Art History Field Trip

Saturday, May 11, 2019 - By: Amelia H, Allard ‘19

There is an indescribably visceral feel about experiencing an art work. For those of us who have been studying art and the history of art for the last eight months, the ability to finally see some of the works, in all of their glory, was truly amazing. 

On Friday, twelve students from both the AP Studio Art and AP Art History class ventured all the way across the water to the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Japanese Gardens at UBC. The exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery was ‘Impressionists: Monet to Matisse,’ which perfectly fit in with our curriculum this term in the AP Art History class. 

Arguably, the most significant thing about art, especially modern art, is the response it evokes within the onlooker, thus being able to actually experience that quality of the works was incredibly helpful in allowing us to further understand the motives behind modernism and impressionism. For example, the probing nature of surrealist art, in which the very nature of art is questioned via unconventionality and an attempt at curating a reflexive, subconscious response is difficult to ascertain from a computer screen.

The trip was incredible not only in the sense that it solidified my appreciation for our in-class studies, but the in-class studies also solidified my appreciation for viewing the art itself. There was something very fulfilling about being equipped with the tools to walk into any given art museum and not only recognize the names and the techniques, but also appreciate the gravitas, irony, beauty, or whatever else the work is trying to convey. With the foundation gained in class, we were able to interpret the works much the same as one would a lab in the Chemistry classroom. Greenberg, an acclaimed modernist art critique, once said, “all profoundly original art looks ugly at first,” and I would argue that it is pretty confusing at first too. Yet, for the first time, I truly felt as though I could appreciate the motives and ascertain the beauty within the works in the museum. 

Likewise, the Japanese Garden was a wonderful experience. Absolute serenity is hard to come by, and even harder to explain amidst the stress of trying to prepare for an AP exam. Nevertheless, the contemplative and calming nature of the cherry blossoms and moss lawns certainly left us all feeling more ‘zen’. 

I would like to, on behalf of those of us who got to take part in this wholly amazing trip, sincerely thank Mr and Mrs Luna for organizing and chaperoning this thoroughly enjoyable day. 

Amelia H, Allard ‘19

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