Today, I visited the Tyler Art Gallery, the South one, which has a lot to do with the mixing of cultures. I was therefore able to connect most of what I saw to this class, because this class has a lot to do with assimilation, the mixing of cultures. There are many pieces of art in the display, so it unfortunately would have taken a great deal of time to cover everything and then write about it. I picked five sites that really stood out to me and decided to primarily focus on those, even though I did examine everything.
The first piece of art that I examined was called “Clash of Cultures.” Like everything that I saw today, I absolutely loved it. It is a painting and portrays an older woman standing in front of a house with another older woman in the left window of the house, a Protestant pope in the right window, and a Catholic pope in the upstairs window. The painting is meant to be a depiction of the artist’s parents’ wedding day in 1946. The artist’s parents came from different religious backgrounds; one was Catholic, and one was Protestant, and for this reason, there were parental issues involving disapproval, ultimately resulting in religious hybridity. The painting, anyway, was gorgeous, very colorful, and by the way, I have that background knowledge because there was a panel of information located directly to the right of the painting, which I had to take the time to read. The painting, along with a number of other paintings that I looked at, was in a style known as “egg tempera.” I didn’t know what that was, but running a quick search on Wikipedia told me that it is “a permanent fast drying painting medium consisting of colored pigment mixed with a water-soluble binder medium (usually a glutinous material such as egg yolk).”
The next art piece that I looked at was a collection of photographs. There were two photograph collections that I looked at, and they were really neat because they were in a window display with curtains, as well. I really like this idea, because it made me feel like I was looking into a window to the past. However, what I don’t like about the window displays is that there is only a title next to them, no information, so I was left wanting to know more. For example, the first window display that I looked at was called “The Life of the War Hero” and featured photographs of a soldier during what I presumed was World War II, and that’s all I know. I wanted to know – who is this man? What was his name? I knew nothing and wanted to know more.
The second window display that I looked at was called “Ancestors.” The collection of photographs seemed, to me, to be different photographs of someone’s family, and one in particular really stuck out. It was a photograph of an older woman standing outside in a gown. She was staring ominously at the camera, and the photograph was a negative, so her eyes were white, as was her dress (which meant that it was actually black). It was, in a word, creepy. I examined the photographs and made note of the time period – a lot of time spent outside, and families were very close. There seemed to be a very high respect and admiration of the elderly, since they were photographed quite often. Once again, however, I was left wanting to know more. Whose families were these? Who took these photographs? None of this information was provided.
The next art piece that I looked at was another egg tempera painting. The painting was titled “The Adventures of Great Uncle Pete.” This was the exact opposite of the photograph collections. Like the “Clash of Cultures” egg tempera painting, I got some information. The painting was based on a photograph of the artist’s uncle, Peter Barone, who had been a sailor. The photograph, which was also on display, showed Barone standing on a ship. The artist changed the background, however, to feature an array of adventurous displays. There is an array of exotic places, the sea, and a dragon and knights. The artist really seemed to be proud of his/her uncle and was displaying that pride in this painting. Once again, it was very colorful, and I loved it.
The final piece that I looked at was called “La Mia Vita.” The painting looked like it might have been another egg tempera painting and shows an older woman in bed, and she doesn’t look all that happy. Again, there was some background information provided. The panel told me that the artist’s grandmother (the elderly woman in the painting) was, in a sense, stuck in time, that she thought that it was still forty years ago and that Roosevelt was still president. In the painting, behind the woman, were hills, fields, and an old barn, which I interpreted as memories. In front of the painting was a bed with a very colorful quilt, which I assumed was a replica of the artist’s grandmother’s bed. The old woman’s name, by the way, was Carrie Barone, so it was the same artist that did this painting and “The Adventures of Great Uncle Pete.” One thing that I really liked about this painting and the background knowledge behind it is that it kind of has this theme of being frozen in time, and, to me, that is kind of the whole theme of the art gallery, in a sense. The point of paintings and photographs is to capture time and make it a constant, just like it was in Carrie Barone’s mind.
I really wish that I had gotten photographs, but I didn’t want to risk being reprimanded, because I didn’t know if it was allowed or not. I really enjoyed attending this gallery and really appreciated all of the art. I also really enjoyed the music that was playing. It was very light, classical music and helped put me in that mindset of being in the time period. I was really able to link concepts such as assimilation and hybridity to what I saw.