All posts filed under: Fine Arts

Divinity at the Art Museum

Jay was an older man, by my guess in his mid-60s. He was animated and fresh, bound with the youthful curiosity of a student just now discovering the world. I hadn’t come to the Toledo Museum of Art looking for someone to talk to but there I was spending three hours roaming the halls with him, discussing art with a lovely group of older women, and eating hor d’oeuvres with art students from the local university. I met Jay while dining at the museum’s cafe. I was there to write a food critique–my subject Gouda and onion gnocchi. The dish itself was a new experience–a familiar tasting combo of saccharine and savoriness, and yet was a type of pastry I had never heard of before. I wasn’t blown away by it but I was thankful for having a new vegetarian meal to try. Just as I finished eating I sat at my table alone sipping on the remainder of my lemon flavored gunpowder green tea, content and smug at having tried my first real food …

the reeds (sculpture)

This sculpture can be found in the middle of the Main Library in downtown Toledo, Ohio. Carved out of red stained glass, the work is located inconspicuously under a small patch of an upper floor that holds a dining table and as as a bridge to an art gallery. Its presence is striking when found because of how stark the red contrasts with the gray metal of the ceiling and and white walls. Thematically, the sculpture is rather dull in its simplicity. There’s an obvious representation of reeds and a blooming color that represents the blood that runs through all of life and supports it. After staring at it for a while, I noticed that it resembled a Rothko painting in its geometrical representation of color. I wasn’t particularly in awe or struck by it, but rather shrugged and and whispered art. Trying to gain some insight into the simplistic piece against the very real notion that there might not be some, I walked around the library looking at it from different angles. It took …

What the F@ck Is It?: Rothko and Abstract Art

I was recently at the Toledo Art Museum with my always willing mother when we encountered this artifact. We stared at it for a few moments–what my mom was thinking I’ll never know–when it struck me. I exclaimed out loud that it was the tip of a paint brush. This got a good chuckle. It was a great moment not because we were laughing at the absurdity of what our brains perceived to be nonsense, but rather how abstraction forces the brain to rewire itself. it’s the same as trying to see animal shapes in clouds or the Catholic cross in a cheeto. We’re programmed to make recognitions from what we see in reality. When confronted with strokes of paint arranged in vertical fashions, our brain scrambles to make sense of what it sees. It can’t accept that it’s just strokes of paint. I’ll admit that sometimes when I see a piece of abstract art, I throw my hands up and and admit defeat. I just don’t get what I’m supposed to take away from …

The Work of Werner Pfeiffer

My hometown doesn’t always get a good rap. John Denver once put it succinctly: “There ain’t nothing to do in Toledo on a Saturday night.” Talk about a bummer of a quote. But this isn’t entirely true. Toledo, OH boasts a minor league baseball and hockey team, one of the best libraries in the USA, and a nationally recognized zoo. But more impressive is its art museum. Founded by Toledo glassmaker Edward Drummond Libbey in 1901, the museum contains among its many treasures two Van Gogh paintings as well as an Egyptian mummy. It’s one of my favorite places to visit. Part of the joy in making the trip to this free admission museum is eating at their fabulous cafe (you must try the Poached Salmon BLT), but even more so, visiting their featured exhibits. These temporary showcases have in the past featured such collections as the art of Star Wars, the art of comic books, and the hidden art of Da Vinci. It’s always a pleasant surprise to see what’s there. During my latest visit …