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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘The Dude’ gets artsy in ‘Lewbowski’ exhibit

    Multiple buildings wrap around the UA Museum of Art, almost hiding its entrance, but once you find the place and go inside, it is very unassuming.

    There is a nice little gift shop and lockers to leave your backpacks in. The design of the entryway gives you a small peek into the large gallery space on the ground floor.

    This visual tease builds interest with a glimpse of what is to come. Almost every room houses a different exhibition, with the institution now exhibiting seven different shows—it’s largest one being a tribute to “The Dude.”

    The gallery space on the lower lever is currently showing “The Lebowski Cycle” by UA alumn Joe Forkan. The exhibit features large paintings that take a different look at some of the most memorable parts of “The Big Lebowsky” (1998).

    Forkan’s use of well-known artworks is fascinating and mimics their compositional arrangements within his own paintings.

    Each artwork has a label showing the historical painting he used as reference, and his use of color— which shows emotion on the actor’s face within the chosen scenes—is highly noticeable.

    Forkan’s “The Raft of the Medusa (After Gericault)” (2011) mirrors Théodore Géricault’s “The Raft of the Medusa” (1818-1819) composition.

    “The Raft of the Medusa (Afer Gericault)” (2011) pulls the view in to make viewers feel as if they are a part of the action. The asymmetrical balance and use of directional light creates an amazing structure within the painting, while repetition of shape and color through the dancer’s bowling pin hats and the black-and-white tile floor produce rhythm and harmony that hold the viewer’s attention.

    In “The Lamentation (After Rubens)” (2011), which duplicates Peter Paul Rubens’ “The Lamentation” (1612), John Goodman’s character is embracing “The Dude” while they pause as they walk down to the beach.

    The background draws attention to the painting, and Forkan’s use of colors illustrates the rich tones of a beachscape. The neutral hues of the land emphasize the contrast of the vivid blues within the ocean behind the men.

    The embrace of the two men invites onlookers to continue examining the art—the hug is clearly started by Goodman, and Bridges is not as into it.

    The next painting that captured my attention was “The Death of Marat (After David)” (2008). The painting consists of a guy passed out floating in a pool with a drink in his hand.

    The angle of his arm in relation to his body and the bottle he holds creates a dynamic composition. The pool is a mixture of rich, bright blues and purple tones with white, curvy lines the sunlight creates in the water.

    Forkan’s use of color makes the figure pop in the cool, smooth water surrounding him. This paint’s arrangement and subject originate from Jacques-Louis David’s “The Death of Marat” (1793). In David’s panting, the main figure is clearly dead, while in Forkan’s art, the figure looks dead, but is implied to be killing himself through his actions, creating an interesting historical connection.

    The paintings in this exhibition are vivid and stimulating. The connection to historical paintings is a unique, interesting way to look at this cult classic.

    “The Lebowski Cycle” is on display until Sept. 25. If you have had a hard day studying, teaching or working, this is the best way to relax your mind and rejuvenate your soul. The UA Museum of Art is free for UA students and it has great A.C.

    You must stop by and see what this great institution has to offer. Come for a few minutes or spend however long you want.

    Follow Kristi Rucker on Twitter.

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