We travelled to the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh to view the Monet in Normandy exhibit. The exhibition included 55 of the artists best-known works from Normandy and other parts of France. We saw grainstacks, cathedrals, oceans, cliffs, beaches, gardens, boats, and trees. It was fascinating to explore the depths of time and space through Monet's paintings. He painting at sunrise, sunset, in stormy weather, and on sunny days. He painted from unusual angles and he employed unusual brushstrokes. When viewing his artwork up close, you can count myriad colors and brushstrokes all layered to show light and shadow. When viewing the same paintings from afar, you can imagine the time of day, the sunlight, the location, the wind and the fog in each picture. What makes this art? We decided it was the complexity which, at times, seemed simple and the impressionism which, at times, seemed real.
Before leaving the NC Museum of Art, we explored the contemporary art wing. There were paintings that were monochromatic squares. There were sculptures from unusual materials. There were abstract pieces. There was a series of North Carolina photographs in black and white. Some tried to tell stories of oppression and suppression or of pastoral life in North Carolina. Others were stories of light and dark, truth, or shadow. These photographs did not resemble the paintings by Monet. They did not make us dream of beaches or cathedrals in France. They made us think. They made us ask questions. What made this art? We decided it was ability of the photographer to look into people's souls, to question conditions, to highlight inequalities, and to make people think.
After we left the NC Museum of Art, we travelled to Chapel Hill to visit the Ackland Art Museum. There, we explored an exhibit entitled Depth of Field. The exhibit included works by 20th c. artists who transformed the media of photography. There were pictures of milk and cranberry juice mixed. Drips were captured in slow motion. There was a photo taken from the inside of the eye that eerily resembled a night scene of trees in front of the moon. What made this art? We decided it was the ability of the artist to show us the world in a unique way and to change the way we perceive the space we inhabit.
So, what did we learn? Besides the fact that we learned that Duke fans could actually enjoy a game in the Dean Dome after a day of investigating some of the art world, we learned that art is just another opportunity to explore ourselves.
The pictures included here are some examples of our recent art.