Welcome back to ART DAY! my peoples. Once again my man Koookiecrumbles and I tag team you with the latest art that you should be checking out. The theme is still Asian art, and no, it hasn’t gotten less general.
Last week we talked about woodblocks and we somewhat touched on the fact that many impressionists (as well as artists of other movements) were deeply inspired by Japanese woodblocks of the 18th-19th century. Today we explore the parallels a little bit deeper.
To start, we look at at a Van Gogh painting, which is taken from Hiroshige.
Vincent Van Gogh, during the first experiments marking his turn to impressionism, once meticulously copied a blooming plum tree from a Japanese woodblock print to explore the effects of juxtaposition of contrasting colors, which are typical of ukiyoe prints. [via]
Now if you don’t know Uttagawa Hiroshige, then you either never studied art history or you don’t spend enough time on Wikipedia, but don’t worry, we’ll fix that.
He dominated landscape printmaking with his unique brand of intimate, almost small-scale works (at least when compared against the older traditions of landscape painting descended from Chinese landscape painters through Sesshu). The travel prints generally depict travelers along the famous routes traveling and experiencing the special attractions of various stops along the way. They travel in the rain, the snow, and during all of the seasons. In 1856, working with the publisher Uoya Eikichi, he created a series of high quality prints, made with the finest printing techniques including true gradation of color, the addition of mica to lend a unique iridescent effect, embossing, fabric printing, blind printing, and the use of glue printing (wherein ink is mixed with glue for a glittery effect). One Hundred Famous Views of Edo (issued serially between 1856 and 1859) was immensely popular. The set was not published until after his death, so not all of the prints were completed by him-he created over 100 on his own, but two were added by Hiroshige II after his death.
Fixed? Okay, now look at some of this work. You’ll notice that the Ukiyo-e theme that we discussed last week is present in his work, as well as the color juxtapositions that are discussed in the above quote. Note: these woodblocks are all by Hiroshige II but similar themes are expressed.
The effects of Europe’s impressionist movement were being felt in Asia. Japan was undergoing a period of radical modernization, which in the cultural field caused a great interest in Western oil painting. Two of the first Japanese teachers of Western oil painting, which became part of the official curriculum in the Tokyo School of Fine Arts in 1896, were Kuroda Seiki (AAA,A¥AA AAMAAAA) and Kume Seiichi ( A¤[ A¦A AAMA¤@), who both came back from Paris in 1893. They introduced impressionism and the free lifestyle of the French art scene to Japan. In 1907, the first show of original impressionist paintings was held in Japan, including works by Van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, and others. This was the year after Cezanne's death, and a number of painters, including Renoir, were still quite active at the time. Ninety years later, it is almost the same group of artists whose works are on show at the National Museum of History in Taipei between January 15 and April 27, 1997. [Great Article on Impressionism and Taiwan]
On a side note, I never thought about it before ,but, this artist is also referred to as Ando Hiroshige, which may or may not have a connection to Heroes characters Hiro & Ando. Um sorry, that was totally tangential.
Come to think of it, as long as we’re discussing whatever we want, one thing I may have neglected to mention was the importance of the landscape in Japanese woodblock. Japanese woodblock is a field with a lot of depth, and many of the scenes throughout the centuries feature interiors. But, one must not forget that the fine-ness of the protrayal of nature was also a critical element to Japanese woodblocks, and far-east art in general.
The impressionists, of course, were obsessed with light. Most of their compositions, in fact, it can be argued have something to do specifically with the portrayal of modern day scenes and the fleeting sense of light. It was almost as if the metaphor was that modern life was fleeting and ethereal in the same way that light conditions are (or were?). The eye perceives city-life and light in similar ways, in that there is an essential moment to be captured, which will be gone the next.
Compare the previous examples with these impressionist works:
Orchard in Bloom, Camile Pissarro
He must have viewed the freshly plowed earth, like the spring blossoms that bring life to the dormant landscape, as a signal of renewed hope for his adopted country and for his career.
Boulevard HA©loAAse, Argenteuil, Alfred Sisley
He seems most concerned with its shapes and textures and the delicate colors of the pale winter sky. A softening of detail conveys the chill of a damp day. Of all the impressionists, Sisley was the one most committed to landscape and to the impressionist style in its most pure form, never abandoning, even temporarily, impressionism’s goal of capturing the transient effects of light and atmosphere.
These ART DAY! posts that delve into the historical realm are meant to be short introductions to topics that you really need to do more research about to form an opinion. After all, that’s what art is. As such, I invite any of my readers to contend with the notions I present, because it’s only discussion that engenders a true sense of understanding about these works. I personally believe that Japanese woodblocks are some of the best examples of what I will loosely term ‘populist art’ because of their general availability, cheapness (both reproduction wise and vendor wise), and expression of mass ideals. People actually went out and bought these paintings en masse which is different than the types of art most people are used to, the diversions of the rich and powerful.
