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).



36 Responses to Special Problems in Photography: Honors Studio

  1. Katherine Andrews says:

    1. Francesca Danieli
    Untitled [eye end-table] 2005

    The medium of this print is archival pigment print.

    The moment I saw this piece in the Rowan Gallery, it drew me in. The piece was displayed on the front wall of the gallery in a thin, white frame, mounted on white as well. In relation to what this end table would look like in person, it was miniature. The print was glossy with warm, vibrant tones, mostly made up of various shades of brown. It was centered in the frame as well as compositionally.

    The reason I was drawn into this piece is because of the concept behind it. This surreal image has an elegant end table with an eye superimposed in the top portion. Because of the colors of the image, the viewer might not see the eye at first, but when you realize what you are looking at, and that the image is almost looking back at you, it is very captivating. This image was also interesting because not often do you think about how you look at end tables all the time in everyday life, but they never look back at you. When you imagine a world where this image could actually exist, it is actually quite frightening. I think that the artist was trying to convey a message of connecting human characteristics and intimate objects, seeing as the piece next to it was a “blistered couch.” These two images together especially leave a lasting impression because to think about everyday objects with human characteristics is just creepy. I am glad that everyday objects do not have these qualities!

    2. Catherine Jansen
    Brahmin Family, Saranath, India

    The medium of this print is archival pigment print.

    What caught my interest in this piece was actually the plaque next to the piece and the explanation of the artist. At first, I was not that interested in this piece because it just seemed like a documentary of life for this family. However, through the plaque and the artist’s words, I realized her intent. Her purpose was to create a more complete image from photographs rather than the fixed focus of a single photo. She wanted to show this family from many different viewpoints in order to convey a different perspective than the often singular one that a conventional photograph can show.

    Because of this, the image is quite wider than it is long. It has a single man on one side, and a group of people on the other. These people seem to be in the mountains with a lot of fog. In relation to human scale, the people are much smaller than they would be in real life. The piece is framed in white and mounted on white as well. The paper is glossy and the image is printed in color. The tones of the photograph are dull, except for some vibrant reds and pinks. This image seems to express the life of these people in their environment and also the importance of the male figure on the left. His pose is inviting which is initially what invited me into the image itself. He is the focal point, and his expression is that of intrigue. This is interesting because he is looking at the viewer of this image in the same way that the viewer is most likely looking back at him. In the context of the present day, this image also connects to globalization in that the artist exposes the viewer to this other world. Because of this, the inquisitive look on the mans face and the inquisitive look that the viewer most likely has on his or her face mirror this theme of globalization. Both the man in the image and the viewer are living in the same world, and it is here that they are able to meet.

    3. Frank Rodick
    Portrait, Frances Rodick series

    The medium of these images are archival pigment prints.

    The size of these images is what initially drew me in. They took up the entire back wall of the Rowan Gallery (three images across). In relation to human size, the head of the woman, who is actually the artist’s mother, was extremely large. These three images were all framed in black and not mounted on anything. They were all taken as real photographs and then the artist put text on the images as well as various seemingly defacing effects. Compositionally, the head and shoulders of this woman are in the middle of the frame, and there is text on all three of the bottom portions of the pieces.

    After hearing the artist speak about these images, it became apparent that his intent was to show the life of his mother and her struggles. Apparently she suffered with mental illness and disease and her and her son had a very interesting relationship. The artist said that often times people will ask him if he thinks he defiled his mother’s image and face, to which he replies no. I would have to agree with the artist. Even though her face is distorted and marked up, I think that the artist was successful in portraying the life that she had, as he described it. Through each image, you can really see the pain and intensity of the illness that she suffered from, and what this might look like if she wore this illness on the outside as opposed to the inside. This image shows me that the artist not only accepted his mother’s illness, but embraced and understood it. He is honoring his mother through these photos and giving a concrete image of her strife and struggle as she went through life.

    4. Lawrence Weiner
    A wall pitted by a single air rifle shot

    The medium of this piece is language posted on a wall.

    The size of this image was an entire wall, however, the title was extremely misleading. There did not appear to be a hole in this wall (I searched for it for awhile). The entire wall was matt and made up of only black and white (the words were black and the wall was white). Even though this does not initially sound very interesting, it in fact was because of the ideas and intent of this piece.

    I do not feel as though I fully understand this piece even to this day, but somehow it was extremely memorable. It seemed to express something about the power of words in comparison to reality. The wall was clearly labeled to have a hole in it, yet there was no hole to the visible eye. I think that this speaks to the current age that we live in where people will believe anything as long as it is in print (even though this piece was created in 1969). This wall then becomes a statement besides the statement that is printed across it. This wall is a statement about society and the nature of perhaps the age of media, where news and stories are printed and we are bombarded with them everyday. Perhaps many people would just assume there was a hole in this wall, instead of trying to look for one as I did. Or perhaps the wall forces you to look for a hole and break the cycle of everyday life where you might just believe everything you read.

  2. Jenna Freund says:

    Critique #4
    “Untitled” by Annette Kelm (PHOTOGRAPH)
    Annette Kelm’ s “Untitled” is a still life consisting of tulips and horseshoe magnets arranged over a black and white pinstriped background. It struck me as interesting and appealing aesthetically when I saw it hanging in the MOMA. The objects within the frame looked three dimensional in contrast to the highly patterned and organized backdrop. The color scheme was simple yet forceful in the use of black and white and two complimentary colors, red and green. The horseshoe magnets add depth the photograph, as their arching shadows are procured by artful lighting. The size of the photograph also captured my attention, as it was large and attention-seeking. I enjoyed looking at this simple photograph that was so meticulously arranged and shot that it looked like it was jumping out of the frame.

  3. Michael Bacani says:

    1) Pentatonix is an acapella singing group. The won NBC’s the Sing Off two years ago, and since then had a very successful Youtube and touring career. Consisting of only five people, they have a very full sound that makes it seem as if there were almost 10-15 people’s voices. But what is more amazing is that it does not even seem like there are voices but just a track of instruments. Pentatonix raises the acapella bar by using intricate bass and beatboxing to give the group a futuristic sound, while the remaining three voices do lead and harmony.
    Their use of just voices only gives them a unique style, which cannot be replicated. The beatboxing for all of the songs is on point. He uses great articulation and rhythm to add that fuller sound for the group to utilize. Pentatonix covers a variety of songs ranging from Beyonce, to Imagine Dragons, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis to Daft Punk. While listening to their covers you forget theat there are only five voices to create this amazing wall of sound.

    2) Sword Art Online (SAO) is a brand-new anime that came out last year. It uses brilliant visuals and has a great flowing storyline for anybody to get into. It follows the story of millions of gamers trapped in a video game, forced to be there one person can beat it. However if you die in the game you die in real life. The game they portray flows a similar style to may MMORPGs (Mass Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games). It is great for gamers and anime lovers alike because it incorporates all of the aspects that they can relate to. SAO use of character development in only 24 episodes is perfect. It allows us as viewers to relate to the anime more, and appreciate the struggle and success of the main characters. This is not my favorite anime, but it’s great for beginners. I really appreciate the way set up this anime. The art is visually appealing and vibrant. Even when in boss stages where the game is very gloomy, the visuals used allow for more interesting fights. If you pause at any point in the series it is a great artistic still.

    3) Batman Arkham series is one of the best video game series out on the PlayStation and Xbox right now. It tells the story of Bruce Wayne who is of course Batman. It spans 3 different games, Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, and Arkham Origins. I have personally played the first two and can’t wait to play the last one over break. As you progress the story gets more complicated and interested and by the end you will be wondering why you could not solve what happened before Batman could. The game utilizes very highly advanced as well as simple techniques for you to play the game. The game play is very easy to learn and the better you get the more advanced techniques can be accessible to you.
    The sound is very suspenseful, and the visuals of the game are brilliant. This just adds to the experience of the game as a whole. The art gives off this dark gritty nature which helps further the story so well. The visuals and the villains help make this an enjoyable game experience that is unforgettable. All of the games are free roaming interactive maps that have become a big hit recently. There are plenty of extras and easter eggs that drives the replay value for this game way up. The utilization of all the different areas accessible forces you to think like the Batman and creatively save the city. The developer’s use of gadgets and combos allows for us to truly dive into the world of Batman. While you are playing it feels more realistic than surreal based on the game play. It is a highly awarded series and I can’t wait to start the next one.

