Along with visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art a few weeks ago, I also had the privilege to wander my way to The Barnes Foundation. It is this beautifully filled establishment that holds work of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and early modern paintings featuring artist such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, and Vincent Van Gogh. There are also examples of sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, textiles, decorative arts, and antiquities from all parts of the world.
In addition to this wonderful collection, The Barnes Foundation is holding an exhibition titled Person of the Crowd: The Contemporary Art of Flânerie. There is work featured by artists who touch upon issues in our modern day society relating to the economy, gentrification, gender, globalization, racism, and homelessness. As soon as I walked into this exhibition, I felt something powerful, amazing, and special within myself. The first thing I noticed was the lighting and space. The lighting was quite dimmed and dark compared to being in a fully bright and open spaced area. However, for me this was more welcoming! For one, I am huge fan of dimmed lighting because bright lights bother my eyes. Plus, there is something about a dark dimmed space that makes me a bit curious! As I strolled into the space there were projectors streaming videos of different performances, they were loud yet quiet at the same time and flashed from different areas of the room, which was the primary source of lighting in the space. As I continued to wander around, I came across this painting:
I think it was love at first sight! There was something that took my breath away when I saw this piece hanging! To be honest, I cannot even say what it was at first, there was some sort of connection as I stood in front of this painting. Soon after, I read the description to the left of the painting and one line jumped out to me, “Art has everything to do with life…nothing to do with Art“. The moment I read that, I stopped and thought to myself, “I think everything makes sense now, I know what I am doing”. Since I began my art career, experimenting with every possible medium there is, I never felt as if I knew who I was in this great big art world. It was not until after I took Painting II with Steven Alexander last semester when I finally felt something special with a medium. Steven had us really explore and experiment when it came to the abstraction paintings, which I loved. I loved how I felt it was okay to really put myself into the painting, to truly express myself, thoughts, and feelings. I soon learned that is when I shine best, painting from within, and when I read Robert Rauschenberg’s words, there was an immediate connection!
Art has everything to do with life…nothing to do with Art
After this enlightened experience, I felt beyond inspired. I wanted to pull out a canvas and paint right in that gallery! I could not wait to get home and begin gathering my ideas and feelings. As soon as I got home that night I began to let out my experience I had at The Barnes Foundation seeing Robert Rauschenberg’s painting.