An Alleyway in Pennsylvania. March 2013.
Like so many other people, I wonder how I’ll every pay off my student loans. I criticize myself for not having understood what I was doing to my financial future at 22, when graduate school was so appealing and the economy was more stable. Thankfully, I have a wonderful job and a plan to fix the mistakes that I’ve made. But staying positive can be challenging. The smallest event can carry me far, far away on a trail of self-loathing and doubt.
As promised, I wanted to write more about the textile designs I saw at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This was the original drawing that caught my eye. The design, entitled Swaying Trees, is by American artist Rockwell Kent.
This was a big surprise for me! Kent (1882 – 1971) studied painting under William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri. I’d learned a bit about his paintings while working at an art gallery. Henri encouraged Kent to paint landscapes of Monhegan island in Maine on his own. This experience of painting directly in nature greatly affected Kent. Whatever medium he chose, Kent’s work always captures the amazing power of nature.
Kent gained a reputation of a neo-Transcendentalist because of this. Transcendentalism was a philosophy that originated in the 1830s and asserted that spiritual experiences could be observed in nature. Time spent in nature often created a mystical or transcendental experience to those that followed this philosophy.
You can see that his textile designs capture natural themes. The other accompanying design is called Running Deer. Both of these were realized in 1950. Kent made a similar design for Bloomcraft Inc called Deer Season, which you can see below:
So much to do, so little time! I paint as a hobby, and am looking forward to getting some inspiration before going back to my studio.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has two stellar shows right now, one on George Bellows, and another in Matisse.
I promise to write more about these exhibits after I take them in. I’m really looking forward to seeing how these two artists paint landscapes and other nature inspired scenes.
I’m not sure what paintings are in the shows, but Bellows painted many scenes of New York. When I spend time in the city, I always love going to Central Park and Riverside Drive. These are two places Bellows loved, and referred to park settings as an “urban oasis”.
Matisse liked to paint in a completely different style, but I like his paintings of trees so much. (I’m really partial to painting trees. They are my favorite subject!). His Acanthus painting is really beautiful, such strong hues of green and purple paired together make me smile.
I’m hoping that both of these paintings are at the museum. They have a similar color palette, which would be interesting to look at in person.
Here is a synopsis I wrote back in college for a philosophy of physics class. Enjoy!
According to Kuhn, normal science is based on a collective assumption of the scientific community that the world functions in a specific way. This assumption is a paradigm, or a model, for the rest of the community and their successive theories, experiments, and basic way of perceiving the physical world. The scientific community relies on paradigms, and measures all successive theories and discoveries to these pre-existing beliefs. This ridged concept of reality and science makes it difficult for new theories and discoveries to develop, as they endanger the tradition of science and prove the paradigm as erroneous.
Generally, a discovery of some type of anomaly causes a shift in the scientific community, which Kuhn labels a “scientific revolution“. As the term revolution implies, the scientific community is thus held responsible for correcting and reconstructing the entire history of science prior to the new discovery. This is a huge and arduous task, and is met with strong resistance.
Several paradigms exist, creating a school of thought or point of reference. This helps to create questions, methods of evaluating and determining areas of relevance, and help to find meaning in data. These paradigms are crucial in evaluating theoretical models, as well as scientific history, as they are the tools of interpretation and allow its followers to develop a professional discipline.
As I see it, Kuhn’s theory of scientific revolutions is a logical theory which proves science to be provisional, or in a constant state of flux. Paradigms are crucial in refining and evaluating scientific discoveries, but they also tend to limit and constrict new theories and knowledge of the physical world. Paradigms are historically based, and extremely hard to challenge as they are held to be self-evident and infallible to scientists. However, it is important that people continue to challenge this history and to find and explain anomalies manifest in the physical world. These radical and unusual theories based on anomalies further our understanding and advance our society.