    4) Fire Emblem: Awakening for the 3DS is the highest ranked for the Nintendo 3DS. It is evident on playing it that it has great visuals for both the 2D and 3D scenes. It has great game play like it’s predecessor’s. Similar to the other games it is a RPG (Role Playing Game) where you are able to customize characters and use them in battle on via a turn-by-turn game basis. It has kept the traditional Fire Emblem style of main characters and their search for freedom and peace across the continent. It has the same customization and leveling up system that Fire Emblem is best known for. However what sets this game a part from the rest is three major things: the beautiful graphics, the creation of your own avatar and the brand new offspring system.
    By being on the 3DS, Fire Emblem uses the 3D better than any other games I have seen. It allows for a real look into a fictional story and gives off great animation and visuals that do not hurt the eyes as much as other games do. The visual appeal for this game is much better than it’s original 2D pixilated predecessors. The use of the avatar makes you truly connect to the game and allows you to make them what ever type of class you want as the creator. It allows for much more personalized customization, that was already spectacular from the previous games. Last but not least the major difference is the off spring system. By allowing two characters to marry you can tap into a very complicated piece of code. Because of the time hole in the game’s story, you are allowed to bring the children on married couples from the future into the present. However the statistics of the children surpass their parents because the system generates the statistics from the offspring’s parent’s stats put together making them twice as strong as their parents. This allows again for a great chance for customization and the endless possibility of changing the game play up.
    I personally say should receive an 11/10, for one of the best strategy games available. The game is visually dynamic and has one of the best story plots for the series. It gives us endless opportunity to customize the characters and gives the game a great system for a very high replay value. It also contains free DLC (downloadable content) that just puts the extra cherry on the top of what is already a great game.

  4. Christopher Castro says:

    I decided to explore and critique the 1998 cult favorite, The Big Lebowski. Described by many college students to be a cultural and philosophical masterpiece, the film has gained so much underground support that a sort of pseudo-Zen way of life has formed around the main character, The Dude, slacker, lackadaisical way of life. If one were to go into the film expecting a concise film, or even a film with satisfying closure, then one may find themselves sorely disappointed. But if you allow yourself to give in, even temporarily, to the Dude’s way of thinking, his relaxed, live and let live way of thinking, then one may find a deeper piece in this film. This film for me reflects life. It’s a spontaneous roller-coaster of events that we have very little control over, flashes of ridiculousness connected with idiosyncratic friends and conversations with no real significance or purpose. We view a series of events from the perspective of one person in a way that is very realistic, in that we don’t actually get to see the end result of our decisions or our actions. But inevitably, in some selfish way, that doesn’t matter, as it doesn’t affect us. To that end, this is definitely a film that should spark conversation, conversation as pointless and roundabout as the ones in the film. Definitely one worth watching.

  5. Jenna Freund says:

    Critique #3
    “Synecdoche, New York” directed by Charlie Kaufman (MOVIE)
    When people ask me what my favorite movie is, I promptly respond Synecdoche, New York. When they ask me what it is about I have a little bit more trouble in answering. At first I tell them it’s about a playwright. But then a cascade of other words normally follows. It’s about life, death, infinity, a fire, actors, you, me, a cleaning lady, sadness, humanity, everything. They usually look a little confused to say the least.
    The first half of Synecdoche follows Caden, a hypochondriac playwright obsessed with death in a dying relationship with his wife, a well-respected artist. This part of the movie is slow, agonizing and hard to watch as Caden’s life seems to deteriorate without him realizing anything other than that he might be sick. Once Caden’s wife leaves him for Germany and he wins a MacArthur grant, the movie takes a turn for the surreal. Caden scrambles to find meaning somewhere in his life as he creates his largest work, a play in which every character has his or her own story, and everyone becomes a character.
    The existential approach this film takes is apparent in its sharply focused and structured imagery. Kaufman leads the viewer to focus centrally on Caden in most of the scenes in the beginning of the film, but slowly backs away as the story progresses, capturing minor characters’ lives as well as Caden’s own. The imagery lends itself to the mood; bright colors are scarcely used to create a dim and dull atmosphere.
    Synecdoche’s plot becomes increasingly complex as Caden develops his final work, and possibly finds the meaning of life in what he has created. The last 20 minutes of Synecdoche are my favorite. No matter how many times I watch it, I will always tear up at the end. I feel that Synecdoche, New York should be as well known, if not more so than Kaufman’s other works, which include Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Being John Malkovich.

  6. Jenna Freund says:

    Critique #2
    “Vulture Stalking a Child” by Kevin Carter (PHOTOGRAPH)
    In 1993, photojournalist Kevin Carter happened upon a horrible scene in Sudan. A starving young Sudanese child lay motionless in the path of a hungry vulture, looming over her and looking for its next meal. Carter, an experienced photographer waited for the vulture to spread its wings, and although it never happened, he took the shot anyway. Soon after the picture was taken, the young girl walked weakly away from the vulture unscathed from the incident, but obviously still malnourished and dying. This photo has become a significant historical metaphor for impoverished Africa. The looming bird represents the awaiting death of a helpless and clearly struggling child. Carter came under heavy criticism for his lack of aid to the poor young child. Photojournalism’s cold stare came under fire as a result of this picture. Are journalists responsible for helping the cause they are documenting, or is the documentation of the cause help in itself? Carter, bombarded by hateful words about his soullessness and lack of aid to this young child, became very guilty and eventually killed himself after his photo won the Pulitzer prize.

  7. Jenna Freund says:

    Critique #1
    “Incomplete Truth” by Damien Hirst (SCULPTURE)
    Damien Hirst is a prolific artist whose sculptural pieces address the subjects of life and death. As the world’s richest living artist, Hirst has an unlimited amount of money at his disposal. This means his works are almost always extravagant. Hirst has a way of turning the beautiful into the grotesque. His sculpture “Incomplete Truth” is a dove with outstretched wings suspended in formaldehyde at the height of the average viewer. The dove, a common symbol of peace and freedom, is locked away in its blue grave for all to see, seemingly about to take flight but dead and lifeless in actuality. It mocks the idea of freedom by capturing a lifelike quality in something dead, killed for the sake of its own metaphor. I enjoy this piece because it mocks itself, the viewer, life in general and the very idea of art.
    Hirst constructs very few of his more recent pieces, instead hiring workers to create his art. Hirst’s work is mostly satirical; ironically as the richest living artist he believes that money is an evil construct. He believes in the functionality of objects determining their worth. Having sold splatter paintings for millions of dollars, Hirst takes advantage of a system he despises. A piece of work himself, Damien Hirst is a walking contradiction whose work evokes the duality of morals in our capitalist society.

  8. Izaz Kazmi says:

    “Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening” By Salvador Dali

    This is an extremely intriguing surrealist painting by Salvador Dali. The medium of the painting, which was completed in 1944, is oil on canvas. It depicts in the background a seascape of a distant blue-yellow horizon and a calm body of water. In the foreground is Dali’s wife Gala, sprawled naked and floating on a large rock moments away from poked by a bayonet. The bayonet is being followed by a tiger, which is being chased by another tiger. The tiger is exploding out from an orange fish, which is emerging from an initial pomegranate. The painting makes sense to very few individuals because of its extremely surrealist genre. It captures his wife, Gala, in the midst of her dream. I think by using his wife’s dreams, Salvador Dalí is trying to show how dreams relate to surrealism. Essentially, he is alluding to the fact that surrealism is basically a dream. They both are extremely creative and show life a way that no one can imagine. Personally, I like the idea Salvador Dalí had. Surrealism is a way for an individual to live a life that is impossible for that individual to have, just as dreams are. Using a dream as the basis for a painting allows the artist to explain the dream as well. In the case of “Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening”, the artist could mean many things. For one, it is possible Dalí is referring not being able to completely escape life, even while being a sleep. The tigers and bayonet, among other things, could potentially represent how loud and overpowering objects or thoughts never leave an individuals mind, even during sleep. Because of these reason, Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee is my favorite painting I’ve ever seen.

