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Kobina Nyarko

 Kobina Nyarko is one of Ghana’s premier young contemporary artists. He was born in Takoradi,  Ghana in 1972.  Most of Nyarko’s works explore the symbolism of fish in paintings that feature numerous tiny fish on often large-scale canvases. This “trademark” theme makes his work easy to recognize. The swirling, mesmerizing schools of fish captivate all of Nyarko’s viewers and collectors.

Fish                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Sinking Sand
Nyarko was formally trained at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.  He graduated in 2003 with a BA in Industrial Art. In May 2007, Kobina Nyarko was featured in an exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Man, Artists Speak: Contemporary art from Ghana and Zimbabwe. His work is considered illustrative of 3rd generation Ghanaian artists, who freely express themselves as artists in a modern world, without succumbing to restrictive notions of African art. Kobina Nyarko currently lives in Takoradi with his wife and son.

I chose Nyarko’s pictures because I was mesmerized by the swirling school of fish, the intense colors and the expressiveness of his paintings.

Kobina Nyarko states: “I have explored several mediums, styles and themes. Specific interest in the subject Fishes, which my love revolves around.”

Tunnel                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Escapers                                                                                                                                                                                    


Wilfredo Lam

                                      Composition rouge et jaune, 1963, Wilfred Lam

This piece by Wifredo Lam jumped out at me when I was browsing through the Mexican/Latino galleries linked to the Non-Western Assignment page.  I especially like the colors (red, black, yellow, white) of this lithograph. They are very vivid and energetic, show anger and intensity and remind me at two things. One is the cover art of one of my favorite music albums New Model Army’s Love for hopeless  causes. Whenever I see this cover picture, I get a warm fuzzy feeling.
Wilfred Lams painting also reminds me at revolution propaganda  posters. I am not making any political statement at this point, but revolution means for me hope and the belief in new and good.  Revolution means for me also being able to try to fulfill ones dreams and I think we all need more little personal Revolutions in our lives.
Other than that I am not sure what the lithograph shows, but the sweeping arrow-like part of the piece reminds me of a falcon or other bird of prey whizzing through the air.

Wifredo Óscar de la Concepción Lam y Castilla (his whole name) was born in Cuba, but moved to Paris as soon as he became an adult.  He befriended Pablo Picasso, and joined the group of Surrealist artists of the time.  During World War II he moved back to Cuba, and then eventually returned to Paris after the war was over. He was unique in that he was heavily influenced by both Latin American, African, and European Art. He had over 100 personal exhibitions, and was a world-renowned artist.  He died in Paris in 1982.


Contemporary Virtual Exibit

Environmental art

My theme for this post is environmental art. Enivronmental art is in a general sense, an art that helps improve our relationship with the natural world. There is no definition set in stone and this living worldwide movement is growing and changing all the time. I especially like Environmental art, because it is short-lived and brings one to enjoy the moment. I also love to be in nature and thereby I find it a beautiful way to create art with whatever the artist finds around himself. And Friday will be Earth Day, whatever that means…isn’t it every day earth day?

Andy Goldworthy was born 1956 and raised in England. He is an extraordinary, innovative British artist whose works with nature produce uniquely personal and intense artwork. Using a seemingly endless range of natural materials—snow, ice, leaves, bark, rock, clay, stones, feathers petals, twigs—he creates outdoor sculptures that manifest a contact with the natural world. Before they disappear, or as they disappear, Goldsworthy records his work in suburb color photographs.

This sculpture which is built out of twigs in water is one of his great short-lived art works. Unfortunately I could either figure out what the name of it is nor when or where it was made. But I still think it is one of his most amazing sculptures made out in nature.

                                                                                                             Rowan Leaves and Hole

Rowan Leaves and Hole
is the title of this beautiful piece, which is colorful and vibrant all made natural. I found a nice citation to this picture from the artist himself: “I’m cautious about using fire. It can become theatrical. I am interested in the heat, not the flames.” I think one can tell in his kind of art. Andy Goldsworthy has nothing theatrical in his art, but still a lot of drama.

                                                                                                             Pebbles broken & scarped

I could not find any more information to the two pictures above as the title. I think they are beautiful and I am actually jealous for the artist that he has such a great job and able to work outside all the time.
For those who got intrigued by Andy Goldworthy; he made a great documantary Rivers & Tides (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8480463057406057702#). I think his art explains Environmental art the best and without any words.

