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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Bernstein Festival opens with interactive event at The Rose

Published: April 25, 2014
Section: Arts, Etc.

The Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts began Thursday when The Rose Art Museum hosted a guided sketching tour, presented by SCRAM (the Student Committee for The Rose Art Museum), starting at 7 p.m.

I was amazed by all the abstract paintings displayed on the walls, but what really struck me was one of the paintings by Charlin Von Heyl. It contained a lot of pop-art images scattered all around the canvas, which at first, just seemed like a disorganized jumble of objects. But when I was sketching it, I started drawing lips, which were cut through by a line down the middle. Then I drew an eye floating in open space, and a couple of black and white objects that seemed to make out a flower that framed what looked like a face made out of other lines.

What I didn’t realize, however, was that there seemed to be a certain method to the madness of the piece. I was not aware of this until I took the guided sketching tour, which gave the audience a lot of insight into the paintings we observed because of all the interesting analysis and comments.

One of the first pieces that we looked at was also by Charlin Von Heyl and it depicted a sort of vortex. The focus of the artwork (at least through my eyes) was on the left side of the painting, while the rest of the painting contained other abstract elements. Von Heyl chose to use light colors throughout the painting so that no part of the painting would overpower the piece. Therefore, the audience was able to see the patterns, the eerie backdrop (which looked like a structure of a mansion) and a second layer of the piece that contained a three-dimensional effect. These three triangles jutting out of the painting depicted a sort of spiral staircase that let our minds wander up towards the top part of the composition, the focal point.

We then walked into another gallery. There were so many elements scattered in the next painting that it was a bit overwhelming for some people. Once we started our discussion, I began to piece things together in the painting. For me, the painting seemed to juxtapose the outside urban life with that of the domestic. Lines and brushstrokes sketched out a bridge and an ocean. The three-dimensional objects seemed to illustrate houses, windows and at the very top of the painting, I even began to see a fan. What particularly bothered some people about the painting was the scrambling of elements. There were so many squiggly lines and big bright organic shapes, that there was nothing that seemed to anchor the painting except for the small, white rectangle at the very corner. However, like before, we learned that the artist did in fact have to plan out where he was going to include the different elements before actually drawing them out. I found it amazing that he was able to bring such ordinary objects to life.

Through this experience, I realized that abstract art is a medium that allows us to see things through different perspectives. It opens our minds up to strange and clever elements that we never really stop to think about in our daily lives. Living through art not only helps to inspire our creative side but also allows us to think differently and aesthetically. Through art, we become not only more worldly, but also more able to appreciate life through a different lens. Art is about appreciating the beauty in life.