  9. Izaz Kazmi says:

    “The Creation of Adam” by Michelangelo
    The Creation of Adam is a beautiful painting by Michelangelo that is featured on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, Italy. The painting depicts a biblical story from the Book of Genesis that describes the creation of the first man, Adam. It shows God, toward the right of the painting, reaching to touch the hand of another man at the bottom left of the painting. This man is the first man, Adam. Adam is sprawled across a piece of land, which many thought is Earth, while God is ascended in the air above him. By illustrating Adam and God’s fingers almost touching, it is as if Adam is being released from his hands, or being born. In addition to this representation, there is another interpretation of God and Adam’s fingers. It is believed that God’s final step in creation is giving the body life. In the painting, Michelangelo captures the moment after Adam is created, but right before life is given to him. Once their fingers completely touch, Adam is fully born and given a life. Behind God in his arms are many individuals. Some believe one is Eve, while others believe they are Virgin Mary and Jesus. Whoever they are, they represent the people who are yet to be released or born into the world. Through Michelangelo’s painting it is shown they will be released the same way as Adam. Michelangelo has painted Adam unclothed to represent how humans enter this world with absolutely nothing.

  10. Izaz Kazmi says:

    “New Slaves” by Kanye West
    Although many individuals believe Kanye West’s songs are nothing but rap, they do have an underlining meaning. To give some context to this song, New Slaves was created at a time when Kanye West was frustrated with his treatment inside the fashion industry. New Slaves is a song by Kanye West that describes the way people in this society act. He uses politics and current events to convince people of his argument. In Kanye’s argument, people have been and will continue to be slaves. The only difference from slavery in the old days as compared to now is who and what people are slaves to. Back then, people were slaves to their human masters, where as now corporations and materialism, control people. He uses phrases to depict how corporations are luring people into buying more of their product, essentially enslaving an individual. One of these lines includes: “…that’s that ‘come here, please buy more’ ‘what you want, a Bentley? Fur coat? A diamond chain, all you blacks want all the same thing?” Kanye also mentions how people were facing and continue to face racism. By incorporating the lines mentioning his mother’s life prior to lines about his own life, Kanye is able to show how he is going through the same things she went through. Kanye also mentions “I know that we the new slaves” numerous times throughout the song to emphasize the purpose of the song as well as his understanding of society. Apart from the message of the song, sonically the song is also magnificent. From the deep bass to the grandiose samples to the warm outro you can tell Kanye West is a musical genius under his narcissistic and sometimes repulsive personality.

  11. Izaz Kazmi says:

    “The Afghan Girl” by Steve McCurry
    The Afghan Girl by Steve McCurry is a famous photograph taken in 1985. The photograph captures the many emotions of a young girl in Afghanistan. The first aspect of the photograph that draws in the audience is girl’s eyes. Her eyes powerfully express her emotions. Among these emotions, it is obvious the young girl expresses fear, strength as well as courage. In addition to the young girl’s eyes, the color scheme of the photo draws in the audience as well. The bright background and clothing make the girl appear happier than she is in reality. The green background with the red burka gives a contrast to the girl’s eyes, making them stand out more than they already do. Although there are no words describing her story, it can be told simply though her appearance. Her eyes can tell a story without a single word being spoken. They show her hardships of being an afghan girl living in a torn country. Her hardships surely surpass those of the average individual, although she is only a young girl. Her rugged and rough appearance also explains how much she has gone through. Although her eyes show her hard life, she is also able to express the strength and courage she has through them. She is able to show not only how much she has endure, but also how much she can endure in the future, because this life is hers forever. Although the picture focuses on the rough aspects of the girl’s life, a sense of youth can still be found in her face. Her face is still the face of a young girl, showing things really never change. This photograph is a true depiction of the common phrase ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’.

  12. Critique #4

    Artist: Jeff Wall
    Piece: “Insomnia” http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.americansuburbx.com%2F2011%2F01%2Ftheory-interview-with-jeff-wall-hole.html&h=0&w=0&sz=1&tbnid=z5-Dpl6keuJpfM&tbnh=204&tbnw=248&zoom=1&docid=_MFSuD-g43FzqM&ei=xZqwUtOuEcm1kQeakIDIBQ&ved=0CAIQsCUoAA

    Insomnia is a rather dark photograph taken by Jeff Wall in 1994. In the picture, a man lays on the floor, disheveled, underneath his kitchen table in his small dirty kitchen. This photograph is taken in color. The viewer sees an open cabinet, an open pantry door, a pot on the stove, and dishes on the counter. The fluorescent head reflected in the window acts as the one key light, casting dark, harsh shadows. Wall composed the picture well, and the viewer is very aware that this photograph was consciously planned and executed.

    My only criticism of this painting is that Wall does not provide the viewer with a direct point of entry. I find that my eye wanders around the page, instead of immediately focusing on the man on the floor—who I assume is the intended subject of the painting. Also, the table is centered in the page, and draw the most attention because it is the most dominant element of the portrait. However, I love the man’s face. This picture tells a story to me about a man who hates his insomnia. His anguish makes me so so sad, and I can imagine him curling up under the table and just wishing to die rather than not be able to sleep.

  13. laurennberman says:

    Critique #3

    Artist: Elliot Erwitt
    Piece: Ireland. 1968. http://www.notempire.com/images/uploads/ballycotton1968hair.jpg

    Elliot Erwitt was a well-known photographer, particularly for his “observation” photography. He was well known for his witty, sarcastic, and bold photographs of things that he happened to see while walking through life. His most famous photographs are of things that were misleading to the viewer, or social commentary on life. This particular photograph is a portrait of a woman holding a longhaired dog in her arms. However, at first glance the dog’s head looks like her head. So it seems as if a dog-person is posing stylishly for the photograph, mimicing Marilyn Monroe photographs I’ve seen before. The photo was printed in black and white, and is portrait style as apposed to landscape. He does not follow the rule of thirds, yet the picture still feels well composed with the dog head in the middle of the print. Because this image is online I do not know how it was framed.

    Elliot Erwitt is definitely one of my favorite photographers. I am so happy that this class introduced me to him. I chose to critique this photograph because it is just TOO funny. At first glance it truly looks as if the dog is the person’s head, and while looking at the photograph that way, it is even funnier because it looks like the dog is seductively posing for the camera. It is only after further inspection (or perhaps just a second glance) that the viewer becomes aware that this picture is not of a person with a dog head for a head, but rather a woman holding a dog. You can see the top of the dogs head, a little of the woman’s forehead And immediately you have to laugh at Erwitt’s photoshoot. However, it is entertaining on a deeper level. Here Erwitt makes the viewer aware of the photographer’s “perspective” and how a photographer has the power to alter reality and the power to mold the viewer to see exactly what they want the viewer to see.

