Discussion Aesthetics: Critical Observation

Discussion Aesthetics: Critical Observation

 

 

Artwork Critical Analysis from Direct Observation Part 1: (100 Points)

 

This is a slow looking exercise, leading to a deep, authentic experience.

 

Choose a work that strikes you, for whatever reason (because it is beautiful, interesting, thought-provoking, maddening, etc.), which you can see and spend time with in person.  This must be an actual work of art, not an image from the internet.

 

Look at that single work of art for at least 1 hour, all in one sitting.  Though this will seem strange and challenging at first, devoting this much time to looking at one inanimate object, you may find that time starts to fly.  You may even end up needing more time than 1 hour to really see it well.  Summons patience and thoughtfulness, being physically present with the work for an extended time.  This is not about what you know or have learned about a particular work beforehand.  (In fact, it would be better if you knew nothing about the work at all before you started the exercise.)  All information can and should be derived from the honest experience of looking at the work, describing what you see, and allowing it to suggest avenues for further research (in part 2 of the assignment).

 

Rules:

 

The work cannot be an ‘A’ List work, by a famous artist. You shouldn’t be looking for this at the Seattle Art Museum.

This should be something you haven’t already spent time studying, or something you already know a lot about. There should be no written information readily available at the site beyond simple media, title, and date.  I want you to have an authentic, new experience of a work of art, based solely on what you can derive from looking at the piece.

Pick something that you can clearly see, and which will allow you to study it with as limited of interruptions and distractions as possible.

Your piece should be an actual work of art, not a poster.

 

Turn off smartphones etc., try to focus (I understand how hard this might be), and be aware of what a radical activity this is for you to do in slowing down time for the assignment.

 

Look, think, document (write, draw)

 

Ask questions that will form basis for research in the second part.

 

Submit:

 

Narrative notes of things you noticed as you noticed them (i.e. “@ 22 minutes, I noticed a reflected green color on table and its complementary relationship to the red drapes behind the figure.”).

Written personal formal analysis, covering things you notice, such as:

 

Composition

 

Physical Qualities of the Work

 

Personal Feelings and Associations

 

A set of questions or points of interest arising from your observations, which you will use as the basis for your research in part 2 of the assignment.  (For example: What do you want to know about the artist and his/her intentions?)

A drawing of the piece. (Try to be as true to the work as possible, but understand that I am not grading your drawing ability at all.  This is more of a tool to get you to see more, and record those things you see.  Just do your best, and you will be fine.)

A photo of the piece you’re looking at, in the setting where you observed it.


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