very personal, emotional, and psychological matters. With these concepts being present in the show, it is obvious that all of the pieces are expressions of the artist’s ideas. As a result, the content of the pieces is not tradition but rather quite surreal. The techniques used for the pieces, however, I believe can be considered as more traditional, because they are all make by some sort of writing instrument (either pen or some other form of black ink) on a white surface. It seems that the intent of the artist is to bring to life the bizarre world of her dreams. As crazy as the realm of dreams can be, maybe she is also trying to show that some sense can be made of the chaos of dreams. Maybe she is even using her art of her nightmares as an outlet of overcoming her fears. From her pieces, I can tell that the artist has a very vivid subconscious! Some pieces were quite crazy and scary, while others were much more subdued. My favorite was a piece that was on the left when you walk into the gallery. It was of a tin man who was very broken down. He had vines growing over him and a bird had made a nest in the tin man’s hollow belly. The tin man was looking down at the bird in a gentle and sad way. He looked weary and yet peaceful with the bird comfortably situated within him. It was confusing and captivating for me all at the same time. It was if Dorothy had never found the tin man in the Wizard of Oz and he was left to rust in the woods with only the bird as his companion. This was my favorite piece, because it wasn’t nightmare-ish, but it did have a very dreamlike quality in the sort of fairytale sense. In the tradition of photography, I am not quite sure where her art could fit in besides probably the surrealist realm. Thus, I would say that her art is probably for a more mature audience. In the end, I found the artist’s work quite impressive, and I enjoyed perusing her showing.

  28. Crystal Holt says:

    One of the most successful art museums I have ever been to is the Denver Art Museum. The true beauty in this museum lies in the fact that the entire building is in itself a piece of art. With striking architecture including high ceilings and sharp peaks, the Hamilton Building mirrors the angles of the Rocky Mountains, which can be seen in the distance from the upper floor’s large windows. Other notable elements of the museum include its outdoor pieces, such as the Big Sweep, a 35 foot tall sculpture of a broom and dustpan, symbolizing the cleanliness of the city. Each indoor exhibit has obviously been scrutinized and thoughtful assembled, as every room possesses a unique style and feel. The Matisse and Friends collection on the main floor was tastefully designed with bright wall colors, beautiful curtains, and elegant furniture. The upper floors, including the seven floors of the North Building, were separated into distinct exhibits by era and location, and they contained an extraordinary number of pieces. Though the museum is known for its American Indian Collection, each exhibit was effectively supplied and displayed. Besides the triumph of the art collection itself, the museum was extremely immersive and interactive, with many areas for children featuring games, crafts, and education stations. The educational aspect of the museum, along with its architecture and art collections, all contribute to the enormous success of the Denver Art Museum.

  29. Robert Walko says:

    Interstellar Critique
    Interstellar was without a doubt, one of the most stunning, powerfully emotional and flat out fascinating movies I have ever seen. This movie took ideas from upper level physics like special/general relativity, time dilation, and black holes and made them into a very human story about loss, despair, and more importantly, hope. While I have seen several negative reviews that cite the unrealistic use of these ideas from physics, I believe that with this movie, like with any sci-fi movie you have to suspend your disbelief to truly enjoy it. Despite the fact that this is set in a more realistic environment than a movie like Star Wars, it is still a sci-fi movie and this needs to be taken into account. That being said, from a visual standpoint Interstellar truly reached new heights. The images of Saturn shown were truly breathtaking, and I read an article saying that to visually represent the black hole in the movie, director Christopher Nolan consulted a team of astrophysics doing cutting edge research on black holes and used their most recent data to produce the most physically accurate representation of a black hole to date. I must say, the extra effort that Nolan went to really paid off. There is no other word to describe the things you see in that movie other than breathtaking. While the visual aspects where, for me, the best part of Interstellar the story that is told is deep, emotional, and really makes you face the fate of humanity in a way that nothing else has yet to do. Every few years there comes a movie that every person NEEDS to go see. Interstellar is without a doubt one of those movies.

