Juxtaposition | Art Appreciation

My husband pokes fun at my interest and curiosity in the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, Mike McDaniel. He does so by calling it my infatuation. And all I did was say he was interesting, then proceeded to look up his bio.

Why do I find him so interesting? Because the first time I saw him on TV was during a pregame show where they showed him arriving to the stadium, getting out of his car with his backpack and glasses, trying to lock his car but fumbling with how to do it. He did not look like the typical NFL head coach. Instead he looked like a statistician straight from Harvard with the glasses, back pack and small frame. (Actually, I looked it up he went to Yale).

But he caught my attention, and he was interesting because he wasn’t expected. This is called juxtaposition in art – or anywhere but I’m concerned with art. Juxtaposition is a general term but pretty much means anything that doesn’t belong together or is in high contrast. It can be subtle or glaring. But it always brings interest to a piece of art.

Most people are familiar with surrealism, and this is probably the most obvious choice at juxtaposition. Escher and Magritte were masters at it. One of my favorite examples is Magritte’s Memory of a Journey where he shows the Leaning Tower of Pisa being held up by a feather.

Most often we can see it in the mark making of a piece of art. Above, I was attempting to create on a new piece only through the mark making of the grass which is heavier and not smooth or blended like the horse. I wanted to emphasize the contrast of the pain the horses are feeling to the beauty of nature but do it in opposition – the horses are smooth while nature is raw and rough. I’m not sure if I’m achieving it but it is an attempt at going deeper with my work.

This piece has more themes, and I’ll talk a lot more about it as I work through it and a couple of other pieces from this new series I started. I just wanted to share a peek and my thought process as I’ve worked heavily on this. And I hope you start looking for juxtaposition more in art now.

And I’ll leave you with 3 of my favorite examples of juxtaposition in life:

1. I already mentioned him, so I’m including him here too – Mike McDaniel – an interesting and apparently pretty good NFL coach. By the way he did play football at Yale. He was a wide receiver.

2. Those very first blooms we get in late winter when everything is still drab and gray and so cold. It’s why I created the Awakening Collection. I found those blooms to not only be inspiring but interesting.

3. Steve Martin, the comedic actor discovering and playing the banjo alongside NC based bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers. And apparently he’s pretty good. Unexpected which makes him more interesting.

Discovering Breadcrumbs

Season 2 is now out featuring The Cultivate Project. Rest, the first episode of season 2 is available now.

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