Thank you for the care taken in preparing and organising your portfolio. One A5 sketchbook; five pages, A4 sketchbook; 8 pages (son). A3 sketchbook; five pages (self-portraits). The log was available and up to date. I will comment upon specific aspects under the key headings.
You utilised a broad range of dry and wet media within the preliminary stages and final outcome.
An interesting and inventive approach to composition, informed by experimentation and use of photographic methods (cropping-in). This shows confidence in your understanding and application of compositional devices.
An interesting and personal inquiry into your son and the ‘enigma of childhood’. You explored this through a process of drawing, reflecting, visual and critical inquiry.
Good use of research in terms of the figure, and specifically referencing photography as a resource, drawing upon a diversity of sources.
With regard to your emailed selection for assessment. We can discuss this via Hangout on Wednesday 6th at 5.30pm.
Do refer back to the assessment criteria and Guidance for Assessment on editing and selecting. It is important that you consider what you feel is your best work (not necessarily evidence from each assignment).
Assignment 5 Assessment potential
“I understand your aim is to go for the B.A (Hons) Fine Art Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to succeed at assessment. In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.”
assessment (see Conditions of Enrolment, Section 2 a). Contact the OCA Course Advisors to discuss this further.
Feedback on assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
In your sketchbook and the preliminary pastels you challenge yourself by experimenting with a variety of possible compositions. These include some intensive cropping of your son tumbling. In relation to when you began the course, this reflects well on your learning, understanding and confidence.
On a pragmatic level; I get a sense that you have struggled at times, to set yourself a plan of progression and timescale, that supports you in fully experimenting with your range of visual language and mark-making. In future it would be acceptable and beneficial to use similar format / structure to the assignment, which you felt worked best.
There is something arresting and interesting in the bold composition of the final A1 drawing. It seems to reflect the notion of your son’s ‘absorption in his world / activity’ and what you described as your exclusion from his. What is interesting is that the peculiar cropping, intrigues the viewer, I found this worked best when looking at the drawing vertically and from a distance of around 6’.
The balance and weight between the negative and positive space of the drawing holds the attention and reflects that sense of the act of him physically balancing (precariously) on the edge os the sofa. Perhaps this was intentional (or maybe not on a conscious level), either-way it is worth considering this relationship in future drawings. (Pointers)
With regard to the composition, you don’t specifically mention any influences, yet I wonder if subconsciously the Saville’s have informed you here? You refer to creating a sense of ‘intimacy’ in the composition, which I would agree with, whilst also in contradiction excludes, with his back to us.
There are elements of the drawing which I find distracting (particularly) ; the wrists, back of hands and the shoulder blades . These are better perceived and drawn in the A4 sketchbook; pencil / pastel drawing. It also looks as though you have truncated the wrist and hand (left hand of drawing) to squeeze them into the picture plane. Review the drawing by looking at it through a mirror. Try and re-draw these elements in the drawing. (Pointers)
In your reflection you comment upon how you could have been more experimental in your final piece, yet don’t suggest how. I agree with your comment; as there are elements in the sketchbook (see under Sketchbook), where you get a sense of your son’s vitality and explorations of his physicality through play. I would have liked to have seen more of these experiments. These you explored in relation to some smudging and overlaid pencil lines. it might have been interesting to also consider other ways of conveying movement sequentially or in layers. Have a look at how Francis Alys explores this in his taped, torn and layered tracings. (Pointers)
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity
Exploration of qualities of movement using charcoal, masking fluid, hard and soft pencils.
Experimentation with composition regarding tumbling son. Noticing the potential dynamic of the diagonal figure cutting across the picture plane. There’s a strong sense of weight, gravity and energy to these compositions; pencil with warm pastel and 138 opposite. Here you portray a spontaneous, energetic play and shifting limbs and feet.
Testing-out of cropping devices to explore more abstract elements in the frame, brings an ambiguity to the scene. An interesting experiment, especially in relation to your thoughts on the enigma of childhood and your son being ‘in his world’. There is something you have intuited here, that is very interesting, about the ability of children to be completely absorbed in their own body, mind and space.
