Critical Investigation of an Artist or an Artwork
Your Investigation must contain sketches and images along with your written text. Your pages should be well presented and clearly written. Consider each page as a small artwork itself. Please remember that an outside examiner will be grading your work and they must be able to read and see clearly what you have drawn and written.
Use colored pencils, pencils, acrylic, ink, micron pen - great for text!
Use markers or ball point pen
Ideas for Sketches:
- An Artist Study: replicate a part of work of the artwork that you are studying in a suitable media
- Practice the artist's technique
- Make your own sketch or small painting that is inspired by the artwork
- Do a color study of the artwork
What to write: and sketch
What do I see? Use the Elements of Art and the Principles of Art (click for link)
What do I feel? : Connect it to your emotions. What makes exactly makes you feel this way?
What do I think? Give your opinion of the artwork - give reasons for your opinion
How does this work connect to your work? - what might you take from this artist to use in your artwork
An interesting Site: http://www.criticalreading.com/critical_thinking.htm
How to Create a Critical Analysis for your Visual Arts Journal
Critical Investigation in Detail
What do you see?
To begin criticism of the artist/artwork, make a list of all the things you see in the work. This step is meant to slow your pace. Slowing down helps you notice things you might otherwise miss. During this step you must be objective. In other words, give only the facts. Include a description the work, using the elements and principles of art. You should be using the appropriate language for this section.
Cultural Context: What was the culture the artist was living in that affected his work?
During step two you are still collecting facts. Now, however, you will look at the culture during the time the artist was working and how his/her culture had an affect on the work.? One simple example would be the Cubists. They were living during a time of great technological innovation including the invention of the camera. The photograph became a widely sought after means to create portraits and record the world. The Cubists wanted nothing less than to create a whole new way of seeing in reaction to what was happening in the world around them
Function and Purpose: The Artist's Intention
What was the artist communicating with his work and how did he do this? What is s/he trying to say?
The use of formal elements?
Your Interpretation and how this artist/artwork inspires you
How you interpret a work of art will depend on what you have done and seen in your life? However, your interpretation should be based upon the facts and clues you collected during the first two steps. Your interpretation can express your feelings, but your feelings must be backed up by observation and research.
Answer these questions:
How does this work make me feel?
How does this work inspire me? - This can be technique related or it can be conceptually related.
Doing arts criticism is like playing detective. You must assume that the artist has a secret message hidden inside the work. Your job is to solve the mystery and find the message.