Thursday, June 23, 2011

La La Landscape

Alla Prima, ladies and germs....

Unit #3: The Landsacpe a.k.a.
Bob Ross andThe Beautiful and the Sublime

 Beautiful Disasters: Utopic Landslides and the Urban Sublime
Romanticism was an intellectual, literary, and visual arts movement that began in the latter part of the 18th century in Europe.  Romanticism was in part a reaction to the Age of Enlightenment’s scientific rationalization of nature.  Romantic painters were concerned with human being’s relationship to nature.  They used the landscape as a site of existential questioning.  Issues of spirituality were addressed in dramatic depictions of nature.  Storms, shipwrecks, icebergs, and infinite “wildness” were some typical depictions in Romantic painter’s oeuvre.  These images can be seen as metaphors for the “unknowns” in life.
Recent.  New.
Refers to Existentialism, which is a philosophical inquiry into the nature of existence.  Who am I?  What am I doing here?  What is my purpose?  Is there a God?  What is my relationship to larger movements of the universe?  Etc. etc. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “having and existential crisis”, which means (on an elementary level) that everything in one’s life is being questioned. 

Objective: Create a medium sized  “landscape” painting using what you have learned so far about composition, color relationships, color mixing, and brush techniques.   For this project, you will be introduced to glazing and atmospheric perspective.  Using these formal elements and traditional techniques, create a “convincing” space that will address existential and romantic concerns through a contemporary re-framing of the tradition of landscape painting. 

Using a combination of reference images and thumbnail sketches, work out your composition.  You may work from one singular image, several images collaged together, or base your painting off one we have looked at in class. You may also re-utilize the “derive” in order to find an area of the city that exemplifies some of these concerns:

How can the landscape be used as a site for questioning?
How is the contemporary landscape different than the 18th century?
What is our current relationship to nature?
How is it different from the early Romantic painters’ relationship to nature?
Are there some “universal” questions that continue to be asked through the framework of landscape?
How is nature “used” in OUR culture?
What are some contemporary depictions of nature?
How can issues of spirituality be addressed within a natural space?
What are some contemporary concerns in relation to natural spaces, spirituality, the unknown, and the fantastical?
How can a site become “charged” with meaning? 
What is the difference between just a pretty picture and a beautiful painting that address current issues?
How does global environmental change/disaster affect how we see, use, and depict natural space?

Old-William Turner, Casper David Friedrich, Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church, Jean Honore Fragonard
New-Peter Doig, Angelina Gualdoni, Daniel Richter, Eva Struble, Till Gerhard 

Reading: Enter the Dragon: On the Vernacular of Beauty
The Invisible Dragon by Dave Hickey

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