Friday, April 9, 2010

Oustanding Field

So far, we have seen paintings, sculptures, modern day architecture, different forms of realism, but nothing like the style of Jim Denevan. He is an extremely fascinating artist because he uses his love of nature and nature itself to create his artworks. Every single one of his artworks is located outside, that is, on the beach, in urban gardens, in community gardens and even on farms. They are all situated at different locations, and the scales vary tremendously. They can be miles big or take place in a small garden. I would say that the treatment would be natural since it has to do with the environment, and nothing else. Jim Denevan has hosted the Outstanding Field about seventy-five times. This event is the gathering of hundreds of who reunite on a farm to eat a five-course dinner. All of the food has either been grown on the farm or comes from one hundred mile radius from it. Chefs cook the food on the spot and the people must bring their own plates, which they call: the sisterhood of the traveling plates. People pay one hundred and eighty dollars to eat lunch on the farm and these farm feasts are organized in order to make people understand where their food comes from. This feast is a cross between a picnic and an art performance. The Outstanding Field is considered a work of art by Denevan which to me is very interesting since there are no paintings, no sculptures, no drawings, however the use of the location of the feast (in a natural environment outdoors), the placing of the tables, the meaning of the event makes it a work of art. Jim Denevan not only hosts the Outstanding Field, but he draws designs in the sand near the ocean. He has started to do so when his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He has also felt connected to the beach since his childhood for he would spend numerous hours on the beach, surfing. His sand drawings can cover the entire beach, they are free hand and unmeasured. I would say that the treatment would be both abstract and natural, for the patterns and designs are totally abstract, but they are done in a natural environment. Once Jim has finished his art, the tide washes it away. I would have thought that Denevan would have been disappointed that the tide would ruin his art but his way of seeing it really surprised me. He explained that the art that he had done that particular day was today’s story. The one that he would make the next day would be tomorrow’s story and that his drawings cannot be repeated. However, photos of his art remain and are portrayed in museums. Jim Denevan has even been a part of a Range Rover commercial. He was on the beach making his design and the Range Rover was parked on a cliff above him. What we would see was the parked car and the drawing of Denevan in the horizon. Jim also explains that he makes these drawings in the meditation of the moment. It is his way to pass his time, to express himself and is a hobby.

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