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I was really inspired of a painting I observed over at the Arsenale by Eugene Von Bruenchenhein that was classified as untitled. I plan on one of my pieces having a wood canvas with a drawing of Mary and baby Jesus then over top of the image I would use Bruenchenhein's finger painting technique with vibrant colors. 

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Similar style to this artwork.
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Quick sketch of my idea.
 
 
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1.
Eugene Von Bruenchenhein "Untitled" No. 704 is a small to medium sized oil on canvas. He creates paintings that have a chaotic apocalyptic appearance. He uses rich vibrant colors that have no apparent color scheme which could emphasize its chaotic appeal. It looks as if fireworks are shooting high in the sky. Bruenchenhein makes dynamic lines with these "fireworks" even though the overall painting is considered to be abstract. Bruenchenhein in fact has a unique style he uses to his paintings simply by using his finger as a paint brush to create wave like motions in his art. 

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Sri Astari's Pendopo: Dancing the Wild Seas is found in the Indonesia Pavilion by Albert Yonathan Setiawan. He creates seven bedoyo dancers which are made of leather (upper body), steel mesh (garments), and wood (majority of the figure overall).The figurines are life sized with exaggerated facial and physical appearances with their long pointy noses and skinny straight body. Its apparent that it could be a traditional ceremony where the figurines are all positioned in the same way to indicate dancing or a sense of motion. There's a symmetrical balance between figurines on each opposing side, facing one another concludes to my theory of the art being a spiritual/traditional organized dance. 

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Venetians by Pawel Althamer constructs 90 life size abstracted human sculptures made from his father's plastic manufacturing company. He then cast the hands and faces of locals and used plastic ribbons and steel to form their bodies. It is quite a surreal piece of artwork to have realistic faces but have everything else be abstract. Althamer explains about why he choose the weird physical appearances because "it is a major achievement to realize that the body is only a vehicle for the soul." Each figure looks like they are trying to figure themselves out like they don't know what to do next Each figurine has many negative spaces due to their decaying, ribbon like bodies. In fact, the plastic ribbons used for the bodies keeps the viewers eyes moving along as it intertwines with the body which leads up to the head and down to the feet.

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Alfredo Jaar: Venezia, Venezia (Pavilion of Chile) is a replica of the Giardini venue with all the 28 national pavilions. It took one year to create the 160 scale model. Every three minutes it will rise and fall in the dark, greenish water. Jaar creates these perfectly miniature architectural pavilions that are quite accurate to their original pavilions. Jarr states is a utopia that has been left behind so when it emerges to the surface its like a "ghost from history." He wants the audience to rethink the model of the Biennale. You can move around the three-dimensional piece and find a different perspective at every angle. But you have to move quick though because in no time it'll submerge back into the water. 

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Roberto Cuoghi conducts a massive bizarre sculpture called Belinda (2013) that is 450 x 400 x 315 cm. What is impressive about this piece is that it was made from a 3D printer then loaded down with stone dust. Despite its real consistency it still looks realistic rock in the viewers eyes. Cuoghi uses a combination of both organic (the overall shape) and geometric shapes (the little horizontal lines) in his sculpture. You can see how the whole entire sculpture is textured. It looks as if it came from a cave, ancient artifact, or even from outer space. 

 
 
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This oil on canvas is Jean-Frédéric Schnyder’s self-portrait Stigma created in 1987. The rich monochromatic colors work really well and makes the subject matter pop. The use of the values in monochromatic reds is beautifully done making a smooth transition. I'm not sure as to what this painting is about but the man in the painting has his hands up which usually signifies vulnerability especially since he seems to be in the nude. Is he using body language as a sign for giving up? Is he stuck?

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    Peter Fischli & David Weiss's: Suddenly this Overview in 1981 is a collaboration of over 200 very small unfired clay objects that are unrelated to one another yet have a humorous theme to it. No matter which clay artwork you see, it indicates a playful and whismiscal side of life. Fischli and Weiss want viewers to find humor in events throughout life. All the artwork seems to be in a simplistic form, what we would find similarly if a kid had made it.

