Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lifelike "Art"

The Blanton Museum of Art at the The University of Texas here in Austin is currently running an exhibit called "Lifelike".  This intrigued me as I have read about some of the artists whose works are on display.  One of those artists is Evan Penny.  He has this great knack for recreating human likenesses that are uncanny. So, my friend and fellow photographer Van Sutherland and I went down there during one of our lunch hours to check it out.

The work here is one Evan Penny calls, "No One - In Particular #6, Series 2 (Old)".  Very lifelike, indeed!  The lady observing the work in the photo is real, though (hehe!) and I don't know her.  However, I thought she added some interest to the shot and left her in.  Anyway, I was hoping to see more of this kind of stuff in the exhibit, but that wasn't the case.  You see, "the contemporary artists in Lifelike investigate often overlooked items and moments as subject matter: a paper bag, an eraser, an apple core, a waiting room, an afternoon nap. Favoring a handmade, labor-intensive practice rather than technological enhancements, the works in the exhibition—including painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, and video—transform the seemingly ordinary into something beguiling, loaded with narrative and metaphor." In other words, most of the stuff are recreations of everyday objects such as pencil erasers, legal notepads, etc.  They may be of a different scale, but that's what's there.

OK, since I like to take pictures I guess I could be considered an artist.  I guess that doesn't necessarily mean I know art.  I think the sculpture in this picture is great art, but there were things there that I just didn't understand.  For instance, there was a cardboard box hanging on the wall.  It looked like something that one would use to ship something in.  Just a regular, everyday box. It had packing tape on it and all that stuff.  Just hanging on the wall.  That's it.  I guess it was a recreation of a box made out of masonite or something, but I think I would've been more impressed by a real box hanging there.  Oh, and that wasn't the only one..  There was a similar box on its own pedestal under plexiglass!  Seriously?  This is art?  Some other things on display there were a suitcase in the middle of the floor with one side cut out, a car door on the wall, a recreation of a paperbag as mentioned in the paragraph above, etc.  This is where the artist in me fails to see the art in these things.  To me, it's not art, but just things.  I guess it can be considered art because of the old "eye of the beholder" saying, but I still don't get it.  To each his own, I suppose.  Maybe on some level it is art because of the work it takes a manufacturer and designer to make these real everyday items, but I don't think these things are the kind of art that deserves their own exhibit.  Except Evan Penny, of course!

This is a regular shot that I tweaked out and cropped in Photoshop CS6.  It's not an HDR, just a handheld shot.  However, I did take a few other shots that are HDR and I will be posting those in the coming days, so stay tuned!  I hope you enjoy the photo and thanks for dropping by!

Oh, and one other thing (as Columbo used to say), Thursdays at the Blanton are free.  That's when Van and I went and if you want to see this exhibit as well, I highly recommend going on a Thursday!  ;-)


Exif data:

Camera -  Nikon D700
Exposure - 0.033 sec (1/30)
Aperture -  f/8.0
Focal Length - 35 mm
ISO Speed - 3200
Exposure Bias -  0 EV
Flash - No Flash
Exposure Program -  Aperture-priority AE
Lens Model - Nikkor 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.


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