Sunday, September 20, 2009

Around the Studios...

Photos by Gary Ratliff
Most of these images are from ART 361, Sculpture I, James Davis instructor, the rest are from around the 3D Arts Studio.
Thanks Gary for your images!

Monday, September 14, 2009

"You Think my Work is Pretty?"

It's been a busy couple of weeks. Everybody seems settled into their classes and critiques are underway along with many interesting projects. As we begin the new semester I think it's important to a take some time to think about what the critique is and what it means to each of us individually.

In school, critiques (often referred to as "crits") are a necessary part of education (and grades). Outside of school the critique can be an essential tool for building a successful body of work. As an artist long out of school I look for those instances when I can get good solid feedback. Of course in school and out-of-school there are always the critics who are going to tell you what they think, whether you want to hear about it or not. I still remember being a student and having to deal with folks who knew nothing about my work and yet felt compelled to tell me all that was wrong with it. Sometimes this even included the instructor! As I got older and more mature I realized that my instructors new more than I gave them credit for, but my lack of experience didn't allow me to listen and take their comments into consideration. I know better now!

In Nita Leland's essay Surviving Workshop Critiques she mentions about being wary of critiques that are nothing but "feel-good sessions". How right she is! How boring is it to have everyone just nod their heads and say, "yes, it's pretty". What a waste of time! Ms. Leland has some good ideas in her essay, check it out.

In ARTSEDGE Joyce Payne lays out a basic outline for a critique session. Although there are some points I tend to skip over in my classes, one idea that she mentions I find to be critical and unfortunately it's one we don't often stick to; Describing the work without using value words such as "beautiful" or "ugly". Her essay reminds me of why that is so important. I think it is something that I am going to try and push in more of my class critiques. Also check out her section called Judgement and Evaluation. Wow, that's a tough one, especially for us, it will be a good one to discuss in class. I am curious to find out what all you students think about the value of discussing the originality of a work and what makes it so. When I was in school this came up on a regular basis, but it doesn't seem to be something that comes up enough in our class crits. That's something I would like to change. To start we might have to have a conversation about what "original" means... Wow, that could be an interesting discussion.