Have you ever stood in the ocean? Embraced its waves; felt its chill? I have. I love the ocean. I don’t know about you, but I crave the ocean. I need its salty smell. I need the foam on my toes. And I need to see the rolling, thrashing waves—whether under the moonlight or in sunshine. Perhaps that is the very reason why I was so drawn to painter Emil Nolde’s painting, “The Sea B 1930.”
As you can see from the image, the painting is
beautiful. It is an oil painting, stemming from Nolde’s expressionist
background. The expressionists typically developed works, whether written or
painted, etc., by evoking an emotional response rather than focusing on the
natural or realistic elements. These kinds of influences are clearly evident in
this painting as the colors and texture are rich, deep, and evocative. Specifically,
I felt drawn to this piece because of its dark essence and immediate sense of power.
The ocean is alluring enough as it is, but the way Nolde captures this visual
moment renders viewers speechless and in awe. This painting is so
And perhaps the next person would barely even feel a flinch of anything, but I felt a deep appreciation for the power and beauty of nature. I was enamored by its strength and magnificence—two things I am undeniably drawn to and hunger for. This painting “blew my mind.”
While there were many other art pieces that I appreciated for their delicate or intriguing attributes, I have selected another water piece that is not a painting, but is instead, a visual poem, to reflect upon in juxtaposition to the first painting.
The second piece I have chosen for analysis is the beautifully crafted visual and autobiographic poem called the “Ode á la Bièvre” created by the French artist, Louise Bourgeois. This was intended to be bound in a book format, however, the museum chose to display it as follows. Here are two pictures of the item.
Similarly to the first piece, I was drawn, once again to this piece for a similar allure. It is large and has blue all throughout. Blue is my favorite color and is also representative of the ocean and bodies of water. As I looked at the varying blue patterns, I realized that this piece was so much more than just an aesthetic box of patterns. I found words interwoven into these patterned images, creating a textual and visual piece of someone’s life. From the title,it appears that this piece of art functions as on ode—a poem declaring love or praise for something. I have written my own ode (an ode to the ocean), modeled after the Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda’s ode formats, so this format by Bourgeois also “blew my mind.”
In addition, the piece is made from varying pieces of fabrics. It is eclectic and appealing. I realized that I love collecting relics of my life. At home I have numerous scrapbooks with bits and pieces, such as, recollections of prom, movies I’ve seen, pictures of me at varying ages, etc. It appears that part of this piece is exactly that: textile versions of memories. According to the information provided by the Tate Museum, “the original book was created using items that Bourgeois had kept for years such as the napkins from her bridal trousseau.” I suppose the part of me that holds onto to special keepsakes appreciates this form of art.
From research, I found that Bourgeois is known as the founder of Confessionist art. This style is very resembling of autobiographical art, but also can be seen in light of a confession session in a catholic church. It is a spilling of the inner soul into art—a sort of art therapy. Again, according to the information provided by the Tate Museum, the title of the piece represents a river that was a part of Bourgeois’ childhood in France. Notably, the ode is to the river. This is specifically documented in one of Bourgeois' framed fabrics when she writes: “it was because of that river that we bought the house in Antony.” It appears that the different pieces of fabric are representative of monumental moments in her life.
It is evident that both these pieces of art are beautiful and compelling in different ways. While Nolde’s painting captured my soul through first capturing my eyes, Bourgeois’ use of texture, fabric, the color blue, and words made me curious as to what the flow of these elements could represent. Each of these pieces of art blew my mind for various aesthetic reasons.
Cinetrek 4 at the Tate Modern Museum