Day 49: Henna patterns. It’s done with a long thin frosting tube kind of deal, and the traditional designs are pretty repetitive. The bottom two I made up on the spot, but it more or less looks like everything else you’ll find…
It’s casual henna. More ornate henna, especially extending over the wrist and forearms and feet, go from more important celebration to bridal henna.
Ben Weiner is an oil painter and video installer. I did not know about his videos or crazy crystal sculptures until I found his website. But what caught my eye were his amazing paintings. I love the 3D quality of them. They also have this movement and depth to them. The lighting is so life like and the colors just pop off the canvas.
Untitled, Rome, Italy, (I.138)
Francesca Woodman was born to artist parents and began her photography at age 13. By the time she enrolled in Rhode Island School of Design, she had an extensive portfolio and was already working as an artist. (guggenheim) The New York Review calls her a rare exception to trend of no prodigies in photography. Until her suicide at age 22, she was working successfully. (new york review) Her work is like a throwback to older days; a mix of surrealism and old Victorian photography, all her work has a softness to them that was uncommon during her time. (New York Times)
Her work is a bit difficult to understand, but I find her use of surrealism fascinating. It’s an odd world all on its own and it hints at a strange and probably unstable mental state. From what I could research, I saw no clear reason for her suicide, but I suppose we all have demons we’d rather hide.
Ai Weiwei is an artist and social activist. He was born and raised in Beijing, but moved to and lived in the United States for over a decade. He now lives and works in Beijing. His art spans many disciplines: he is a sculptor, photographer, producer, musician, architect, and social activist. (aiweiwei) He focuses on “freedom of expression and ways to support human rights and social justice.” (moon)
On April 3, 2011, he was secretly detained for 81 days at Beijing Capital International Airport while waiting to board his flight to Hong Kong for fabricated tax charges. Although bail was lifted a year later, he still has not received his passport and is prohibited from traveling outside of China. (aiweiwei) “Ai expresses himself and organizes people through art and social media. In response, Chinese authorities have shut down his blog, beat him up, bulldozed his newly built studio, and held him in secret detention.” (aiweiweineversorry)
His body of work is massive, I can’t even begin to go through it all. Before researching him, I already had an inkling of who he was and I knew from the news about his detainment. When I started researching, I went to his website first, and I watched “Stay Home,” which is about an AIDS victim fighting for her rights to medical treatment in China. No government is perfect, but there is serious abuse happening in China, and the people lack a strong voice. The protagonist of the film, Xi Mei, was a victim of the hospital policies in China; she was in an accident when she was a child and needed a blood transfusion. Even if her extended family were all ready to donate, the hospital only allows you to purchase blood from their blood bank. Afterwards, she tested positive for HIV, and she is not the only one victim to this failure in the medical system. Ai Wei Wei is inspirational in his steady defiance and unwillingness to settle.
Day 48: Our stained glass class had an option to send our first project to an exhibition on campus called Fluid. It’ll be in Mihaylo on the 3rd floor, Dean’s Suite until January. There’s staff, visiting artist, and student work in sculptural and stained glass, there’s some really cool stuff there!