Art Museum Visit: Julia Midkiff


“I Beseech You” by Carrie Mae Weems. Chromogenic print, 1996

When viewing the artwork at the museum, Carrie Weems’ piece “I Beseech You” immediately caught my eye as it was different from the bolder and more graphic pieces surrounding it. A sharp let light font faintly overlays a 19th century photograph of the ocean and sky with a boat in the water. The image has a reddish-brown hue to it which ads to it’s sense of age and the modernness of the font creates a theme regarding the history of photography.

For me, I am always drawn to things inspired by nature or landscapes (just as my own typeface project is), so I couldn’t help but be interested in this piece. What I found most interesting is the way the artist laid the words over the photograph; it is directly centered and actually takes up very little of the space of the photograph. Also, I was interested in how there was such a modern and crisp font laid on an old photograph of a natural environment. The mixing of mediums and styles creates a contrast that allows for an interesting message behind the artwork, but the artist still managed to have the two different mediums work well together in the form of balance, contrast, and legibility. It makes you look closely and carefully, but it is not impossible to read.

Being that my project is based on an arctic landscape, this piece allowed me to contemplate ways I can integrate text into a natural environment. I was originally thinking that I will have to digitally produce a poster in Illustrator, even though my typeface is made from physical materials, but this artwork showed me that typeface and photographs can very much mesh together when done correctly. It made me wonder if I can perhaps integrate my text into an image of a snowy environment. For example, since my typeface appears to be made from snow, I could use Photoshop to integrate my letters into the snow of an actual photograph of a snow-laid environment.


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