This week, I found these two pieces by Bridget Batch titled “Owens Lake Performance” which I found completely mesmerizing. I really liked how she used all cool colors to make this piece, because it sets a very calming mood and atmosphere. I felt lost while staring into this piece, but not in a bad way! It was actually rather enchanting, and I believe part of Batch’s purpose was to have us appreciate what is in front of us, even if we do not know exactly why or how.
What I really liked was the green blurry lines that came out in the photo. It gives these pieces a feel of magic to it, and to me personally, it is kind of like a fantasy world. It really appeals to me because of how I imagine it to be a place full of tranquility and happiness. I never really had much appreciation for nature, and in fact, I don’t even see nature often. I spend most of my time at home, at work, at school, and I never really give myself the chance to go out and see what mother nature has to offer. To some, the earth is just a planet, but it has so much beauty to it. These photos inspire me to go out and travel one day and walk through the woods, swim through the lakes, and breathe in non-polluted, fresh air.
Bridget Batch likes to explore the ideas of how science affects how we view the world. With that being said, I believe what she means is that sometimes we forget to take a moment to appreciate what is out in the world. Science says lakes are a resource for water and is home to many animals, but to anyone, it could be so much more than that. A place like this could be a sanctuary, a sacred home of fragile thoughts and fantasies. It is what we make it to be, and Bridget Batch surely reminds us of this.
Walking through the gallery, I found many different art pieces, from abstract to contemporary art. Among many classmates that I talked to that day, I chose David Ngo as my partner, because I bumped into him and Dominic a lot. Most of the time, I found that David was usually in awe of all the artwork he saw throughout the gallery. He sometimes thought certain abstract pieces were absurd or questioned “this is considered art”? But by the end of everything, I think he just grew to accept everything was art, since we all decided that art can be beyond the visual and depict a deeper meaning. I’ve learned from my previous art teacher that people make certain art that is not easily understood, and sometimes, it could be during a movement that it not popular historically. Knowing this, I, myself, have learned to look at art with an open heart and mind.
Both David and I were very astonished by this piece. We questioned what the artwork meant, and we were both very confused. Like, why would it tell us to glorify trash. I mean, trash is considered trash for a reason right? But then we both exchanged thoughts and decided that maybe the artist wants us to not conform so easily. To “glorify trash” means to do the opposite of what society expects one to do, and by doing so, one can be enlightened and fulfilled. If we all just act “normal”, do “normal” things, or say “normal” things, then we are very different from one another. Both David and I thought that we would just be lifeless robots if we just stuck to the norm, and so glorifying trash would be a way to live a more meaningful life. We both thought the girl behind the words was Miley Cyrus due to how she is dressed and portrayed in this piece. Indeed, she does look what society would call “trashy”, but the artist wants us to embrace the trashiness. It is a form of self expression, and I believe the artist wants to speak against judging someone and belittling them due to their personal life choices and decisions.
All in all, this piece of artwork was quite a brain teaser. At a quick glance, you’d wonder why someone doing an artwork in a style of a meme you could easily find on Tumblr or 9gag, but after a moment of deep thought, you could really understand what is meant. And maybe David and I were wrong about the overall meaning of the message, but as far as we know, it is what we find relevant to us and our society today.
As I walked through the gallery, I found this piece particularly interesting due to its raw, straightforward nature. The artwork portrays men of the gay community taking stereotypical, ‘appealing’ photos; so yes, these selfies are indeed made to impress. Some of my classmates found this artwork disturbing, but I found it intriguing. At first, I thought this artwork was about superficiality, and it might just be. However, I thought about how people take selfies because they either really love themselves (there’s absolutely nothing wrong with loving yourself, it’s actually a good thing), or they are trying to learn to love themselves by gaining approval from their intended audiences. Selfies are about boosting your own confidence; you take them because you want to flaunt how great you look! And so maybe these types of selfies are more common to find within gay dating profiles, but it reminds me how open the community is. People are able to be comfortable enough to post these types of photos of themselves, and I find it to be pretty brave.
In addition, the angles of these selfies are what really spoke to me. I feel that the artist chose some very unique photos that had great angles. I thought the angle the photo was taken could also tell a lot about the person themself. For example, the third photo (the one after the black combat boots) shows a man lying on his stomach, in a very submissive manner. Perhaps, he is trying to appeal to men who are dominant and controlling. From these 12 selfies, it is clear that people really do project what they view as idealistic onto, not only themselves, but also to their audiences. If a man takes great pride in his penis, he will snap a photo of it to show that he is looking for something similar in another man, because it is what he finds attractive or desirable.
After looking up what Kang Seung Lee had to say about this piece, it really a lot of things into perspective for me. He found most these photos by searching through various gay dating websites, and he is particularly interested in how the gay community’s “stereotyped desires” and fetishes. Again, these selfies are meant to project what each person thinks is attractive in general. He is also trying to depict how digital devices have greatly impacted how people see images and photos. From what I can tell, Kang Seung Lee does not believe this is a bad thing; in fact, he seems to appreciate how the “digital culture” has come to shape art. He says that photos based on digital culture are “small, portable, precious, and labored”, showing that he has nothing against modern technology affecting modern art.