Tag Archives: Spiral Jetty

Jose Agustín Arrieta – Making The Ordinary Extraordinary

www.segmation.comCommon household settings and cooking materials were significant to Mexican painter, Jose Agustín Arrieta. This genre painter became famous after his death for portraying what he saw and experienced in nineteenth century Puebla, the town where he grew up and lived most his life.

In 1803, Jose Agustín Arrieta was born in Tlaxcala, Mexico. At a young age his parents moved to Puebla, where the young artist was a student of life, studying everyday objects and seeking to make them beautiful.
Today, there is not a lot of information circulating about Arrieta, but it seems he never left his home town – the place from which the character of his portraits and still lifes were born. In addition to being the bedrock of his inspiration, Puebla and nearby San Carlos offered fine art competitions that Arrieta participated in.

Jose Agustín Arrieta married Maria Nicolasa Lorenzana Varela in 1826. It is believed that she may have been an artist as well. This could very well be true; many noteworthy art teachers belonged to the Academy of Fine Arts of Puebla. Rather than join the academy and work with the likes of Lorenzo Zendejas and Salvador del Huerto, Arrieta forged his own path and set up a personal studio where he was able to paint portraits and still lifes that would not have been deemed appropriate to Puebla’s elite class. As a result, the artist did not earn a lot of money from his art work. In 1852, after identifying the state of his struggle, Arrieta took a counseling job in the State Congress.

Regardless of his inability to support himself financially during his lifetime, Arrieta’s work, known at the time as “cuadros de comedor” or “dining tables,” has become a symbol of Pueblo’s history. One reason why his genre paintings were given this title was because much of his work portrayed people and scenes that included images of national cuisine and traditional dishes. In fact, much of Jose Agustín Arrieta’s art can be summed up by the phrase, “good food and good drink.” This is because many of his paintings captured Mexican fruits, national delicacies, and bottles of wines and champagnes, as well as crystal glasses, common cooking pots, and serving baskets.www.segmation.com

Arrieta’s legacy exists today because of the content of his paintings, as well as the unique talent he displayed. A sign of his work is the fine detail that was applied to his paintings of home kitchens and public taverns. He also had an interesting way of drawing females, who were often painted as sexy women wearing full jewelry and oriental clothing.
It is said that, in his paintings, Arrieta may have been trying to save the style of symbolic still lifes that were typical in the 1600’s, but lost in the following century when naturalism came on the scene. Even though it would have been impossible for Arrieta to receive proper training in this style of art, his choice of subject matter (i.e. Mexican foods and
Puebla cooking techniques) required a realistic approach and variety of textures.

Today, Arrieta’s paintings are seen as the result of intense motivation. The artist spent much time perfecting his drawing and composition techniques, in addition to using color, and depicting human anatomy. It is unclear how much of his talent was the result of his wife’s education, who may have been properly trained at the Academy of Fine Arts of Puebla. Still, many of Arrieta’s pieces that sell today are deemed “imperfect” because of his distorted or lack of perspective. This, however, does not detract from the timeless success of Arrieta’s art.

On December 22, 1874, Jose Agustín Arrieta passed away, leaving behind a legacy that lives in Puebla and much of the world today. In fact, his work is available to the viewing public inside Casa Agustín Arrieta, a historical Pueblano home and museum.

References:
http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agust%C3%ADn_Arrieta
http://web.archive.org/web/20120410092046
http://www.euskonews.com/0454zbk/kosmo45401es.html

Read more Segmation blog posts 

Preserving the Art of Earth: Robert Smithson’s “Spiral Jetty”

The Natural Side of Art

Be an Artist in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

Segmation

FREE Newsletter

Join us on FacebookSegPlay® Mobile iTunes now available for iPhone and iPad

Preserving the Art of Earth: Robert Smithson’s “Spiral Jetty”

Preserving the Art of Earth - Robert Smithson’s “Spiral Jetty”Earth was the artist’s first canvas. Before paint supplies and art tools, individuals used natural settings as means to document history and express cultural identity.

After tools to create paintings, sculptures, and sketches came into use, some artists – like the late Robert Smithson – still chose to create massive artistic marvels using natural elements. Earthwork, as it is commonly known, consists of large scale artwork that is set in nature and composed of the elements.

The Spiral Jetty, located at Rozel Point in Great Salt Lake, Utah is the defining earthwork of Smithson. In 1970, he used “mud, precipitated salt crystals, and rocks” to create a 1,500 foot long, 15 foot wide water coil.

Any challenges the artist was confronted with when creating the Spiral Jetty may be comparable to the work that is going into conserving the art. As nature continues to recreate this work of art, the importance of documenting this earthwork is ever more important.

How Is The Spiral Jetty Being Preserved?

Both nature and man have made quite the impact on the Spiral Jetty. In recent years, because of drought, the earthwork has emerged from its safe home underwater. Smithson was said to have been, “fascinated by the concept of entropy…” and may have even “…welcomed this transformation.” However, less appealing are the man made changes that occur when visitors, who have access to the site, walk away with rock souvenirs.

Today, the Dia Center for the Arts, which acquired the Spiral Jetty from the Robert Smithson Estate in 1999, is partnering up with the Getty Conservation Institute to document the earthwork regularly. Only time will tell if there will need to be conservation efforts to keep the Spiral Jetty constructed in the way Smithson intended it.

The preservation efforts are inexpensive and consist of a disposable latex weather balloon, which monitors the vast creation from above. The images, captured with a Canon point and shoot camera, help conservationists see how the work of art is changing over the years. These photographs will be useful in continuing to weigh options as to how they may best preserve, and possibly restore the piece.

Why Is It Important To Preserve Earthwork?

As nature and people threaten the structure, there may come a day when portions of Smithson’s Spiral Jetty needs to be rebuilt. Though many of the existing earthworks were created to withstand the elements, they may need to be touched up and monitored to ensure they last for years to come.

For the sake of preservation, it is important to be mindful of how both art and nature impacts the world around us. One reason why earthwork captivates us is because these pieces are subject to the elements. This means they are always changing and reshaping, to create a unique type of art. When merging man’s abilities with the natural world, it is important to maintain man’s hard work and nature’s creativity.

References:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/18/arts/design/18spiral.html?_r=1&

http://www.robertsmithson.com/earthworks/spiral_jetty.htm

http://www.getty.edu/conservation/publications_resources/videos/focus/spiral_jetty.html

Read more Segmation blog posts about art beyond the canvas:

Travel Like an Artist

The Body as a Canvas

The Natural Side of Art

Be an Artist in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

Segmation

FREE Newsletter

Join us on FacebookSegPlay® Mobile iTunes now available for iPhone and iPad

www.segmation.com