Monday, October 4, 2010

Treaty Signing at Medicine Creek Lodge

Shayla Plotts
Art 160
Howling Wolfe 1875-1878/ John Taylor 1867
Treaty Signing at Medicine Creek Lodge

The Treaty Signing at Medicine Creek Lodge Illustrations has interesting history behind them. After reading the critical process information, it actually turns out the illustrations are nearly a decade apart from each other. John Taylor’s sketch is from the treaty signing itself, and Howling Wolf’s sketch is from memory while imprisoned at Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida. In my opinion the more representational piece of art is John Taylor’s version of the peace treaty. I think this, because Taylor’s version is more realistic, and gives a better visual image of that day on October in 1867. The more abstract version of the peace treaty would be Wolf’s version. If a person looked at his version they would have a more difficult time visualizing the actual event. They would notice the artier in the lines, and notice the separation the river creates, maybe then assuming that the meeting was not the only event taking place. This then allows their minds wander to other ideas and theories.

The illustrations differ in form in that the structure of the work is created very differently. The angles of both sketches are different including color, variety and scale. Taylor’s landscape is noticeably larger than the humans, the humans also blend naturally with grass, logs etc. Wolf’s landscape is very similar to the height of the people in his portrait. In his illustration the tree is fairly close to the size of an Indian or man from the government which is technically not accurately proportioned. The cultural difference in the two works of art is, Taylor’s art is looking straight forward and very direct. You see the forward image and that is all. Wolf’s image allows the viewer to see all aspects of the occasion from a bird’s eye view. Perhaps seeing at a bird’s eye view is a more spiritual Indian belief, and looking at an image directly and straight forward is more authoritative and in control, like the American government portrays.  

Taylor’s work is ethnocentric in that all of the Indians in his illustration for the most part look the same; when in fact Indians have many different levels of social status in their attire. Wolf’s art work notes many different styles and colors on the Indian peoples clothing. He shows detailed difference between the Cheyanne, Arapaho, Kiowa and Comanche people.

What is suggested to me between the two cultures is that in the Indian society woman are praised and put at high praise. They are caring, loving, knowledgeable mothers. Women are made out to be reason for life. In the white man’s culture woman are left to the kitchen and aren’t brought into matters more than household and marriage. In a tribe everyone speaks.

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