Thursday, July 16, 2009
The event was planned and executed with attention to every detail and so it is no surprise it was such a huge success. I would like to thank everyone at the Iowa Department for the Blind for making me feel so welcome.
I first wondered if a person who was blind could interpret a bas relief picture in the early 1990’s but it wasn’t until 1998 that I was given a show by Director Cynthia Madden Leitner at the Museum of Outdoor Arts in Englewood, Colorado, to explore this concept. In the course of my research I was directed to the Colorado Center for the Blind and soon after began teaching art.
After I came up with the brilliant idea of starting a class at the Center and got the job I then had a quiet moment to wonder if teaching art to people who are blind is even possible. Well ten years later I find my self wondering, “What was the question?” I have yet to find a road block we can’t get around with a bit of creative problem solving.
The work at the Iowa Department for the Blind incorporates the sum of what I have learned about creating pictures to be interpreted by touch.
It seems fitting and right that I should come from the Colorado Center to share my work since it was the groundbreaking work of the Iowa Department for the Blind that created the model upon which the Colorado Center is based. The programs which are based on the Iowa model empower students and remove limitations by replacing “No I can’t” with “I can once I know.”
I am thankful for this opportunity to share my work with all Iowans but especially the 69,000 blind and visually impaired residents. Communities are built through shared cultural connections. I am happy to be able to make a cultural icon accessible as well as introduce new concepts for creating accessible art for all.
Sincere thanks, Ann
Links to some of the media coverage are:
The house behind the couple has a Gothic Revival style. It has a pointed roof, with a prominent arch window in the second story. The representation of the house is made from cherry wood. Behind the man's shoulder is a representation of a barn. The barn is smaller demonstrating its location farther from the scene. Like the house it is made of cherry wood.
The background sky and trees are carved in slate as well as the clothes the man and woman are wearing. Their faces, his hand, the pitchfork, his shirt buttons and her cameo are cast in bronze.
This piece is a tactile representation of farm fields. Raised, curved lines represent undulating hills of fields.
The depiction of a winding country road begins at the bottom, left corner of the frame. The width of the road becomes narrower as it extends toward the top, right and curving back toward the left side. The road represents the concept of "convergence". The width becomes narrower to demonstrate that items appear smaller the farther they are from the observer.
At the bottom, left side of the picture, a child is walking down the road using a cane and leading a piglet on a rope. The child is wearing overalls and a straw hat. This element is made from bronze.
On the left side of the picture is a large poplar tree. The trunk is made of slate and the remaining tree is made of cherry wood. Depressions in the wood are used for an abstract representation of leaves.
A farmhouse and barn with trees appears in the top, left horizon. These items are made of bronze. Their small size reflects their distance from the observer.
Features on the right side of the picture show rows of cabbage. In the foreground, the cabbage is both larger and more realistic in representation. As rows of cabbage recede into the distance, they become smaller and more abstract. Slate is used for both the hills and the rows of cabbage.
A farmhouse with two poplar trees appears near the top right side of the picture. The farmhouse is made of bronze and the trees are made of cherry wood.
A plowed field and a man with a horse-drawn plow appears toward the middle of the picture. The plowed field is made of etched slate, and the man, horse, and plow are made of bronze.
In the top middle, an abstract of three birds in flight are etched into the slate representing the sky.
The Regionalist Landscape piece is a companion to the Contour Map. Both depict the same landscape from different perspectives, one on the ground and one from the air.
The contour map shows an area of landscape as seen from far above. Bronze is used to show the ripple of the hills. Rows are etched into the bronze to depict the crop rows. The smooth line proceeding through the middle of the piece represents the winding country road. The raised smooth elements are used to depict the farmhouses, barns and trees present in this landscape. Features in this piece are more abstract, demonstrating that items become less distinct the further they are from the observer. Notice that the child and piglet shown in the Regionalist Landscape piece are too small to be seen in this view.
The Contour Map is a companion to the Regionalist Landscape. Both depict the same landscape from different perspectives, one on the ground and one from the air.
In this piece, a row of cornstalks are used to demonstrate realistic, stylized, and abstract artistic concepts. Notice that the features of an item become less distinct as its representation changes from realistic, to stylized, and to abstract. The piece is constructed of bronze.
This piece depicts outlines and shapes. On the right side, a pyramid, egg, cube, and box appear in three dimensions. On the surface above, those same shapes are rendered in two dimensions. Raised lines are used to show how elements overlap visually in a two-dimensional representation.
This piece features four positive role models: a professional, construction worker, doctor, and parent. This piece uses people to demonstrate the concepts of three dimensional representation and high-relief, medium-relief, and bas (low) relief. While the outline of each person shown here remains the same, the back to front depth is reduced as the person is depicted in three dimensions, high-relief, medium-relief, and bas (low) relief.
7. Perspective Machine
Connect the pointer on the left side, through the frame to a place on the stack of books on the right side of the piece. The pointer shows where that area on the stacked books would appear on the picture plane, the area in the frame if it held a canvas.
The bas relief picture of the books, hanging above and a bit left of the machine, is the same view as seen through the picture frame with the pointer.
You will notice that looking at the stack of books from a different perspective reveals objects which are concealed by overlapping objects in the framed perspective. For example as you stand in front of the book shelf you can see an additional book and a small animal not evident in the picture as seen through the picture frame.
A picture is limited to one perspective. The only objects that will be seen in the upper left bronze picture are the objects that can be touched by the pointer.