  30. Ryan Boonstra says:

    Critique #3
    The Museum of Modern Art had many different exhibits to offer, and many that I did not quite understand. There were plenty of paintings that impressed me and quite a few others that I felt did not belong. Seeing some of the famous Van Gogh paintings was of course very exciting, but they were not what I enjoyed the most. The paintings that I felt were the most impressive where those that looked liked pictures. To me a painting that truly shows an artist’s skills is one that you need to look extremely close at in order to realize it is a painting. MOMA certainly had many paintings that offered that. Other paintings that I really enjoyed were those that caused optical illusions, because being able to draw an optical illusion is very impressive to me. The floor about modern inventions is always very to cool me as well, and seeing the classic video games in there was pretty funny too. The video presentation with the Rube Goldberg machine really captured my attention, and I even sat down and watched it for probably 20 minutes or so. Now on the flip side there were also many exhibits that I did not enjoy at all. The exhibit with all the different wax limbs and disturbing images really made me feel uncomfortable. After we discussed it further at lunch I understand that it has some value, but as far as artistic value is concerned it didn’t do very much for me. The contemporary paintings are also another area that troubles me. There were quite a few blank canvases hung-up that I just couldn’t see the value or excitement in. The descriptions next to this canvases did them some justice, but in my opinion not enough to be museum worthy. MOMA is always a very fun trip and this year was the second time I was in attendance. I’ll be looking forward to going again next year.

  31. TJ Morgan says:

    The images in the series Sacrifice by Jose Carlos Casado blend 3D animations with a hard copy image. There is a character that is the subject of all the works. The character is an explosion of vibrant orange, yellow, and red. There is a blank white background in all the works. This white backdrop accentuates the bright colors of the character. The theme of these works is sacrifice and the artist uses a combination of illusion and reality in each to display the theme. The one picture is of the character suspended by many different ropes. After I downloaded the image on the application for my phone, 3D pictures of bugs appeared on the ropes. There was a dolphin flipping through the hoops as well as an orca. These images distract the viewer and take their eyes away from the theme and the sacrifice of the character. It makes the work imaginative and dream like. It is very surreal and adds to the depth of the work. On one level it is playful with the dolphins and the orcas swimming around and the ostrich poking out of the hole. On another level, in the background, the main character is tied by all limbs and stretched out in a torture fashion. In another one of the works from this series, the main character is upside down and planes are crashing into him in different parts of his body. When looking at the animation for this work, blue and green with yellow and red smoke appears with planes flying in different directions. Overall I think the main theme of sacrifice was accomplished in these images. I liked how the artist was able to tie in different perspective elements into the works. This added to the depth of the work as a whole.

  32. Ngozi Ofobuzo says:

    “Tree of life” by Henri Matisse is a stained glass work of art that was used in the décor of the Chapel of the Rosary in 1951. The art work was first created using the cut-out technique which he developed. The design was then incorporated into stained glass. Perhaps the most striking thing about this specific work is how abstract it is compared to traditional church stained glass which usually depict biblical figures or are very geometric. The vibrant yellow irregular forms remind me of coral reef polyps and are remarkably striking against the blue background. Matisse’s fixation for the irregular conformations is quite apparent as they are recurring objects in his cut-outs. The conformation on its own looks rather simplistic, but the way Matisse arranges them and manipulates color gives profound sophistication to the art work. Every object in the “tree of life” was placed meticulously that I doubt it could have been done better. I especially like how he included yellow geometric borders around the art. It acts like a frame containing the conformations while being a part of the art work. One can see the drive and inspiration that Matisse applies to his work. I enjoyed the colorful Matisse exhibition at MOMA and am most intrigued that he formed this medium of art which he calls “cut-out operation” or “painting with scissors”.

