The Exploration of Life

Austin Brown
Oct 17, 2014 7:11AM

If we were to co-curate an exhibition in a museum, there would be conjoining themes of adventure and self-discovery expressed through the works displayed. Both themes share one ideal: exploration. Thus, the title for our exhibition would be The Exploration of Life. Our first proposal discussed the theme of traveling to beautiful locations across the world to find one’s true self while becoming immersed in various natural environments. The second proposal’s theme was that of setting a goal in life and experiencing what one endures along that journey. Both themes are combined in video games as well as artwork. In general, our proposed theme is one that motivates viewers to seek exotic locations, experience a journey, and explore a sense of self-discovery along the way.

One artist whose paintings embody the theme of exploration is Caspar David Friedrich. His work is a foundation for our show because it often depicts large, open landscapes that contain a person contemplating as they stare off into the distance. An example of this is Moonrise on the Seashore, 1821. In this painting, the small size of the figures in comparison to the landscape emphasizes the vastness of nature and how one can become engulfed by it. This sublime feeling captivates viewers and puts them in the shoes of the figures shown. This effect is achieved by Friedrich’s choice to turn the figure’s backs towards the viewers. This allows viewers to connect with nature as if they’re present within the scene.

Using nature as motivation, our exhibition would contain works that provide goals for viewers as they strive for a destination in the distance. This exploration is found in both artwork and video games, which both provide one with the freedom of choice in life rather than being controlled. Video games contain worlds with an infinite amount of possibility and paths to follow. Also, they usually provide a “waypoint” to guide players accordingly. However, sometimes players must find their own path and set their own goals throughout the quest. Viewers of art and players alike must find goals to strive for and make their way toward them, even if there is nothing to guide them. By doing so, one learns to follow their heart in order to fulfill a desired goal.

Taking a journey allows people to have firsthand experience in life. We want people to see the work in our exhibition and become awe-stricken as it demonstrates how extraordinary the environments in the world truly are. It’s not just about finding a location on Earth and traveling to it, but rather, the journey itself that builds character. We want people to branch out and experience nature along with all of life’s lessons. By enjoying the simple pleasures in life, a person can turn sadness into joy, joy into freedom, and freedom into life. We want viewers to dream of traveling to the locales in the works displayed. Without taking risks, how can someone honestly know what it means to experience life and true happiness?

Austin Brown
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019