Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Art Lecture - Erika Harrsch

       Earlier in February, Erika Harrsh presented her work in an artist lecture in the Knowledge Center. Showing each work she had presented in exhibitions, she explained her reasons and inspirations for each piece. The butterfly, the monarch butterfly especially, inspires her in every piece she creates as it stands as a symbol of life, death, change, and indigenous culture. Erika Harrsh also bases her works off of powerful themes such as identity, migration, materialism, and music.

This artist showed a true creativity in her approach to certain powerful themes of her art pieces. For example, her first piece, Imagos, were Photoshopped pictures of butterflies from around the world. There is a subtle difference however; the center body of the butterfly has been replaced with different pictures of female genitalia. It never truly showed until you looked at it for some time therefore showing her cleverness in the collage. Once the truth was revealed, her theme of identity became so much more powerful. One of her most creative pieces was her United Nations of North American Passport. The amount of research she took time to gather certainly showed in the final product. Her passport is almost identical to a normal passport, and she creatively combined the symbols of all three North American countries to create her concept of a passport for one combined nation. The factor that truly touched me was her willingness to go out and make a fake passport stand in different countries. The stories she had to tell from each hit home for me. Erika Harrsch’s theme for this passport was migration, and her journey from country to country made it stand out all the more.

        Her attention to detail and the complimentary factor of sound to art astounded me. By far, her most interesting piece was the Erika Harrsch LED Cello. The amount of work she placed into making each sound have their own piece of art accompany it on the LED screen amazed me so much. The art and animation shown on the LED screen varied from analogous to complimentary colors in order to create good contrast. The art itself was one very well placed collage. In my mind, Erika Harrsh created a dual purpose: giving a beautiful visual concept to the sound of the cello and giving her artwork a sound to have it transcend to affect more senses. 

         Overall, her visions behind the works as well as her works themselves made her lecture far more enjoyable than I had originally expected.

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