  33. Ryan Boonstra says:

    Critique #2
    The Strand exhibit was very intriguing for me because of the fact that it started from the very beginning of his career. It was very easy for me to relate in the beginning of the exhibit since I am very new to photography. His first subjects were photographed right after he graduated high school and many of them were anonymous. To me the candid photo is one of my favorites so many of these pictures really captured my interest. The abstract photos he had that were based on cubist painting were interesting but hard to understand at first glance. However since I took the audio tour the descriptions really showed just how interesting his abstract photos were. Once it was explained that some of the photos were turned in different directions from the originals their style really began to spike my interest. His films were very basic and although they were interesting I feel they could have been much shorter. Strands photos of nature are really what interested me the most? Once he had acquired a better camera the details of his pictures improved dramatically. My favorite photos were those that were zoomed in images of different plants; I especially enjoyed the close up of the grape vine. I also really enjoyed his pictures from around the world. His pictures in Egypt and Africa really showed the clash of tradition cultures and the industrial revolution. This clash was captured in a way that it almost was not believable at first; however the audio tour explained that this was on purpose. Strand was able to show how the traditional values of this country existed at the same time as their industrial revolution. Strand really showed me a different way to go about photography and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to see his work.

  34. Robert Walko says:

    Critique 2
    Robert Gober: The Heart is Not a Metaphor
    Initially, this work struck me as the work of a maniac who needed to be locked up in an insane asylum. The depictions of human grotesqueness and nonsensical groupings of objects and ideas was at first too much for me to handle due to the fact that I am unaccustomed to the world of art outside of a middle school art class. But as I began to think about the works and discuss them with other people I began to realize that the initial reaction I had is probably how he wanted those unfamiliar with the art world to react to his piece. His true intentions, however, were meant more for the trained eyes of an “artist”. In retrospect I can see, albeit with some serious effort and the release of prior beliefs about art, what some of these true intentions were. While there was a wide variety of topics and themes touched upon throughout the exhibit, one theme that seemed recurring to me was the grotesque nature of human beings with limbs placed throughout the exhibit and many other commentaries on atrocities of the human race such as the hanging of an African American man. While a majority of the exhibit was dreary and dark in nature, I found that there were some bits of hope, as in the room with the 9/11 newspapers that are contrasted by the images of hopeful human embrace drawn on them. Overall, I still did not enjoy the exhibit at all, but after some reflection I can see its possible artistic merits.

  35. Pallavi Chary says:

    I am critiquing the Henry Matisse exhibit at the MOMA museum. The wall space was used well (not too many blank spaces) and everything was arranged nicely (different subjects were staggered throughout the exhibit). The human figures had black contours that made them stand out and completed the picture. Matisse’s human representations were all feminine and he was from the 1900s so it is possible he was objectifying women in the form of art, which could be considered sexist in some of the pictures.
    One art piece that I distinctly remember was of two triangles glued or cut out. This arrangement was not symmetrical and was tilted to an angle but not on the diagonal of the paper, which made it harder for me to accept it. In modern times, I don’t believe some of the pieces in this exhibit would be considered art (it is possible that the concept behind these art works are now obsolete). In addition, the large seaweed-like pieces did not have a complimenting color scheme or any clear form that I was able to see.
    I am a person who likes order and symmetry and pictures with clear meanings. I believe this is why I had trouble accepting the abstract portions of Matisse’s exhibit. One abstract piece that did appeal to me was the picture that had three white circles in a pyramid shape against a maroon background because of the symmetry, balance in the picture (everything was centered) and complimenting colors. I was drawn towards the exhibits that had photographs or paintings depicting real life (such as Paul Strand, A World of its Own and Matisse’s artwork featured elsewhere in the museum).

