Imaging Conflict

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Bugattis at Pikes Peak
racing, race cars, Bugatti automobiles, race-car driving, Pikes Peak, assemblage, Rocky Mountains, the Rockies, hairpin turns, developing ideas, rich colour, negotiating turns, artist\'s inspirations, exotic location, meticulous detail, mixed media,
description

Bugattis at Pikes Peak continues Didur’s characteristic use of rich colours and his meticulously detailed work. It also reflects his fascination with exotic locations.

Bugatti

In this work, instead of showing a pyramid mysteriously plunked down in the middle of the prairies, we are presented with racing cars competing in one of the oldest automotive races in America, the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. And not just any race cars, but the prestigious - and expensive - Bugatti automobiles. Why Bugatti? Because, Didur says, he’s always loved them. (Conversation with the artist, January 9, 2008).

Pikes Peak, located near Colorado Springs, Colorado is one of the most  picturesqueIn general, this may refer to any scene which seems to be especially suitable for representation in a picture, especially that which is sublime. It is especially associated with an aesthetic mode formulated in the late eighteenth century which valued deliberate rusticity, irregularities of design, and even a cultivated pursuit of quaint or nostalgic forms. Such pictures became common in nineteenth century Europe and America. Examples can be found among the American painters of the Hudson River school — Thomas Cole (1801-1848), Jasper Cropsey (1823-1900), and Asher B. Durand (1796-1886) — and of the Rocky Mountain school — Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) and Thomas Moran (1837-1926). (artlex.com)  mountains in the Rockies. It is said that Katherine Lee Bates, the woman who wrote the lyrics to “America, The Beautiful” was inspired to complete the last verse after viewing the surrounding country from the top of Pikes Peak.

start quoteBeing an artist sometimes means you just don't have to grow up, sometimes it's just fun to play around...Here we go, rollin', rollin', rolling...end quote -- Jerry Didur

In Didur’s version of the annual “Race to the Clouds”, the mountain’s 156 irregular hairpin turns and switchbacks - a major challenge for drivers and their vehicles - have been replaced by a neat  collectionTo collect is to accumulate objects. A collection is an accumulation of objects. A collector is a person who makes a collection. (Artlex.com)  of  symmetricalFormal balance where two sides of a design are identical.  lines leading toward the summit, which is shrouded in cloud.

During a conversation about the work, Didur said the original idea for the mountain came from an oval dining-room table that he was repairing. “The two half-ovals leaning against the wall looked interesting, so I decided to see what I could do with them. I mounted them to a piece of  plywoodA type of manufactured wood made from thin sheets of wood veneer.  and the idea developed from there. The clouds at the top of the mountain are pieces of  StyrofoamA trademark used for expanded polystyrene plastic, a light-weight, granular material, usually worked in sheets or blocks, but also available in loose granules. It can be cut with great precision and ease with an electrically heated wire. Styrofoam is an economically attractive medium for use in theater and motion picture stage sets. Styrofoam is often mentioned in print as [lower-case s] styrofoam. (Artlex.com)  covered with plaster.” Zoom in to the Didur image and take a closer look!

Didur’s work embodies conflict at several levels, because the 20-kilometre (12.4 miles), 156-turn hill climb is a test of man and machine. The air is already thin at the 2,865 metre (9,400 foot) start line, and engines lose about 30 per cent of their power by the time competitors reach the 4,300 metre (14,100 foot) finish line. Go to the following websites to see some pictures of this exciting race:

Peak

Drivers’ reflexes and muscle strength deteriorate in the thinning air, and the racing course turns from pavement to gravel halfway up. At one turn – called the “Bottomless Pit” – racers must negotiate the turn or face a 1,830 metre (6,000 foot) drop off the edge (see image of Pikes Peak at left). Drivers have to be in peak physical condition just to finish the race, let alone win it!

