Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Rorschach: The Bullfight, Part II

Here is today's Friday Rorschach. It is one of my daughter's. Tempera paint on paperboard. Titled The Bullfight, Part II.

What it is: A few weeks ago, my family went to the Denver Art Museum. The kids love visiting the museum, and my wife and I enjoy seeing them get excited about art.

In particular, my son enjoys the Oceanic Art section of the museum. I'm not exactly sure why, but he loves the wooden carvings, and there is one in particular that stands out for him. It is the prow of a canoe, and it contains a bust of a creature who is sticking out its tongue. My son calls it "the Bleh guy," because he imagines that is the sound this creature is making.

On the wall next to the entrance of the Oceanic Art section of the museum used to hang a huge Vance Kirkland painting. It was recently replaced by another painting in the museum's collection, and as we walked by it, my daughter and I stopped to take a closer look.

The new painting is The Bullfight, a 1959 painting by Elaine de Kooning. It is a vibrant, abstract painting with a tremendous sense of movement and vitality. We both really liked it, but we quickly moved on to see The Bleh Guy.

Elaine de Kooning, The Bullfight, 1959

The next day, my daughter created what is this week's Friday Rorschach painting. It is her rendition of de Kooning's work.

She told me she didn't actually see a bullfight in de Kooning's painting (when it is small, it seems rather obvious, but when you are standing a few feet away from the original, any sense of form is overwhelmed by the color and movement of the brush strokes). But, she liked the colors, and she enjoys painting abstractly. She also told me she only used vertical brush strokes because she didn't want to "mess up Mommy's paint brush."

There is absolutely no intention of form in my daughter's painting. She just wanted to riff off of a work she saw in a museum the day before.

What you thought it was:

Several of you picked up on the blue color and thought it was water. A few saw the red as fire.

Some people saw danger in my daughter's painting:

At least one person saw cooperation and happiness:

Several people incorporated technology and popular culture into their responses:

And, one person even included an element of competition into the Friday Rorschach task:

What you might have missed: Either due to the constraints of Twitter or my bad photography skills (or a combination of the two), it is difficult to tell that the painting has been folded in half. My daughter finished the painting and then wanted to press one side onto the other, creating an inkblot effect, just like Hermann Rorschach did when he created his psychological test. If you look at the painting again, you can see some of the blue from the left side of the painting reflected onto the right side. And, you can see a crease roughly down the middle. What do you think it means that no one mentioned the reflection?

And, as a side note, you might remember that my daughter folded a previous Friday Rorschach painting in half. That time, she did it to signify that she had "messed up" her painting. This week's fold has an entirely different meaning for her.

Also, you might notice there are some small letters printed vertically on the left side of the paperboard. That has nothing to do with the artwork. That was printed by the company that manufactured the paper (it is the inside of a package of crackers).

Thanks for reading. Until next week-- Max Wachtel, Ph.D.

Friday Rorschach is a fun project designed to engage readers' creativity. To participate, follow Max on twitter. He posts the drawing every Friday morning around 10am ET/8am MT. There are no wrong answers to the Friday Rorschach.


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