  36. Carrington Thompson says:

    The exhibit of Paul Strand’s photography that is on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art will be the topic of this critique. There were actually a lot of things in this gallery that were quite intriguing to me.
    My favorites of Strand’s photos were probably his portraits. One of sections of this gallery was dedicated to pictures that Strand took in Mexico. There were a lot of portraits in this series. I was interested so much by these portraits, because you could really get a sense of the daily life of the Mexicans that Strand was around, because he photographed them using a prism. This was very interesting to me, because he was able to point his camera in one direction while taking a picture of something in another direction. Thus, these portraits were anonymous, which I believe was much to Strand’s advantage. It is clear that he wanted to show exactly what life was like for these people without any thought of “oh, there is a camera, let me do such-and-such a thing differently.”
    With regard to portraits, I also found Strand’s portraits of his wife, Rebecca, to be interesting. He did not use a prism for these shots. Rather, they were taken at a very close range. Her features are very pronounced and her eyes and facial expressions are penetrating in every picture. I felt that the closeness of these shots and Strand’s use of the frame size were what made these such strong photos, because like the photos of the Mexicans, I felt very connected to what Rebecca might have been feeling. This is a pattern that I saw in a lot of Strand’s portraits.
    One final portrait that I thought was a great shot was that of a French boy. This photo was located towards the back of the show. The boy is staring straight into the camera with such intensity, and the picture captures this so well. His facial features are very pronounced, too. It’s slightly strange, because it is a simple photo, but there is just something about it that makes me want to know more about the boy.
    In the end, I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed Paul Strand’s portraits. I am not particularly a huge fan of very close up portraits, but Strand’s style was unique in that it kept me wondering about the personal lives of each of his subjects. His style really made me feel like I was delving into the lives of his subjects, which I think is something that he was trying to achieve in all of his portraits.

  37. Patrick Bik says:

    Critique 2

    The Cut-Outs
    Henri Matisse

    Henri Matisse’s Cut-Outs at the Museum of Modern Art was a unique exhibit. I have never seen paper cutouts displayed in a museum and thus, I was excited to see Matisse’s work. As I entered the exhibit, I was struck with disappointment. I was expecting to see work with exquisite detail, but was greeted with large paper cutouts glued to large, blank sheets of what appeared to be construction paper. The squiggly shaped paper cutouts, choice of colored paper, and the manner in which some of the pieces were assembled made me feel as if I was observing the work of first grade students. After exploring the rest of the exhibit, I soon learned that I overlooked a major factor in Matisse’s work: context. After learning that Matisse pioneered the use of paper cutouts as a form of art, I began to appreciate the pieces that were displayed in his exhibit. Matisse’s cutouts show a unique perspective on formalism. His ability to mask an entire wall with only one of his pieces showed that he was able to successfully use shapes and patterns to occupy even the largest spaces. I believe the most captivating piece in this exhibit was Matisse’s “Nuit de Noel.” This beautiful stained glass window, which was made using paper cutouts, displayed a healthy balance of various shapes. The warm colors created by the penetrating sunlight turned the collage into a mystical, radiating masterpiece. I have gained a lot of respect for Matisse due to his creativity and ability to inspire others through his unconventional approach to art.

  38. Crystal Holt says:

    To the untrained eye, The Cutouts by Henri Matisse may appear juvenile and immature. For those in the know, this featured exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art demonstrates the strength, imagination, and creativity of an ill man. After being diagnosed with cancer and confined to a wheelchair, Matisse relied on studio assistants while creating The Cutouts. This collection of pieces made from paper and gouache is strikingly different from Matisse’s earlier Fauvism paintings. Revolutionary at the time, The Cutouts, represent the invention of a new medium. Physically unable to paint or sculpt, Matisse experimented by “painting with scissors,” and The Cutouts collection was born. Created during his “second life,” The Cutouts include both small, simpler pieces, and intricately immersive compositions, such as The Swimming Pool. This particular decoupage fills an entire room thereby virtually submerging the viewer in a pool of water. A ballet of bodies and splashes comprise the pattern for this thoughtful piece. Matisse’s abstract pieces include individual cutouts of bodies, a leaf motif, and an array of bright colors. In The Parakeet and the Mermaid, Matisse epitomizes this theme with a collage of contrasting hues and repetitive fruit and leaf forms. The abstract figures of a mermaid and a parakeet stand out amongst this uniform background, which Matisse created as his own personal garden. MoMA’s compilation of The Cutouts displays beautifully the vision and brilliance of Henri Matisse. This collection is an excellent example of perseverance and inventiveness; not content to let his work suffer due to his incapacity, Matisse transformed the art community by conceiving a new medium which artists employ to this day.