  14. Belem Bernal says:

    Critique 1 – X-Ray (1991) by Isa Genzken portrays various self-portraits of the artist in a very different way. She was able to do this by creating x-rays of herself drinking wine, smoking, and doing other funny activities. The photographs are just everyday black and white x-rays but with a twist. This is such a creative way to do self-portraits instead of the usual photograph of someone. When we think of x-rays we think of the facilities of where they were done. We usually think of hospitals and how strict and orderly they are. Sometimes we are even afraid of them because we only go to them when there’s something wrong. But this image has allowed us to make such a scary concept something to laugh about. We do this by seeing that there is nothing wrong with the person in the x-rays because we see how much fun they’re having. We actually know that Isa was living a life of destruction. This takes a different look at why she did those x-ray images. She was not taking herself seriously. She is portraying what her life is really like, full of intoxication. Knowing this, it makes the viewer feel bad for her but at the same time we know she is not taking herself and her destruction seriously. It seems like she is using her art as a coping mechanism making others think that they have no reason to feel bad for her because as her art shows, it is not that serious.

    Critique 2 – La Durée poignardée created in 1938 is an oil canvas painting by surrealist Rene Magritte. The painting is of a train at full steam coming out of a fireplace. There is a clock, mirror, and candlestick on top of the fireplace and other than that, the room is empty. It seems like the mirror is allowing us to confirm the room is empty because it reflects the room. The locomotive clearly doesn’t belong in the picture but it is interesting that it is paired with something so familiar and home-like such as a fireplace. It seems disturbing because it kind of seems like it is trying to destroy what makes one feel comfortable by cutting through the fireplace. The actual translation of the painting is “Ongoing Time Stabbed by a Dagger.” The x-ray version of the painting actually shows a dagger stabbing through the fireplace. The train is going right through the fireplace like it is stabbing it. The train was a good choice to use because trains usually go extremely fast and can quickly hurt whatever gets in their way. I believe that was exactly the intention the artist had in picking the train as the unfamiliar image. In addition the clock was used to portray time and the candlestick was there to add to the home-like and familiarity effect. The painting contains darker colors and the fireplace is seen to be undecorated. In my opinion the fact that it is undecorated and without furniture adds to the effect that something went wrong in what is supposed to be a comfortable loving place.

    Critique 3 – Lisa Oppenheim created the image Man holding large camera photographing a cataclysmic event, possibly a volcano erupting. It is actually composed of various photographs taking from an Internet site of bombing attacks and war. She then takes segments of these and exposes photographic paper through the negatives using firelight and develops them with a solarized effect. What I love about these images is the message I see in them. To me, it shows the destruction and violence of war and bombing attacks without actually talking and showing the bloodshed it can bring. The photographs bring me back to the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and of the people that died or had detrimental effects on their health. I think people try to make war acceptable by making excuses but the pictures show that regardless, destruction is done and sometimes to innocent people. She talks about the attacks hurting suburban areas. The pictures show a clear representation of the world and it represents war with black and white colors probably meaning that destruction is never beneficial to anyone. In addition the photographs show no beauty or color maybe intended to just show the effects of destruction. There is no beauty nor should there be. These pictures were from the Second World War but it relates to our society today because I think everyone can agree that war is something that will never end and that is still occurring today. The solarization effect reversed the lights and darks, which increased the dark colors in the photograph. The photographs just show smoke but the titles of the 5 images are very long showing that though these were images of different war times, the destruction is the same.

    Critique 4 – Josephine Pryde’s series It’s Not My Body, is a series I absolutely love! At first when we look at the photographs we see very cute, very sweet looking guinea pigs. But the point of the series is not just to see cute pets, in reality it is her way of portraying history. It is a way of showing the slave trade because guinea pigs originated in South America, and in the 1600’s were shipped to Europe aboard slave trading vessels between Guinea and South America where the animals got their name. The artist used props such as string and ribbon to instill personality in the animals. She manipulated the animals through close-ups and shifts in focus. In addition another image recreated the human embryo in a way to protest the woman’s right to choose. It just amazes how she was able to create this image! She did it by taking MRI scans of a human embryo against desert landscapes and tinted filters. It just seems genius to me and it makes me appreciate art that much more. What makes it even better is that the way she created isn’t the only great aspect; it is the fact that she uses animals to portray messages to her public. The bright colors of the guinea pig seem to show the future of what the fetus will be. The future of the fetus seems to be sad and depressed because the guinea pig is curled up with its head down showing that perhaps the guinea pig would’ve been happier if the mother had the right to choose.

  15. Nicole Krosnowski says:

    1. At the MOMA, there was a series of photos of yoga mats. These photos were large scale, about the size of a normal sized wall poster. The yoga mats were folded and creased in ways that transformed them to not even look like yoga mats. They images were all different bright colors such as purple and red. The images were presented in a stark white room, which gave off a cool, clean and trendy vibe when viewing the images. The images were extremely zoomed in, which made the yoga mats almost non-recognizable objects. The mats were centered in the frame. The photos seemed to be created with a modern vibe. The bright colors also made me feel happy and lifted my spirits. The images made me want to partake in yoga, as it gave yoga a positive connotation for me personally. I believe the artist was trying to express that things are not always as they appear. For example, one would never think of a yoga mat as art until viewing these photos. As individuals we become jaded in our every day lives, viewing the same objects over and over again. If we take a moment to look at things differently, a whole new perspective becomes visible. This still life series of yoga mats changed my perspective on how I view everyday objects.
    2. The Extended Realities exhibition at the Rowan Art Gallery showcased vintage gelatin prints from Jerry N. Uelsmann. I found these prints to be extremely interesting. The way they were created gave them a molten liquid feel, almost ethereal. Their small size allowed for attention to detail. For example, in Uelsmann’s Untitled (tree and leaf), 1964, print the detail in the tree and leaves were outstanding. The simple frames around the images allowed for the viewer to be more focused on the art rather than the frame around it. The prints were centered. I believe the artist was trying to be very detailed in his work and point out that it’s the little things in life that matter most. This can be seen in the detail in Untitled. The amount of detail visible in this print is almost unbelievable. When walking by these prints at first one does not notice the small details. When one moves closer, the true beauty of the prints can be seen.
    3. Francesca Danieli’s work Untitled (blistered couch) and Untitled (eye and table) were both very thought provoking images. They were presented in ornate frames; I believe to play off the uniqueness of the images. The images were both centered. I believe this orientation was to create maximum impact for the viewer. The colors used were rich, dark colors. The artist was trying to create a sense of surrealism in her work. She tried to boggle the mind and portray something that was not considered a social norm. This thinking out of the box gave her an edge and really provoked one’s mind when viewing her images. I felt a sense of discomfort when viewing the images, especially the blistered couch. I had trouble wrapping my mind around them and that is what I believe made me want to look at them even more and examine them to find a reason behind them. I believe the artist’s surreal still life images were created to provoke one’s mind and introduce the idea of thinking outside the box.
    4. Fran Forman’s prints at the Extended Realities exhibition also stayed with me after viewing. The Flying Boy print was one that I enjoyed most. The print was an archival pigment print. The colors used were very bright and vivid. The color pallet was one reason I was drawn to this image. Also, the absurdity of the image provoked my mind. Throughout the series of photos, here was a common theme of flying away from reality. This was shown through a child flying away some how, as well as an image of a bird or feathers placed in the composition. I believe this was done to show how the child inside all of us yearns to fly away from everyday life and responsibilities now and then. These images were slightly disturbing to look at, as the child seemed distressed and the birds gave a sense of eeriness to the prints. The overall nonsensical ideas and surrealism also played a part in why I was drawn to this collection. In The Flying Boy, the boy was being lifted into the air by a balloon-like object that would not be able to fly and lift him up in real life. These surrealist prints served as narratives because they seemed to tell an absurd story of escaping life.

  16. CRITIQUE #2
    Exhibit: Dialogic
    Artist: Ben Pranger
    Painting: Forbidden Tree, 2008

    Forbidden Tree is a watercolor painting by Ben Pranger. The painting is not only the “portrait” (some might say representation) of a tree, but also a story. Embedded in each branch of the tree are story lines about the Garden of Eden’s Tree of Knowledge, and the story of Adam and Eve eating its forbidden fruit. Pranger used watercolor and pencil, on a matt paper. The tree is centered in the middle of the paper, with no painted background behind it. It is simply a tree in blank space. The ideas in this painting seem very religious and political, making me believe that Pranger is a very religious artist. The story of Adam and Eve is the birth of mankind’s sin, and so the best way to symbolize that birth is through creating a tree, a universal symbol for life and growth.

