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Art Comparative Study

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J.S. Davidson

on 30 November 2015

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Transcript of Art Comparative Study

Art Comparative Study
Art Comparative Study
LAYLAY ALI
VS.
NANDINI VALLI MUTHIAH
J.S. DAVIDSON, PERIOD 5
A R T C O M P A R I S O N S T U D Y

LAYLAH ALI
VS.
NANDINI VALLI MUTHIAH
_______
J.S. DAVIDSON, PERIOD 5
by
P I E C E N O . 1 :
Untitled Piece from Laylah Ali's 'Greenheads' Series
VISUAL ARTS METHODS
SIMPLIFICATION OF COLOUR AND FIGURES

Laylah Ali deliberately depicts the figures in her
Greenheads
as devoid of age and gender, and paints them green to eliminate race. Her backgrounds are always very neutral (in this case a pale blue is used), so as to draw attention to the subject matter, which is often ambiguous. We see recurrent themes of violence and/or political unrest, but we rarely know exactly what her paintings discuss.




VISUAL ARTS IN CONTEXT
Ali's work talks about power and political unrest, and reflects the disquiet we feel today in many sociopolitical situations. It reflects the past, and atrocities committed then, but are at the same time very ambiguous, and could be allegories for what is happening today.

In order to interpret Ali's work, we must, as viewers, have an understanding of political conflict and turmoil throughout history. And perhaps we also bring our own personal social experience, as people of particular races, ages, and genders. We notice when these things are stripped away in Ali's paintings, and it makes us wonder why she's done this. And even though Ali's figures are unable to be defined in the usual context we use to discriminate against others, their social status is often still apparent, and the violence never stops.




As the series continues, more and more of the figures' anatomy is pruned away, as if the artist is examining how much detail can be removed--such as arms, feet, skin colour--while still communicating thought, emotion and social status. "The enigmatic situations," according to Ali, "represent the uncomfortable undertones of mistrust and conflict that often characterise social experience.
FROM THE CORNELL MUSEUM:
"
"
SYMBOLISM
Laylah Ali often uses loaded imagery, such as nooses, hooded robes, and in this case, possible military or government uniforms. The figures are near identical, and
certainly, are all in
some
form of uniform, nearly identical. Almost as though they were cut from the same mold. Because they are so interchangeable, the painting could be talking about brainwashing, or being coerced into violence by a larger power. All the figures are holding heads, and their expressions could be ones of horror, or they could be ones of mindlessness. Though when the faces of the figures holding the heads are contrasted with the heads themselves, we see that the victims' expressions are ones of definite horror, which leads us to believe that the figures themselves might indeed be apathetic.

There is also a lot of symbolism in Ali's figures alone, seeing as they have been simplified for a very specific purpose.
P I E C E N O . 2 :
'The Arrival' from Nandini Valli Muthiah's 'Definite Reincarnate' Series
VISUAL ARTS METHODS
PHOTOGRAPHY TO REPRESENT REALISM

Nandini Muthiah chooses to photograph Krishna as a tangible being, quite literally dragging the god out of the traditional and/or mythological world, and into the real one. This becomes part of the juxtaposition of the whole piece. If Krishna had been painted or drawn the intention of the piece wouldn't have come across as well as if a camera was used.
SYMBOLISM
Throughout the
Definite Reincarnate
series, Krishna represents the whole of Hindu tradition and mythology, whereas the backdrops he finds himself in represent the changing face of modern India. For instance, the convertible he is standing in. The car is a very iconic image in American culture. When we visited SAM and saw the City Dwellers exhibit, we saw a lot of artists, in particular, Manjunath Kamath in their painting 'Overdose' (seen in the next slide), talk about India as a melting pot of many different cultures, and in particular, American. The caption of that painting read "the observant viewer will find Picasso, Superman, and an oversized Lego figure intermingled with everyday people and tourists snapping pictures. Although the comparisons are surreal and humourous, they capture the extraordinary contrast and countless influences that inform contemporary life in India." The American convertible car goes on to symbolise that life in Muthiah's 'The Arrival'.

Manjunath Kamath's 'Overdose'
VISUAL ARTS IN CONTEXT

Krishna's presence in Muthiah's work reflects aspects of traditional Hindu life, and the modern backgrounds draw our attention to India today, and point out where the two clash. Can these worlds coexist, the photographer asks.

In order to interpret and appreciate Muthiah's work, we must understand that deities exist almost in a world apart from us. Even though they are 'here', in our world, they are also 'there', in their own, and our worlds are usually portrayed as being very different. We must have an understanding, also, that gods are regarded as sacred, and that our world is often cynically regarded as dirty, tainted, or sinful, as the case may be.

We must also take into account what Krishna represents within Hinduism. He is considered the avatar of Vishnu, the Supreme Being responsible for preserving and protecting amongst the Trimurti. Knowing that Krishna is a god and what he represents is essential for the understanding of this piece.







FROM THE CITY DWELLERS PAMPHLET FROM SAM:
In [Muthiah's] series 'Definite Reincarnate,' the blue-skinned god Krishna is posed in a series of modern urban environments, including a crowded street, an American convertible car, a posh hotel room. The images starkly juxtapose traditional Hindu iconography and mythology with contemporary urban life, introducing a note of introspection and raising questions about the place these traditions can occupy in modern India.
"
"
I chose to compare these artists because of their strong ties to social context and the duality of our cultural lives. The purpose and function of Laylah Ali's work is to allow us to explore our interactions with both people and nations, and the boxes we have created to define ourselves. Even without race and gender and age, we are still capable of committing atrocities against our fellow person. Nandini Muthiah brings up questions about tradition and modernity and whether or not we can live in one world without abandoning the other one. Both artists ask us to examine ourselves and our personal motives. Though they deal with very different things, there is a common underlying theme of our relation to the world around us.
LAYLAH ALI
- I N C O M P A R I S O N -
NANDINI VALLI MUTHIAH
painter

political unrest of the
past and present

oversimplification of
figures to transcend
physical 'boundaries'
(race, age, etc.)

even without age, race,
and gender, would we
still treat each other as
less than?
social issues

both call on us to
examine ourselves
and our personal
motives

both deal with the
complexity and
duality of our
cultural lives
photographer

traditional vs. modern India

realistic photograph to juxtapose the divine with the mundane

can tradition coexist with modern India? Further more, can these gods exist, and is this in some way saying that Krishna is disappointed with the state of things?
IN CONCLUSION
LAYLAH ALI
- I N C O M P A R I S O N -
NANDINI VALLI MUTHIAH
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