Friday, April 02, 2004

Post-Modern Art and the Disillusioned Experience 

I am about to analyze a piece by Gentileschi, "Judith Beheading Holofernes," for my Art History class and am accompanied by my good friend, Miles Davis, as I meditate. The selection of music is not altogether complimenting the era within which the piece was produced. But, there is never a bad time to listen to jazz, is there?

Just to blend epochs a little more, I am going to break before I start and write a little tidbit on this fascinating Post-Modern church that Cuthill lectured on last class. Apparently, these two guys got together sometime mid-20th century to artistically express the disillusionment of Post-modernity via architectural symbolism. So these guys, Newman and Rothco, build this church which stands simply for that purpose. In front of the church is a structure placed within a fountain that is designed as such: the base, being the water, parallels the meaninglessness or void upon which the ideals of man have been established. Upon that rests a pyramid, expressing the height of the advanced Egyptian civilization (progress, movement, sciences, etc.,). To top the whole thing off, a precariously positioned obelisk turned on its head is balanced on the apex of the pyramid. This, of course, symbolizes Roman power and civilization. The poignancy of the structure is the thought that has pervaded the "Post-modern" era; that all of man's aspirations and dreams are empty and broken, meaningless and foundationless. The inverted obelisk portrays that all of the progress of man has been turned on his own head. Pretty odd looking thing, but what a statement!

Then Rothco got real creative. The murals that decorate the walls of the church are, quite simply, colour fields. That's right. A mass of canvas with one plain, inert colour streaked across it from corner-to-corner. What does this mean, you ask? Apparently, since the eye could focus on absolutely nothing within these pieces--no object, no movement, no lines, no shape, no perspective--they protested that there is no longer any focus on anything meaningful, progressive, or spiritual within our Western culture.


I think it would be a tad depressing to visit such a church. And at the same time, altogether fascinating.

Just some food for thought.

God Bless on all your studies and various responsibilites :o)!

Rach <><

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