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Interior with Moroccan Carpet
interior, Woman artist, carpet, exotic, space,still-life, colourful, oil painting, expressionist style, energetic brush strokes,furniture, light,home decor, atmosphere, flowers,informal movement, arrangements, objects, loose brush work, canvas, room,
description

In this selection from the MacKenzie Art Gallery collection, Interior with Moroccan Carpet, Bobak presents us with a  hybridProduced from the mixture of two or more things.  – a still-life with flowers surrounded by an explosion of  colourProduced by light of various wavelengths, and when light strikes an object and reflects back to the eyes. Colour is an element of art with three properties: (1) hue or tint, the colour name, e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.: (2) intensity, the purity and strength of a colour, e.g., bright red or dull red; and (3) value, the lightness or darkness of a colour. When the spectrum is organized as a color wheel, the colours are divided into groups called primary, secondary and intermediate (or tertiary) colours; analogous and complementary, and also as warm and cool colours. Colours can be objectively described as saturated, clear, cool, warm, deep, subdued, grayed, tawny, mat, glossy, monochrome, multicolored, particolored, variegated, or polychromed. Some words used to describe colours are more subjective (subject to personal opinion or taste), such as: exciting, sweet, saccharine, brash, garish, ugly, beautiful, cute, fashionable, pretty, and sublime. Sometimes people speak of colours when they are actually refering to pigments, what they are made of (various natural or synthetic substances), their relative permanence, etc. (Artlex.com)  painted in an expressionistic style. Using  oilSlow-drying paint made when pigments are mixed with an oil, linseed oil being most traditional. The oil dries with a hard film, and the brightness of the colours is protected. Oil paints are usually opaque and traditionally used on canvas. They can have a matte, semi-gloss, or glossy finish. To look at examples of works in oil paints, see the articles under the names of every period from the Renaissance onward. (Artlex.com)  paints instead of watercolours Bobak places a dark brown vase filled with brilliantly-blue flowers in the centre of the painting. The vase sits on a glass-topped table, allowing us to see the Moroccan carpet below. Pieces of furniture, a lamp, drapes and a window complete the colorful scene.

start quote The subjects which most motivate me have a certain impersonal busy-ness, as if we, like the flowers, are waving about at random. I see these relationships quite by
accident.end quote
-- Molly Lamb Bobak (Murray 1987)

Although there is no one in this room the interior  spaceSpace can be the area around, within or between images or elements. Space can be created on a two-dimensional surface by using such techniques as overlapping, object size, placement, colour intensity and value, detail and diagonal lines.  vibrates with energy ready to burst out. Something about the arrangement of objects in the room may have caught her eye, as Bobak suggests in her  artist statementA commentary by an artist on an artwork, and exhibition, belief system, or any other topic.  in The Best Contemporary Canadian Art: “I have always been interested in informal movement – blowing wild flowers, parades, protests, crowds on the street, crowds anywhere; just as long as they turn onto  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)   spaceSpace can be the area around, within or between images or elements. Space can be created on a two-dimensional surface by using such techniques as overlapping, object size, placement, colour intensity and value, detail and diagonal lines.  in my head."

With Interior with Moroccan Carpet Bobak presents us not with a  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 objects placed around an interior space, but a  seriesA number of things or events standing or succeeding in order, and connected by a like relation; sequence; order; course; a succession of things; as, a continuous series of calamitous events. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  of organic shapes just recognizable as objects, with one  formIn its widest sense, total structure; a synthesis of all the visible aspects of that structure and of the manner in which they are united to create its distinctive character. The form of a work is what enables us to perceive it. Form also refers to an element of art that is three-dimensional (height, width, and depth) and encloses volume. For example, a triangle, which is two-dimensional, is a shape, but a pyramid, which is three-dimensional, is a form. Cubes, spheres, ovoids, pyramids, cone, and cylinders are examples of various forms. Also, all of the elements of a work of art independent of their meaning. Formal elements are primary features which are not a matter of semantic significance — including colour, dimensions, line, mass, medium, scale, shape, space, texture, value; and the principles of design under which they are placed — including balance, contrast, dominance, harmony, movement, proportion, proximity, rhythm, similarity, unity, and variety. (Artlex.com)  flowing naturally into another.

additional resources Things to Think About
  • Bobak said she was most motivated by subjects that had a certain impersonal busy-ness. What elements of Interior with Moroccan Carpet do you think might exhibit this impersonal busy-ness?
  • Bobak’s work Untitled (student march) presented in the Artist as Activist theme on the ARTSask website showed a protest march with a crowd of people, and yet that work doesn’t portray the sense of life that is contained in Interior with Moroccan Carpet. Do you think this was a deliberate choice made by Bobak? Why are the two works so different in the feelings they convey? How did Bobak achieve these two very different feelings in the viewer?
  • Bobak says she’s interested in movement that turns into “painting space” in her head. What do you think she meant by that? Do you have a space in your head where you file away thoughts or ideas that you later turn into drawings, writings or other creative expressions?
Advanced Activity

