Tuesday, March 24, 2015

painting selfies before selfies were a thing

as a birthday present to myself, i went to louisiana, denmark's wonderful museum of modern art, on saturday. a member of husband's family is a curator there and she gave us a personal tour of the paula modersohn-becker exhibition that she had put together.  modersohn-becker was a german artist who died entirely too young, at the age of 31, in 1907. but she managed to put together an incredible body of work in her short time. she was revolutionary for her time - running off to paris to paint, hanging out with rainer maria rilke and painting loads of self-portraits long before the selfie was a thing. i hadn't heard of her before, but her work was fascinating and she was so revolutionary - painting ordinary people, mostly peasant women and children from a nearby poor farm, and painting nursing mothers. and painting them in a very naturalistic, non-posed manner, exposing their humanity in the process. oh, and she did a nod to matisse as well - actually, she may have inspired him, since this was painted in 1906 and he didn't paint his goldfish until 1912.

i often come away from visits to art museums thinking that i'm not doing enough with my life and wondering why i've never really hit upon something that would drive me to do it the way paula was driven to paint, even leaving her husband to go and live for a time in a garret in paris, painting and painting, just because she couldn't help herself. did i just miss that thing would have done that for me? or was i not listening when it called to me? or was there really nothing for me that would give me that kind of drive? is it too late? or is it still on the horizon? or am i destined to just live out an ordinary life?

i think that we always insert ourselves somehow into the things we view...bringing it back to our own experience, filtering it through our own lens. the art we see becomes entangled in our own perceptions and we assign meaning and emotions and feelings to it that are largely our own. more on that soon with regard to a couple of the other exhibitions i saw at louisiana.

edited: hmm, maybe it's not too late for me. 

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small vignettes of the lives of immigrants in the uk, in their own words.


Blogoratti said...

Those are lovely portraits!

Deb said...

Oh my! I haven't visited here for a while and I am amazed at all you are doing with your life Julie. Such creative energy. Your path is unique and wonderful and I can tell you are living it to the fullest! You inspire me and I'm sure countless others. I don't doubt that you are a tremendous success in so many ways...please don't leave your husband until he finished the kitchen, can't wait to see it! ;-)