Display Challenge 002

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Considering the great discussion we had on the first display challenge, I thought I would continue with another example of bonsai display and post it for discussion, although this is a completely different example meant to create different discussion.

Again, here I would like to see more than just statements that people like it, don't like it, that it is great, or bad. If you like it, tell us why, if you don't like it, tell us why.

In short, study it, understand why it appeals to you or doesn't and share these thoughts with us. Why does it work, why doesn't it? Could it be improved? How?

The following display is hot-linked from AoB's Display Contest.


Bonsai, Display, and Photography by Mike Page.
 

Vance Wood

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My first impression is that it does not work. What I see is three separate elements, which is not bad in and of itself, but it does not work together into anything more than three elements placed together in the same location. It does not have any cohesion in my eye to make some sort of stylistic/artistic statement that melds the three elements into one artistic event. To me a display should be an event that suggests something greater than the elements that make it up. This one does not do that. Of course this is just my opinion. For all I know I may be calling the Mona Lisa a scribble on a piece of wood.

Why do I feel this way? There is nothing in my mind, in looking at these three elements (I put the stand with the tree), that makes me think of anything other than three parts of separate displays put together. It's like taking unrelated parts out of three separate pieces of music and throwing them together in the hope that they will work in making a musical composition. It's like PDQ Bach's traumurai for three unfriendly groups of instruments.

Anything you say critical of my opinion is every bit as justified as my analysis of this display and probably deserved, even more so. In short I do not care for it, it just sits there and says nothing.
 

cantstopsmilin

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i agree 100% with what vance said, i feel the same way, i dunno why, the three things just don't do anything for me together, they just seem like 3 things thrown together
 

ianb

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This display does not work for me, some specifics:

The stand under the main tree is too big, this along with the static tree design and the pot width being the same as the foliage width tends to stop any movement before it really begins.

The spaces are too symmetric between scroll > tree trunk and scroll > accent. The scroll seems to repetitive.

The accent - yuk - but again no movement, or a slight movement out of the display.

As Vance said almost like 3 components thrown together.

Cheers
 

Vance Wood

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Can it be improved??? By making three different displays with the three elements now being used. The figure is too large for this tree, the stand, as pointed out does not work with the tree either, and the scroll works only with the figure----maybe.

The tree needs to be on a smaller stand perhaps a slab type stand. The scroll has no identifying theme to it other than to provide something to occupy the space in traditional displays as heaven. The figure is too large and over-powering for the tree, I think perhaps a kusamano would work better as this element, but definitely something much smaller and less attention grabbing. The real problem is that the artist does not seem to have an idea as to what the artistic meaning of the tree is and in all honesty that theme is carried out through the entire display. The scroll is bad and suggests nothing to me but a bill board, a refrigerator could have had the same effect as this scroll, it is like the entire composition is totally lost; the figure sitting at the base is like some villager waiting for a bus that is not going to come.

Can this display be improved? No, not using the same elements together, you cannot make fudge out of mud despite the color and texture similarities. Sometimes you can look at a work of art and it will grow on you and you will learn to appreciate its subtilties and find yourself loving it. Sometimes you can look at a work of art and grow to really dislike it---to me this is one of those, and I am truly sorry because I really like the artist and his work.
 
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My first impression is that it does not work. What I see is three separate elements, which is not bad in and of itself, but it does not work together into anything more than three elements placed together in the same location. It does not have any cohesion in my eye to make some sort of stylistic/artistic statement that melds the three elements into one artistic event. ..... it just sits there and says nothing.
.... the three things just don't do anything for me together, they just seem like 3 things thrown together
.....The stand under the main tree is too big, this along with the static tree design and the pot width being the same as the foliage width tends to stop any movement before it really begins.

The spaces are too symmetric between scroll > tree trunk and scroll > accent. The scroll seems to repetitive.....almost like 3 components thrown together.
Can it be improved??? By making three different displays with the three elements now being used. The figure is too large for this tree, the stand, as pointed out does not work with the tree either, and the scroll works only with the figure----maybe.

The tree needs to be on a smaller stand perhaps a slab type stand. The scroll has no identifying theme to it other than to provide something to occupy the space in traditional displays as heaven. The figure is too large and over-powering for the tree....

Can this display be improved? No, not using the same elements together, you cannot make fudge out of mud despite the color and texture similarities. ....
Keeping in mind that I did say in my first post that this is a completely different example meant to create different discussion, this display has some flaws, many of which have been mentioned above.

The responses here have been excellent, although mostly negative, they explained well the reasons behind their thoughts. This has proved to be educational and thought provoking.

The general consensus seems to be that this display, as presented, does not work and a respectable display can not be made with the elements given. But is it truly the elements that are flawed, the arrangement of the elements, or a combination of both?

What if this was a challenge or a contest where the participant had to take all or some of the elements shown in this display and rearrange them to make the most presentable display possible? What if one was allowed to remove any elements, but not add any? What if one was allowed to change stands or the scroll?

How would you do it?


Could you do it?


Will
 
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Could something as simple as a smaller, lighter stand and/or going to an informal, two point display make a difference? Maybe moving the figure slightly closer to the viewer and off the slab, putting the tree futher back visually and creating perspective?

The examples below posted for experimental purposes.
 

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I will post my answer to the challenge in post #7 later today. I hope to see other alternatives from the members here.


Will
 
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1) Using the Golden Section again and changing the scroll and bonsai stand while narrowing the slab just a bit.

2) Removing the tree and making the scroll the centerpiece.

I strove to create an "Intellectual Background" in both examples, using negative space to its fullest potential.


Any thoughts? Are these an improvement to the orginal? Why?



Will
 

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grog

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I think 3777 is the best of the bunch so far regarding depth perspective and giving a somewhat unified presentation but the "accent" still looks like something you'd find in the "traditional Oriental" store in the shopping mall specializing in incense, lucky bamboo, and samurai swords.
 

Vance Wood

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Both of your representations are better but you have changed the scroll. The original scroll had all of the charm and charisma of a piece of wall paper from K Mart, the cheap kind.
 
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Both of your representations are better but you have changed the scroll. The original scroll had all of the charm and charisma of a piece of wall paper from K Mart, the cheap kind.

Yes, I did change the scroll. The is no doubt that the scroll can make or break a display, depending on the objects shown, the season suggested, the translation, and many other things.

I changed this scroll to better match what I personally thought this display was attempting.

But even by switching back to the original scroll, certainly the new arrangement is still more visually pleasing, no?


Will
 

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Vance Wood

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Yes, it does seem more unified as opposed to three elements masquerading as a display.
 
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One question I would like to see answers from a few people on would be....if you had to title this display, what would you title it?

I think this question is one that makes us study a display, group the components together, and attempt to see the story the artist is presenting.



Will
 

ianb

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Some of these displays are better placement wise but we are still left with the original tree which needs a smaller pot (maybe a touch deeper) and some directional component in the foliage mass to match whichever side we display it on. The scroll will never work as it is much too busy and repetitive, I won't even talk about the accent.
 
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I agree that the components that make up this display are lacking in some ways, but if these three items were the only items given to you to make a display with, how would you arrange them in order to maximize the visual appearance as much as possible?


Will
 
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