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February 28, 2023

You Can Live Inside an Artwork for a Day, Which Do You Choose?

UMMA’s Student Advisory Board (SAB) is comprised of students passionate about art who work to connect UMMA with the University’s community. The SAB recently finished the year’s recruitment cycle and welcomed many new members. To get to know both the returning and new members, we asked each member which piece of art at UMMA they would like to jump into—Mary Poppins-style. Here are the personal and unique responses that we received!

Emma Baron
Le Givre à Veneux by Alfred Sisley
If I were to jump inside one of the paintings at UMMA, I would choose Le Givre à Veneux by Alfred Sisley. This piece gives me a sense of internal comfort as it reminds me of my childhood in rural Northern Michigan. I would often find myself venturing through beaten trails like the one depicted. Oftentimes, you would stumble upon a hidden farm or some sort of hidden area that made you feel like you were the only one in the world who had discovered this place. Maybe I find comfort in this as it depicts a time where I was void of responsibility and only had the obligation of exploring my immediate surroundings. Finally, the Monet-esque feeling of this work also makes it appealing to the eye.

Loran Murray
Le Café de la Nouvelle Athènes by Jean-Louis Forain

Right now, in the middle of the bleak Michigan winter, I would happily be transported anywhere, but a cozy café in 1876 Paris would be an ideal destination. The etching, Le Café de la Nouvelle Athènes by Jean-Louis Forain, depicts a “café-concert” where singers and comedians would perform. A Parisian coffee and pastry alongside some 19th century entertainment is exactly what I need right now for a mid-semester pick-me-up. This café also regularly welcomed many of the foremost artists of the time, including Monet, Degas, and Renoir. If I brushed up on my French skills, perhaps I would brave a small chat with one of them.

Joshua Weiss
Artillery Battle (Artillerieschlacht) by Otto Dix

One of my favorite paintings in UMMA’s collection is Artillery Battle (Artillerieschlacht) by Otto Dix. I identify with the subject of this painting, who is trapped within the vortex of warfare and destruction brought to life with exploding colors and sharp lines. When I look at this painting, I feel terrified yet in awe of war and human nature.

Emma Cordova
Mountain Landscape by Abraham Cuyper

If I were to jump into a piece of art, I would choose Mountain Landscape by Abraham Cuyper. This art piece is filled with stunning nature that seems to have taken over evidence of civilization (ex. the broken bridge), effectively restoring the area to what it once was before. I’d love to take a tour inside this piece and admire the mountains. I would take a field trip there any day!

Bailey Newsome
Transparent Creatures Hunting New Victims by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi

The piece I chose is Transparent Creatures Hunting New Victims by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi. I love how off-putting the title is and how absurd the painting is. The weird vibes are amazing. If I jumped into it, I feel like I would fit right in!

Ndio Mitchell
Power Figure by unrecorded Yombe artist

When it comes to pieces of art that I’d seek to jump into, the piece that immediately comes to mind is a Power Figure, one of the Minkisi, by the Yombe dated to somewhere between 1850-1900. I’m reminded of Smoking Mirror, Tezcatlipoca, an Aztec god who was depicted with an obsidian mirror embedded into his chest. It was said that he could use it to see the things we all try to keep hidden away. Food for thought, I suppose.

Jake Kennedy
Wooded Landscape with a Distant Sunset by John Varley I

The work that I selected is Wooded Landscape with a Distant Sunset by John Varley I. This work reminds me of the trails that I spent a significant amount of time on in 2020. At the beginning of the pandemic, I began spending a good amount of my time walking on paths in rural Ohio. The watercolor really allows me to imagine this as any of the bikeways or footpaths I was lucky enough to occupy. Scenes just like this one brought me peace when the world was in such a strange place.

Julie Hagopian
Green Sea by James Weeks

I chose Green Sea by James Weeks to “jump into” because it’s one of my favorites currently on display at the UMMA. The deep Green Sea draws my eyes every time I walk into the gallery, and I imagine walking along the shore would evoke such a beautiful calm feeling.

Audrey Carter
Windsor Castle by Francis Frith

It’s so hard to pick just one UMMA piece to Mary Poppins-style jump into. A Tiffany glass window seems like it would be beautiful and calming; a Carazzo abstract could make a fun jungle gym; and of course, the travel implications are a broke college student’s dream. Above all, however, I picked this photo of Windsor Castle by artist Francis Frith. I’m not sure how fun it would be to walk around 19th-century London society, but a quick trip to see this beautiful landscape would be super fun! The water and the architectural views are so stunning, the gondola rides seem very calming, and I would love to know what the rowing families think about Prince Harry’s new book.

Annie Rollins
Les Cartes (The Game of Solitaire) by Jacques Villon

I want to jump into Les Cartes (The Game of Solitaire) by Jacques Villon because she looks so comfortable. I also went through a phase when I was addicted to playing solitaire and would enjoy playing a round with the company of that dog.

Daniel Chuang
Orange Wave I by Susanne Stephenson

If I could jump into any piece of art, it would be Susanne Stephenson’s Orange Wave I. One half of its pattern and coloration strike a nostalgic resemblance with seashells, but the other side portrays a sense of unfamiliarity as well. The first layer, which slightly spirals inwards, almost makes it seem as if the piece is a portal into a different world. Undoubtedly, if I could jump into this piece, I feel like I would be introduced to a whole new world.

Kayla Turner
Young Woman by a Window by Auguste Toulmouche

I would love to be co-conspirators with the woman in Auguste Toulmouche’s Young Woman by a Window. I’d like to imagine she is gathering some juicy gossip, and I am intrigued to find out what’s going on outside that window. I would don a regency dress and get up to some sneaky shenanigans Pride and Prejudice-style.

Georgia Wallace
Construction #45 by José de Rivera

One of my favorite pieces is José de Rivera’s Construction #45. I wish I could jump in and go through the endless loops like a roller coaster!

Ellie Penn
Antiombrelle à atomiseurs de liquides
 by Salvador Dali
If I could jump into any UMMA painting, it would be Salvador Dali’s Antiombrelle à atomiseurs de liquides. One of my favorite movies is Alice in Wonderland, and I feel like this scene would be something Alice could have come across in Wonderland. I love the spontaneous yet cohesive aesthetic, and I would totally walk around with that umbrella if I could.

Leilani Baylis-Washington
The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido (Tate-e Edition): #38 Fujikawa by Utagawa Hiroshige

I’d love to jump into The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido (Tate-e Edition): #38 Fujikawa because of its serene color scheme. I appreciate Utagawa Hiroshige’s constant theme within each series. And, just to look at this piece visually. It’s a very soothing city in the snow, and when I see it, I imagine silence and peacefulness.


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