Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Trifecta of Oil Paintings

After a tour of the stage in the Globe Theatre and a brief lecture on how the actors prepare for their role, I could not wait to roam around and freely explore the Tate Modern. This quote by Bill Voila was the first thing that stole my attention. I walked by it and came back to snap a picture. As I was perusing the masterpiece-filled floors of the Tate Modern last Monday, I kept that quote mind. I, then, discovered three works of art that I related each part of the quote to.

Vision as reception

Every artwork depicts different meanings to different individuals. Depending on our experiences, we may or may not see what others are seeing. This oil painting titled Mountain Lake by Salvador Dali is a perfect example of that. There are elements of this painting that I did not notice until after I read the description on the side of it. It’s very personal to the artist so I wasn’t surprised that I had a different interpretation of it. This, at first, just looked like an old telephone hanging on a pole in the middle of nowhere. But with a closer look I realized that the phone is actually disconnected. It made sense as to why the background is very dark and gloomy, even lifeless. Without the tool that helps us deliver and receive messages, we might feel isolated. That’s what this painting means to me. Communication is an important part of our daily lives that without it, we might as well be living in a remote area with no one to hear our thoughts. I also noticed the big rocks in the back of the painting. I think that it also goes back to the Stone Age when people did not have such technologies.

Vision as reflection

Out of the three works of art that I decided to talk about, Metamorphosis of Narcissus, also by Salvador Dali is by far my favorite one.  I love the contrasting colors on either side of the painting with the reds on the top and the blues on the bottom on the left side and then the opposite for the other side. One is a reflection of the other, but only the silhouettes match. Painted on the left side is a man sitting with his head on his knee, looking at his reflection in the water. On the right sides, is a hand holding an egg with a flower growing from it. To connect it to the second part of the quote, this painting means that what we see isn’t really what it always is. There are deeper meanings to thing that we don’t see on the surface.

Vision as projection

This oil panting, Portrait of a Doctor, by Francis Picabia is really bizarre. I had to ask the question: what was the artist thinking? There is so much going on and a lot of elements to look at. However, I feel like the main focus of this artwork is the skull on the corner of the painting.  The rectangular-shaped objects with two circles on the bottom of it, forced my attention to the bottom of the painting where the finger of the faceless man is projecting to the skull. The face is the primary outlet for us to project our emotions. So without a face, this figure has no identity and just looks like a machine. I also noticed that there are only a few colors used in this painting, perhaps to balance the busyness that’s going on in the painting.

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