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Sarah Sze creates an installation, Triple Point (Planetarium), representing the United States of everyday found objects but conducted in a more meaningful and visually interesting manner. Her installation is intricately detailed as if she's organizing disorder into something meaningful. With all the lines going sporadically everywhere, the viewer gets a sense of chaos and dynamic motion. It's difficult to say if this piece may have more than one focal point depending upon which angle you perceive it in.


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Kimsooja uses mixed media such as mirrors, translucent film, and light refracting off objects to create her installation called To Breathe: Bottari at the Korean Pavilion. It's an interactive installation where you the subject and appear in different mirrors placed on the floors, walls, and ceiling making it seem as if your are in different dimensions thus creating depth. With light from outside reflecting off the mirrors, viewers can experience of seeing a multitude range of colors. Kimsooja also created an anechoic chamber submerging participants in a space completely filled with darkness and the sound of your own breathing. The purpose of the anechoic chamber is to illustrate ignorance, how we take light and sound for granted.

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In the Venezuela Pavilion, Jorge Vivas (also known as Shock) graffiti coming to life was mesmerizing. He used a mixed media of spray paint, sound, and projected lights. First he spray paints the word "Shock" onto a blank white wall creating thick lines and effective use of values to create a sense of depth as if the graffiti was actually three-dimensional. Then the projected lights come into play making the word Shock comes alive by portraying actual movement of these red lines that infiltrate Shock, giving it a neon green glow for a second. The lights interact with the pace of the urban cultural music which he grew up with. It is a way for Vivas to be creative by intertwining his environment growing up and art in one.

 
 
How depressing that it is the last full day of my Venetian adventures. I'm surely going to miss this place but hopefully I can come back one day! My main goal when I was a freshman in college was to travel to Italy and I did! It was more than I ever expected! So for our last adventure is to travel back to the Biennale this time to check out the other venue, Arensale! Just goes to show just how big the Biennale is when you have to split it up in two days. We were on a time limit so the graphic designers could meet up for Hangar Design but I managed to see just about everything in the Arensale venue. It was amazing! What a good way to check out one of the coolest museums on the last day. 

Off to Hangar Design with Professor Slagle and the other graphic designers! Hangar Design had a very modern minimalist yet sophisticated layout. I wish I had an office like it. Not to mention they were genuinely friendly and hospitable to our Lander group. They have a diverse variety of graphic design to work with like designing wine bottles, makeup cases, interior design, sketch books, and much more! I can only hope to work in a management similar to Hangar Design in the states! As a parting gift, they gave each and everyone of us a personal Hangar Design sketch book and a large design book for Professor Slagle. How impressive to say not only have I looked at historically ancient art but also a graphic design firm in Italy!
 
 
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Our Lander group went to Scrovegni Chapel that has the oldest and yet most important artwork of Giotto in 1305. They are very strict with their rules and for good reason too. The artwork is so old that they only allow a maximum of 25 people to enter at a time. The visit is for 30 minutes and for 15 minutes of it you are in a waiting room which is just the right amount of time to stabilize the interior microclimate so the art will not get damaged. Once you enter you can see some of the damage but still amazing how they managed to restore majority of it! From left to right on the opposing walls has biblical stories in order like the birth of Jesus or the Annunciation. I really enjoyed the Last Judgement by Giotto where Jesus is enlarged (so again focal point) to display importance and has those who will be saved on his left and see those who are suffering in hell on his right.


