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Writing Assignment DHR#1 Art 7a Beginning Drawing and Composition

Masako Miki, Sometimes It’s Better Not Knowing Too Much I, 2009

While browsing the SRJC gallery, this 22” x 30” narrative collage stood out to me. The bundle of boxes and the deer are arranged centrally on the page. They form two dominate areas that my eyes are conflictingly drawn to, wondering if the deer is aware of the danger. The gifts suspended insecurely in a loose bundle above the deer suggest mixed feelings of excitement, curiosity, suspense, and danger. The angular squares of the wrapped boxes are balanced by the smooth curving shapes of the containing ropes – just as the angles of the antlers are balanced by the smooth curve of the deer’s back. A similarity in the two dominant areas is established: the shape of the deer and the shape of the loops of rope; the rope branching out like an antler.

I’m reminded of the human relationship to the planet’s fragile ecosystem, the threat that blind consumerism holds over nature. This deer -- a symbol of gentleness in Native American culture -- has adult antlers, though he also has the spots of a fawn – another subtle conflict? or a hint that the fawn will survive and live to adulthood? I ask myself, “What do the colorful boxes contain? What surrounds the deer in the space around it? Is it trapped?”. I realize that the deer is also us.

I’m left with questions, and the title of the piece then addresses that by saying, “Sometimes it’s better not knowing....”

Sometimes its better not knowing too much

art (21), essay (2), painting (10), srjc (3)

Degree (56)

Writing Assignment DHR#2 Art 7a Beginning Drawing & Composition

Kathleen Youngquist, Upstage

This narrative painting has a lot of eye-catching movement. Though the overall tones of the composition are on the darker side, the triadic color scheme and liberal use of rich primaries add to the energetic feeling. It has movement implied by both the subject and the action-simulating long brush strokes. The figures’ clothes are flowing, arms and legs moving. The woman’s foot lifted in the background subtly takes on the shape of a bird flying. The feet they stand on seem barely grounded.

Since the female figure is facing away from the viewer and the male figure’s head is completely out of the composition, I’m made to look at their bodies for expression, the body language of their dance. They each have a hand that is blurred or partially out of the frame, as well as a hand reaching for each other, or barely touching, in what seems like the focal point, where there is open space and the brush strokes around the hands are more circular.

The dancers, with their individually different colored clothing, have a feeling of independence, though also dressed in stereotypical male/female outfits. Faceless, it’s as if they are loosing themselves. Their hands reaching and bodies turning toward each other suggest togetherness, but they don’t seem to make any real connection.

Upstage by Kathleen Youngquist

art (21), essay (2), painting (10), srjc (3)

Degree (56)

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