With the start of the school year also comes the start of our docent training for the year. What better time to get to know another of our wonderful docents, Marlene Cooper! Marlene’s enthusiasm for and love of art is infectious. Read on, and watch a short interview, to see why FWMoA is her happy place and the children she gives tours to are her favorite people.
“Winslow Homer: From Poetry to Fiction” opened at the museum on July 28, celebrating the engraved works of one of America’s most famous artists. Winslow Homer, a mostly self-taught artist of the 19th century, is well-known for his paintings and watercolors of American life and marine seascapes. However, Homer also created many engravings for Harper’s Weekly before his painting career took off, and a selection of those engravings are on view at FWMoA now. In honor of this exhibit, let’s explore what an “engraving” is in today’s Art Term Tuesday.
A trio of vibrant, eye-catching glass sculptures from the FWMoA permanent collection have recently been put on display in the museum's Karl S. and Ella L. Bolander Gallery. These large, multihued vessels--featuring undulating rims and exteriors spotted with bright pops of color--are from renowned studio glass artist Dale Chihuly's Macchia series. Once you've taken in the visual brilliance of these works, though, you may find yourself wondering: What exactly is a "macchia?" It is an Italian word--derived from the Latin macula--that means "stain," "spot," or "speck;" it can also be used in reference to Mediterranean shrubland. (For the coffee lovers out there: Yep, it is also related to the drink called caffè macchiato, which could be translated as "coffee stained or spotted (with milk).") Looking at how these sculptures are "specked" or "stained" with color, it's possible to understand why Chihuly named this series Macchia. But is there anything more to the word beyond this, especially in relation to art history and technique?
We’ve already profiled one of our illustrious docents, but today we’re looking a bit more closely at what it is that a docent actually does. The word “docent” comes from the Latin docere, meaning “to teach.” Google the word, and that is what you will find on almost any website dedicated to docents, but we’re not here to talk dictionary definitions. What do docents mean to FWMoA and the community we serve?
Here in the education department we are often greeted with the familiar refrain of “I’m not sure an Art Museum is the place for my family” or “What will I do with my family in the Art Museum?” when we invite visitors out of the Midwest summer heat and into our wonderfully air-conditioned building. Maybe it’s a misconception about art being stuffy, or that people without art degrees feel unprepared to take their families through an art exhibition, or that art is just plain boring. Whichever one happens to be the case, taking kids through an art exhibit can be easy and fun! All you have to do is ask one simple question: What do you see?
Opening soon at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art is the 46th Annual International Glass Invitational Award Winners exhibit in which glass sculptures by the best in the world will be on display. These beautiful works of art come into being by many processes, employing techniques that the average person might never have encountered. With that in mind, let’s explore one of the more popular glass making processes: cast glass.
I first encountered the Latin-derived term horror vacui several years ago while researching outsider art from the first half of the twentieth century. Simply put, horror vacui is the fear, or abhorrence, of empty space. In the past hundred years, this term has been used in discussions of interior design (for instance, Mario Praz's critique of Victorian-era design) and artwork in which a two- or three-dimensional space is filled with detail or objects. The presence of horror vacui in visual art can stem from an artist's overwhelming compulsion (perhaps related to mental illness) to leave no space vacant or from a conscious aesthetic decision to forgo negative space.
Through our “Docent Dialogue” series we’ll learn a bit more about FWMoA’s greatest resources, the very special volunteers who make school tours possible—the Children’s Docents! They are the often-unsung heroes of the Children’s Education department and the roughly 7,000 students who tour the museum each year.
In this section of the blog we’ll be attempting to define different types of terms as they relate to art and creative expression. Our definitions will be rooted in what’s generally accepted among art world peers, but infused with our personal observations. And, in the art world, just as in the “real” world, terms have double meaning. “Value”, for example, a common term, refers to the lightness or darkness of a color, or it can express what the art itself is worth. For our first term, however, I hope to define “art,” a daunting task to be sure!