‘Confused, overwhelmed, rushed, and exasperated’ would be a few of the words that accurately encapsulated my mood during my first visit to the Ackland Art Museum. The different artworks seemed to continuously cascade all around me and each room seemed to develop a new identity once I returned. It felt as if I was trying to escape the most complicated labyrinth ever designed by man, and I was so eager to escape the never ending web of clay pots, paintings, and statues. Luckily, my second visit to the Ackland Art Museum was nothing like the last and allowed me to develop a new appreciation for the building and the artwork from within.
Instead of being on a time crunch and frantically running around trying to find different pieces of art in a Spanish scavenger hunt, I was actually able to learn the history behind some of the most historical pieces on display at this museum. I greatly appreciated the change of pace between my two experiences at this building, and rather than mindlessly looking at a piece of art for a few seconds before running to the next, I was actually able to absorb some important information behind the piece that completely morphed my interpretation of each presented work as a whole. One of the pieces that remained imprinted in my mind for the longest time was a piece called “Eve and the Serpent” by Rose Piper. This painting is an adaptation of the well known story of Adam and Eve, specifically portraying the moment right before the serpent persuaded Eve to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit. This painting intrigued me due to its beautiful, vibrant color display (the color of the serpent being my favorite). I also thought that it was interesting how the painting relates to a song “Sarpent he Came Roun’ de Trunk; At Miss Eve his Eye he Wunk” which I feel could possibly be an element of intertextuality. It was also interesting how the artist decided to do an African spin-off of Eve to reflect her own person identity in a sense. In the top left corner, there is a shift between the blue, serene appearing clouds with dark, ominous, and foreboding ones foreshadow the turmoil that is about to occur once Eve eats the forbidden fruit. Rose Piper did an incredible job at capturing this story and putting her own twist and flare on it to separate it from other similar works which I greatly admire.
Overall, I appreciated this slow-paced tour of the museum and the background information provided for each piece. It really helped put certain elements into perspective and portray how individuality influences how art work can be differently perceived by everyone. If I were to ever be asked to provide the name of a great “tourist attraction” on the UNC campus, the Ackland Art Museum would definitely be at the top of my list.