In the Gallery: Mark Doty



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Mark Doty's Home Page
Learn more about poet Mark Doty by visiting his home page.

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What are the elements of art?
We've all heard the words color and shape and line, but how do they apply to art? These basic elements of art are a set of techniques that describe ways of presenting artwork. They are combined with the principles of art in the production of art. The elements of art include some or all of the following: point, color, value, line, shape, form, texture, and space.

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Vase by Leopold Gely
Check out additional information about this vase.

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Still Life with a Chinese Porcelain Jar
Check out additional info on this painting.

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Who is Goethe?
Often considered the greatest German literary figure of the modern era, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, theatre director, critic, and amateur artist.

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Orpiment? Huh?
Read about historical and contemporary uses of orpiment in this article.

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Still Life with Apples and Vase of Flowers
Check out additional info on this painting.

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What is a Still Life?
A still life is a work of art depicting inanimate objects in an artificial setting. A still life will typically display commonplace objects that are either natural (food, flowers, plants, rocks, or shells) or man-made (drinking glasses, books, vases, jewelry, coins, pipes, etc.).

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Still Life & Trade in the Dutch Golden Age
The magnificent still life paintings of the Dutch Golden Age depict tables richly laid with an array of products that attest to the vast scope of the Dutch trade network. These striking pictures reveal much more about Dutch society and capitalist culture of the seventeenth century than has been previously understood, says the author of this engaging book. Julie Berger Hochstrasser explores for the first time the significance of various foods and commodities rendered on canvas during the Dutch Republic’s phenomenal rise to prosperity.

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What is the Pont-Aven School?
Pont-Aven School is a term used to describe works of art created at the artists' colony at Pont-Aven, France during the second half of the 19th century. Paul Gauguin is perhaps the best known artist working at Pont-Aven.

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Armand Seguin, Two Thatched Cottages
Here is some additional information about this painting.

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Emily Dickinson
This site provides a biography, a selection of poems, a bibliography, and much more about Emily Dickinson.

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The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
This is the only edition currently available containing all of Dickinson's poems.

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Paul Gauguin, The Flageolet Player on the Cliff
Check out additional information about this painting.

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Interested in lyric poetry?
Lyric poetry refers to typically short poetry that expresses personal feelings, which may or may not be set to music.

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Love the figurative Landscapes of Diebenkorn? Read more about his work.

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Figurative Art
Figurative art describes artwork - particularly paintings and sculptures - which are clearly derived from real object sources, and are therefore, by definition, representational.

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The Post-Impressionists
This book provides an overview of the artist and ideals involved in the post-impressionist movement.

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Channels: Talks

Learn about works in IMA's galleries during this gallery walkthrough featuring nationally recognized poet, Mark Doty.

I learned a lot of information about this gallery and I hope that whenever I visit it!It impressed me greately!
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Gostei muito do site. parabéns!!!!

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00:00:05 How much can people learn to see or how do we learn to see?

00:00:12 Well, I think, you know, we have an immediate and physical response to color

00:00:23 and shape and line and that we enjoy, really instinctively enjoy,

00:00:34 that as a physical pleasure to educate that instinctive response and build context for it.

00:00:44 As we look more and more, the eye makes connections and this is a relationship, also, between poetry and looking at art

00:00:55 that you could hear a poem and be interested in rhythm and sound and in the feeling created by the words, but the more you know about that poet's work

00:01:05 and the more you can put it in context the richer the experience becomes. You find that other kinds of meaning are available to you.

00:01:13 Meaning is something that we make right now and certainly the makers of the object had multiple meanings and purposes in mind and those are always now

00:01:27 only going to be available to us in a partial way. You could show this to a three year old, and I think that that child could enjoy the richness of the color

00:01:39 and the elaborately worked way, pick out the images of the birds and the butterflies, maybe even be impressed by the scale of the thing,

00:01:53 in a way this feels like a toy, doesn't it? Like a toy grown to a great scale, but something else happens when you can put this in

00:02:04 more of a context and think about how its makers understood it. In what sort of world would this object reside?