    I love the concept of this painting, but I hate its execution. The idea of embedding the story of the Tree of Knowledge inside the tree was genius! Just as the rings on the inside of a tree can tell you how old the tree, these words, implanted in the lines of the tree tell it’s life story. The concept was brilliant, and very exciting, but SERIOUSLY, I think Pranger should have put more effort into the execution of it. Each line of the story grew up from the bottom of the tree and extended through each branch, however, as hard as I tried I couldn’t follow the story. Trying to find the beginning of each sentence was impossible. If anything, I wish that he wrote the story in a way that was easier to follow and didn’t make the viewer twist their head to try and read it. Also, I despised the fact that Pranger used pencil to write the words. Of all the mediums, pencil?! I mean, I saw eraser marks where he didn’t completely erase a word to write over it. In my head, pencil is not the “final” draft medium, but a starter medium, especially for paintings. That greatly ruined my personal enjoyment of the painting because it just sent me the message that Pranger didn’t take the time to use a more permanent medium to write the words. I know that he put a lot of time and thought into the piece, but still. Pencil.

  17. CRITIQUE #1
    Exhibit: Dialogic
    Artist: Erik Den Breejen
    Painting: Smile II, acrylic on canvas

    Hanging directly across from the Westby Gallery’s entrance, Smile II is the first piece to greet viewers visiting the gallery. The approximately 52” X 48” painting perfectly encompasses the intent of the “Dialogic” exhibit; as a painting of lyrics from different Beach Boys’ songs, the piece explores language and its impact when used as visual art. As far as it’s technical elements go, the piece is very balanced in its execution. The piece entirely consists of lyrics from various Beach Boys songs painted horizontally across the page. Each line is approximately the same size so there are no dominate lines that stand out. The only element of Smile II that brings any contrast to the piece is the color. Erik Den Breejen draws from both the warm and cool palettes, and uses different colors to paint words that made him “feel” that color. For the most part, they are bright and playful. Breejen used either acrylic or oil, most likely oil as his medium. I would say that, technically, this painting does not have any element that astounds its viewers. The brush strokes are not evolutionary, there is no huge contrast, it is very two-dimensional, there is no huge contrast is texture, nothing. The real genius of this piece lies in its meaning. The fact that it questions the idea of ownership. I mean, is this painting Breejen’s or is it the property of the Beach Boys because it uses their lyrics? It strips away this high pretentions of art that viewers have and teaches that the mere written word is art in itself.

    Smile II is the first piece I saw at the Dialogic exhibit. This piece stuck out to me because it seemed so simple. Its just words painted on a canvas, but it evokes so much emotion, and sad emotion at that. I spent almost all of my time in the exhibit reading this piece because I loved trying to decipher it: why did Breejen use pink when he painted “sunshine”? I don’t think I agree with his choice of painting “speeches” red. I found myself flip-flopping between trying to interpret the colors Breejen used, and just enjoying my own reaction to the piece. This painting almost felt intellectual, like a puzzle I had to decrypt, rather than a form of easy entertainment. I am a huge Beach Boys fan, and I know that while their music was

    incredibly bright and happy, but that they lived a very hard life working for a manager that basically abused them. In my opinion, the title Smile II harps on that fact. That they had to smile, when so much was going on behind the stage. This sense of hidden pain is also reflected in the pink larger text hidden behind the horizontal lines in the bottom right corner of the piece: “I threw away my candy bar and I ate the wrapper, and when they told me what I did I burst into laughter.”

  18. Lauren Berman says:

    Exhibit: Dialogic
    Artist: Erik Den Breejen
    Painting: Smile II, acrylic on canvas

    Hanging directly across from the Westby Gallery’s entrance, Smile II is the first piece to greet viewers visiting the gallery. The approximately 52” X 48” painting perfectly encompasses the intent of the “Dialogic” exhibit; as a painting of lyrics from different Beach Boys’ songs, the piece explores language and its impact when used as visual art. As far as it’s technical elements go, the piece is very balanced in its execution. The piece entirely consists of lyrics from various Beach Boys songs painted horizontally across the page. Each line is approximately the same size so there are no dominate lines that stand out. The only element of Smile II that brings any contrast to the piece is the color. Erik Den Breejen draws from both the warm and cool palettes, and uses different colors to paint words that made him “feel” that color. For the most part, they are bright and playful. Breejen used either acrylic or oil, most likely oil as his medium. I would say that, technically, this painting does not have any element that astounds its viewers. The brush strokes are not evolutionary, there is no huge contrast, it is very two-dimensional, there is no huge contrast is texture, nothing. The real genius of this piece lies in its meaning. The fact that it questions the idea of ownership. I mean, is this painting Breejen’s or is it the property of the Beach Boys because it uses their lyrics? It strips away this high pretentions of art that viewers have and teaches that the mere written word is art in itself.

    Smile II is the first piece I saw at the Dialogic exhibit. This piece stuck out to me because it seemed so simple. Its just words painted on a canvas, but it evokes so much emotion, and sad emotion at that. I spent almost all of my time in the exhibit reading this piece because I loved trying to decipher it: why did Breejen use pink when he painted “sunshine”? I don’t think I agree with his choice of painting “speeches” red. I found myself flip-flopping between trying to interpret the colors Breejen used, and just enjoying my own reaction to the piece. This painting almost felt intellectual, like a puzzle I had to decrypt, rather than a form of easy entertainment. I am a huge Beach Boys fan, and I know that while their music was incredibly bright and happy, but that they lived a very hard life working for a manager that basically abused them. In my opinion, the title Smile II harps on that fact. That they had to smile, when so much was going on behind the stage. This sense of hidden pain is also reflected in the pink larger text hidden behind the horizontal lines in the bottom right corner of the piece: “I threw away my candy bar and I ate the wrapper, and when they told me what I did I burst into laughter.”

  19. Allison Barker says:

    Steve McCurry Wall to Wall

    Steve McCurry takes many pictures of culture in Middle-Eastern countries. One of his most famous photographs is of an Afghan girl with beautiful green eyes that made the cover of National Geographic. After looking through some of his photos on his website I found a very appealing picture he took in India called Wall to Wall. I was very drawn to this photo because of the drastic contrast of colors. The picture is taken in what appears to be a poor rural area – with dirt and hay on the ground and a makeshift small building. The building, ground, and animal are all close shades of brownish-gray and that’s what makes the bright colorful saris of the Indian women stand out even more than they normally would. This photo is a beautiful rendition of what life most likely is like in the rural areas of India. Even with the bland surroundings, and even with their religion disallowing women from expressing themselves the way women here would want to, the women find a way to show off their individuality and look beautiful doing so. They seem to be watching something important and it just seems like a great social landscape. Without many of the colors we experience on a daily basis from nature or man-made things it’s probably hard to find some contrast and color in their world. The women bring their personalities out through their colorful dresses and this photograph is especially interesting to look at because it’s a culture I am rarely ever exposed to.

