Art School: Semester 2, Week 8

Week 8 is over. It ended with a bit of a whimper.

We had snow on Friday. A fair amount by Vancouver standards, apparently, and at just before 1pm they closed the campus and started asking students and faculty to go home. That was a problem, as I had a lot I still wanted to get done.

Even more of a problem is that on Saturday I am supposed to take an English test. Yes, another one. This one is the school’s test. You see, I have no footprint in the Canadian school system. They don’t know — via any written history — that I can speak, read, and write in English. So despite English being my only language, I have to go take a test to prove it. That will let them figure out which English classes I am allowed to take (and yes, I am required to take one, and it seems unlikely I can test out of it, and no I can’t get credit for anything I did back in my original college days as there is no documentation beyond my transcript).

But I don’t know, as I write this, whether the school will be open tomorrow morning or not. I have no data on that.

So I am at home, earlier than expected, and chomping at the bit to do something else… something like work on my sculpture, or proof my intaglio plate.

Anyway, that’s the situation right now. Here’s the class specifics, as usual.

Art History

Another lecture, this time on the nude in art. Guess what? Art has treated women as objects since before Christianity existed. If this is a surprise to you, wake up. This is the year of the #metoo movement, and a President who brags about groping women. The fact that it has been going on in art forever should not be a surprise. Here are a few interesting points from class:

  • The Greeks felt the need to clothe women when portrayed in art until they were carving (or painting) goddesses, then it was okay for them to be nude, but only if they appeared to be covering themselves out of modesty. Nude men and gods were just fine. Go figure.
  • Once the Christian era starts, nudity gets mostly removed, though when it does happen — as when Adam & Eve are kicked out of the garden of Eden — they are generally shown as covering themselves, out of shame of course. That’s what the church wants.
  • During the renaissance nudity in art comes back, in the form of classical art including nude goddesses once again. Why is it OK to portray goddesses as nude but not actual people? Humans are weird.
  • We also considered a few more recent paintings, including Manet’s Olympia, where we start to see female nudity that challenges the conventions. That’s great and all, but then we have modern advertising, where perfectly fit women in bikinis are used to sell everything. Ugh.

There we ran out of time. There will be more on this topic in our next lecture, after the mid term which is next week.

Printmaking

We worked on our intaglio plates this week. I am making progress, but didn’t proof mine yet. I will do so later this week or on the weekend. Next week we’re going to crit proofs of our prints, rather than the final versions. The intent is to give us feedback and allow us to fix things as we go forward.

Sadly, three hours into class I got a headache and left. No idea what that was, but I seemed to be OK after a nap and a couple of acetaminophen tablets. Weird.

More from later in the week: I proofed my plate and it needs work. Not nearly dark enough. So I brought it home and reworked the object in the foreground (I am printing an image of a sculpture I created some time ago. The same one from the drawing included below.) My plan was to proof it again on Friday evening, but that didn’t happen because of the previously mentioned, snow induced, school shut down. Maybe I will proof it on Saturday, after the English test.

Sculpture

More work on the wood sculpture. No pictures this week because of the closure. I’ll try to get something next time around, though.

There has been progress, but it’s slow going. The icosahedron on the top is starting to come together, though I just had to wing the final design because the angles are not the same in a stretched one like this vs. a regular one (where all the sides are equilateral triangles). I’ve got it close enough, I think, and with some internal reinforcements it will work. Or it should. I hope.

Drawing

We went to the Beaty Biodiversity Museum this week on a field trip. There we sketched things we saw: skeletons, fossils, and preserved animals of various kinds. This is a research facility fully of (mostly) locked cabinets. Professors at the school come borrow samples they need for various things. It’s pretty interesting. They have a beautiful fossilized stingray that was my personal favourite:

fossil stingray

And they have a full blue whale skeleton hanging in the entryway, which is really something to see.

There was no homework assignment, however, the sketches we made will be used next week as we do some sort of work with watercolour. Details to be given to us next week in class, apparently.

Last week’s assignment was to draw folded drapery and something of a different texture. Mine is mostly done. It needs a few touch ups yet, however, and I might lighten the sculpture form up a bit too. Here’s a quick shot of it and the setup behind it. I’ll get a better image of the final work once I am sure it is actually final.

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drapery drawing — the sculpture is my own

That image is drawn in chalk and charcoal on black paper.

Media

Friday was the crit session for our audio projects. They were pretty interesting to listen to. Everyone took them in different directions, and they were much more entertaining than I expected. It was really fun, actually. I included a link to mine in last week’s post.

There is no homework this week. Next class we’re going to be given the video project, and that will be where things really get going in this class, I suspect. We’ll see.

And that ends the usual class summary. Here are this weeks interesting links:

Links

  • Here’s a movie to put on in the background while you are doing other things, unless you’re a flat earther. (In which case please stop reading my posts. We have nothing in common.) One full orbit of the earth as viewed from the ISS, in real time.
  • I never post about the olympics here, mostly because I don’t follow sport, but I have to share this:
  • Great news! James Damore’s first lawsuit against Google was thrown out.
  • The usual index of art school posts and other things here on Medium, because Medium’s display isn’t chronological, as far as I can tell.

Dog Pictures

Hey, Nicki! There is a dog picture this week! Tinkerbelle in the snow:

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Tinkerbelle loves the snow.

I’ll also put this down here, though it’s not a dog picture. This is what you see when you look up in the print studio:

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Still true.

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Sculptor/Artist. Former programmer. Former volunteer firefighter. Former fencer. Weirdest resume on the planet, I suspect.

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