On February 8, 2017, I went to a documentary shown at AU that told the story of the artist Eva Hesse. Both Hesse and this film are spoken highly of by several critics, with Hesse being called “One of the most innovative artists of the postwar scene,” and one critic even claiming that “The art world had a crush on her; after seeing this movie, I developed one as well.” The last opinion is understandable, considering her artwork.
Eva wasn’t interested in traditional art and proved this dislike when she went to the Pratt Institute and dropped out in 1953 because simply drawing bowls of fruit was not enough to help her grow as an artist. After dropping out, not only did she become a layout artist for Seventeen magazine but also received her bachelors degree from Yale in 1959. From then on until her death, she had brought new mediums to the world of art, such as using latex, fiberglass and even plastic.
After receiving her degree, Hesse explored different art forms. I’ve noticed in her paintings and drawings that she’s deeply intrigued with the color yellow since this particular color pops up in all, if not most, of her drawings/paintings.
As time progressed, she drew away from traditional art like paintings and drawings and moved towards more three dimensional art. To symbolize her transition between dimensions, she created “Hang Up” in 1966. In this art piece, she added a metal rod to the frame of a canvas, thus adding a three dimensional medium to a two dimensional medium. Hesse viewed this work as one of her early most important statements because it was a manifestation with her interest in absurdity, basically becoming the start of her more eccentric pieces.
This documentary could be used as inspiration towards DMA students. It should inspire individuality and the desire to step outside the box when it comes to certain projects. It should provoke these ideas because that’s what Eva Hesse represented in each of her pieces. As artists, losing motivation and ideas happens quite frequently. However, stories like Hesse’s brings back a spark because it allows the artistic audience to see how far hard work can take them.