Chris Booth is on of New Zealand’s leading sculptors and is frequently working around the world. Chris Booth was born in 1948 in Kerikeri New Zealand. Since 1968 he has been very active in the field of art and nature, and in land art where his work is extensively represented in public and private colledtions in New Zealand. Since 1988 his work had been widely exibited and comissioned interationally. Specific Art in Nature Sculpture Parks such as Grizedale, England; Tickon, Denmark; Le Vent des Forets, France and Förderverein Müritz-National Park, Germany represent his works.

The Cave was built from 1994-1997 and is an entranceway to the Kati Kuri marae at Kaikoura in New Zealand. It comprises 5000 white limestone pebbles, collected with community assistance from the coast and woven into a helix. This is an other great example of environmental art, where the artist uses natural materials in a natural setting to build a sculpture. I would love to have this in my entrance area to my house!

                                                                                                                          Schist Strata

Schist Strata was made 1999 and is positioned within the mountain ranges of Central Otago in New Zealand.  It celebrates the schist and moraine boulder deposits from the substructure of the land. In comparison with Andy Goldworthy I like that Chris Boothes art is more long lasting than Andy’s.


        Iles des Silence, 2001

Iles des Silence are standing in St.Etienne des Gres in Quebec, Canada. They are boulders standing on rocks on boulders. It is impressing how he is able to balance and place the boulders. I like Chris Booth’s art because I can imagine walking through a forest and encountering his art. It must be amazing if you don’t know that it is actually there.

Works Cited:

Early Modern

I looked forward to this week’s post, since I was finally able to choose a photographer to write about. Photography is my favorite type of art.

I chose one of Dorothea Lange’s pictures: Migrant Mother. It was taken in February of
March 1936 in Nipomo, California. Lange was on a month long trip photographing migratory farm labor around the state for what was then the Resettlement Administration. Dorothea Lange took the series of photographs of Florence Owens Thomson using a Graflex camera.
Lange gave this statement to the experience: ” I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean- to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it. (From: Popular Photography, Feb. 1960).”

The woman on the picture was the mother of 7 and she struggled to survive with her kids catching birds and picking fruits. Dorothea Lange took the picture after Florence sold her tent to buy food for her children. She made the first page of major newspapers all over the country and changed people’s conception about migrants.
This picture resembles for me the desperation during the Great Depression. One can see on Florences face how worried she was about the future of her children. It must have been a horrible feeling not to know and not to be able to feed her kids. One of the websites I was looking at said: “The image of a worn, weather-beaten woman, a look of desperation on her face, two children leaning on her shoulders, an infant in her lap; has become a photographic icon of the Great Depression in America.” (eyewitness to history.com)”

Works Cited:


I enjoy impressionism more than I did the visual arts so far, I like especially post-impressionism. Works from Vincent van Gogh give me chills and inspire my imagination. My favorite painting from van Gogh is Starry Night. He painted Starry Night while in an Asylum at Saint-Remy in 1889. Apparently van Gogh did not like this picture too much. It would be interesting to know why, since I consider this as one of his best works. "Starry Night"

Another amazing Impressionistic painting is Pyramids at Port-Coton, Rough Sea painted by Claude Monet 1886 on the island of Belle Ile, at the Atlantic coast of France. He wrote to his friend the painter Caillebotte “I am in a wonderfully wild place amongst a heap of terrible rocks and an unbelievably colored sea.” 

I like Impressionism, because it was focusing on the modern world, rather than focusing on religious subject matter such as during the Renaissance, Classical or Baroque era. Maybe I like impressionism so much because it was considered different and was not liked at the time. The painters were considered radical, but
the Impressionists were actually less radical than they were perceived as being. They simply were expressing their deep understanding of the history of painting without all the dross which the academics had decided to load it down with.

