The Human Clay Exercise

The human clay exercise inspired me into thinking more about the variety of perceptions that can arise based off of one word, thought, or idea. The class was separated into groups and given 45 seconds to create a sculpture based off of a word we were given, with one person acting as the sculptor and two people acting as the clay. Despite the fact that we were all given the same word I was stunned to see that everyone created something different/unique. As I was participating in this exercise, I tried to think about how this experience could relate to this class and particularly Steve Prince’s artwork. One of my first thoughts led to our different perceptions on Prince’s pieces and what each of my peers are able to get out of analyzing his work. The specific piece I thought of was the Katrina’s Veil Stand at the Gretna Bridge and one of the main topics of discussion being whether the horsemen were good or evil.

This conversation was resurfaced in my group after the human clay exercise and after looking at Goya’s The Third of May painting. Sabrina, Anderson, and Katelyn explained to us that Prince was influenced by Goya’s painting when he created his piece at the Gretna Bridge.  This new information instantly broadened my perspective on the horses. Goya’s piece portrays two different sides, those with power and those without. The French soldiers represented power through their uniformity and their guns aiming at the Spanish freedom fighters on the other side. This analyzation of Goya’s piece, led me to look at Prince’s piece in a new light. I first decided that the horsemen had to be evil since there was a split between what is good and what is evil. My group members, however, were stating that there is not visual proof that the horsemen are displaying any acts of evil. For example, one of the horsemen can be interpreted as either pushing a gun down or aiming it/prompting the trigger being pulled. This discussion in itself shows the varied perspectives on what the horsemen are and are not doing. None of us could agree on a set interpretation of what the horsemen represent in Prince’s Katrina’s Veil Stand at the Gretna Bridge. As I started to look at it on my own, I came to yet another conclusion which may be subject to change as the class goes on. As of now, I see the horsemen as a representation of power. The horsemen are all place on the top of everything taking place below them and for the first time I stopped trying to discover what actions they were taking. I noticed that there is no threat being posed on them which emphasizes the idea of them holding power. Somehow, the horsemen are in charge but I still have not come to understanding how they are in charge and why.


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