A small group of us went to Verona consisting of Haley, David, Jill, Lindsay, Bailey, and myself. It started off being one of the worst trips to one of the most memorable! The train ride was a lot longer than we anticipated which was about two to two and a half hours. We were afraid we would not make it in time to do gondolas with the other group we had planned earlier that day. Since we made it so far to Verona, we found ourselves a taxi that took us straight to Juilet's (Guilietta) balcony but on the drive we got to see the Arena. The Verona Arena is one of the biggest and well preserved amphitheaters that was built AD 30. Today, it still performs famous operas holding more than 30,000 visitors where people all over the world come to hear. When the taxi arrived to Juilet's balcony we had to run a short ways since 1) there was a crowd 2) the taxi meter was still running (we had only an hour venture until our train back to Venice would arrive). We did it! Miraculously, I got to see the balcony, Juilet's statue, write my boyfriend's name & mine on the wall with all the other couples, and go to the gift shop. The meter didn't cost practically anything split between six people and made it in time for our train ride. 
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Made it to Verona!
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Guilietta's statue
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Lovers put their name on the locks and chain it to the gate to solidify they will be together forever :)
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Where I wrote my boyfriend and I's name (I'll have to go into photoshop to make it more noticeable)
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Part of the Arena!

We made it back in just the nick of time to meet up in Ca d'oro with others to do a gondola ride in the evening! I can also check that one off my bucket list now too. What's an Italian adventure without gondola rides? I absolutely loved it!! Our group was so huge we took two separate gondolas. The gondola ride I went on had the following passengers: Lindsay, Oscar, Caesar, Brandy, and Anne. We had a great gondolier who even sang a little for us and told us the history of the buildings we paddled by. I think we chose a great time to go because about towards the end of the gondola ride, the sun had gone down and the lights of the alleys and restaurants lit up. Simply stunning. Good news too I didn't fall over aboard nor did anyone else!
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The passengers (except Caesar since he's sitting beside me)
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What a view!
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The subtle lights gave such a lovely atmosphere
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Our other group!
Gondola ride!!
 
 
First stop on our eighth day of adventure was to see Accademia! They, too, had strict rules indicating no photography was allowed. I guess it was a nice break for my camera. The one that caught my attention the most was The Feast in the House of Levi by Paolo Veronese. The canvas is one of the largest sizes in the 16th century measuring to be 18 x 42 feet. The focal point is obviously Jesus in the center since he is more spaced out than the rest of the subject matter. The guests are packed to the far left and far right of the canvas. You get a sense of chaos and an idea that it must be a banquet with all that people. I enjoy the bravery of using such a large canvas while keeping everything proportional, detailed ripples in their wardrobe, and use of vibrant hues.
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Me in front of an Andy Warhol original
Next Peggy Guggenheim Museum! I didn't realize just how many art belonging to contemporary artists would be there! Just about every artist there was mentioned in my art history classes with Dr. Pitts such as Picasso, Calder, Warhol, Dali, Ernest, Pollock, etc. I felt impressed with myself to be able to acknowledge some of the paintings/installations. I loved that I was able to get up close to see the brush strokes of artwork belonging to Pollock or the smooth transitional shading of Salvador Dali. The humorous part of the trip was I ever so slightly bumped a table while I was admiring art when I hear a lady say, "That's part of the exhibit. Don't touch." The table didn't look anything special or artistic to me so I wondered if maybe just maybe it belonged to Guggenheim herself. Definitely one of my favorite museums in Venice. 

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Caitlin and I figured this would be a perfect opportunity after Peggy Guggenheim to go see Murano, the island of glass! I think I'm in love, Murano is beautiful and anything ranging from large to small glass items are everywhere! Went to a store called "Al Dogi" where artisans have live performances blowing glass. They moved speedy too with no hesitation! There is literally no time for error when dealing with glass blowing. I purchased a Murano glass horse figurine from Al Dogi and I think I got a pretty good deal for it, 7 euro. I got quite a bit of souvenirs overall in Murano. I was nervous though how much glass I was going to have to put in my carry on. Afterwards, Caitlin and I sat at the edge of the sidewalk, our feet almost touching the water, while we sketched the scenery. After a while, we caught up with Professor Slagle and his wife, Stacey.  We joined his group and traveled right over to Burano.

