Category: October 10 (Page 1 of 3)

Art Museum

As a newfound student and fan of art, I was excited to see find we were looking at the art museum for this week’s lecture. Though I have never studied the origins of art, the topic is of great personal interest to me. I had never studied the specific origins of art, though I am aware of many of the early examples, and the perpetual potential for argument as to the specific origins of different kinds of art. I was somewhat surprised by the many different origin themes present in many different styles of art. As I have found with many of these lectures, I leave with more questions than when I arrive. Having known very little about the origin of anything from the universe to Italian Poetry or Novel Writing, I am repeatedly exposed to a new corner of the world which I know little to nothing about. In the brief time, it is impossible to learn the origins of anything to a satisfactory level. However, opening up these corners of the world, and shedding a bit of light on them makes me more curious, and I find myself wondering about the finer points of origins often. Can we prove the big bang? If we can prove that it happened, but we can’t prove how or why, then is this finding really significant? Does investigating this idea bring us more answers or will it lead to more questions, as the brief lecture on it has for me? How is is possible to define the first novel except by the definition used at the time when it was written? Is it possible to define the boundaries between poetry and music, or does doing so pigeon-hole a broad art form into a claustrophobically tight academic category? It was fascinating to learn so much about both a topic that I was previously very uninformed about, as well as a whole different method for investigating the topic. The origins within art is a topic that I find very interesting. However, the origins of different styles of art. Given the ambiguous nature of art and the nuance between different styles, there seems to be an endless ability to argue the minute differences between differences in styles of art and the origins of these various styles. This points to a lingering question that exists in the world of art in a broad sense. Who determines greatness, and importance, and how is it determined? It is possible to have a truly objective understanding of who started a certain style of art, or are we doomed to interpret the origins of this art form based on our pre conceived notions. It was very interesting to explore the origins of art through the museum, which hosts many different beautiful pieces of art from many different periods and styles. Having an experienced critic of art to explain the pieces and their meaning, and connecting it to the context of the origins was a very interesting way to change up the lecture.

The Many Origins in Art

On October 10th, our discussion of origins brought us to Shalini Le Gall, the curator of academic programs at the Colby Museum of Art. We have explored many different origin stories so far this semester from academic to natural realms, but it’s especially interesting to consider origins in the context of art and museums because of the many different ways they define origins. From one end of the spectrum you can consider origins of art as a whole, or you can think more specifically as the origin of art being a story unique to each piece. Ms. Le Gall explained that many would turn to the use of hieroglyphics as the answer to this question, but it’s actually much more difficult to pin down an exact point that art formed from.

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Colored Vases


Colby Art Museum

Haley Andonian

October 11, 2017


Walking around the art museum, I was shocked to see how many pieces of art work relate to the origins theme.  Origins can be found in anything and everything and are an important factor to consider when viewing and interpreting art.  The exhibit that struck me the most and that I found most blatantly relevant to the origins theme was the one titled Colored Vases by Ai Wei Wei.  The exhibit features multiple vases covered or partly covered in bright and colorful paint.  At a first, glance, with no historical context or background information on the artist, the vases appear as not much more than bright and aesthetically pleasing ceramics.  However, after learning more about the history of the original vases, the relevance of origins to the artwork becomes shockingly clear.

These vases are from the Neolithic era, which spanned from about 15,200 BC until 4500 BC.  As humans, we usually treat such old artifacts with a lot of respect and care.  We take the time to preserve them and protect them in museums, and in most cases the more well preserved an artifact the more its value.  These vases, like other artifacts, carry so much history and give us so much insight into the past.  In their original form, they could give us a glimpse of the lifestyles of the people of the Neolithic era, including information on their daily routines, tools, and intelligence.

It is thus shocking to see such precious and valuable items covered with vibrant paint in a seemingly careless manner.  Ai Wei Wei makes a bold statement about his view on origins by covering up these artifacts.  By both defacing the vases and concealing the past, he seems to be suggesting that the origins of these objects are not significant and do not deserve to be preserved or protected.

This exhibit has a big shock factor to it, but only once the origins of the vases are known.  Without knowing the history behind the vases, the paint seems harmless but once the viewer is made aware of how old the vases are he or she likely becomes perplexed, uncomfortable, or ever appalled.

Origins, thus, are very relevant to Ai Wei Wei’s Colored Vases piece.  They place meaning and context around the vases and help the viewer better understand the intentions of the artist.  In all pieces of artwork, the origins of the artists, the origins of the subject matter, and the origins of the physical materials are all very important to consider and add so much to one’s interpretation of the artwork.  Knowing where something comes from provides valuable insight and is crucial to a proper understanding and should thus always be considered.

I thought that this trip to the museum was very interesting and relevant to the origins theme.  This trip made me aware of the pervasiveness and importance of origins, especially in interpreting and understanding the message that an artist is relaying in his or her art work.

Museum Trip

Colby College students have such an amazing resource right on campus, yet many do not find the time to go and explore it; including myself. Walking through the museum last week was the first time that I have been to it this year. The museum is located right on campus and is open to everyone, yet I rarely make time to go and visit. Walking through the museum this time was particularly interesting as our guide was able to relate each art piece that we discussed to a larger topic that we have discussed in our class, and the topic of origins seemed to be present all throughout, even if it was not at first apparent. Continue reading

Angry About Pots?

We found ourselves outside of our usual lecture space surrounded by an eclectic collection of works. These works ranged from photographs and paintings to sculptures that you have to get up close to tell what they are. I found myself wondering, how does art, especially these pieces, connect to origins?  Continue reading

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