Monday, May 2, 2016

Ringing Rocks Explores Asian Art

Photos and video by Evan Brandt
This kindergarten and pre-K sculpture was created with children and, in the case of pre-K, parents each making a scale to be put on the fish.

So I'll be the first one to tell you I don't know much about art (algebra either).

Ringing Rocks Elementary art teacher Joy van Ruler.
This is a source of constant dismay for my wife Karen who, in addition to being
way smarter than I am, majored in art history in college.

But I do know what I like and what I don't like. I like Chinese and Japanese landscape paintings (because the people are to scale and so small), and I don't much care for Jackson Pollock, this despite growing up with one of his prints in our living room.

Luckily, you don't have to depend on me to guide you through the elaborate and colorful art show staged last week at Ringing Rocks Elementary School.
Ringing Rocks students created these mandalas.

That's Joy van Ruler's job.

She explained that each year, the students not only learn some of the basics of art, but also the culture that goes creates it -- one continent at a time.

This year, it's Asia's turn.

So as parents and children swelled the halls of the school, festooned with art of seemingly endless variety, van Ruler explained that there was a method to it all.

Paper lanterns on display.
By leaving out Antarctica -- whose art remains, to date, undiscovered, or at least under appreciated -- children from kindergarten through fifth grade in Pottsgrove get exposure to each continent's art.

This year students created Chinese dragon masks, paper lanterns and painted
Indian elephant festival art and mandalas.

Here she is to explain better than I can.

Of course art has some common elements no matter what continent inspired it.

Student-made Chinese landscapes.
For example, landscape painting occurs in most cultures.

So the display at Ringing Rocks included a panel explaining landscapes using on of Andrew Wyeth's more famous examples.

This was then contrasting it with the Chinese and Japanese landscape painting style.

Students then made their own.

The students also created their own Autumn landscapes that did not have to be Chinese in style.

Other basic elements of art explored in the Ringing Rocks display include shapes, as demonstrated through an exploration of Georgia O'Keefe paintings.

vanRuler used George O'Keefe to teach shapes.
And what art curriculum is worth its sale without a look at the human body, and how to draw it.

For the youngest students, that meant their hands, and, as everyone knows, the best way to draw your hand is to trace it.

The evening's events also included some music and dancing, enjoyed as much by students as by parents.

Take a look at Joe Zlomek's posts in the Sanatoga Post to see some video of how that went.
Everyone has traced their hand at least once.

But alas, the news and another municipal meeting called me away and I could not stay for more than 40 minutes.

But I left more re-assured that the next generation of leaders may be even better-equipped than mine to appreciate the importance and universality of artistic expressions.

1 comment:

  1. Evan, thanks for the link, and congratulations on a terrific photo for the cover. Either you stepped back a bit, or that cell phone has a much better lens than most I know of. Great piece.