00:02:14 It's hard to think about having this in your house now, don't you think?

00:02:19 You know, this doesn't belong in a 21st century American apartment or home exactly or let's put it this way,

00:02:29 if you brought this home, you would have to change your life.

00:02:37 This would have been made to be seen in a fairly intimate space.

00:02:43 Yes.

00:02:43 You know it is for the home. If you imagine this picture hanging in your house, if you have this in your dining room, it would seem like

00:02:51 something of an architectural element in that space. These are very expensive things. You know, especially that big drinking glass in the middle

00:03:01 is very, very fancy and the silver and, you know, the imported porcelain and the Turkey carpet,

00:03:11 you know, so this is stuff that a well-off trader might own, it flatters the owner in the painting.

00:03:24 There is a great thing that Goethe looked at paintings like this and he said that he would, I think he was talking about a Willem Kalf painting, and he said he would rather own the painting of the objects than the objects.

00:03:36 There are some of these elaborate gold cups and so on, but that he thought that the representation was more beautiful than the thing itself.

00:03:44 The paint has changed color in lemon here. They had trouble with yellow, and there is some mineral stuff called orpiment

00:03:54 that changed color over time and you can see how, I mean it's painted, this bravura, I mean this coil and the light and then the incredible translucency of the peeled fruit.

00:04:08 It's hard to imagine now how it must have looked. This was an unusually collaborative and noncompetitive period,

00:04:21 and you know, there were these handbooks for painters that described, you know, how to make that kind of surface on your lemons or the proper way

00:04:31 to get the translucency, the transparence, of the glass and so on or like this is just bravura and here look how that stem is in front of that piece of cheese.

00:04:43 It's just amazing.

00:04:47 And to some degree, you know, he is showing off, but he is also part of this guild, really, of people who are all practicing this, and it's individuality

00:04:57 gets expressed in how many coils of his peel, you know, he can make and how thin can that peel appear to us.

00:05:09 In other words, within a set vocabulary, how the details get worked out,

00:05:15 Right!

00:05:16 But you are absolutely right that this, I think, goes right into, you know, what we are looking at the pleasure of paint as paint

00:05:26 and of the drama of the surface. It is also true that the closer you get to it, the more you are aware of the surface

00:05:36 as a surface, look at this, like glass of red liquid. That's just, that placement is so nice, isn't it?

00:05:46 This might be fun to talk about in relation to the Kalf.

00:05:55 The emphasis on the brush stroke and on the individuality of perception and sort of vibrating light of the moment,

00:06:03 its so modern next to that other painting that it would be a useful illustration.

00:06:10 [You had written about still life as inexhaustible.]

00:06:16 Well, we are always going to be looking at and celebrating that the stuff of the world, you know.

00:06:24 I mean, still life in a way is a response to materiality and taking another kind of material, that's the stuff of clay and pigments

00:06:34 and minerals, grinding them in oil and using that kind of material to reflect the other materiality, but the Kalf painting

00:06:43 is so much about trying to capture the world of things and it is much less interested in the notion of individual perception,

00:06:55 the person who is doing the seeing in that painting is part of a community of seers who see in a relatively similar fashion, right?

00:07:06 Dutch still-life painting is a vocabulary and they are not so much worried about making the individual mark upon the world. They do individual things,

00:07:17 some are fancier like Kalf, and some are plainer and they show off with their lemon peels or their gleams of light or their representation of a glass of wine

00:07:28 and how transparent and perfect they can make it, but their subject still is turning outward and when I look at this painting, which is 1890, also Dutch,

00:07:42 it seems to me very much about the particular experience of an individual eye encountering the world

00:07:54 and no one else might see the rippling light in the background or the particular richness of color

00:08:05 and those representations of fruit in quite that way, it's about my eye encountering the material world.

