Grab a stool at the Welcome Desk and take a seat in front of Claire Falkenstein's structure, Sun, located in the Sally and Michael Gordon Gallery. With Halloween just around the corner, we selected an artwork that reminded us of the supernatural. The looming presence of Sun seemed fitting for the occasion.
Begin the looking process by drawing this work of art.
Pay attention to the motion of the artwork in space and how that affects your understanding and interpretation of it.
Consider Falkenstein's emphasis on structure and space.
Falkenstein was interested in Einstein's theories of relativity, which deals with gravity and infinite space, and she further explored the idea of space in her work. The way the form can move in the space gives it a feeling of being able to act on its own, which is further strengthened by its ability to cast shadows on the adjacent walls.
What are you noticing about the open spaces between the wires? Do you see any repeating patterns in the structure, or in the shadows on the walls?
Artists who create 3-dimensional works of art often are just as interested in the negative space—in this work, that would be the open spaces between the wires—as they are in the structure itself.
How does Sun's lack of a recognizable form contribute to your understanding of what this object is meant to represent? Are there any aspects that remind you of the literal sun?
While a lot of art focuses on representations of real-world objects already known to viewers, Falkenstein wanted to invent new forms. Because the shape of this work is not readily recognizable, it could engender feelings of being unsettling. Or, conversely, it could seem exciting. Do you feel unsettled, or excited?
As you look at this structure, are you thinking about connections to science or the supernatural?
Although Falkenstein's work was largely influenced by science and the universe, the transparency of the work, the way it appears to float, and its ability to move on its own could remind people of the supernatural world of spirits. That's one of the wonderful things about spending time with a work of art, discovering more of what the artist might have been thinking but also factoring in how your experiences and knowledge shape your own interpretation of it.
Has your personal interpretation of the artwork changed since your first impression of it?