Visiting Artist #2

Emily Potter

April 30, 2012

ARTH3539

Artist Lecture #2

Lawrence Argent

Lawrence Argent is an installation artist who is interested in visual perception and recognition of an object.  He presented his lecture at the Denver Art Museum in the Hamilton Hall.  He is extremely fascinated when the idea of exploration with how one interacts with his installations and the process of how the audience relates to it.  However, though I chose to attend this lecture, I had a very hard time appreciating his work.

His first art piece he talked about was, of course, his big blue bear we all know from the Convention Center.  I See What You Mean, 2005, is a giant blue bear peaking into the even bigger Convention Center.  Argent said in his lecture that he actually had a hard time trying to decide what to do for the area he was given.  He kept visualizing the large amounts of people who would be walking past it.  His idea emerged as a response to being a meeting place, exchange of ideas, “regional western art and the thought of what that form is from a non-residents perspective, and the natural surroundings of Colorado”.  The bear has a total of around 4,000 triangles on his surface for texture.

We all know the big blue bear when we have gone downtown.  I have always enjoyed it and thought it was a playful piece of public art.  However, I had a very hard time trying to be “glued” to his work.  I felt that there was too much humor and not enough clear reference he was trying to make.  I am not saying there can ever be too much humor in the art world.  It can be nice and it eases the tension of the seriousness, but in Argent’s case, I felt it was all about humor and being funny.  The pieces he spoke about did not capture any interest from me or any emotional attachment, either.  Yet, the big blue bear is the only one I felt a connection with only because I am familiar with it.  Other than that, Argent’s other works did not do much for me.

Another piece that he spoke of was Leap at the Sacramento Airport.  It is a giant red rabbit leaping from the ceiling into a queen’s sized suitcase.  Similar to the big blue bear, the rabbit is covered and geometric triangular panels.  The panels seem to float to make the shape of the animal.  The piece is about air travel and the feelings that travel gives to a person; desire, hope, excitement, anxiety, frustration and joy.  Argent stated that “those nouns describe some of the emotions that rattle in our personal baggage as we transit through the hubs of air travel”.  His idea behind the piece also was Argent’s thought process of what is our baggage that we carry and the connection of our “stuff” and who we are.  Again, similar to the giant blue bear, Argent thought about this for a very long time.  He finally chose a rabbit and suitcase with an opening, a void, to which we can escape, or think that we are able to.

I had a really hard time with this piece because I felt that it related too much to I See What You Mean.  I felt as though he could have used something else to appear as though it was falling into the suitcase.  In my opinion, he could have made an abstract object of wire and steal, something to signify our emotions; not a giant red rabbit.  I didn’t feel that it was as original as he could get.

Lawrence Argent bases his work off of the idea of connection to the viewer and the visual recognition to an object.  How do we interact with the object? How does the piece connect with us emotionally?  On a personal basis, it is hard for me to interact with his work and it has become exceptionally harder to connect emotionally with his works.  However, he takes time to decide the perfect materials and the best ideal way to present his works.  Now that is something I can respect from an artist.

One Response

  1. I think these pieces are pretty light and not too abstract in their meaning. The bear is looking into the art building because he wants to see the art inside. The rabbit leaping in the airport is tied to movement into a different location like you mentioned. I agree that this work doesn’t seem to be very deep. I do like the playfulness of them however. Sometimes people think of museums as boring or airports as scary, so maybe these pieces can help some people gain a different perspective. Aesthetically, i think there pretty cool.

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