  39. TJ Morgan says:

    Critique #2

    Wall Street
    Paul Strand

    For my critique I will be reviewing the New York collection by Paul Stand, specifically the photograph of Wall Street he took in 1915. This photograph has many different elements that make it unique. The J.P. Morgan building in the background has long rectangles of light and dark shades. The long hard lines in the building show the strength and stability in banking and the economy at the time. This is ironic because a little over a decade and a half later the stock market crashes, showing that the economy is not always stable. The people in the photo appear to be unaware that they are being photographed, as they continue about their daily routine throughout the city. There are real life movements instead of the people being placed in a particular fashion. The white frame around the photo helped to enhance the black, white, and grey tones of the platinum print. The elongated shadows from the citizens display that the sun is low on the horizon. Because the picture is in black and white it is not clear as to whether the sun is setting or rising. The artist could be showing how the city is continuos and does not stop. The days run into each other as one day ends, another one begins. Thus giving the picture ambiguity. This photo was from the period where Strand sought to change his style to more of a straight real life depiction of photography. This straight photography is characterized by its hard lines creating sharp shapes and angles. These hard shapes are contrasted by the people moving about their day. Overall I thought the picture was aesthetically pleasing and a great display of a more straight style of photography.

  40. mattrhoff says:

    Artist: Paul Strand

    Piece: Skeleton and Swastika (1938 or Jan. 1939)

    This photograph really spoke to me in a rather creepy way. It’s one of the only (if not the only) political piece by Strand, and its one of the few pictures that’s not of a model that he arranged and staged to look a certain way. Strand was extremely talented at photographing stumbled upon landscapes and unwary subjects, yet here he is, taking a political picture for a leftist publication (TAC). The image is daunting, with a stark contrast between the black panels of the swastika and the eerily white bones of the skeleton. The position of the skeleton is even creepier, and brings about an interesting discomfort in me, as it is being crucified upon this giant swastika. The entirety of the picture is dark and discomforting, and event the background made up of a somewhat cloudy day, adds to the overall dark and looming feeling of the photo. It is an incredibly powerful photograph, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s choice to place it alone on a stand (it’s the only photograph in the exhibit to be arranged like this) makes it stand out and mystify the public even further.

  41. Matt Hoffman says:

    Artist: Paul Strand

    Piece: Skeleton and Swastika (1938 or Jan. 1939)

    This photograph really spoke to me in a rather creepy way. It’s one of the only (if not the only) political piece by Strand, and its one of the few pictures that’s not of a model that he arranged and staged to look a certain way. Strand was extremely talented at photographing stumbled upon landscapes and unwary subjects, yet here he is, taking a political picture for a leftist publication (TAC). The image is daunting, with a stark contrast between the black panels of the swastika and the eerily white bones of the skeleton. The position of the skeleton is even creepier, and brings about an interesting discomfort in me, as it is being crucified upon this giant swastika. The entirety of the picture is dark and discomforting, and event the background made up of a somewhat cloudy day, adds to the overall dark and looming feeling of the photo. It is an incredibly powerful photograph, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s choice to place it alone on a stand (it’s the only photograph in the exhibit to be arranged like this) makes it stand out and mystify the public even further.

  42. Frank Ieradi says:

    While I have seen The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring many times, my roommate had never seen it and I decided it would be the perfect movie to review. After all, the movie was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and won 4 of them. One of the initial thoughts I had dealt with the intro. The opening scene helps to set an overall dark tone towards the series. While the next couple of scenes have a light and happy mood to them, the rest of the movie is generally dark.
    The composer, Howard Shore, did an excellent job with matching the soundtrack. While overall many of the sounds and songs were similar, he did an excellent job of changing the speed and key of the music for darker or lighter scenes. For example, the scenes involving hobbits living in the Shire have light hearted and happy music while a battle scene or a scene when the fellowship is running has upbeat, fast paced music with darker tones. An interesting aspect of this movie is the forced perspective used to make hobbits appear shorter than they actually are. This video technique helps to maintain the images of the character as hobbits of middle earth rather than humans of modern earth.
    Another aspect of the film I enjoyed was the casting. When doing a little research, I learned that Viggo Mortensen, who played Aragorn, was placed in the role only a day before shooting occurred. This was because the director, Peter Jackson, did not like the casting of Stuart Townsend because he looked to young. I felt this change of casting helped to improve the quality of the film a lot because it makes Aragorn look like an older, rougher “Strider” as he is referred to by the hobbits. I also felt Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf the Grey, was another well casted role. He filled out the role of a wise old man really well and contributed greatly to the overall quality of the film. I am excited to watch the next movie with my roommates and review it as well.