Burano is absolutely beautiful! The whole town is just a masterpiece itself! Way more colorful than Rainbow Row in Charleston. So of course we had to take loads and loads of photos. The reflection of the colorful houses in the water gave it such a beautifully surreal feeling. Almost like a Doctor Seus book. Surprisingly, I did not purchase any lace in Burano, but in my opinion the pictures themselves were more beautiful than the lace. We then ate at a restaurant that Robert De Niro himself even ate at in the past. It was like a dream to have such a beautiful scenery while eating filet mignon and a huge chocolate cake that I shared with Sean. I could easily have done that whole day all over again the same way. Except maybe for the misquitos we encountered at night but I had my handy dandy bug spray that saved our group, an Australian family, and other tourist. To top off the evening, to entertain ourselves on the water bus back to Ca d'oro we did stop motion photography, sang camp songs that Sean taught us, and saw fireworks off in the distance. 
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The view I got when eating outside the restaurant
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Burano at night
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Deliciously rich chocolate cake that I shared with Sean
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Where I stuck my "You Are Beautiful" sticker in Burano
See from my perspective of Burano!
 
 
PictureChilling in Piazza San Marco Left to Right: Emily N, Me, Lindsay, Bailey, & Caitlin (cute photo but the pigeon covered her face :( )
Took a ride on the water bus to our destination Piazza San Marco! Seriously Italy in general has the best architecture I've ever seen. There is so much detail in everything!! We even fattened up the pigeons by throwing bread crumbs at them. I managed to have one in my hand for a nano second which was an interesting feeling and then I might have hand sanitized right after. 

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Feeding pigeons in Piazza San Marco
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Professor Slagle is the pigeon whisperer

Back on the water bus we headed to the Biennale where I checked out majority of the Giardini venue. What a large art museum and not to mention such a variety of art media. You name it, graphite drawings, paintings, installations, interactive pieces, sculptures, videos, etc. Some of them we managed to know right off because of our warm up assignment before Italy but its such a strong impact to see it in person of course. Like some of the ones I didn't think I'd particularly cared for turned out to be much better when its right in front of you. One of my favorite things about Giardini were the housing countries filled with different themes and no two were alike. Even the restaurant was geometrically artistic with its use of shapes and vibrant (almost neon) colors. Not a bad price on the food either. I got myself prosciutto and cheese sandwich with a coke for only 7 euro.
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After we left the Biennale, we wanted to find this Lido beach that the UK ladies had told us about. So Po, Emily N, Bailey, Lindsay, Ceasar, and myself navigated our way on the water bus to the correct location. It was fantastic, it's two of my most favorite things combined: the beach and Italy. What could be better than that?

 
 
I could hardly wait to spend six days to sightsee and explore Venice! Before we left for our train ride, we had extra time to do whatever we pleased so I went with a group to shop around one last time in Firenze. I was really going to miss Florence. It had such a pleasant atmosphere and where everything was nearby for you convenience. I wont't be able to compare Florence to anywhere else. 
Two hours later on a leisurely train ride we arrive to Venice! I was also grateful that this would be the last time we would drag our luggage to a hotel but man was it worth it to travel to Venice! But as soon as we arrived I knew Venice would be my favorite place. The first thing I see in Venice is the bustling of the water buses and the building, San Simeone Piccolo. What a sight. I had never seen anything like it. Then we headed to the nearest water bus with our luggage to take us to Ca d'oro. 
Here's a video from my perspective when I first arrive to Venice!
Once we got settled in, Lindsay, Caitlin, Oscar, and myself went to a little restaurant near our hotel. I wanted to try some seafood so I chose fried shrimp. It was so good that we had to order once more platter in fact. While we relaxing and chatting we met an elderly Texan couple who had been there for about a month and were leaving to go back to the states in the morning. They gave us much appreciated advice as well as some ladies from the UK who told us to check out a beach called Lido. When dinner was finished, we explored Venice streets with gelatos at hand watching the night gondolas paddle down water alleys. 

 
 
We walked onto our next destination, the Galleria dell'Accademia! The gallery is known for containing one of the greatest sculptures in the world, Michelangelo's David! Everything in the gallery was fantastic but the statue David was the one artwork I spent the most time admiring. We were not allowed to take photographs (but I managed to sneak a picture of the back of David!) so I sat down and sketched parts of David in my sketchbook for about an hour. The statue was much larger than I expected! I figured the statue would stand maybe ten feet at max but in actuality he was about seventeen feet tall! Michelangelo's style was Realism and to better understand the human anatomy he dissected bodies. I found out his oversized right hand symbolizes the hand of God which powered David to kill Goliath. Once I was back to reality I remembered I had a limited amount of time so I tore myself from David to check out the rest of the scenery. 