  20. Allison Barker says:

    Stu Levy’s Grid Portraits

    In the Photographer’s FORUM magazine we received in class there were a few interesting interviews with professional photographers. A photographer whose work stood out to me was Stu Levy. He takes the traditional portrait and transforms it. He says, “A straight portrait represents one fraction of a second, and I wanted to tell more of a story.” I think this is exactly what he does, especially in the three photographs printed in the magazine. First of all, I am very partial to black and white photographs. Black and white photos just seem much cooler and authentic to me. The fact that he doesn’t just simply blend the different photos together and that he instead leaves the dark black grids there is interesting. When you look at it from afar as one large photo it just seems a little jumbled but still looks pretty cool. As soon as you look closer at the individual grids, there are many little stories being told about the one subject. In the interview, Stu speaks about how he realized photographs are often assumed to be reality – but this is not always the case and usually what we see in a picture is some altered version of reality. He truly tells an in-depth story of his subjects while aligning the different squares to be just a bit off – making it slightly obvious that these are all different photographs stuck together to form a bigger picture. Something I found very weird yet interesting was the placement of his own photo inside of these printed photos. It’s very surreal to see the same photo within another photo. That’s another aspect that isn’t obvious from afar but is noticeable when you look up close. The dark black grid lines add symmetry to the photo and even though it first gives the illusion of separating the grids I think it actually makes them mesh together much better than they might have without the lines.

  21. Hussain Haider says:

    1. “La clef des songes” by Rene Margritte
    This piece of art is truly remarkable because it really challenges one very specific foundational belief and trust in everyone: if you see an object labelled as something, you believe it to be true. For example, if you see a set of fruits in a grocery store labelled apple, you believe that the fruits are in fact apples. Rene challenges this custom with this painting. He present four objects and labels them all incorrectly. It tells you not believe everything you see to be true. The reach of this painting is well beyond just labelled fruits or random objects. This can be applied to the world of news, media, politics, etc. What a certain news channel or newspaper tells you about a certain topic doesn’t have to be true. The responsibility is upon the viewer to do his research and find out what the truth is. Ironically, this message applies to photography just as well. A photo may seem to present one thing but the reality may completely different.
    Upon examination of the title of the painting, which translates to mean “The interpretation of dreams”, one realizes that Rene is also addressing the nature of our dreams with this piece of art. Dreams always have been and continue to be one of the most puzzling phenomena of our existence. Everything from whether or not our dreams have color to whether or not they have anything to do with reality has been discussed and analyzed. Rene continues this discussion with this painting by saying that our recollection of dreams and our interpretation of them may not be aligned with the true nature of those dreams. There is a distinction between what we see and what we think we see and this is ultimately the defining message of this painting. It truly is more than just a painting of basic objects and words. Not to mention, if you don’t know French, the painting is even more effective in conveying its message.
    2. “La Trahison des images” by Rene Margritte
    Upon first glance, this famous painting by Rene seems to carry a message that is a bit too obvious: this is a pipe. It prompts you to say that there must be more to the painting. Upon further consideration, you realize that there is clearly a deeper message and in fact, the simple message at first sight is actually false. It is not a pipe; it is a picture of a pipe. The painting has a sense of simplicity to it. The French phrase and the painting of the pipe seem very simple and lack complex intricacies. Similarly, the real message is, although subtle, very simple: there is a clear distinction between an object and any rendering of that object.
    Furthermore, I almost get the sense that Rene is being a snob with this tricky painting. He knows that most people will fall for his trick at first glance and this probably amused him. In any case, this piece of art is fantastic at the message it tries to convey. Things seen in paintings, photography, film, TV and other mediums of art are solely illustrations of real objects; they are not real objects themselves. This distinction is often overlooked. People believe they can experience things just through media and according to Rene, this is impossible. “La Trahison des images” translates to “The Treachery of Images” and it is an extremely profound piece of art that teaches us all a lesson about how to incorporate humor into paintings.

    3. “Highrise of Homes” by James Wines
    This piece of art illustrates a very urban lifestyle and carries a very warm message with it. It shows that urban areas have forced humans to build these large tall building that can house entire communities. The people that form this community can be very diverse and they all form their own residence within the building. Even though it is one building, it has numerous faces and shapes. Everyone who lives in the building molds it differently. It truly accentuates the essence of urban life and its diversity. However, while people may mold their part of the building in various ways, they are all limited by the boundaries of the single building, which is what unites this whole community.

    4. “Two Friends” by Stan Douglas
    At first sight, this picture looks like just another picture from the 1960s or 1970s that captures the lifestyle of that time period. This picture does this and much more. It is not merely an action shot of a scene from the 70s. The woman and the man in the center of the picture are almost looking directly at the camera making it seem like they are trying to convey a message to the viewer of this picture. Their faces say “Hey, come take a look at our life!” This allows the viewer to really connect with the scene being portrayed in the photograph.
    You can feel the awkwardness between the man and the woman. You wonder if the woman who is standing in the back is half-naked. And if so, why is that? By seeing the grand wall and clothes of everyone, you get a sense that this must be some sort of luxurious restaurant but it’s hard to be certain. The overall scene this photograph captures is more than just a typical glimpse of the 1970s. It really brings the viewer into the scene of the picture and wonder more about what must be going on.

  22. Michele Applegate says:

    Critique #4: Lee Jeffries

    Lee Jeffries is a photographer that did a series of homeless people photographs. The image I wish to critique is part of this series but I could not find a title. His image is of a girl who appears to be in her late 20’s (although this guess could certainly be off). The woman is sitting in a way that she has her hands gripped around her neck and the picture is predominantly of just her face, which has dirt caked onto every feature. Her hair is grimy and left hanging limply from her head. But most importantly, the viewer is drawn to her eyes. They are the eyes of a person who has been through hell, big and sad, begging for help.

    This photograph really captures the essence of a person who had lived through hardship. Even if I had not read that the series was designed around homeless individuals, my very first thought after seeing this woman’s photograph would be that she was living on the streets. Jeffries does an excellent job editing the picture to make the dirt and grime noticeable, particularly by keeping the image in black and white. This is also why the viewer’s eyes are immediately drawn to woman’s eyes. They are one of the only parts of this image that are clearly white and once the viewer connects eyes with her, it is hard to look away. This woman looks defeated. Her eyes look as though they are filled with water but her expression leads me to believe that the act of crying would be too strenuous for this poor woman. Jeffries’ images are very straightforward examples of formalism, but behind the absolute technical precision, there lies a story to be told of every person he encounters.

  23. Michele Applegate says:

    Critique #3: Furkan Canturk

    Furkan Canturk is a photographer I came across when I was searching for interesting photographs for this assignment. One of his images stood out immediately for me, although I was unable to find a name for the image. It is a picture of himself holding his camera to his head, almost as if it were a gun and he was ending his life, and on the other side of his head there are 9 tiny photographs. The photographs appear to be shot out from his head, again as if the camera were a gun. He even wears an expression of determination with his eyes tightly shut, the quintessential image of a person committed to pulling the trigger.

    This image is so captivating. He is a master at manipulating his photography by photoshopping in the 9 smaller photographs, which I found through further research are actually his own pieces. Brilliantly he makes everything in the picture, himself and the background (clouds and a bridge over water) greyscale with no color at all and the leaves the 9 small photographs very vivid in color, making them stand out even more. The photographs come across to me as memories, of the places he’s been and the things he’s seen, that by hypothetically “blowing his brains out” with his camera we can see all that he already has. This concept comes from a morose image (a person holding a gun to their head) but the plot twist he uses makes the image truly entrancing. His skill in the technical elements: using all of the space in the photograph, lighting, colors, lines, and then being able to heighten them to a new level with photoshop really brought this photograph to life.

  24. Allison Barker says:

    Breathing Punctuation by Melanie McLain

    Being a part of this class allowed me to enter a building I had only walked into once or twice before – Westby a.k.a the art building. I had known about the art gallery within but unfortunately never took the time to take a peek at what was inside. This class gave me the push that I needed in order to check out some fantastic work produced from nationally and internationally known artists. Early in the semester the gallery was devoted to “Dialogic” described by Gallery Director Mary Salvante: “How language is perceived, communicated and translated is informed by the visual qualities and symbolic power of texts, words and poetic phrasings incorporated into the video, soundscapes, interactive tech-works, sculpture, paintings and works on paper included in this exhibition,”.
    A piece that really stood out to me while walking around the gallery was Melanie McLain’s Breathing Punctuation. First off, the fact that it was a video and had sound was a new concept to me. I guess being the un-artistic person that I am, I was kind of ignorant to the fact that art truly comes in any type of form. Instead of seeing only pictures on the wall, I got to see and hear actual 3D things that really got me involved in the experience and object of the gallery. Breathing Punctuation was weird. At first it freaked me out and annoyed me a little. I could hear the breathing from across the room and it was a bit creepy. Once I walked over into the little enclosed section where the video was playing and read the description I was really intrigued. I think Melanie McLain hit the nail on the head with the point of “Dialogic” and really got me thinking more in-depth about how language is more than it appears to be. What is typically just a process in our mind was brought out physically and made me realize that reading is so much more than it seems on the surface. The gallery contained some awesomely cool pieces but even months later, Breathing Punctuation still holds a place in my memory.

