Sunday, October 25, 2009

gallery visit: human form

Our class visit to the Cooley gallery inspired me in a quiet way. By that I mean, drawing was my first art form of choice, and still always plucks a resonant chord within me when I view work by others. The variety of the drawings in the Crocker Art Museum collection, and the span of countries and eras represented helped me to appreciate it even more.

If I had to choose one aspect that surprised me it would be the multitude of techniques, and the multiple layers of materials used in many of the pieces in the drawing collection. Chalks over graphite, layered with inks and washes--and yet they all work together in the showing as a harmonious group.

The drawing I chose to compare with a current piece(s) was in a back corner of the exhibit. The placard read: "Standing Man, black and white chalks on brown paper, German, 19th century, 1856." The Standing Man is, of course, a nude male, half draped with a sheet in the loin-cloth style. The pose is classic. Medium-well toned build. One leg slightly bent at the knee, mid-body depicted as slightly leaning against an object behind (unseen in the drawing but inferable due to the body placement), hard chin, head turned slightly, determined gaze.

One image from a more modern era immediately came into my mind to compare with Standing Man--also a classic, of the actor, James Dean (see image above). While looking up this image online, I used the search term, "standing man", and added a few alternates, each from their own decade in modern cinematic history.

Charlton Heston as Taylor in Planet of the Apes, 1968.

Harrison Ford as Dr. Walter "Henry" Indiana Jones, Jr. in Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981.

Brad Pitt as 1st Lieutenant Aldo Raine, aka "Aldo the Apache" in Inglourious Bastards, 2009.

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