additional resources Ghost Pyramids of the Prairies
Duration: 2:07 min
Size: 8966kb
How He Got His Start as a Painter
Duration: 3:09 min
Size: 13645kb
Influence of David Thauberger
Duration: 1:27 min
Size: 6317kb
Trojan Sentinel
Duration: 1:37 min
Size: 6808kb
Why He Quit Painting
Duration: 2:44 min
Size: 11868kb
Things to Think About
  • Didur found an interesting idea worth pursuing in a table in need of repair. What everyday items might inspire you or others to create something new? Why do you think everyday items can be inspiring to artists?
  • How does the Pikes Peak Hill Climb embody the idea of Conflict? Read some more about this event and look at pictures of it. What kind of conflicts and struggles do you think the drivers encounter?
  • Can you think of other events that involve Conflict (for example, a war, a discussion/debate, etc.)? How might you portray the idea of Conflict in a piece of visual art?
Advanced Activity

Illusionary  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  of the past

You might be surprised to know that artists have been fascinated by  optical illusionAn image that deceives a person, leading to a misinterpretation of its meaning. Optical illusions can be found in nature as well as in art. Their strengths rely upon various assumptions in which humans perceive optical phenomena. (artlex.com) For some examples, go to: Optical Illusions and Visual Phenomena: http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/ The World of Optical Illusions: http://www.newopticalillusions.com/ NIEHS Kids Page – Optical Illusions: http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/illusion/illusions.htm   in various forms for many centuries. Check out the following optical illusions, and then try to find examples of your own. 

 

Conduct some research into the following topics:

Online Activity
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Create a soundtrack for Didur’s painting.

 

Studio Activity

Trompe l’oeil  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  is often associated with  RenaissanceA revival or rebirth of cultural awareness and learning that took place during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, particularly in Italy, but also in Germany and other European countries. The period was characterized by a renewed interest in ancient Greek and Roman art and design and included an emphasis on human beings, their environment, science, and philosophy. (Artlex.com)  and  BaroqueThe art style or art movement of the Counter-Reformation in the seventeenth century. Although some features appear in Dutch art, the Baroque style was limited mainly to Catholic countries. It is a style in which painters, sculptors, and architects sought emotion, movement, and variety in their works. (Artlex.com)  decoration. Here it is used in the simplified  popular artLow (as opposed to high) culture, parts of which are known as kitsch and camp. With the increasing economic power of the middle- and lower-income populace since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century, artists created various new diversions to answer the needs of these groups. These have included pulp novels and comic books, film, television, advertising, "collectibles," and tract housing. These have taken the place among the bourgeois once taken among the aristocracy by literature, opera, theater, academic painting, sculpture, and architecture. But modernist artists rarely cultivated the popular success of these new cultural forms. Modernist works were little appreciated outside of a small elite. Life magazine's 1950s articles on the abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock (American, 1912-1956), and the silkscreened paintings by Andy Warhol (American, 1928?-1987) of soup cans and celebrities signaled unprecedented fusions between high and low art and the transition to the postmodern age. (Artlex.com)   styleA way of doing something. Use of materials, methods of working, design qualities and choice of subject matter reflect the style of the individual, culture, movement, or time period.  used by Didur. The  optical illusionAn image that deceives a person, leading to a misinterpretation of its meaning. Optical illusions can be found in nature as well as in art. Their strengths rely upon various assumptions in which humans perceive optical phenomena. (artlex.com) For some examples, go to: Optical Illusions and Visual Phenomena: http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/ The World of Optical Illusions: http://www.newopticalillusions.com/ NIEHS Kids Page – Optical Illusions: http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/illusion/illusions.htm   Didur uses emphasizes areas of the  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  as seeming to be three-dimensional, but within these areas are flat illustration-styled  imageryAn image is a picture, idea, or impression of a person, thing, or idea; or a mental picture of a person, thing, or idea. The word imagery refers to a group or body of related images. (Artlex.com)  that makes us think of children’s book illustrations.

  • Create one or two simplified images of objects such as cars or other vehicles, action figures, animals, trees, flowers.

 

Turn this into a fashion t-shirt

  • Select one area of your art piece that could be cut into a smaller square or rectangle.
  • Alternatively, enlarge one square of your art piece to create fashion ”patches” to iron onto jeans.
References

Author unknown.  Jerry Didur.  Saskatchewan Arts Board.  Retrieved from the internet on January 21st, 2008 at http://www.artsboard.sk.ca/showcase/FromFartoNear/FFtoN_3.htm.

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning