Tok Art Assignment: My reactions on visiting the Art Gallery

Authors Avatar by ninjaruler (student)

Steven Wu

August 28th, 2012

HZT4UE: Theory of Knowledge

Summer 2012 Art Assignment: Art as a Way of Knowing

Initial Reaction:

1. “Maman” the giant spider

  1. As I walk towards the National Art Gallery, I noticed the large spider and began looking closely at it. At first I felt a source of fear towards the large spider that towered over me. Its large legs were spread out in large angles and reminded me of the aliens from War of the Worlds in their huge spider-like vehicles. Humans are naturally accustomed to being larger than many animals such as insects and birds and never understand what those animals feel when we, as towering giants in their world approach them. However, when those animals are larger than ourselves, we understand that feeling of inferiority that these animals experience when they see us and see ourselves as the smaller beings that fear the “giants”.

  1. Yes, I think that the initial reaction is very important, because it is that reaction that will entice and interest the person viewing the piece to continue watching it and try to understand what the artist was trying to convey. If a piece does not seem interesting or arouse any emotions, that person would be less inclined to spend more time with the piece and will decide to move on, looking at other works of art. In my case, the large spider immediately caught my eye and made me wonder why the art gallery had decided to put that piece at the entrance of the gallery. In my opinion, a good piece of art will have something that impacts and catches the eye of the viewer whether it is emotionally or physically (colour, subject, etc…).

On the other hand, the initial reaction does not have to be very important because it is likely that the viewer will have a deeper reaction with the reactions that come afterwards. Often, those after-reactions will bring a source of understanding that “washes over” the viewer and thus make it more pleasing and interesting to look at the piece. In my instance, if all I had considered was the fear towards the spider, I would have missed the opportunity to see the other “responses” that the artist was trying to convey to me. Having understood and looked at the piece from different perspectives, I felt happy with myself having discovered and understood them which in turn bolstered my motivation to try and understand the other pieces of art in the gallery.

  1. As I walked around the spider and touched it, I gradually began to realize that it was “inviting” me to come into the gallery. Its huge stature, standing in front of the entrance to the gallery reminded me how large beasts and monsters were guardians to treasures in myths. This large spider was trying protect the gallery, but at the same time, invite people to come in and enjoy the pieces art inside.

When I looked upwards as I walked beneath the spider, I noticed the eggs. I felt another surge of awe for the spider. As a mother, it was protecting its children from the threats, us humans. This also explained the way the legs were angled; the legs were positioned in a way that seemed as if the mother spider was trying to maintain an imaginary boundary that warned of retaliation if anything dared to harm its young.

d)        When I saw the name “Maman” I instantly felt that it was a very appropriate name. The name summarized what the spider was. No matter what size, species of animal, a mother would protect its young with its life. This made the spider seem less foreign and more appealing to me.

  1. Having different possible responses to this piece can be a weakness. The many different responses can distract the viewer from the main response that the artist wants them to experience. They dilute the piece’s meaning and may give the wrong response in the viewer causing confusion and/or misunderstanding.

However, different possible responses can also be considered a strength of the piece. With different reactions to the piece, viewers can look at it in many different perspectives, making it very interesting to look at. This can lead to a sense of satisfaction or achievement in the viewer as they sort through all the different responses to find the response that the artist wants the viewer to experience, and in the process, understand the piece even more. Different responses also can lead to a discussion as to what feeling or emotion the artist is really trying convey through the piece and bring more attention to it, thus enticing more people to come and enjoy the piece.

Join now!

  1. I believe that this makes the artwork more successful. Viewers will have different responses to the piece similar to how they will have different opinions on whether the piece is a good work of art. If pieces of art inspired completely different responses from the artist’s intentions made an artwork less successful, many pieces of art would have to be considered less successful as their “message” did not reach or came “distorted” to the viewer.

On the other hand, in the perspective of the artist, this might seem to them as the artwork being less successful. Their ...

This is a preview of the whole essay