Of course, no ART DAY! would be complete without a look at some of the more modern examples of the techniques about which we speak, so here goes:
Okushiri Island, Jun Ichiro Sekino
Winter Trees, Clifton Karhu
What? Stop looking so damned surprised! Just because there was no 2 hours on the internet this week doesn’t mean we would ever try to play you on ART DAY! For more of ART DAY! keep on scrolling down… and look forward to the return of 2 hours on the internet on Monday plus a new Saturday feature!
Jeepneys are a popular means of public transportation in the Philippines. They were originally made from US military jeeps left over from World War II and are well known for their flamboyant decoration and crowded seating. They have also become a symbol of Philippine culture.
For all you damned hipsters out there, because I know you love your vice mag, here is the beginning of the ViceTV episode on Philipino Jeepneys. Unfortunately you can’t watch the whole thing on youtube, but you can catch the rest of the episodes here.
Commercial: Probably the most well known form of culture jamming is subvertising. Subvertisements are creative anti-ads targeted at conspicuous consumption considered endemic of capitalistic societies. These images variously target consumers themselves or large corporations, often with a specific message to get people thinking about what and/or whyAAthey buy. [via]
Though this photo may be up there in the echelons of slightly racialist (along with that damned Cleveland Indians logo), it is also the entry point to an interesting article by our ninjas over at The Urbanist about the bombardment of commercials that is our daily reality inside of the Amerisphere and increasingly around the world.
Thanks to Eric for droppin’ us a line.
A birth control pill without side effects?AA Or just a reason to post an egg and sperm diagram?
An American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference was told a technique called "RNA interference" could stop sperm entering the egg.
Oral contraceptives can cause nausea, headaches, and low sex drive and raise slightly the risk of DVT and strokes.
However, the new "Pill" is at least a decade away - and may have its own side-effects.
Dr Zev Williams, who presented the research to the conference, said: "We simply don’t have a contraceptive drug that is non-hormonal and reversible.
"What we are trying to do is to think about contraception in a new way.
"Obviously there are going to be hurdles and it is going to take a lot of time, but the need is there and we think it can be achieved."
Professor Bill Ledger, from the University of Sheffield, said that a lot of women still had side effects, even on the modern hormonal contraceptives. "This is a new concept. If it were available, I am sure a lot of people would want to take it.
"If it isn’t hormonal, that’s a big selling point." [via]
This basically had to be posted because of the classic picture as well as a chance for some fun alliteration.
The Web-based application found on this site has been designed for exploring algorithms in an interdisciplinary environment. The Web site contains interactive tools, which provide a unique learning experience for users, regardless of their musical training. Students of music composition can explore algorithmic composition, while others can create musical representations of models for the purpose of aural interpretation and analysis. Here, the algorithmic process is used in a creative context so that users can convert sequences of numbers into sounds. For example, the Web-based application at this site can provide aural representations of Pi, DNA sequences, or Dow Jones Industrial averages. This learning environment allows users a hands-on approach to creating music by means of conceptualization.
Ninja Math Disambiguation Page
I hope you enjoyed Design Tuesday yesterday, the day on which of course we feature design in many forms and formats. I know it’s quite general, but taking a look around our dojo it’s evident that us ninjas have a multifarious approach to blogging.
As an admin of this page, I just wanted to hip you to what some of us might be doing when we’re not blogging. Personally, I’ve been watching this anime called Bleach.
mnp award-winner for best theme music ever
The plotline is simple. Soul reapers or shiginami are sent to help souls pass over from the land of the living to the dead. The soul reapers are spirits that wield samurai swords and come from a place called the soul society. The soul society’s function is twofold. Firstly, they help all souls pass over to the land of spirits, the soul society. Two, they kill spirits that have turned into ‘hollows.’ A hollow is what becomes of a spirit who lingers on earth too long before passing over. Anyways, this redheaded kid who can see spirits somehow gets tied up with this chick and becomes a substitute soul reaper. Thus begins a series of madcap adventures climaxing in a trip to the spirit world.
The manga series has been adapted into an animated television series, two OVAs, two animated feature films, a rock musical, numerous video games and a TCG (Trading Card Game). Compilation volumes of the manga have sold over 40 million copies in Japan, and have reached the top of manga sales charts in the United States. The manga received the Shogakukan Manga Award in 2005, and the anime has been nominated for several American Anime Awards.
This show is kinda ill because it’s a tight mix of humor and action. At times it’s totally silly and there are entire episodes that will have you laugh out loud or get one of those little sweat bubbles. Okay, I confess, I can’t actually say it’s ‘good’ per se, but it’s hella addictive. The best thing about it is you can watch all 116 or so episodes online (with a little bit of ninja math of course). Here’s a link to get you started. And here’s more if you really get serious with it. Pick your poison, subbed or dubbed.
I must say that I was warned against watching these by my homie DJ Dialect, and so I will pass along the same warning to you. By the honor of the ninja, don’t get into this, it will consume your soul.