Critical Thinking in Art

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Tomasz Pioszyk
FA 2300 (06)
WK 11 Out-line
Art & Design Criticism
The following is a quote from Barnett Newman, “I know that it is impossible to talk about my work. And since it's impossible for me or anybody else to talk about my work, I feel I might as well talk about it.” An example of his work is “Onement.” There are six topics for art criticism. The first is verbal description, what does the viewer see? Second is formal analysis, what are the elements and principles of art and design present in the work? Third is media and technique analysis, what materials and methods did the artist use? Fourth is art context, this details artist biography, art period, style and social and cultural history relating to work. Fifth is interpretation, what is the artist trying to communicate? Sixth is judgment, this is where the viewer judges whether the art work is successful or not. An example of the six step approach to art criticism is applied to Henri Matisse’s “The Desert: Harmony in Red.” Step One: Description

The description is completed by first: writing the name of the artist. Second: the title of the piece. Third: the date the piece was completed. Fourth: medium. Fifth: the size of the piece. Sixth: the current location of the piece. Seventh: List of literal objects. Eight: writing what you notice first. Ninth: What time of day is the piece taking place? Tenth: what is the mood? An example of answers is given and applied to Matisse’s “The Dessert: Harmony in Red.”

Step Two: Formal Analysis
Formal Analysis is also applied to “The Desert: Harmony in Red.” It is determined that all the principles of art and design are used here. Point is represented by the flowers in the grass. Line is represented by the straight table outline. Form because it’s a 2-D work. The work has geometric architecture and organic patterns and foliage. It also has depth perspective through the window. Its 3-dimensional form is flattened. Movement is seen from the lower right to upper left. Colors are red, blue and black. Color psychology is bright and festive. Pattern is organic motifs. Texture is coarse chair, trees and grass. An example of the principles of art and design applied to the same piece is given. For Balance it is determined that it is asymmetrical. For proportion it is determined that the small and large objects give the room a spacious quality. For Rhythm it’s determined that the organic designs juxtaposed with the geometric chair, window and table give it rhythm. For Emphasis it’s established that the focus is on the decorated table cloth and wallpaper. For Unity it’s established that the red color throughout the piece ties it together. Step Three: Media Technique & Analysis

The following is a quote from Tony Smith, “Art and craftsmanship are much closer than artists seem to be willing to admit, but the question is, where does the distinction seem to take place?” Not at a lot of thought is given into how a work of art is prepared. Many people don’t understand how much time, training and dedication goes into making art. Some think that it’s just magic. The selection of media used to create the piece ultimately determines how it will come out. The media and tools an artist uses establish the boundaries and limitations in the piece. For example, if the artist is only working in graphite, there is no way to establish a psychological mood with color since it will be all black and white. There are six steps for analyzing media technique. The first is medium, which are materials used to create the piece. Second is technique which is how the piece was created. Third is substrate which is what the medium is applied to like the paper or canvas. Fourth is handling of medium, which focuses on things like the brush stroke. Fifth is appearance and sixth is to what degree does the medium chosen affectively communicate the message in the piece or does it bring it to life? Examples of oil painting mediums are given with...
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