Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mid-term on Thursday

Early American Art Gallery - Ray Trotter
The mid-term, Thursday, June 19th, will be based on your ability to incorporate your understanding of the formal/visual analysis of works of art into a presentation of a piece of art of your choosing. Your presentation should be 7-10 minutes long.  Using the Analysis worksheet and readings from the textbook present a piece of art and discuss the elements, the design principles, the media and technique chosen by the artist.  If known, tell about the artist, and the value of the work of art. Your grade will be determined by the depth, clarity and breadth of your analysis.

Graffiti in Downtown Paris
A work of art is the product of the dynamic interrelationships between the various art elements and principles as they are utilized by the artist. As you engage with an artwork, ask yourself why the artist made such choices. By considering the elements and principles involved, you can make yourself look more closely at the work of art, and thus understand more fully the artist’s intended vision, as well as noticing how the work reflects the time and place from whence it came.

Elements of Art
Pati Dye and Collage
Line: Do you see any outlines that define objects, shapes, or forms? Are lines used to emphasize a direction (vertical, horizontal, diagonal)? Describe the important lines: are they straight or curved, short or long, thick or thin? How do you think the artist utilized line to focus attention on certain objects, forms, or people? Are any invisible lines implied? For example, is a hand pointing, is the path of a figure’s gaze creating a psychological line, or is linear perspective used? Do the lines themselves have an expressive quality, as in Van Gogh’s Starry Night?

Light: If the work is a two-dimensional object, is a source of light depicted or implied? Is the light source natural or artificial? Do the shadows created by the light appear true to life, or has the artist distorted them? In what way does he or she depict such shadows—through line, or color? If the object shown is three-dimensional, how does it interact with the light in its setting? How do gradations of shadows and highlights create form or depth, emphasis or order in the composition?

Color: Which colors are predominantly used in this depiction? If the object is black and white, or shades of
Matthew Freeman, Lecture on Painting
gray, did the artist choose to do this because of the media he or she was working in, or do such shades create a certain mood or effect? Color can best be described by its hue, tone, and intensity (the hue is its basic shade, for example blue or red). Does the artist’s choice of color create a certain mood? Does he or she make use of complementary colors—red/green, violet/yellow, blue/orange—or analogous ones (those next to each other on the color wheel)? Does the artist utilize colors that are "warm" or "cool"? In which parts of the work? Is atmospheric perspective—in which cool colors recede, creating a blurred background, and warm, clear colors fill the foreground—used?

Texture: What is the actual texture on the surface of the object? Is it rough or smooth? What is the implied texture? Are patterns created through the use of texture?

Shape: What shapes do you see? If the work has a flat surface, are the shapes shown on it two-dimensional, or are they made to appear (illusionistically) three-dimensional or volumetric? If the work is a three-dimensional object, how volumetric is its shape? Is it nearly flat, or does it have substantial mass? Is the shape organic (seemingly from nature) or geometric? In representations of people, how does shape lend character to a figure? Are these figures proud or timid, strong or weak, beautiful or grotesque?

Space: How does the form created by shape and line fill the space of the composition? Is there negative, or empty, space without objects in it? If the artwork is three-dimensional, how does it fill our space? Is it our size, or does it dwarf us? If the piece is two-dimensional, is the space flat, or does it visually project into ours? How does the artist create depth in the image (by means of layering figures/objects, linear perspective, atmospheric perspective, foreshortening of figures)?

Principles­ of Art
Artists utilize the elements of art to produce these design principles.
Emphasis: The emphasis of a work refers to a focal point in the image or object. What is your eye drawn to? Does the artist create tension or intrigue us by creating more than one area of interest? Or is the work of art afocal ― that is, the viewer cannot find a particular place to rest the eye? Is there a psychological focus created through the elements of art?

Scale and Proportion: What is the size of all the forms and how do they relate proportionally to one another? Did the artist create objects larger in scale in order to emphasize them? Or was scale used to create depth? Are objects located in the foreground, middle ground, or background? Look at the scale of the artwork itself. Is it larger or smaller than you expected?

Balance: Balance is produced by the visual weight of shapes and forms within a composition. Balance can be symmetrical—in which each side of an artwork is the same—or asymmetrical. Radial balance is when the elements appear to radiate from a central point. How are opposites—light/shadow, straight/curved lines, complementary colors—used?

