American Art Assignment Presentation
Common Core Question: What does it mean to live a life of meaning and purpose? Group 4: Eleanor Danna, Corinne Lajoie, Dylan Saccone and Edwin Mercado
We chose to start with this artwork because it is one that, even though we have not discussed as a class, is found on our campus and students inconspicuously walk past each day. The title of this sculpture is Here by Sherri Kaslikowski and was created in 1996. The materials used to create this sculpture were white and black marble and can be found in the quad near the academic building. The artist’s father passed away during the evolution of this work, and this work was created as a memorial to his spirit. The artist made a statement that this work should offer “a sense of reverence for the moment at hand, a discovered oasis of peace and contemplation.” We chose to include this artwork in our collection because this artwork was created as a memorial to the artist’s father who passed away. The sculpture itself looks like a gravestone, symbolic of death. The artist chose to create this gravestone in honor of her deceased father’s spirit. The poem and the artist statement indicate that a person should feel a sense of peacefulness when they visit the stone, hinting at the peacefulness and calmness of death that comes after death. This sculpture is a place that offers peacefulness from daily troubles but also serves to the artist as a reminder of her father who has passed, keeping her father alive in her memory. What it means to live a life of meaning and purpose according to this work, in our opinion, means to reflect back on life and leave a lasting impression on those left behind. The artist’s father clearly left a mark on his daughter’s life because his daughter felt compelled to create a gravestone as a way to honor her father’s life and spirit and that life after death is meant to be peaceful. This is much like the men and women who die fighting for our country in war. The men and women are fighting for the ones who are left behind at home and in doing so are leaving a legacy and an example of how to live a life of meaning and purpose to those people after they pass on. In keeping with our theme of death and memorials of significant people to the artist, we then decided to analyze the Memorial of Clover Adams. Created by Augustus Saint Gaudens, this memorial was commissioned for Henry Adam’s wife who committed suicide. It is thought that her death was related to her depression caused by her father’s death. The suicide occurred on December 6th 1885 and was brought on by Clover Adams drinking potassium cyanide. After Clover’s death, her husband commissioned the memorial in her honor. The memorial is of a person sitting peacefully, resting against a slab of granite in an area of solitude. Although the figure is said to be a women, the features are almost debatably unisex and the viewer could see this hooded figure as either man or women depending on the observer of the statue. However many just see this statue as Clover Adams, the women this work was made in honor of. The figure’s face is buried in darkness, giving the work a somber feel. The meaning of this memorial is portrayed abstractly and meant to draw out the curiosity of the viewer. The mystery of this work also suggests an enigma about death and suicide. The Adams monument represents atheistic beliefs, shown through “her reserve and ineffable detachment, and remoteness from the world of Christian Morality.” -------------------------------------------------
This memorial clearly fits into our theme of death because this artwork was commissioned to honor someone who had died. In keeping with our motif of leading a life of meaning and purpose, it is difficult to determine exactly how Clover Adams lived her life that ended in depression-caused suicide and what her meaning and purpose in life was. We concluded that her father had significantly influenced her...
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