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Day at the SMOCA

Posted on September 19th, 2007 Filed under Trips

For the last few weeks, I’ve been looking forward to seeing the Drawing Outside the Lines show at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. I had expected to see some new takes in line drawing. I had expected to take home a bit of inspiration. What I got was quite different. The show held fine examples of such art styles as “Art as Assignment” and “Art as Gimmick”.

I know this was put together by professionals, but it looked as if an art class was told to take this room and go crazy with it.. draw on the walls, floors.. do whatever with no direction. There was a wall with holes cut through it and a set of bleachers in front. There were things hanging from the ceiling with shadow outlines drawn on the wall nearby. There was a long-ass line drawn across two walls. There was a rug painted on the floor. There were a bunch of transparencies with lines on each that were placed within a recessed area of a table. There were leaves glued to the wall with lines drawn from vein to vein. These things sound like they could have been interesting, but they all lacked in composition and in the technicals. This isn’t what I would expect from professional artists.

Another artist, Jen Urso, went in the gimmicky direction. There was a soap-box car sitting on the floor and video playing of cruising down a hill while scribbling out some drawings on paper. When I first walked in, I was greeted with drawings sitting on some tables that looked like they had been out on my garage floor for the last few months. A video showed that these were some random drawings that were then accented with a giant ice cube on top. To me, this wasn’t an example of going outside the box. It was more of an example of how popular media would make fun of art that tries going outside the box.

So this show was a disappointment to me, but there were other exhibits. The day before, an exhibit had opened displaying the technical photography of Harold E. Edgerton between the 1930s and ’60s. Much of this was very high-speed photography. He had a way of showing a completely static look at action. It was all extremely precise, showing moments of impact from the point where someone hits a softball, to the point where a bullet leaves a series of balloons. They all had an effect that showed a complete lack of movement, which was interesting in that all of the photos were of movement at the extremities. The rest of his works were slow-shutter with use of a strobe light, which was to showcase patterns in movement.

His bio showed that he did not want his work to be confused with art. I am happy to confuse his work with art, and plan to imitate hit style with some of my own.

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