  43. Carrington Thompson says:

    For this critique, I would like to talk about the senior thesis exhibition titled Horiaos by Hope Welch. This was a really intriguing gallery for me to go to, because I did not realize that I knew the artist until I went and saw her show. I know her as Hope Trifiletti, and we actually grew up two doors down from each other. Another neat thing for me about this show was that I knew some of the girls that were in her photographs, because I grew up with them as well! As a whole, I thought that the show was very cohesive. As I was walking through the gallery, I felt that there was a smooth transition between the photos. There was nothing that seemed odd or out of place. There were many beautiful photos that I could elaborate on, but I will just mention a few.
    First, there was a picture titled “Phoebe” that was my favorite. The photo looked like it was two photos that were overlaid. The bottom part of the photo was a girl looking up with dark trees in the background with a sky that looks like the sun is setting. As you move to the middle and upper part of the photo, the same girl is captured again, but this time she is looking down. There are trees behind her still, but the sky is bright with daylight. There is great color contrast in this photo, and I feel like there is a lot of narration in it as well. Also, there were two portraits of a girl named “Artemis.” One was at the very front of the show, and the other was at the very back and paired with two other portraits. I thought that the colors in the portrait of the back of the show had a lot of depth to them, which was very appealing to me. The one at the front of the show I felt used the space of the frame well with the green grass bordering the girl in white. There was only picture in the entire show that did not really sit well with my eyes, and it was a picture titled “clotho, lachesis, atropos.” There were three girls in this picture, all of which I knew from growing up with them. There looked to be an evening sky with the moon in the center and trees in the background. The pictures of the three girls seemed to be overlaid with other pictures of themselves. For my eye, it was just very confusing because I was not quite sure what I was supposed to be focusing on. The colors within the picture, however, were very appealing with contrasts.
    In the end, this was a beautiful show and I really enjoyed spending time looking through it.

  44. Patrick Bik says:

    Critique 1

    Christian Fletcher

    Christian Fletcher’s “Windmill” is a photograph of a large stone windmill standing in a field of wheat. “Windmill” exhibits a dark, ominous tone because this image was taken during a storm. This scenic landscape image contains good depth as well as a plethora of colors. Fletcher’s image captures the windmill from distance, hundreds of yards from the base of the stone tower. Several trees stand near the windmill and a mountain range can be seen in the distance. These trees allow the observer to compare the size of the windmill to its surrounding structures. The mountains in the background provide depth, allowing viewers to understand the position of the stone tower in this landscape photograph. The windmill occupies the left side of the image and stands on an angle, with its rotor hub facing to the right. Fletcher’s piece is relatively symmetrical. The image is captured with the vertical wind blades positioned in line with the windmill, parallel to the vertical sides of the image. Thus, the blades display the letter t rather the letter x. The wheat field, which surrounds the windmill, exhibits a golden yellow color. The storm clouds in the image exhibit shades of black, grey, and white, as the beige colored stone windmill pierces the sky with one of its large wind blades. The powerful contrast in the colors between the dark clouds and the golden wheat field appear to be fighting each other for the space in the image. I view this as the ongoing battle of good versus evil. The depth, shadows, and contrasting colors in “Windmill” create a captivating image that displays the raw beauty of nature.