00:08:15 There is no attempt to flatten out or disguise the brush stroke and the colors are not very

00:08:26 carefully blended in that way that in the Kalf painting, I see that the painter wants to make a continuous surface and here, look in that background

00:08:37 how one color this, kind of, luscious pink is pushing up against that blue and lavender and if we isolated just, like, that little bit,

00:08:48 we would say that's a 20th century painting, right? Because that's so much about the push and pull of those colors and brush strokes against each other.

00:08:57 If we are creatures that disappear, which of course we are,

00:09:05 what are we to do about that? How do we find a way to resist our own vanishing and it seems

00:09:15 that one way that we do that is to make ourselves memorable to achieve a kind of distinction, a specificity, that is hard to forget, right?

00:09:27 So when we walk into this gallery and you encounter something that is plainly a Gauguin

00:09:37 you know, when you are in the School of Gauguin, anyway, or we encounter a particular style of looking at the world.

00:09:47 One thing we find ourselves thinking is someone was here. A particular eye and a particular hand made this,

00:09:58 and it has relationships to the work of other eyes and other hands but if it's truly an achieved work of art, it couldn't really quite be anybody else's.

00:10:09 That's what poets do, too. You know, we become a voice and the voice, if we are lucky, stands when the body of the poet is gone.

00:10:19 This is why you can read a great poet like Emily Dickinson and you have some sense of what her breath

00:10:31 might have been like, her hesitation, her rapid utterances, her qualifications and shifts of thought,

00:10:40 some sense of a rapid nervous voice worrying out experience, and that voice is something, it's not just natural,

00:10:51 it didn't just emerge out of her. She made it. She made that voice to stand for her in the world and that's a remarkable thing

00:11:02 about the persistence of works of art. That we are in contact, if we give ourselves over to this, with a subjectivity that we can't meet any other way

00:11:13 except in this and this particular vessel of that subjectivity reaches through us across time.

00:11:23 Oh isn't that gorgeous? Wow!

00:11:31 It's such a rush, isn't it? Great, this is what lyric poetry tries to do, is to freeze as it were at the single moment,

00:11:41 that it's always in the present tense and the expansive song of feeling in the present and in that sense, it is a very lyric painting, right!

00:11:52 This is, we were talking about another still life over there where if we were to isolate a part of this, you would say that's a 20th century painting

00:12:04 and if you look at that, it seems to really predict those beautiful diebenkorn landscapes, right.

00:12:15 The figurative paintings that are about landscape but they are also very much about areas of paint pushing against each other.

00:12:26 You can't take it in, is what it is. Your eye has to keep moving, there's no place to rest in it and you are always moving from one patch, one incident to another and another.

00:12:40 I think a lot of people, at first, are totally disoriented by what kind of space is evoked here and don't, in fact, even notice the figures.

00:12:52 This has such amazing dynamic force that it really feels like the figurative bit is almost incidental, isn't it?

00:13:00 I agree.

00:13:00 They are just there to satisfy the 19th century.

00:13:05 So, I think that treatment of them, which as you noted similar to the way everything else's treated contributes to that sort of flattening.

00:13:15 There's a space and a form suggested, but it's not even the real subject here.

00:13:22 Right, and that's going to be an interesting thing to talk about in connection to the Kalf, the two, because they're both world as surface, right?

00:13:33 But, they are really different kinds of surface. As we were saying earlier that the still life was never exhausted, this seems, even though it's not a still life, it has a quality of being really inexhaustible.

00:13:48 Like you could look at that forever, and the looking at it forever has to do with the way the senses are always a new thing, always a fresh thing, right?

00:13:58 So, every time you would come back to this painting, there is something happening physically. There is something happening in the eye and these collisions and explosions of color

00:14:10 that you don't get weary of. That's why we don't want to walk away from it because it just keeps yielding and yielding so much experience.