ArtsConnectEd/ArtsNet Minnesota
Inner Worlds

Art and Artists
 Arthur Dove
 Richard Hunt
 Judy Onofrio
 Betye Saar
 Kay Sage
 Yves Tanguy
 Jane Tuckerman

What is Art? Environment Identity Designing Spaces and Places
Kay Sage
Discussion Questions/Activities

Do you think Kay Sage was a happy person? Did this affect her work? Is it important to know her history when you look at her art? Why do you think Kay Sage painted environments like On the Contrary, which looked like "shelters" in dreamlike landscapes?

Can you see the influence of classical drawing lessons in this painting? How does the realism become unreal? Notice how light is used in this painting. What time of day is it? What kind of mood is created by the light in On the Contrary?

Kay Sage, On the Contrary
Kay Sage, On the Contrary
What is meant by the term an "ivory tower?" Are people who "supposedly live in ivory towers" disconnected from reality?

Write a story of a dream you have had or something you have imagined. Illustrate your dream. How does your illustration look like a dream or imagining?

 Portrait of tenth grade Minnesota student's, Inner vs. Outer
Tenth-grade Minnesota student's
Inner vs. Outer Self,
1993, self.

Draw a portrait of yourself from the inside out. Show the contrast between inner and outer self.


  • Draw a picture of an environment where you feel safe. As Sage created "shelters" for herself, create your own shelter.

  • Paint a picture of your happiest or the most frightening dream.

  • Surrealist butterfly collage
    Surrealist butterfly collage
    Bring three objects from your home to class. Paint or draw them in an unreal situation as an example of the Surrealist style.


Filmmakers frequently make films from books. Choose a movie made from literature and discuss whether the filmmaker created the story or characters as you imagined them when you were reading the book. Is your imagination more vivid a reality? Was the film less successful than the book? Why?

Research and a write a report describing the development of the butterfly. How does this development relate to human development? Find out how the butterfly is used as a symbol in different cultures. Collect pictures of butterflies. Share results in groups of five. Using construction paper and patterns from magazines, make a symmetrical, Surrealistic butterfly that symbolizes an idea from your inner world. Use images that do not belong on butterflies to create a Surrealistic design.

Vocabulary Terms

development of a butterfly --larva- is the worm-like stage of butterfly development; metamorphosis is a change from one form or shape to another; pupa is the inactive cocoon stage of butterfly development.

Surrealism--Art that emphasizes fantasy, and real objects in unreal situations; the look and feeling of dreams painted realistically; includes surprise, contradiction and shock.

symbol--Usually an image that stands for an idea or object.

symmetrical--Identical on both sides.


Bailey, H. and H. F. Johnson (ed.), Kay Sate [exg, cat.], Museum of Art, 1977.

Benzi, F., E. Busmanti, and A. Sbrilli. The History of Art, New York: U.S. Gallery Books. 1989.

Brommer, G. F. (ed.). Discovering Art History. Worcester, Mass: Davis. 1988.

Eisner, E. W. "Reading the images of culture." Momentum, 15(3), 56-58. 1984.

Fineberg, J. Art Since 1940. New York: Harry N. Abrams. 1995.

Jeffers, C. "Metaphors and meanings" (abridged). Art Education, 16-19. 1990.

Sage, Kay, Retrospective, [ exh. cat.] p.1-46 Walker Art Museum, 1960.

Sage, Kay, [exh. cat.] foreward by James Thall Soby. Rome, Italy: Galleria dell' Obelisco. 1953.

Swartz, S. (ed.) Walker Art Center--Painting and Sculpture from the Collection, New York: Rizzoli Publications and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 1990.

Wilson, L. A. "Shelter as symbol: Uses and meanings of architectural space." From Arts of Africa, Oceania and the AmericasJ. C. Berlo & L. A. Wilson (Eds.), (pp. 271-274). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. 1993.

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Discussion/Activities, About the Artist, About the Art, Teacher Lessons

Inner Worlds | What Is Art? | Environment | Designing Spaces and Places | Identity
About the Art| About the Artist| Discussion Questions/Activities | Teacher Lessons