Location | Paris: Meet Field School Blogger Shannon Lee

Meet Shannon... who is always using her powers of observation.
Tell us a little bit about yourself—school, background, major, reasons for taking this trip, anything else interesting you want to share.

Hi there, I’m Shannon. I’m a BFA Art Culture Studies/dance double major at Simon Fraser University, although I was originally a history major. It was during my first semester when I took my first art history class, and that was it – I was hooked. I got into the Art Culture program the next year, and have never looked back since. I’ve never been to Europe before, and I thought this would be the perfect way to finish off my degree to see the art works I’ve been discussing, reading, writing, and breathing about for the last four years. And if I get to experience a bit of the Parisian shopping, the awesome food, and have the chance to travel around Europe with a good friend, well, that won’t hurt either.

Locks on the bridges crossing the Seine represent connections,
contracts, and love between individuals.
What has met or exceeded your expectations or surprised you about Paris so far? I am surprised by my reaction to some of the art works that I have seen so far.

The people of Paris! I’ve heard a lot of stories about unwelcomed tourists, especially to those like me who can’t speak French at all, so it has been really a surprise when everyone I’ve met have been really friendly. Or maybe I’ve just been terribly lucky, I don’t know. Either way this stay has been really fun and interesting, especially when some of them try to teach me how to speak the language. I fail terribly every time, but it’s a process. Another thing I noticed is the amount of artists in these galleries whose works are intriguing but their names are foreign to me because I have never heard of them. It made me realize although I may be graduating soon, the learning does not cease there…and I probably should’ve done a bit more research beforehand. So there’s a lesson learned for me – always do your research before heading to a museum, or you might regret it.

Give us some insight into your assigned art work from for the Orsay Museum. After seeing the work in person, what struck you most about it and/or how did the art work’s form, content, and context shift for you when seeing it?

Eva Gonzales, Une loge aux Italiens  (1874)
I’ve been researching the Une loge Italiens for the past month. It’s a work by Eva Gonzales, the only official pupil of Manet. The painting presented a society seen through the eyes of a modern woman (instead of the male gaze) in the 1800’s, a role that began to emerge in the 1800’s. However, I actually didn’t get to see the painting. From what I heard the Orsay has been going through some renovations for the past few months, and because of that a few of the sections in the gallery were closed off. At first I was skeptical – this just can’t be happening to me! Everybody has found their assigned picture, so there’s no reason why I wouldn’t be able to find mine. I had spent hours looking for my painting, retracing my steps over and over again in the Impressionist Exhibition and the other floors as well, but no dice. In fact, it was interesting to note that the male artists dominated most of the exhibition and few works by the impressionist women were featured. There were thrice as many paintings by Renoir and Manet than all of the featured works by Cassatt and Morisot combined. I’m aware that Renoir and Manet were both extremely prolific and influential within the Impressionist movement…but to think such an important artwork was not displayed along with the others was kind of bizarre.

Today’s activity was at the Pompidou Museum. What were your impressions? What will be your take away of the experience? Any memorable moments?

The much anticipated Gerhard Richter retrospective
opened at the Pompidou just a few days ago
We started off the day with a visit to the Pompidou, the centre for modern art in France. The highlight of the day was definitely the selection of Gerhard Richter’s works on display. Most of his most acclaimed works, including a couple of paintings for the Grey and the Cloud series, some of his color chart paintings, etc. I’ve studied his paintings in many of my classes, and his works has always been one of my favorites. It’s truly a treat seeing the paintings ‘in the flesh’. Now I know the print on the textbooks and pages from Wikipedia can never do his paintings justice. His paintings usually appear as direct translations from his sources (blurry photographs), and at a glance his works are mostly interpreted as amateur photographs on most textbooks. However, with the paintings you can see each paint stroke on the canvas, to experience the wonder that it truly is a painting. That feeling is priceless.

Shannon, a dancer, acted as the best motion model Nancy had ever encountered.
Here she is performing Butoh while Nancy sketches at the nightly
"Salons" that have been occurring most evenings back at the hotel