Mid Term Project

Suzie Hanks participation in the MAM MOOC "Hanging Out with Art"

I chose the Virgin and Child by Roger van der Weyden ca. after 1454, now in the MFA Houston because it captures the awkwardness and strangeness of both the physicality of a very young child and the feelings of the new mother about having had this child. The wonderment about who this new creature is with his serious little face and what he will become is captured in the virgin's thoughtful eyes. Her desire to know him is there in her pursed lips as she brushes her cheek against his. I have just returned from visiting my son and daughter-in-law for the birth of their third child and have seen and felt with the new parents this sense of wonderment.
Say It With Art - Dear Sam, I found a painting by William Merritt Chase that is in the Phillips Collection thinking someday my family might have a chance to go and see it together. It reminded me of the wonderful hide and seek game we playedthe last time we were together. The picture is very dark, evocative of the excitement and anticipation felt during the game. Also, the composition is unusual, there is a lot of empty space which heightens the dramatic effect. Love, Mom
Say It With Art Here is a Van Gogh in the Phillips Collection. I chose this for my husband because Van Gogh is his favorite artist but also because though it is a garden in Arles, it looks reminds me of the Jardin de Plante we strolled through so many times with our children and grandchildren the last time we were in Paris.
Say It With Art This is Still Life with Guitar by Botero in the Botero Museo, Bogota . It reminds me of our wonderful trip to Bogota with our son and daughter-in-law, who grew up there. During our visit we went to the Botero Museum. I imagine this picture in my son's kitchen hanging next to the window as if it were another window. But this picture window is magical because instead of seeing the house next door when you look out it you see the roof tops of Colonial Bogota. Thanks Mom! This made my day.
Find A Wrok That Expresses Joy: Here is a surprising art work by Gerrit van Honthorst now in the J. Paul Getty Museum collection. It is a trompe l'oeil placing us below a balcony where musicians are poised, serenading us with mandolins along with the help of a parrot and a dog. A lovely light blue sky gives an immense sense of space above them and the sun is lighting up their happy faces. This gives us an unusual point of view and the artist seems to know how much pleasure there is expressed in the image as well as the viewing of it. Please spend some time soaking up this wonderful carefree moment. You might even want to sing along or do a little dance for joy.
Token Response - Heart - This painting by Matisse is my favorite for today. I love the sketchiness of it which captures the feeling in a cluttered French room with its parquet floor. A little off-center is a table with its top tipped so we can see the lovely bowl of forget-me-nots. The table as well as other things in the room are partly in shadow, partly illuminated. I also love seeing through one space into another. The window is especially enticing with the light streaming in through the curtains that block the view so only a bit of the garden beyond can be seen. Even some of the garden viewed through the gap in the curtains is obscured by the grill over the window.
Token Response - House - This work by Degas intrigued me because it is so unlike his more familiar subjects. Degas went on a trip to Burgundy in the autumn of 1890. He traveled in a two seater carriage with his friend G. Jeanniot. Fall is my favorite time of year and this composition is restful. It is good to have restful things at home. Here is a quote from Degas about landscape painting. "Just now, fashion favors paintings by which you can tell the time of day as by a sundial. I don't like that at all. A painting requires a certain mystery, something undefined, a touch of fancy...." Degas to G. Jeanniot, 1890
Token Response - Yuck - Actually, when I want to say yuck in response to art it usually is when the image is too anatomically correct (which I find embarrassing) or displays indifference along with cruelty (which I find upsetting). Of course these reactions say much more about me than about the art itself. This piece by Robert Smithson is just beyond me and makes me feel stupid, which is a yucky way to feel. I can't see the metaphor. In an essay about 'non-sites' Robert Smithson tells of the dialectic between the point and the edge bringing in calculus and the idea of a limit and commenting that randomness is always to him very precise. I wish I knew what he was talking about.
Clock - each one of these camel leg bone assemblages made from fiberglass, latex and marble dust is unique and aren't they strange. It must have taken some time to design them and then fabricate them.
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