Further ideas for activities based on this painting:

  • Imagine and draw/paint the exterior of the house/apartment that Bobak’s room belongs to.
  • Think of current and past fashion. What would you wear to visit someone in this room? Describe an event to take place here and make sketches showing the people who would be present and what they would be wearing.
  • visit the Victorian and Albert Museum’s website, scroll down to the Design section, and choose the Design a Textile activity.
Online Activity
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You are an interior designer.  Pretend that you are in Bobak’s room with your back to the window.  Now,  designA plan, or to plan. The organization or composition of a work; the skilled arrangement of its parts. An effective design is one in which the elements of art and principles of design have been combined to achieve an overall sense of unity. Also [applied design], the production of attractive and well crafted functional objects. Subcategories of the design arts include: architecture, bonsai, fashion design, furniture design, graphic design, ikebana, industrial design, interior design, landscape architecture, stagecraft, textile design, and Web page design. (Artlex.com)  the other side of the room.  Use the Shapes icon (the arrow) and the shapes menu to add furniture to your room.

In addition: 

A few hundred years ago, Dutch painters painted very detailed interiors and perhaps began the interest in  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)  interiors as a genre or category of painting.

Studio Activity

Prepare a feature for a home decor magazine

Imagine that you could walk into the room in the picture painted by Molly Lamb Bobak (seen above). You are a journalist for a home decorating magazine and you will be presenting a feature about this room. In order to do this, you need to observe and record as many details as you can. The  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.  of Bobak’s  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)  focuses on light and  colourProduced by light of various wavelengths, and when light strikes an object and reflects back to the eyes. Colour is an element of art with three properties: (1) hue or tint, the colour name, e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.: (2) intensity, the purity and strength of a colour, e.g., bright red or dull red; and (3) value, the lightness or darkness of a colour. When the spectrum is organized as a color wheel, the colours are divided into groups called primary, secondary and intermediate (or tertiary) colours; analogous and complementary, and also as warm and cool colours. Colours can be objectively described as saturated, clear, cool, warm, deep, subdued, grayed, tawny, mat, glossy, monochrome, multicolored, particolored, variegated, or polychromed. Some words used to describe colours are more subjective (subject to personal opinion or taste), such as: exciting, sweet, saccharine, brash, garish, ugly, beautiful, cute, fashionable, pretty, and sublime. Sometimes people speak of colours when they are actually refering to pigments, what they are made of (various natural or synthetic substances), their relative permanence, etc. (Artlex.com)  rather than on clear lines, but you should still be able to imagine the textures of the fabrics and how it would feel to be in this room.

  • Describe what you think are the room’s best features and what you think might make it special.

Recreate this room

Try re-creating the room in Bobak’s painting, either as a full-size recreation or as a table top model. Think of imagining that you are designing a theatre set. Here are a few suggestions to get you started if you make a room:

  • You may have to use boxes for furniture and cover with them blankets or similar coloured fabric.
  • Paint the “Moroccan carpet” on a large sheet of roll paper or cardboard.
  • Make paper flowers and add other accessories. Try to arrange objects in the same positions as the objects in the painting.
  • As an alternative, recreate the scene in miniature, in a shoe box or on a table top.

Take a photograph of your installation. You might want to use a  digitalA system of representing images or objects through numbers. These numbers can then be re-interpreted by another digital system to generate light and sound.  program to create more effects to simulate the original work.

Drama extension

Create an imagined event or conversation taking place in Bobak’s room. You might decide to take this further and create a short drama for your own recreated interior. If you have a table-top model, create an audio recording of the drama or conversation and make this recording part of your art piece.

References

Brandon, Laura. Art or memorial? The Forgotten History of Canada’s War Art. University of Calgary Press, Calgary, 2006.

Foss, Brian. “Molly Lamb Bobak: Art and War,” in Molly Lamb Bobak: A Retrospective, Exhibition catalogue, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, 1993.

Gillis, Raina-Clair.  ‘Artistic Impressions of War.’  Canadian Military Journal, Autumn, 2005.

Lamb-Bobak, Molly.  Double Duty: Sketches and Diaries of Molly Lamb Bobak, Canadian War Artist.  Dundurn Press, Toronto, 1992.

Library and Archives Canada.  ‘Molly Lamb Bobak.’  Canadian War Artists.

Lumsden, Gordon.  ‘Bobak, Molly Joan.’  The Canadian Encyclopedia.  Retrieved from the Internet on April 9, 2008 from:  http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0000846.

Molly Lamb Bobak.  Wild Flowers of Canada.  Toronto, Ontatio: Pagurian Press Limited, 1978.

Morse, Jennifer.  ‘Molly Lamb Bobak.’  Legion Magazine, January/February 1996.

Murray, Joan. The Best Contemporary Canadian Art.  Edmonton, Alberta:  Hurtig Publishers, 1987.

Tippett, Maria.  By A Lady: Celebrating Three Centuries of Art by Canadian Women.  Toronto, Ontatio:  Viking Press, 1992.

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