Austin Brown and De'Vin White "The Exploration of Life"

De'Vin White
Oct 16, 2014 2:08AM

Rauschenberg Unified Proposal

“The Exploration of Life” is an exhibition that exemplifies this sense of motivation; one can help identify traits that show who they truly are as a person. In general, our proposed theme is one that motivates viewers to seek exotic or unknown locations, experience a journey, and help to explore a sense of self-discovery along the way.

One artist whose paintings historically 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 who appears to be in a contemplative state of mind as they look off into the distance. An example of this can be seen in Moonrise on the Seashore, 1821. In this painting, the small size of the figures in comparison to everything else in the landscape greatly emphasizes the vastness of nature and how one can become completely engulfed by it which gives a sublime feeling. This effect is achieved by Friedrich’s choice to turn the figure’s backs towards the viewers. By doing so, the scene appears as if the viewers are looking at it in the exact instance the figures are.

With motivation to connect to nature from Friedrich, our proposed exhibition continues with works that provide goals for the viewer, to strive for a destination off in the distance. This goal-oriented exploration toward a destination is not only found in artwork, but in video games too. In video games, there is usually a “waypoint” that indicates where the player has to travel next. Sometimes there is no waypoint and, in response, may need to set a destination off in the distance of a landscape. This method of setting a goal in the world and experiencing a journey is used in both landscape artworks and video games. Viewers and players alike must find a goal within a place and make their way toward it, even if there is nothing to guide them to it. 

Moreover, people set out on a journey to a specified location, they are able to experience life first hand. They will be able to say, “Hey, I saw this location in an exhibition and was inspired to travel to some place beautiful.” We want people to look at the work in our exhibition and become awe-stricken at its magnificence as it demonstrates how extraordinary the environments in the world really are. It’s not just about finding a location and traveling to it, but rather, it’s the actual journey that one experiences to get to that goal. 

We want people to branch out of their ordinary lives and experience nature in the world along with all of its life 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 look at the work in our exhibition and say: “Wow, what a beautiful scene! I wish that I was there.” 

De'Vin White