An Ocean of Style

I honestly enjoyed the visit to the Ackland Art Museum, and I feel like it was very important to the pacing of the class as a whole. My girlfriend is an art education major at UNCG, and I’ve taken a few art classes at high school, so I have a considerable appreciation for the effort that goes into creating professional pieces of art. Looking at adaptation through art was rather refreshing because so far our interpretation of adaptation had been primarily framed by written literature, which can feel like a slog sometimes. While I don’t necessarily think we had enough time to fully look at the pieces, it was still very helpful nonetheless in understanding the cultural and stylistic influences that go into adapting a work of art or literature. This was especially true when comparing Albrecht Dürer’s Fall of Man to Rose Piper’s Eve and the Serpent. Although I’ll admit, it is impossible to gauge how much time is “enough” to understand a work of art. It’s not like it has page numbers or anything to indicate when you are “finished.” Nevertheless, every piece we observed was bursting with meaning. Personally, I found the most interesting piece to be Howard Hodgkin’s Looking at the Sea. If you’ve ever seen a painting be taken from its frame and re-varnished, you’ll quickly notice that upkeep on this painting is probably a nightmare, as the frame itself is painted over and is part of the piece itself. The “canvas” (which is actually just oil paint on wood) bleeds all over and into the frame, running amok and without regard for its own preservation. Its disorganization is a direct emotional parallel to how the briny depths care nothing for those who pass over its surface. It is indifferent to all things, even itself. The paint on the frame looks like it has begun to chip over time from being moved to and from resting places. Brilliantly, it captures the viscosity and momentum behind the ocean, as it washes all over the picture frame. Not only that, but it shows how delicate humanity should be with the sea, as there are no second chances when it comes to framing the painting nor are there when handling the health of the ocean. Other than that, it is a hilariously irate painting when compared to Salomon van Ruysdael’s quaint River Landscape with Fisherman painting. Largely these pieces just go to show how much the meaning and feeling an image as simple as that of a body of water can vary through artistic style. It makes it all the more mind-blowing to think of how much writers can do with extremely complex concepts like a Robinsonia or a ‘Frankenstein’ style monster.