Review: Mithila Painting-The Evolution of an Art Form

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by Bronte Jagodzinski, Contributing Writer

Photo Courtesy Chazen Museum of Art website
Photo Courtesy Chazen Museum of Art website

While I enjoyed Mithila Painting: The Evolution of an Art Form at the Chazen Museum as a whole, the exhibit for me personally felt a bit repetitive. The exhibit contains forty different pieces, all of similar style. As I looked at the many pieces, I found it easy to stare at each individual piece for a long time due to the great intricacy and details. However, after looking at even just a few of these pieces for such a long time, they began to blend into one another because of their overlapping qualities.

Despite the exhibit feeling a bit monotonous at times, I personally would like to know more about the history of the artwork. On certain pieces, such as “The Rich Flee the Flood; the Poor Collect and Mourn for the Dead,” I was able to discern some type of fleeing happening in the painting but without reading the title and researching the piece after leaving the exhibit, I never would have guessed the greater social context that was being portrayed by this painting. I have always had an interest in art, yet my knowledge of the matter is very minimal, which probably did not help the repetitive feelings I had towards the work.

If anyone is interested in visiting this exhibit, I would highly recommend attending one of the 40-minute guided tours happening at the exhibit on October 17-20 (see http://www.chazen.wisc.edu/visit/events-calendar/event/mithila-painting/ for further details). Personally, I think I would have enjoyed this exhibit a lot more if I knew exactly what was happening in the individual paintings. Not only would it provide more distinction between the pieces, but also it would also allow for a greater story to be told of the faces behind the paintings.

Despite my mized feelings after leaving this exhibit, I did enjoy the overall style of the artwork and plan on attending one of the guided tours to see the greater depth of this artwork. I highly recommend that everyone take advantage of the exhibit and to formulate opinions of their own.

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