Rhythm: Rhythm is created by repetition. What repeated elements do you see? Does the repetition create a subtle pattern, a decorative ornamentation? Or does it create an intensity, a tension? Does the rhythm unify the work, or does it, on the contrary, seem a group of disparate parts?

Unity/Variety: Is the artwork unified or cohesive? How does the artist use the elements to achieve this? Or is there diversity in the use of elements that creates variety? How does the artwork combine aspects of unity and variety?

Media and Technique
Is the object two- or three-dimensional? What limitations, if any, might the chosen medium create for the artist?

Painting: How did the type of paint affect the strokes the artist could make? Was it fresco, oil, tempera, or watercolor? Was it a fast-drying paint that allowed little time to make changes? What kind of textures and lines was the artist able to create with this medium? Does it lend a shiny or flat look? How durable was the medium? Does the work look the same today as when the artist painted it?

Drawing: Consider the materials utilized: metal point, chalk, charcoal, graphite, crayon, pastel, ink, and wash. Is the artist able to make controlled strokes with this medium? Would the tool create a thick or thin, defined or blurred line? Was the drawing intended to be a work of art in itself, or is it a study for another work, a peek into the artist’s creative process?

Printmaking: What is the process the artist undertook to create this work? Did he or she need to carve or etch? Did the medium require a steady hand? Strength, or patience?

Sculpture: Is the sculpture high or low relief, or can we see it in the round? What challenges did the material present to the artist? Was the work created through a subtractive process (beginning with a large mass of the medium and taking away from it to create form), or an additive one? What tools did the artist use to create the form? If the form is human, is it life-size?

Architecture: Does the building represent the work of a community or the power of a leader? How was it constructed? What was the structure’s intended use? How does it fit with its surroundings? Is it domineering or welcoming?

Modes of Analysis
Consider whether any of the following ways of analyzing an artwork can be applied to the subject of your assignment:

Content: Does the work clearly depict objects or people as we would recognize them in the world around us (is it representational)? Alternatively, is its subject matter completely unrecognizable (is it non-objective)? To what degree has the artist simplified, emphasized, or distorted aspects of forms in the work (or abstracted it)?

Iconographic analysis: Are there things in the work that you can interpret as signs or symbols? For example, is there anything that suggests a religious meaning, or indicates the social status of somebody depicted in the work? Labels often provide good information about iconography.

Biographical analysis: Would information about the life of the artist help you to interpret the work? Again, labels are often a good source of biographical detail. In some museums volunteer docents are available to answer questions about an artist’s life and works.

Feminist analysis: Is the role of women in the artwork important? Is the artist commenting on the experience of women in society? Is the artist a woman?

Contextual analysis: Would you understand the work better if you knew something about the history of the era in which it was created, or about religious, political, economic, and social issues that influenced its creation?

The test:

Art Piece: _______________________________________________
Artist: _______________________________________________

1. Discussed Elements of Art Yes No 25 points
Line, Shape, Form, Volume, Mass, Texture, Value, Space, Color, Time and Motion

2. Discussed Principles of Art Yes No 25 points
Contrast, Unity, Variety, Balance, Scale, Proportion, Emphasis, Focal Point, Pattern, Rhythm

3. Discussed the Media and Technique used by the artist Yes No 25 points
Drawing: Pencils, Silverpoint, Charcoal, Chalk, Pastel, Crayon, Ink, Quill & Pen, Brush
Painting: Encaustic, Tempera, Fresco, Oil, Acrylic, Watercolor, Ink, Spray Point
Printmaking: Relief, Woodblock, Intaglio, Engraving, Drypoint, Etching, Aquatint, Mezzotint,            Lithography, Screenprint, Monotypes & Monoprints
Visual Communication: Graphic Design, Illustration, Layout, Web Design
Photography: Cyanotype, Portraiture, Landscape, Still Life, Photojournalism, Photocollage/Montage
Film/Video & Digital Art: Moving Images, BW, Sound & Color, Animation & Special Effects, Film Genres, Experimental, Video, Interactive Media
Alternative Media & Processes: Performance, Conceptual, Installations
Craft: Ceramics, Glass, Metal works, Fiber, Wood
Sculpture: Freestanding, Reliefs, Carving, Modeling, Casting, Earthworks, Construction, Light & Kinetic
Architecture: Context, Materials, Importance

4. Performed a comprehensive modes of analysis Yes No 25 points
Content analysis, Iconographic analysis Biographical analysis, Feminist analysis, Contextual analysis

PJC Art Appreciation Class Summer I 2014

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