  25. Mark Errera says:

    Review of MoMA Trip and particularly Starry Night.

    Earlier this semester, we took a trip to The Museum of Modern Art. This was the first formal art museum trip that I have ever went on, so besides seeing exhibits from movies and pictures I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. What I really liked about the museum was that there is much more than just framed images, there are rooms, sound bars, and moving objects in the museum, which really threw a wrench in the image I had in my mind. I was pleasantly surprised by these additions, they added an interesting dynamic to the exhibits.

    What else really surprised me about the museum was the lack of measures to keep people away from paintings. On many of them, you could get as close to them as you would like. It seemed risky for them to allow people, even children, to get so close to these priceless pieces.

    But my favorite part of the trip was being able to see Starry Night. That, in my opinion, is one of the most iconic paintings in the world. Even for Rowan’s homecoming, many students painted this image on banners, proving the popularity of the image. To see the painting in person, literally feet away, was very surreal.

    To review Starry Night: This is definitely one of the more aesthetically pleasing images in MoMA. It has vivid colors and a beautiful sunset/dusk sky. The image had a typical frame that neither added nor subtracted from the image. The main subject of the image is debatable, either the sky (most likely) or the large dark image. However, the most interesting part of the painting is the dark image. After reading a few articles on the painting, there is really no definite solutions to what it is. It may be some sort of tree, or large bush, but it almost resembles the flames of fire. Whatever it is, it’s simply cool. Starry Night doesn’t seem to portray the artist ideas, it seems more concerned with formal aspects such as techniques and colors. It seems to be created for a more aesthetic purpose. This image represents the landscape of a small village.

  26. Mark Errera says:

    Critiquing: “Untitled?” By Myself…

    I am not quite sure if we can critique ourselves, but I would like to discuss one of my favorite photos I have taken this year. That photo is the creepy poker image, where there are 5 aces, a whole bunch of poker chips, and a bloody knife.

    What I like: The content is my favorite part of this narrative image. Usually in a poker game, the players have their chips stacked nicely and in the same color stacks. It is well organized. In this image, the chips are in chaos, thrown all over the place. The disorganization of this chips adds to what I image the story of this image being, some kind of chaotic murder mystery. Also, another aspect of the image that I like is the aces. Typically, 4 of a kind with aces is a difficult hand to beat, so someone in this image has tried to cheat; unfortunately not working out to well for them. Something else that I don’t think many people know is that the Ace of Spades, which there are two of, is the “death card” in popular myths or folklore, obviously having some significance in this image.

    What I don’t like: The image, in my opinion, is too bright for the dark story behind it. There is a lot of white in the image. After looking at it, I wonder if more black chips would have added a darker tone to the image. Or casting some kind of shadow over the light. Also, I didn’t really know what to use for blood on the knife, so I used ketchup. If I was doing this again, I might try to mix red food die with something to get a better blood texture. I would also have splattered more red on the table and cards instead of just the knife. Also, I should have put “blood” on the ace of hearts, adding much symbolism.

    The image is not an expression of my ideas, just a creative way to tell a story. Culturally, this images shows not necessarily what would happen in society; rather it shows the influence of media on my ideas. This image would more likely occur in a movie, which is probably where the influence came from.

  27. Allison Barker says:

    The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
    The second movie in the three part series was exciting and really kept my attention throughout the whole film. Having read the books a few years ago, I already knew what was going to happen but the director Francis Lawrence really made the movie its own. Usually books made movies are harshly critiqued but I really think the movie was a good representation of the book. Of course, the book had a lot more detail and the movie seemed to rush over some of the minor things. Although there were subtle things in the movie that I had to explain to the person I saw the movie with because he had not read the books. The costumes and makeup in Catching Fire were unbelievably cool. It’s funny to see how the appearances change as the districts move closer to The Capital. The first three districts are extremely worried about looks and dress in extravagant outfits and wear outlandish makeup and weird, colorful wigs. By the time you get to districts 10, 11, and 12 clothes are the last thing on their minds, although they do look to the capital citizens as celebrities – possibly poking fun at our modern society’s obsession with appearance (which tends to diminish as we move closer to the poverty line). The music used in Catching Fire kept it suspenseful and interesting while the graphics were extremely realistic. For example, the dog/wolves that attacked the tributes when they first arrived in the woods were so realistic and scary. I would pay to see this movie again and I can’t wait to see what they produce for the third and final movie.
    P.S. The fact that I saw this movie in a theater that had reclining seats may have slightly skewed my judgment of this movie in a positive light!

  28. Mark Errera says:

    Critiquing: Andy Warhol’s “Before and After”

    I realized when I was walking through the MoMA that I did not really like or appreciate the art all that much because I didn’t understand it. It was very conceptual and overwhelming at times. “Before and After” caught my attention because I really understood the meaning behind it, it made sense to me.

    Formally, the piece has a tan frame around it that is appropriate for the painting because it does not take away from it but merely seems to protect it. Unfortunately, I only have a picture of the painting so it is hard to tell page and print quality, but it is not glossy. He only uses black and white which contrasts nicely. The painting has nice symmetry to it. The main subject is split between the two halves.

    The ideas in the piece are social. This work is an obvious expression of what the artist meant to portray, but it does not necessarily tell how he truly feels about this subject. The painting has a women on the left with a nose that is severely pointed down, which is not “normal” in society. The women on the right has a “normal” looking nose. The artist is saying that this women has gotten a nose job to fit in with society, to look like everyone else. But what is unclear is weather or not the artist believes that the subject should have gotten the nose job. What I mean is we don’t know if Warhol thinks it is necessary for this women to get a nose job because he thinks she is lower class because of a misshaped nose, or if he feels bad for his subject that she had to get this done to fit in. He may be lashing out at society for being so judging based on looks. Whatever Warhol actually thought, I liked this piece because I understood the the meaning he was trying to portray.

  29. Mark Errera says:

    Critiquing: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

    I recently have seen Catching Fire, the second installment of The Hunger Games trilogy. Now, before you continue reading you must know that I did read the books, so I will try my best to evaluate the movie without any influence from my knowledge of the book. However, I will briefly discuss if the directors did or did not match the movie well with the novel.

    As for formal considerations, I saw this movie in theaters, so the size and sound of the movie was exceptional. The special effects were top notch and at points I would cringe because the injuries on screen looked so real. Very vivid colors spread throughout the movie, but then again I wouldn’t expect anything less from the technology we have today.

    As for content, you can take this movie as purely entertainment; or you can interpret the message that a too strong central government is not a good government. Statistics show that countries with a more free and democratic government grow much faster economically than dictatorships like North Korea. Eventually, the people may get tired of the oppression and revolt. If this work was intended to show the aforementioned ideas, then the director absolutely showed his ideas about government. The context of this piece is very much about authority, and the obedience of civilians to that authority. These people participate in horrible acts towards each other because they are being told they have too. But the true question is what is the limit on authority. One would assume that we need authority, but when does it become oppressive, to the point of revolution?

    Relating the content in the movie to that mentioned in the novel, the director did a fairly good job. All of the main points were in the movie, however the whole movie seemed rushed to me. They went through many of the main points quickly. Watching the movie, I wondered if someone who hadn’t read the book would fully understand what was happening. I felt as though I only knew what happened from reading the book.