  45. TJ Morgan says:

    For my critique I choose the photo “Knife with facets 1” by Glen Gyssler. This photo depicts a kitchen knife standing on top of white abstract blocks. There is a small black bug on the knife. On the faces of these blocks show the inside of fruit. They show the inside of an apple, a watermelon, and a kiwi. They look as though the knife sliced through them, cutting them into pieces. The blocks are abstract and have many different lines that make up abstract four sided shapes. The abstract blocks are white with different shading showing the light shining from a top down angle. I think the photo would be considered a still life because the objects look like they have a specific orientation that the photographer wished to achieve. They look random, yet precisely placed so that the knife is propped against three of the blocks and on top of the kiwi block. In terms of the context of the work, with the inside of the fruit on the face of some of the blocks, I believe the work means that even though people might appear one way on the outside, might be different on the inside. Almost like a “don’t judge a book by its cover” type of message. The artist does a good job of relating the knife to the blocks with the incorporation of the fruit. Without the fruit on the facets of the blocks, the picture might not make sense or might be confusing to some. Overall, it displayed a great example of a still life, incorporating shadow and other artistic elements.

  46. Hannah says:

    One of the newest television shows on the abc Network is “How to Get Away with Murder.” The show follows two of writer’s, Shonda Rhimes, other hit television series, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal.” There were high, and I mean extremely high, expectations for “How to Get Away with Murder.” I have always been a fan of Shonda Rhimes, and may be a Grey’s phanatic myself, so I expected her new show to be nothing less than sensational. When Thursday, September 25th finally rolled around, I was not disappointed to say the least. The show was everything that you would expect, and not expect at the same time. An Academy-Award nominee, Viola Davis, plays the unpredictable Professor Annalise Keating and she could not have been better suited for the role. Davis executes the fierceness of Professor Keating with ease, and even makes me question the sanity of some of my own professors. While the opening scene is too dramatic (college is not really like Project X) the rest of the Pilot was everything any Shonda Rhimes fan could hope for and more. A murder is committed, the personalities of loveable characters begin to develop and the ending leaves you wanting more, a lot more. For those of you who don’t want drama upon drama, I do not recommend this show. But for the rest of us, this could be your next guilty pleasure.

  47. This work by Mel Chin is a 2-dimensional artwork engraved unto what resembles natural colored maple wood in vertical format. Carved into the wood is a primitive human tending to a bonfire which is depicted burning a tree trunk. The tree trunk is formed with a white textured material mimicking a tree bark and sits at the center of the artwork. The primitive human burning a tree, the earthiness of the browns and the emphasis placed on the tree trunk with its white color against the browns lead me to suggest that Mel Chin’s symbolism is the planet earth and how we as humans are destroying it. He deviates from the typical brown color of a tree trunk and uses white instead which I think highlights its importance. The art work is stressing that something of significance—nature perhaps— is being burned/destroyed. The primitive human may symbolize how long nature has been battered by humans. The piece is framed in simple wood that is light at the top half and a dark color at the bottom half perhaps referring to the actions of humans as an atrocity towards nature which is brings forth life. I think this artwork is a success. Chin’s craftsmanship with colors and texture makes his symbolism more pronounced. If his goal was to convey his message effectively, he did so remarkably.

  48. Crystal Holt says:

    “Lab Reflections” by Pallavi Chary makes effective use of space, lighting, and texture to create a truly striking image. In this still life taken in October of 2014, Chary photographs seemingly unattractive and fairly common materials and transforms them into a beautiful work of art. This focus of this piece is on laboratory glassware, arranged haphazardly on a plastic covered tabletop. The smooth curves and elegance of the glass flasks balances nicely with the textured foil in the background. With the focus on the foremost flask, background images become blurred to bring the viewer’s attention to the main element of the photograph. An image such as this is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also tells a story; the haziness of the background does not detract from the picture as a whole, which is clearly of a laboratory setting. One of the most arresting aspects of this piece is the way in which the light reflects off of the glassware, highlighting their every curve. Appropriately named, this photograph mirrors the nature of its subject; the way in which the glass reflects light to change it into something else correlates with a scientist reflecting on knowledge to use in practical ways. Chary’s “Reflections” utilizes a black-and-white color scheme, in addition to light, to transform this mundane and ordinary scene into a thought-provoking snapshot of the goings-on of this scientific laboratory. Use of black-and-white serves to bring these elements out of their commonplace existence and into everlasting beauty. Overall, Chary’s “Lab Reflections” is an excellent example of a realistic still-life, yielding a remarkably pleasing image.

