Psychological Landscapes: Highlights 6 | The Art Assignment | PBS Digital Studios

Psychological Landscapes: Highlights 6 | The Art Assignment | PBS Digital Studios


So the Art Assignment we’re
going to be talking about today is Robyn O’Neil’s challenge to
draw a psychological landscape. For clarity on what that means,
you should watch the episode. This time I asked Robyn
If she might join me in reviewing your responses
and picking some highlights, and we are both ecstatic
with what we saw. Best of all, many of you
riffed on the Assignment and took some liberties
with the execution. The challenge was to “draw”
a psychological landscape, and I was happy to
find that many of you think of drawing in the
loose way that I do. In the most traditional
sense, a drawing is a work on paper made with
a pencil, pen, or the like. But then if you use
paint on paper that can be a drawing or a painting. And what about the
huge range of materials that one can make a drawing on? Like it’s not impossible
to make a drawing on a canvas or a
blackboard or a rock wall or in three-dimensional space. Like Beatrice made
this really wonderful psychological landscape on a
calendar using water colors where human-like characteristics
are given to the wind instead of to the human. I don’t care whether it’s
a drawing or a painting or a book or a sculpture–
it’s just really great. And if you think about
the plethora of techniques that can define
drawing, your head starts to explode and you
realize very quickly how unproductive this
line of questioning is and oh my god can we
just look at the artwork and take it for what it is? Linda and Dee rediscovered
their love of LEGOs after watching The
LEGO Movie and made this psychological landscape. First Linda drew a landscape
on paper for a backdrop and then they put a towel
down to make a nice ground. And then this nice family
shows up in a camper and decides to roast
some hot dogs on a fire. But then this seemingly
innocuous dude shows up on a canoe and
suddenly their vacation has been hijacked by
crazy ninja canoers. It’s a great and clever use of
materials, and a good reminder of the importance
of imaginative play and how it can
influence and expand the way you interpret images
for the rest of your life. We also liked this one submitted
by Noncommital Writing that uses crumpled paper as a ground
and gummy bears as figures. It’s a small image and it’s
out of focus, but that kind of gives it a painterly quality. And the bears are less bears
than glowing blobs interacting with each other
and the landscape. It’s mysterious
and funny and I’d love to see what it looks like
blown up to a larger scale. This is another
three-dimensional one we liked by Leo Quinn
titled “Stick Figure Stems.” He used grass to
populate his ground and made the excellent
decision to put it at the top of the page
instead of the bottom. Sylvia admits that she’s
terrible at drawing and made this landscape
titled “I’m So [MUTED] Done with Study.” What’s great about
it is that she uses the materials around her
to create a scene that pretty succinctly and
successfully describes her psychological state. We also thought this
work by Andrew Orr titled “Be Careful What You
Wish For” is really successful. The story he tells unfolds
over time, post-it note by post-it note,
and it comes across as a narrative that
could be added to or changed indefinitely. Others of you used
photography and collage to execute the Assignment. And I especially
liked this one titled “The Political (Sur)Reality.” You see two very
familiar buildings that symbolize
American authority and then you realize
that each scene is populated with tiny animals
tramping around and posing in these unlikely locales. These at once remind me of how
ludicrous political posturing can be while also making me
think of an apocalyptic future where we’re all gone but the
animals remain and take over. Meg Gilbert used
collage and the medium of video blogging to make
what she titles “Psychological Landscape for Pregnancy.” She tells us a powerful story
about losing her first child, and I have deep respect for
her confrontation of such a painful and personal
topic and the attempt to work through her thoughts
through art-marking. But you know we did get some
amazing drawings made with more traditional media as well. This one by Mr.
AnonymousPrisoneroftheLabyrinth is a really beautiful
and restrained rendering of a mountain. The patterning on the
mountain is actually Morse code of the lyrics
to the song by The Killers “All These Things I’ve Done.” Other really beautiful drawn
psychological landscapes include this one
by Hannah Scharton, and this really
quiet drawing by Ana, and also this work titled
“Things I Wish I Had Done But Didn’t Do” by
The-Interrabang. And then we had responses by
artists whose inventiveness astounded us and drew us
deep within the worlds of these imagined landscapes. This work by Saranna00 makes
my eyes bounce back and forth to every corner and crevice
of the picture plain. Her use of patterning
and color is remarkable, and I don’t know what’s
going on but I’m intrigued and I want to look at
it for a long time. Juliet made this drawing
called “Whale City.” It’s a place I never
knew I wanted to go, but I really like it
and I’m super impressed by her rendering skills. Lastly, Kenton Visser
takes us to “Anhedonia,” which is the title
of the drawing and also the name
given to the inability to experience pleasure
from activities usually found enjoyable. Kenton says it’s a preliminary
sketch for a painting, but I think it’s a
very accomplished work in its own right. Thank you for participating
in the Art Assignment and for continuing to expand
my definition of drawing. To find more responses to this
Assignment, follow us on Tumblr and stay tuned for a new
Assignment next week.

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