Last week’s assignment in my online class “Introduction to Art: Concepts & Techniques”, taught by Professor Anna Divinsky of Penn State College of Arts & Architecture via Coursera, was “The Fantastic and You”. We talked about dadaist, surrealist, and independent fantastic artists of the first half of the 20th century like Henri Rousseau, Salvador Dali, Jean Arp, Marcel Duchamp, Marc Chagall, etc. We were asked to produce an art piece in this spirit and to include an artist statement on the how, what, and why of our piece.
This collage is made of images cut or torn from magazines dating from 1945 to 2013 plus a map of a fictitious post-apocalypse version of my city of origin (helpfully torn to shreds by my cat). The images are glued onto butcher paper in ragged layers allowed to interweave in order to provide a three-dimensional effect.
I arranged the images into interlocking triangle patterns suggesting either time flowing or time standing still, trying to evoke moments frozen by memory or history against the passage of years and the need to save some of these moments of stillness. The clocks, watches and rooster suggested the marking of time, while the orchids, Egyptian sarcophagus and the woman’s watch shattered at Hiroshima evoked for me our brief, fragile lives.
In preparation for this assignment, I cleared my minds of designs and intentions and allowed my feelings to dictate image choices for their emotional appeal. I then considered the clippings and let a theme emerge; I then realized that I was stressed by my own choice to work on this assignment rather than attend to pressing but less interesting commitments. I turned 48 this week, and it seems there are always more chores than time left, yet I feel a desperate need to preserve some time for things I love, like art.
Edit: I received a peer score of 21 out of a possible 25, which I honestly think is too generous for the piece; I would have given it a lower score.
I received the following comments:
- peer 1 → It’s great. Very visually appealing and your message gets across well.
- peer 2 → Not bad
- peer 3 → Nothing to criticise. Got very much pleasure of viewing your art-work. I liked especially your 3 dimensions effect, it makes the entire work alive.