Works Cited:


Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata

I chose for this assignment to write about Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. First of all I chose Ludwig van Beethoven, because he is my favorite composer of all time, since I was little. I like his compositions because they seem, to me, very passionate and honest. They almost allow an insight into Beethoven’s mind and soul, and in some of the music I feel that I can relate to him and it is as if I understood what he wanted to say. One of these incredibly deep, passionate pieces is the Piano Sonata No. 14 in C minor “Quasi una fantasia”, op 27 #2. I was lucky to be able to learn how to play the first two movements on the piano myself. The specialty in this piece was for me that I was able to forget the world around me and only I, the piano and the music existed. For those who don’t play any music I would compare it to reading a fascinating book while forgetting everything around you.
Since every musician understands and interprets a piece of music differently, it was hard to find a pianist, who would play the Moonlight Sonata as I would translate it.  I found a great artist, but have a look yourself, especially the third movement. She almost made me cry and laugh at the same time.

Beethoven “Moonlight” Sonata op 27 # 2 Mov 3 Valentina Lisitsa:

Beethoven “Moonlight” Sonata op 27 # 2 Mov 1,2 Valentina Lisitsa:

The Moonlight Sonata was composed in the summer of 1801 in Hungary. Beethoven remained a freelance artist and was the first composer to do so. He earned his money by composing and performing his music. This Sonata, which is one of the most popular piano sonatas from Beethoven, was dedicated, according to Wikipedia, to Beethoven’s pupil and passion, the 17 year old Countess Gulietta Gucciardi. But as I researched further about this Sonata I found on a website that according to Fischer: “ …this image has no connection with Beethoven’s intentions. He rather attributes this atmosphere to the feeling that overwhelmed the composer when he took watch at the side of a friend who prematurely left the world of the living. In one of Beethoven’s manuscripts there are several notes from Mozart’s Don Juan, notes that follow the killing of the Commander by Don Juan, and lower, this passage is rendered in C sharp minor in absolute resemblance to the first part of the sonata in C sharp minor. Analyzing and comparing, one could realize that it cannot be the case of a romantic moon lit night, but rather of a solemn funeral hymn.” (all-about-beethoven)
For me the Moonlight Sonata is also rather a composition written out of suffering grief and loss than out of romance. I compare his three movements to the three stages of grief described by Dr. Roberta Temes, which are numbness, disorganization, and reorganization. In the first movement the Adagio Sustenuto I can hear the numbness through the heavy and slow melody. In the second movement the Allegretto seems to be almost disorganized with its syncopation, as if from someone who tries to show happiness and mask his depression. The third movement, the Presto Agitato, is again fast, almost light, uplifting and organized. This comparison shows to me that the Moonlight Sonata was not written for a romance, but rather for a dead friend.

Works cited:


Peter Paul Rubens "Cimon and Pero"At first this seems a strange subject for a painting: a young woman giving her breast to an old man tied up in chains in a bare prison cell. But I was fascinated by its liveliness, by the vivid colors and by the certain feeling of ultimate love which the old man projects. My son is nursing and I saw a lot of parallels between my baby’s and the old man’s facial expression while nursing. This made me wonder what the picture was all about and I assumed that it had something to do with feeling secure at a mother’s breast, which is the safe place for a baby. Well, after researching the meaning of the picture, I found out, that I was not that far off.
This relatively large picture was painted by the famous Antwerp artist, Peter Paul Rubens around 1630 in Antwerp. The painting is now visible in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The story is in fact from Roman history and the painting is called Cimon and Pero. I learned on Christie’s website that “the theme is generally known as “Roman Charity” and the story was popular among 17th Century Painters as it was regarded exemplary of filial love.”
Cimon is Pero’s father. He is in prison awaiting execution and has been given nothing to eat. Pero has recently had a child and saves her father from starvation by secretly giving him her breast. To enliven the scene, Rubens has added two prying prison guards on the right.
The Peter Paul Rubens website says about the painter: “Peter Paul Rubens (June 28, 1577 – May 30, 1640) was a prolific seventeenth-century Flemish Baroque painter, and a proponent of an exuberant Baroque style that emphasized movement, color, and sensuality.” I think this painting is a great example for this description and the unique style of the artist.
Rubens career was probably also influenced by the fact that he got knighted by the king of Spain and the king of England. This made him Sir Peter Paul Rubens according to the Paul Peter Rubens website: “In addition to running a large studio in Antwerp which produced paintings popular with nobility and art collectors throughout Europe, Rubens was a classically-educated humanist scholar, art collector, and diplomat who was knighted by both Philip IV, king of Spain, and Charles I, king of England.”

Works Cited:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Charity 12/17/2010