Artist Lecture / Exhibit Summary

For my lecture write-up, I chose to visit an exhibit at the Akron Art Museum as opposed to seeing a lecture because the times conflicted with my classes.

I went and saw the Neo Geo Exhibits at the Akron Art Museum, specifically the works by Paul O’Keeffe (pictures attached below).

Paul has been an art Professor at Kent State for years, and I actually know him as the father of my friend from high school Lauren O’Keeffe. Living in Kent my whole life has helped me meet a lot of wise and talented people within the “art scene” and grateful for that.

Anyway, Lauren told me about his upcoming exhibit which began in late November back in August, and then I knew I had to see it and it turned out to be the perfect thing for this assignment, because it was something I actually had prior outside interest in. I remember seeing Paul’s work work when I was younger, but I hadn’t seen it in years and since having switched to Fine Art as my major I have a larger appreciation for it now.

As you can tell from the pictures, his work is mostly 3D stuff with a very geometric underlying structure. Before this class (being very much a 2D-oriented artist myself), I never really understood a lot of 3-dimensional art. A painting or drawing of a scene or picture made more sense to me than most sculptures, but having learned basic design principles in 3 dimensions I really have learned enough to appreciate it. For example, my favorite piece of his is the black sculpture below with the blue colored trim panels. It’s a very simple piece as far as the basic shape itself, so Paul has made it an interesting piece of art by including multiple shifting planes and by his use of color. The sleek black alone would have been alright, however it would have remained largely uninteresting. The shades of blue light add an oddly futuristic feel, it reminds me a lot of the movie Tron.

For a deeper interpretation, perhaps these pieces represent a different metaphor. I see it as maybe being a play on the differences between natural objects (represented by his varied, but generally plain use of straight colors) vs. man made objects (represented by the “perfect” nature of his shapes and flat edges/planes). At what point does our ingenuity/industry become too much and begin overwhelming nature?

I’m really glad I went to see this exhibit, and I’m very grateful for the things I’ve learned in this class. It really has opened up a whole new world of art to me that I never really saw before, and it’s certainly one I will continue to explore.


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