This article was written by Tina Murtagh for the HonorSociety.org Elevate e-magazine. This series features top featured writers from theHonorSociety.org writing program. The original article can be found here.
I have never been acutely aware of art museums throughout my life, and I received very little exposure modern or surreal art. I visited the Nevada Museum of Art, and it was my first visit to an art museum of any kind. Upon walking in, I noticed people dining downstairs, and oddly enough, I felt elegant simply by soaking up the atmosphere. When I think of people who examine and observe art, I equate it with someone who is cultured. I moved to the second floor of the museum and started there, pacing from room to room and skimming through each and every piece of art. I only stopped to read more about a work if I found it interesting or different.
The second floor of the art museum seemed to have a theme that truly resonated within me, and that theme was both time and destiny. Before I entered into the “time and destiny” space, I came across a work of art that I found rather interesting. The work was named “Glimpses Already Far Gone,” by Jim Hodges, which displayed 24 karat gold with Beva splattered across a large denim background. I found this piece of art intriguing because it mixed two extremes, simplicity and luxury, into one. I have never seen something so common, such as denim, come anywhere close to something as rare and expensive as gold. I then made my way into the next room over, which had pieces from the E.L. Weigand collection, which has works dating from the early 20th century to the present. One that caught my eye in particular was Helen Rousseau’s “Dock Workers” which was painted in 1940 with oil on a canvas. The picture was colorful, textured, and portrayed a simpler time, and allowed me a glance back into the past. This was the beginning of the first theme that I picked up when examining these visual art displays: time.
Another “oil on canvas” photo that fit this theme was “Skyscrapers” by Louis Aston Knight, which was painted in 1930. Considering I’ve visited modern New York too many times to count, I truly appreciated this piece of work because I was able to see what the city looked like eighty years ago. Moving from the conventional rooms, I found my eye drawn to Ashley Blalock’s “Keeping Up Appearances,” which was a corner filled with vibrant red crochet designs, ranging from snowflake to spin-wheel shapes. The large web of crochet in the middle struck me as a metaphor for life, which continues spinning everyone in a circular motion, with the circle growing larger and larger as time and experience increases. Though time has already been covered as a theme, destiny did not become a key player until I stepped into the exhibit named “Timepaths” by Franklin Evans. I nearly experienced vertigo from this room, as it was completely covered in bright neon colors and photographs everywhere, even lining the floor.
The entire room was dedicated to Franklin’s work. Everything he ever found relevant in his life was placed somewhere in this room, whether he showed it with colors, pictures or patterns. Every picture had a year labeled by it somewhere, and the room was a literal representation of his life, as well as the lives of others. Neon tape lined the sides of the room, separating the room in two, and photos hung from the ceiling. The room also had 3-D paintings within it, which only added to the “trippy” effect one received from entering. This room not only pictured time, but the artist’s destiny. It followed his life and the lives of those who inspired him. The room was chaotic, but it was beautiful and abstract. I believe he intended for it to come across in a chaotic fashion to show that life and time takes many paths, and capturing important moments is essential.
Ultimately, the Nevada Museum of Art seems to be a well-kept, hidden gem in Reno. It forces you to step out of your day to day life and examine a wide array of different perspectives. Once you enter the doors of this museum, you are brought to a world of time, destiny, color, and art.