Friday, April 15, 2011

In Context

Looking at any art work alone leaves one to examine the subject, consider the technique, and ponder the inspiration. Inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere. When viewing a collection of similar works grouped by technique or by theme each piece begins to grow in significance.

An excellent example of this is currently on display at The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, NC. The exhibit is entitled Body of Christ which features two contemporary works by Spanish artist Javier Perez among several 12th through 18th century depictions of the Crucifixion. The installation has been on display since January and will remain on display until June 12, 2011.

Of the two Perez works on display the first to grab attention is the three dimensional skeletal human-tree hybrid expressive of the transmutation of life to death. Whereas this piece is startling and emotionally provoking it is the trio of three drawings hung separately, yet grouped in such a way as to be suggestive of the Crucifixion that in contrast demonstrates brilliance for the subtlety.

Staring at these three detailed drawings of a head and two hands intricately vein laden impresses a sense of mortality, but it is in stepping back to view the trio as a whole that the impression of a body appears. Any one of the trio of drawings would be an impressive display on its own, but it is in the placement of the three together that a bigger picture is formed. Step back farther to view the trio among the various other images and a clearer context becomes into focus adding depth and history.

-Veronica Monique Ibarra

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