  49. Pallavi Chary says:

    For this critique, I chose a still life taken by Crystal Holt titled Tilted Text. This photo was pleasing to the eye and I believe it has to do with the way the picture was taken. The first thing I noticed about this picture was the angle at which it was taken. The books in the back are of the older times (ex. Edgar Allen Poe and Jane Austen) and lined up neatly on the shelf and the open book is also in line with the books. The Harry Potter books on the side are the only items tilted in the picture. The angle of the picture is not straight and the Harry Potter books complement the angle of this photo.
    In addition, the colors are sharp (pale desk, dark rich colors for the ‘old’ books and bright coloring of the Harry Potter books). The filter used for this picture helps sharpen the colors even more, working well. For someone who likes order in a picture (straight angles for photos and symmetry), this picture appealed to me because the desk portrays someone who is orderly and studious, whereas the picture’s tilted angle adds some lightness to the serious setting. The book arrangements form perfect triangles and squares. The picture is attached as portrait, I don’t think landscape would work for this picture because when read left to right in portrait, the picture progresses from orderly (organized books) to kind of chaotic (the Harry Potter books tilted at an angle). This effect does not exist in landscape.
    The central item (open book) is kind of blended in with the desk, but the shadow and partial outline of the book makes it noticeable. This picture was not staged, it is just a picture of someone’s desk; however, the angle makes it seem ‘staged.’ The books in the picture give it a dated look, as all the books are from different time periods.
    The conflicting themes in this picture balance each other out and result in a picture that’s soothing to the eye (but would be hard to hang up on a wall for someone with OCD!).

  50. Robert Walko says:

    The Guardians of the Galaxy is a Science Fiction movie that received much critical and social acclaim upon its release. For me, one of the best aspects of this film was the character development. The movie begins with 5 separate, very different individuals and the movie chronicles their growth into friendship in a way that is very gradual and therefore very believable. Another part of this film that was crucial to its success was the lead actor Chris Pratt. There are many actors/actresses out there who, while the diversity of their roles isn’t very high, their ability to act as themselves in a very relatable and likable way is astounding. Chris Pratt is one of those actors. Because of his goofy, honest and lovable demeanor it was impossible not to feel for his character from the very first scene he was in. It can certainly be said that without Chris Pratt in the role of Star Lord, it would have been a completely different movie with a mood very unlike the one that was made. A final thought on the movie is the success with which they interwove a serious storyline and humorous character interactions. How can you make a movie about a genocidal maniac trying to destroy an entire planet and make it funny? By taking a group made up of Chris Pratt, a talking raccoon, a giant tree-man, a blue homicidal maniac and a green girl out for revenge and putting them in a small spaceship together, that’s how.

  51. Ryan Boonstra says:

    For my critique I’ll be discussing my opinion of the most recent Transformers movie. As a fan of the cartoons I was interested to see if they would follow the plot of the original series. The third movie ended with the death of Megatron, a pivotal moment in the Transformers timeline, and I was very pleased to see that the fourth movie introduced Galvatron. Galvatron is the reincarnation of Megatron and will allow the series to keep moving forward. Another aspect I was very pleased with was the representation of the dinobots. Seeing them in the preview worried me that their seriousness would not be represented well, however their character development showed the audience how powerful they were. In fact they ended up being one of my favorite aspects, besides Galvatron. There were a few negatives within the movie that I feel should have been done differently. Mainly it was the new style that the Transformers bodies took on. In the first movie they were entirely machine like, they had rough edges, and every aspect of them was car parts, which was exactly how they were represented in the cartoons. Unfortunately throughout the movies they slowly have gained human like characteristics which I am not fond of. In the fourth movie, Age of Extinction, some of the Transformers have what appear to be clothes! They are still made of metal but all their rough edges have been smoothed out and they have more prominent facial features. For me this takes away from the excitement of seeing the old cartoons digitally animated. There was also quite a few “cheesy” jokes that could have been done without but that’s to be expected. Overall the plot was on point and I really like that they are trying their best to introduce major plot points from the original series. All they need to do now is bring back the way the Transformers originally looked and I’ll be very excited to see another movie.

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