    Overall, I liked the movie and would recommend it to a friend.

  30. Michele Applegate says:

    Michele Applegate
    Critique #2

    Francesca Danieli’s Untitled [Blistered Couch] features an expensive looking piece of furniture, with a rich wood base and elegant cloth draping it. This couch brings about images of movie stars leaning back, basking in their beauty and wealth. However, on one of the cushions there is blemish. This blemish is viciously red against the lush white cloth and upon closer examination of what I originally thought to be a stain (perhaps of pomegranate seeds) this blotch of red is clearly the blisters of an illness.

    This piece is very simple: just an image of a luxurious couch with a few blisters, but its meaning is very complex. The disgust I felt after my realization that there was a pocket of blisters emerging from the couch hit me so hard that I backed away from the piece. It undoubtedly demonstrated that illness is everywhere; It is not easily avoided and can strike even the most elegant and wealthy individuals.

    After reading the write-up about the piece, I am inclined to agree with Danieli’s overall message that “illness changes our perception” of things because my original concern for the stain on the couch vanished into disgust almost immediately after viewing it up close. I think the author did an excellent job choosing an item to represent the wealthy and her depiction of illness elicits a very strong reaction of disgust. Overall I really like the simplicity of the photograph and feel that the message behind it is something most of us ignore but is extremely accurate.

  31. Brad Fedor says:

    http://www.momastore.org/museum/moma/ProductDisplay?storeId=10001&catalogId=10451&langId=-1&categoryId=27165&parent_category_rn=26680&productId=117664&keyWord= Claude%20Monet:%20Agapanthus&purpose=crawl

    One of my favorite artists to see when revisiting the MOMA has always been Monet. The section where is water lilies are displayed is always nice and refreshing to return to. What immediately surprises me every time I see the paintings are the size of them and how even one of them covers what seems like 40 feet. Although I enjoy all of the water lily paintings, the Agapanthus, has always been my favorite, which is why it was the background picture displayed on my phone since I last saw it. I like that it’s size is one that allows you to not have to turn your head to experience the whole painting and it’s shape was a uniform square instead of a long and dragged out rectangle. I mainly enjoy the soft and light colors in the painting as I feel they can give a sense of peace to anyone who sees them. The light green of the grasses and water give a peaceful setting for the serene pink flowers to exist in. Another reason I love going to the MOMA is that I get to see the texture and brush strokes of the artwork so clearly. I could tell from Monet’s strokes that he successfully created a smooth flowing stream that perfectly complements the calming lilies.

  32. Brad Fedor says:

    I enjoy going to the Rowan art shows, both ones by students and by well-known artists like Willie Cole. The surrealism exhibit was a very interesting one and really showed the spectrum of crowd pleasers to some that were a bit disturbing in some of the displayed pieces. The most memorable piece to me in the exhibit was the white sofa with the blemishes on it. When I first walked into the room, I only glanced in its direction and registered a white sofa with something like a wine stain on it. When I came back around to it and examined it closer, I was quite taken aback to find that the wine stain turned out to be relatively severe blemishes. What I really liked about this piece was that it was hidden in a corner of the room, but had a darker and thicker frame than all the other artworks around it. I believe that those who put it on display in this manner did so to catch an unsuspecting person’s eye and draw them into examining a deceitful and clever photograph. It’s instances like this where one can truly appreciate the necessity and skill an arranger of the artwork has in bringing out the best in a piece of art.

  33. Brad Fedor says:


    When our class visited the MOMA, I took a little time towards the end of the trip to visit Nintendo World where I came across this amazing collage of Link, the hero from the Legend of Zelda games. From afar this large and impressive piece drew me towards it instantly because of its aesthetics and my love of the games. When I walked closer, I was really surprised to see that the small pictures that made up the collage where actually photographs with people in every one. This new find exceeded my expectations of what I was going to see when I went for a closer look. From afar the picture just looked like solid colors of little squares that made up the work. Finding out they were photographs of people made me think of the enormous amount of work it took to find people to photograph, have the needed colors for a certain area on the collage, and put them all together in a masterfully done piece of art. I usually expect to only be impressed by the overwhelming amount of Nintendo items at Nintendo World and the finely prepared display cases, but seeing this piece of art really made me appreciate and remember that artwork is a huge part of making games memorable.

  34. Brad Fedor says:

    The painting, Portrait of a Man in a Late Nineteenth-Century Frame, was a piece at the MOMA that immediately caught my eye for several reasons. When walking into the section where it was displayed, this painting was the first thing I could see from the entrance. I know well that this was done by the MOMA display staff because this was something they wanted everyone to see and stand out. The large, golden frame with different carvings in it I found to be even stronger than the painting it housed. The sheer size and luxury it embodied further added to the attention grabbing qualities this painting possessed. I also think that the elegance of the frame was meant to make the man in the painting appear more important, leaving the viewer to assume that the man could be a high powered official or leader of some country. Now to switch focus on the painting itself, I found it to be very interesting after examining the frame. The man in the painting has a sitting position that could be seen in paintings of royalty or other high powered figures centuries earlier. However, the normalcy of the painting stops there. There are red and black shapes of all kinds scattered across the painting and what appeared to be scratch marks on the man himself. I found these markings to be quite humorous as it added some idiocy to the formal and serious painting, which I pictured to come before the addition of the markings.

  35. danese45 says:

    The Smoke Chaser is very surreal and disturbing. The image of this rather young looking girl wearing a dress and flames coming where her head should be offers the assumption that some kind of back-story exists to this picture.
    I am not sure what the back-story would be, perhaps something of a ghost story or a nightmare. The picture looks very realistic like a photograph that has not been photoshopped. The fact that the picture looks so realist definitely adds to the creepy surreal factor of this picture and makes it unsettling. The age of the girl is also unsettling because she doesn’t look to be older than 10 and what would a child do to deserve an exploded head. Her clothes lead me to believe this picture is from the past and maybe could have been found in someone’s attic because it looks so old.
    The fact that the picture is not in color adds to the surreal nature as well because it looks old, this looks like something that has happened in the past, that is why it reminds me of a ghost story. In my dreams personally they are not always in color, that is why this picture reminds me of a nightmare.
    I appreciate the artist ability to make this picture so realistic. Other pieces in the exibit that were not as realistic were very interesting but I appreciate more this piece because it looks so real. The picture was obviously photoshopped but it still leave an unpleasant feeling that it could be really happen.
    Finally, the fact that this picture is on a drawer adds another level of mystery. The backstory of this picture continuously develops and one cannot help but wonder why on this drawer someone would hide such a disturbing image.

  36. Michele Applegate says:

    By Your Response to Danger by Jenny Holzer, displayed in the “Dialogic” gallery exhibit at Rowan University, is a piece I found very captivating. This enamel on metal was extremely straightforward, with simply two sentences; however, the meaning behind those two sentences kept me staring at the piece for quite some time. At first I found this minimalist approach to be lacking in artistic flare, but I could not turn my eyes away. The longer I looked at this metal, which had the appearance of a road sign, the more I was intrigued. I felt that the feeling of a road sign was a strategic move by the artist to catch the attention of the viewer in order to get this message of danger across to them. I also believe that the decision to use bright red, capitalized letters was meant to highlight the importance of the message and lend to the appearance of a sign (the exact reversal of a stop sign, although in the shape of a square instead).
    The message itself:
    produces images of life and death situations and caused me, as a viewer, to put myself in the shoes of a person who is desperate to stay alive, a person who welcomes death, and a person who feels that there is no possible way out of death in their current situation, therefore giving into it by not acting at all. These are some gloomy and sobering thoughts, but intriguing ones none-the-less. Holzer may not use much in the way of materials, but the simplistic approach she used in creating this piece only pronounced the meaning behind the text.

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