It could have been beneficial for you to have extended your prep stage to more fully explore some of these qualities of composition and a range of mark-making and line to convey that sense of shifting, fidgeting and movement. Perhaps utilising the smudging and erasing with the differing qualities of pencil / charcoal line overlaid. (Pointers)
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
A broad and diverse range of artists referred to on your log.
You researched across a range of secondary source material; books, blogs and articles (well Harvard referenced).
((!)) You also visited exhibitions at the Tate and the Basquiat exhibition. You made some concise comments on a number of 20th and 21st Century artists practicing across representation and abstraction. It could have been useful for you to visually analyse (or even draw from) to compare and contrast a few examples. Asking what you may learn from them in terms of visual language. construction of composition, picture plane, colour / monochrome, mark-making etc. Some genuine reflections and comments upon your alienation regarding Basquiat’s visual language, symbols and references. I wonder if you could have found some elements or aspects from your visits that may feed into your own work. This is an element that you could consider as you progress; how can you regularly visually and materially, draw upon your research to feed into, apply and inform your work? (Pointers)
Your research on Mullins triggered some interesting thoughts regarding the utilisation (and validity) of photography in art practice. You make a distinctive point regarding your intention to explore not only your son, yet specific aspects of childhood, within the context of the assignment. This is an interesting perspective and given more time would be worth you exploring further.
You researched into artists who convey a sense of movement or shifting in physicality. You mention Degas in passing and I wonder if you have looked specifically at his monotypes, in and of themselves and also in combination with pastel and charcoal. This is a simple technique which could help you to portray those qualities of blurring and expand on your mark-making potential. (Pointers)
Good, consistent practice of Harvard referencing throughout.
Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
Good use of your log to archive, critically reflect on your research and developing processes.
It is clear that your aims, intentions and focus shifted; as you worked on the assignment. This in turn has affected the outcome which has an ambiguity that is very interesting and less literal than your previous drawing at assn. 4. You started off by focussing solely on drawing a sense of movement in your son’s limbs, this led to broader concerns regarding; the enigma of childhood and your evolving relationship with your son. These are rich avenues of inquiry which I hope you will develop further in the future.
I invite you to revisit your reflection and review your artist’s statement. I encourage you to focus more upon what you feel you are / want to explore further: visual language, content / subject, quality of tone (emotional / psychological…) and choose a few very pertinent artists to reflect on. (Pointers)
Your research references both primary and secondary sources with good breadth and diversity.
Good use of Harvard referencing..
Were there any specific artists (apart from Degas) who directly informed this assignment, as I couldn’t see any commentary if so. It would be interesting and useful for you to elaborate on which particular research (and why / how) fed into the content and visual development of the assignment. Consider this and add your response to your log. (Pointers)
Your sense of questioning; of what you are doing, thinking and researching has been a useful, purposeful and sound practice throughout the unit. Do continue to draw on and practice this as you progress.
Degas’ monotypes and combination of mono / pastel / charcoal.
Regarding conveying a sense of movement, passage of time:
Francis Alys Layered, taped, tracing paper drawings.
Susan Rothenberg cartwheel, spinning drawings / paintings
Sally Mann Interesting in relation to the controversial use of / ‘manipulation’ of portrayal of her children.
Pointers for the next assignment
- Reflect critically on this feedback in your learning log.
- More exploration in your sketchbook or on loose sheets at the prep stage would help you to expand on your visual language by drawing upon a wider range of mark-making and qualities of line- in relation to your aims.
- Explore a sense of weight, balance, harmony / disharmony in the shifting of negative and positive space, as well as the cropping-in devices of composition.
- Try and re-draw the wrist, hand and shoulders, first review the drawing in a mirror. Do some small studies on loose paper. Then redraw in the final pastel drawing.
- ((!)) Each time you research: primary and secondary sources; ask yourself what you understand from the text / image / experience and what you might draw upon and utilise to feed back into your own work.