Monday, December 15, 2014

Artist Exhibit - DADA and Justin Quinn

During the first week of school, I was given a tour of the DADA exhibit in the Jot Travis by my German art history professor and one of my classmates. The DADA exhibit was truly meant for both artistic view and educational value as it served multiple purposes in the Jot Travis building. The middle exhibit helped to really make the exhibit educational yet inviting and interactive. There was a computer, plenty of books, wall pieces of articles discussing the history of Dada art, and a video that played with seats in front of it. The interactive quality of the exhibit was by far very well done, and I felt quite welcome in the space. Due to the welcoming atmosphere the middle room held, I also learned a great deal more about Dada art I had not know before since I read one or two books. The exhibit that by far took my attention the most though was Justin Quinn’s Not Everything Means Something gallery. I found it to be fascinating how Justin Quinn used typography and paper as his main art style and medium in the gallery. The piece that intrigued me the most was the piece on the left wall by the gallery entrance: a retelling of the story of Moby Dick using only the letter E. The pages and structure of the paragraphs were just like the original book. However, the structure changed more and more as pages went on until suddenly the Es were making shapes and forms on their own in the pages. As an artist interested in all fields, it was very astounding to see such a different form of art that I had only really seen one other time in a textbook. The gallery fit to the DADA theme as well. The words did not make sense and were very useless in conveying language. Still, Quinn used that to look into the form of language and give a simple letter in the alphabet another form. Overall, I was very highly impressed with the show that had been put on in the beginning of the semester. It was highly intriguing and very educational, but also feeded on a person’s curiosity and need for interactive qualities. Brett Van Hoesen, Justin Quinn, and all the students of the DADA exhibit did a wonderful job with their show, and I found myself going more than once to observe things I hadn’t focused much on the last time.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Artist Lecture - Justin Maes

During the month of October, I went to the opening exhibition and lecture of Justin Maes’ Return of the Gold exhibition in the Sheppard Contemporary gallery of the Church of Fine Arts. Justin Maes went forward and talked much about his life in art and how he came to do the current style he normally does now. A question I had asked him during his lecture was concerning a certain art piece I had seen coming into the gallery. Standing right by the entrance was this huge pink sheep made of foam and plastic. When I asked him what the purpose of the pink sheep was, he gave me a more simple answer saying that he thought pink would be a color that would grab more attention than simply grey. Maes explained that he made that sheep with no real purpose behind it; he simply made the sheep in the spirit of the western style as well as for fun. This was intriguing since it has been awhile since I have talked to an artist who did not have some sort of intricate meaning to his artwork. It was a good lesson to be learned: not all artists have a big meaning to their artwork but rather make pieces out of their own enjoyment. One of the most interesting pieces in the exhibit was the golden bull located in the back of the gallery. It reminded me of the golden calf from the Old Testament, the symbol of a manmade deity made by a desperate and bitter people. When asked about the golden bull, Justin Maes explained that he had made the bull for the sake of a reminder. In truth, as he said it, he had made his artwork much like the golden bull in the Bible; it had become a symbol of his arrogance. The golden bull stood as a symbol of false idolatry and a reminder that we need to sometimes step away from the work or style we’ve been working with and work with another. Overall, I’d say that his lecture was quite enjoyable. Justin Maes went with such a fun topic that seemed to fit with the Old West Nevada spirit. He used a ton of mediums like spray paint, cardboard, foam, wood, and video. The lecture showed that sometimes we all need to take a break from what we normally do and try out something new and fun at times.

Final Project - Wiichuck Instrument

For this final project, I wanted to create something that was both interactive and more small. I did not have a certain artist in mind as inspiration for the idea, but rather became inspired through looking at a multitude of art projects centering around working with Arduino boards. From the experiments we worked on before, I grew to be really interested in Arduino boards and how they work, so I decided on a project revolving around them. I decided to use a Wii nunchuck as my other device because of its versatile ability to perform many functions and gain many readings from a computer due to its sensory devices. To me, some of the most entertaining things can be found in some of the smallest devices, and I really wanted to incorporate a more interactive quality to my project so everyone could have fun with it. This project was a bit harder than I had expected to accomplish. I had to relearn my basic coding skills and even then getting the Arduino board to calibrate and recognize the Wii nunchuck was a big process. The hardest part was by far the coding. I had only taken one computer science class, and coding had never been a real strength of mine. Therefore, I needed a lot of help with the calbration of the nunchuck, but I was so happy when I finally saw it working. It took even more time to get the speaker to play sounds according to the movement of the nunchuck and its joystick, but I did eventually get it to work the way I wanted. The sounds give off a very computer-like, futuristic feel in its tones...almost as if the board is speaking its own language through the nunchuck. Overall, looking at things like the making behind circuitry and relearning how to code, I did learn a lot more about circuitry and the functions Arduino boards can perform with different objects. This was by far a fun project to attempt as were all the other projects I had done.