I created this presentation during Unit 6 of this course which focused on perception and abstractionism in art. Joan Mitchell was a female abstractionist painter who was able to assert herself in the male dominated field and gain respect among her colleagues. Similar to artists like Jackson Pollock, her style was centered around the gesture of painting, and how her body produced the lines. The goal of this presentation was to grasp the concept of abstraction and how the mind forms connections in a top-down way, using previous experience.
Beyond the scope of unit 6, Michell’s work and the larger idea of abstraction and the connection between perception and experience is applicable to the larger course as well. In unit 8, we viewed a painting by Gerard Richter of Ulrike Meinhof’s suicide. In both of these artworks, one aspect is constant, human emotion. In my definition of humanities, I mentioned that a uniting theme of humanities is our shared ability to feel. This is what unites us within communities, but it is also what allows us to find meaning within art. The process of observing art requires us to focus on our previous experiences to create an emotional response. In Richter’s painting this idea is easier to see, as the representation of her suicide is an obvious source of trauma. While Mitchell’s art may not be as obvious, her works are informed by her personal traumas as well. The use of color and hard stroke is her outlet to portray depression and the death of her father. No matter whether we are observing a heavily abstracted piece or a work of slightly augmented realism, the same concepts apply. No two people will see the work the same.
In terms of this portfolio, I find the idea of abstracted emotion and perception important aspects of community building. Just as artists find new and different ways to portray their emotions, individuals must do the same with their thoughts and feelings in every day life. When we attempt to relate with people who may be different from ourselves, there is a level of interpretation that is required.