Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Looking for Heaven

(I highly suggest listening to the soundtrack above as you read this blog.)

I was required to go to SAM (the Seattle Art Museum) for my UCOR class to look at an exhibit on Gauguin… let’s just say it wasn’t the most entertaining thing in the world.

Sure, there were a few paintings that captivated my attention, but otherwise I glided through that exhibit like I was slipping on ice.  It wasn’t my style and now I have to write a paper on it.  How am I supposed to write about something I didn’t enjoy and have no desire to write about?  Guess this is where the “fake it ‘till you make it” part of college comes in.  Ironically, my teacher was talking about it in UCOR and that’s exactly where I’m going to apply it. 

Anyway, once I got myself out of the Gauguin exhibit, I proceeded to walk through the rest of the museum to explore the modern art.  There were various photographs, a room full of vinyl records, a huge black rat seated on a white pillow, a piece of armor made out of dog tags, glass sculptures, and too many other things for me to list off.

The SAM is rather spacious and allows for a lot of room to walk around, like most art museums.  When I was looking at certain pieces I felt like Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice during the sculptures of Pemberley scene (Kiera Knightly version).  Part of me felt like there should have been classical music playing in the background as I found my way from one work of art to the next.  Instead of slipping on ice I was merely flowing through the space, taking my time to admire certain pieces more than others. 

I got stuck in front of a few different paintings, including one called Puget Sound.  The artist painted it (sometime during the 1800s) without even visiting Seattle and therefore only knew what it might look like based on descriptions from the explorers who had already been there.

I was captivated. 

Somehow he gathered enough mental pictures to attempt to capture the essence of the Puget Sound.  Though it doesn’t match how we know the Puget Sound to look, there is a certain aspect of the painting that is incredibly beautiful… it’s the aspect of expectation, and excitement.  There was something to be explored; something that was yet to be obtained, and the artist desired to know what it was and attempted to predict the beauty.   

If felt as if I was looking at America through the eyes of someone from the 1800s—I was viewing it the way that people viewed America as they were started to explore toward the west coast.  If I didn’t live so close to the Puget Sound, I would have never known it was incorrect.

In a way I think the artist did a better job of painting what heaven could possibly look like instead of painting Puget Sound. 

But isn’t that what man is always searching for?  Something infinitely beautiful and breathtaking?

I think we all are. 

I think that’s why we have art. 

Puget Sound by Albert Bierstadt

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