Art: Interpretation and Understanding

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  • Topic: Modernism, Abstract art, Visual arts
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Theory of Knowledge Summer Art Assignment

Prtha Kudesia
Mr. Duncan
HZT4UE-01
October 9th 2012

Initial Reaction
1. As you approach the art gallery, you will see a large, spindly sculpture outside the main doors. It is of a spider with a sack of eggs under its abdomen.

a. What is your initial reaction upon seeing this piece?  At first I was quite taken aback by the presence of such an intimidating sculpture of a spider in front of me, though as I walked closer to it, I became more and more curious as to what its meaning is. I am most definitely afraid of spiders, and I found it odd that they placed such an intimidating sculpture at the front entrance. Why was it placed there? Why is it a spider specifically? I considered these questions as I walked towards the work. However, despite my confusion, I could not help but feel a sense of being drawn towards it in wonder of what it means and what its purpose is; it had caught my attention quite well. In contrast to my initial impression however, another person may not appreciate the sculpture to the same degree as I did, and would rather have a more inviting and pleasant sculpture, perhaps that of a famous artist. b. Do you think initial reaction is a very important quality in art? Yes, definitely, since the first impression is what attracts and connects with the audience. It can either bore a mind, or capture it and develop more and more curiosity. For example, if I were to be shown one painting with only a couple streaks of paint and another painting with an entire landscape painted on it, I would most likely be more interested and curious about the second painting (given my idea of “good” art). Just based on my first impression, I could easily be captured by one painting, though clearly bored with the other. Another person, however, may argue that one should not “judge a book by its cover” and that regardless if you find a panting attractive or revolting, it will draw your attention and intrigue your curiosity further. c. Be sure to walk around the work, under the work and to touch the work. Has your reaction to this work changed? After concentrating on the sculpture and observing it with closer detail, I now feel a sense of security and warmth beginning to develop. At first I was quite taken aback and intimidated by the sheer size of the sculpture, however curiosity took the better of me and drew me in towards the sculpture. As I contemplated on the meaning of this work, I soon came to realize the true beauty of it; it signified motherhood. It portrays the security and peace a mother provides her young with, just as the spider is doing for her sack of eggs attached close to her body. After considering such factors, I began to develop a sense of peace and warmth towards the piece. On the other hand however, if one were not to realize the true meaning of this work, they may still remain hesitant and intimidated by the rough texture and feel of the art work, since it is can definitely give off unpleasant vibes at first sight.

d. Louise Bourgeoise is the artist of this piece. Look beside one of the main doors to find out what it is called. Do you believe the piece is appropriately titled? Why or why not? The title of this work is Maman, and is a bronze replica of the original sculpture introduced by Bourgeoise in 2000. I believe that since this work is titled Maman (French for mother), its meaning must revolve around motherhood. Perhaps since spiders are so protective of their young, and they eliminate other insects and pests which are of harm to their children (eg. mosquitoes, flies, etc.) they can be seen as helpful and shielding, exactly how mothers are. Therefore, by naming this art work Maman, I believe that Bourgeoise is trying to convey our distorted image of motherhood in our generation, and how this spider and its sack can signify the protection and safety mothers provide for their children. Also since the spider is created...
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