Prof Emily C Burns: ‘With Eyes Half Shut,’ or With ‘The First Visual Organ as Belonging to a Conscious Being’: George Grey Barnard, Morgan Russell, and the Innocent Eye Art History Research Lecture
Join the School of Art History on the 4th November at 4pm with our second Research lecture from Emily C. Burns: ‘With Eyes Half Shut,’ or With ‘The First Visual Organ as Belonging to a Conscious Being’: George Grey Barnard, Morgan Russell, and the Innocent Eye
The art production of George Grey Barnard and Morgan Russell in Paris is temporally and stylistically disparate. Barnard worked in Paris in the 1880s and early 1890s as a sculptor moderating between academic and symbolist practices. Russell was in Paris in the years preceding World War I, and, with Stanton MacDonald Wright, founded the abstract aesthetic of synchromism. Yet the two artists’ practices converge in surprising ways. Russell had initially studied sculpture. Both artists closely studied Michelangelo’s sculptures of slaves in the Louvre. Both also obfuscated their important model in their art and in their rhetoric, in which they claimed to recreate original vision. Drawing on strategies from plein-air painters and impressionists, both artists built on the concept of the innocent eye as a modernist strategy. This talk analyzes how these artists, in tandem with art critics, remapped the discourse of visual innocence to connect with tropes about the naïveté of US culture between 1890 and 1915.
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