A Guide To Writing The Critical Essay A

Topics: Art, Essay, Contemporary art Pages: 6 (2049 words) Published: December 12, 2014
A guide to writing the Critical Essay and Research Document You are required to research and produce (1) an illustrated 2000 word essay supported with (2) a supporting annotated digital research document on the following question: “What can contemporary digital artists learn from ‘traditional’ fine art practice?” Your essays must be well researched and argued and you must ensure that they are correctly referenced and acknowledged to avoid the risk of plagiarism. See the library website for guidance on using the University’s Harvard format. You should include suitable referenced imagery to support your arguments, cited within your essay. The supporting research document should show a range of materials you looked at (but not necessarily used within the paper). They should be referenced and annotated, describing your interest in them and their relevance to the subject area. --------

An Introduction to the Essay
The key to this 2000 word essay is focus. In the space allowed, you must identify an area and explore it briefly in order to answer the question. There is no room for lengthy introductions or wandering off-topic. It is easier to explore one subject in depth than try to take in the whole field. In terms of structure, the essay should consist of

1. an introduction that sets out your question and area of study 2. an examination of this area that identifies relevant points 3. a development of one or more of these points in line with your question 4. a conclusion that tries to answer the original question

Each should be allowed about 500 words.
1. The Introduction examines the question and explains your choice of topic, outlining why you have decided to look at one particular area. For instance, you might select a single digital artist or a small group of artists connected by a particular approach to their work. By identifying the features that make these artists interesting, you are giving the reasons for making them the objects of study. This should be something more fundamental than just saying that the artist has adopted an older style of art (e.g. using a Photoshop filter that mimics Impressionist or oil painting). You could propose that these themes connect their work to traditional art, giving you the subject matter for the next section. A phrase such as “In this essay I intend to show that the following aspects of X’s work connect with traditional art because…” is a useful way of setting out your intentions at the very start. It makes sense to briefly explain what you perceive as “traditional art”. You could simply explain it as art made by physical (i.e. non-digital) tools, or give it a cut-off date, such as “art made before 1980”, implying that it is historical and not contemporary. This explanation will help you determine what features of traditional art are most important in work of the artist you choose. 2. The Examination builds on the connections between the contemporary digital artist(s) and a particular strand of traditional art. You should reference statements by the artist(s) themselves about an older artist or group that inspires their work. Follow this up and read more about their reasons for doing so. Try to include: a brief statement of the artist's main ideas (i.e., thesis or theme) an outline of what supports the main idea

a summary of the artist's intentions or values
This section should be informed by the artist’s own writings (primary sources) or by critics and theorists discussing them (secondary sources). In the case of secondary sources, make it clear what material is drawn from them to avoid any hint of plagiarism. It is likely that many references to contemporary artists will be from web-based sources, so be careful about using up your limit of 10 web URLs in this section. However, by using JSTOR and other online journals, you can circumvent the URL issue by referring back to the original print journal, even though the text is accessed online. This also applies to magazine...
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