“Found Art” from Driftwood at Mercyhurst College • Martha Hunter • Lori Ripple • ArianaBielat
“Found Art” at Mercyhurst • Found Art is: • Art created from undisguised, but often modified, use of objects that are not normally considered art. • Found Art from Driftwood: • Driftwood is wood that has been washed onto a shore or beach of a sea, lake, ocean, or river by the action of winds, tides, waves or man. • Making a driftwood sculpture
Facts about Driftwood • As the wood floats in the water, it may be eaten by bacteria, colonized by various aquatic life, or covered in algae. • Outer layers of bark are often stripped out, and boring animals may dig a network of tunnels through the wood. • When it washes ashore, driftwood is often extremely light after it dries out, and it can make an excellent source of tinder. • Since the wood can float for an extended period of time, it is often bleached by the sun. Driftwood is a common source of fuel in regions where it washes ashore
Driftwood Sculpture 1 We interpret this sculpture as a male Ballerina opening his arms and heart to a woman ballerina who he has been separated from. We think he could be in the middle of a romantic dance performance.
Driftwood Sculpture 2 We understand this sculpture as a man who is reaching out the world because he wants to make a difference. His arms are extending so far because he wants to take everyone in his arms and accept them for who they are. He wants others to enjoy dance the way he does.
Driftwood Sculpture 3 We look at this sculpture as a man who had just performed the most phenomenal performance of his entire career. He is bowing to an audience who is giving him a standing ovation.
Driftwood Art in Old Main • Art by Brian Pardini • Lives right here in Fairview, walks along Lake Erie collecting his art • Has won many awards and displays many pieces of his art in Erie Art Museum • The sculptures are meant to evoke humanity’s ancient past, a time when the business of daily life was inseparable from contact with nature. • “What drives me with this work is the feeling of doing something ancient.” For Pardini, his work not only connects his various interests, but also creates connections between him and the indigenous peoples he finds so interesting, connections to an older way of life and the ancient history of humanity, connections to a spirituality that is left out of our modern conception of the material world. His objects function as pathways leading from material to spirit, and guide us back to our ancient roots. • http://www.erieartmuseum.org/exhibits/exhibits2008/pardini/ • http://www.brianpardiniart.com/
Noticings • We noticed that these works of art were placed by other dance pictures. There were three pictures of dancers in between two of the sculptures. We also noticed that they were made out of edgy driftwood each sitting on a different stand. One was sitting on a piece of driftwood that looked like a man was dancing on top of a hill, another was sitting on a piece of driftwood that looked like a man was dancing on flat land, and another had a simple metal piece holding it up. We believe they were set next to other dance pictures to express the idea that each represented a man was dancing. We see each as a man, because we don’t see any distinct womanly features.
Noticings Continued • When we look at these sculptures the driftwood reminds us of the beach, so we see men dancing on the beach, we see waves behind them, we see them dancing through the night since none of them have lighting around them. We hear the waves crashing behind them, and we smell the fish and the ocean water. We can feel the sand in between our toes, just like the dancers would between their feet. We feel a cool breeze from the night and feel energy like the dancers have running all through their bodies as they dance. We feel relief, because it seems as if the dancers are letting all of their stress out as they dance away forgetting about the troubles of the world around them. All they want to do in the moment is dance.
Questions • Why are they dancing? • Are they dancing by themselves? • Are they dancing with a group or with a tribe? • Are they on the beach? • Are they dancing to music? • Are they doing a specific dance? • Are they just free dancing making up their own moves? • Are they even dancing? • Do the stands each express something different? • Does each sculpture express something different? • Is there one meaning behind each or a variety of meanings behind each?
Activity Ideas • Teachers could assign students to walk along the beach and find pieces of driftwood that they see meaning out of. Students could be required to make the driftwood into a piece of art that expresses something. Students could then present their driftwoods to the class and the class could have open discussion about what they see, feel, hear, and smell about each of the pieces of art. They can make connections to each others’ findings and see each individual value as well.
Personal Connections • Lori - My personal connection to this project is that I used to dance. I can see how the sculptures are just letting their minds and body free by feeling the music and forgetting about everything else. When you dance, you express yourself and don’t care about what’s around you. You just let yourself go and feel the music, the emotions, and the feelings behind your dance.
Personal Connections • Martha: • Lives on lake, a lot of driftwood • Mom is an artist, does driftwood • Loves to dance!
Personal Connections • Ariana: • Used to dance/ do gymnastics • When I was younger my family used to have a house in North Carolina. We used to walk the beach and see all the driftwood on the beach, much like the driftwood used as found art today.
Curricular Connections • History: Teachers could connect this artwork to history behind using driftwood as art. • Science: Teachers could have students research the science behind how the water and wind forms the driftwood. • English: Students could write poems reflecting their personal connections to the works of art.
Contextual Findings:“Found Art” • Originator: Marcel Duchamp in early 20th Century
Contextual Findings:“Found Art” • The context which the art is placed is a highly relevant factor • Damien Hirst Says: • A painting can be considered an adapted found object (the object being paint), i.e. the whole history of art is based on the found objects.
Contextual Findings: “Driftwood Art” “Driftwood Sculpture From Finding to Fine Finishing” • According to Norse Mythology , the first humans, Ask and Embla, were formed out of two pieces of driftwood, an ash and an elm, by the god Odinand his brothers, Vili and VE
Location “ The context which the art is placed is a highly relevant factor.” Mercyhurst College: “Old Main” • Found art/ Driftwood sculptures reflects Mercyhurst college because it is a place which embraces natural beauty.
Line Of Inquiry • Aesthetic: How are each of the pieces different? What details make them a work of art? • Pedagogical: How is something so simple as a piece of driftwood considered a form of art? What other simple forms of art can you think of? Be specific
Key Ideas • The significance of each sculpture • How different each piece of driftwood is • The shape of the sculptures • How they are set up • How simple, yet intricate each sculpture is • The representation of each piece.
Uses of Driftwood • Some artists use the formerly floating wood as is • others may carve or cut it, using it to make bases for sculptures, picture frames, and other crafts. • The wood can also be used to make furniture, canes, and fences. • On the beach, driftwood provides shelter to a range of shore-loving organisms, ranging from insects to shellfish.
History: Teachers could connect this artwork to history behind using driftwood as art. Science: Teachers could have students research the science behind how the water and wind forms the driftwood. English: Students could write poems reflecting their personal connections to the works of art. Students find driftwood they see meaning out of. Then present their driftwoods to the class and have open discussion about what they see, feel, hear, and smell about each of the pieces of art. They can make connections to each others’ findings and see each individual value as well. It’s a simple form of art, and it shows how every day things can have so much more meaning to them. It shows if we take the time to notice what’s around us, we can gain new meaning and value out of life. Reminds us of the beach, so we see men dancing with waves behind them. We hear the waves crashing , smell the fish and the ocean water. We can feel the sand in between our toes and the cool breeze from the night. We feel energy like the dancers. Why are they dancing? Are they dancing by themselves? Are they dancing with a group or with a tribe? Are they on the beach? Are they dancing to music? Are they doing a specific dance? Are they just free dancing making up their own moves?