 
We strolled to the Uffizi gallery that had halls and halls of artwork from a variety of media. Again I had to remind myself to look up at the ceilings to not miss out on anything. Uffizi was so large that I would have to backtrack because there would be a room I passed. Like I said in a previous blog, I'm quite interested in Greek mythology so I was on a mission to find the Birth of Venus by Botticelli, combing beauty of nature and the human body. I was able to find it! The art piece was a much larger scale than I anticipated! It was so lovely despite the Birth of Venus having a more dull like appearance but that didn't take away much from the Renaissance ideal sense of beauty. 
Another piece that caught my attention is the copy of the sculpture Laocoon by Baccio Bandinelli. Laocoon portrays a Trojan priest and his sons being attacked by serpents that have been sent by Neptune. The reason Laocoon was attacked because Neptune was on the side of the Greeks and Laocoon was going to warn not to bring forth the Trojan horse. The serpents intertwined throughout the bodies incorporates movement to keep the eye moving.
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Once we had freetime, I figured I'd take up on that offer to go eat at Illtini where they serve you a five course meal. Let me tell you it was difficult to keep up, I was so full by the end and so so exhausted. I could literally fall asleep right then and there. Yet, I'm proud I was adventurous to try different food like yoki, rabbit, and a vast amount of desserts (that wasn't difficult to try ;) ). I can't remember too well but there was a cookie like substance that you would dip in a orange alcoholic drink. Very delicious, wish I could substitute it with something I can find here. Once I was back at my hotel, I chatted with Lindsay, Caitlin, Bailey, Oscar, and Ceasar then passed out.

 
 
Last day in Rome, bitter sweet, but I was ready to continue on my adventure to Florence! Last few hours in Rome were in search of souvenirs for my family, friends, and myself. I got a good amount of goodies but didn't want to spend all my euro when Florence and Venice has yet to come! Once that was done, our group headed out on a train for two hours but good opportunity to chill, sketch, talk, and look through my tour book (translation too while I was at it). 
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Just arrived and not too far from our hotel is the Duomo! Just amazing! I'm enjoying everything Florence has already, I even feel like it has more of a laid back atmosphere as opposed to Rome and strangely not nearly as many beggars. The people of Florence seem to be more hospitable too. It's interesting to see the similarities and differences of different places in Italy. Aside from that side note, one of the first artworks I see is the Mosaics of the Baptistry of the Duomo. The amount of gold leaf is unimaginable but made a overall amazing piece. The story behind it is Jesus is the main focal point with presenting a thumbs up and a thumbs down. The thumbs up is in the directions of those who will be saved while the opposing side with the thumbs down will be those who will perish in hell. Afterwards, I made it in time to see inside the Duomo. What was interesting was there was a live service going on the other side of the Duomo. How inspiring to have a church service surrounded by Renaissance artwork where many others hundreds of years back did the same exact thing.


Another artwork that I wanted to see was bronze doors, The Gates of Paradise, by Ghiberti. The door is almost three-dimensional so it is very effective displaying depth. It took Ghiberti 27 years to create and was able to win the Arte di Calimala (Cloth Importers Guild) competition. One of the competitors he defeated was Brunelleschi himself that ranked as runner up in the contest.
Once it was freetime, Lindsay, Caitilyn, Bailey, and myself went down to one of the bridges in Florence. Can this place get anymore beautiful? The sun was going down as we sat on the bridge taking photos and watching the boats go by. It made me want to live there so bad! If only my family and other friends were there too I could live happily.
 

    Erin Ferguson

    A senior at Lander University. Visual Arts major with an emphasis of Graphic Design. I'm excited to blog all my adventures that I will encounter in Italy!

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