Thursday 6th December
Conducting Pictorial Autopsies:
Why do we analyse art?
- To get inspired
- To improve and learn towards our own practice
- Close examination can reveal interesting and relevant reflections of the world we live in.
- Because doing so can enable a deeper level of appreciation and understanding of the work we are investigating.
- Because it helps us learn and achieve more in our own practice.
How do we analyse art?
Start to look at the image and ‘step inside the artwork, investigate the evidence and analyse’.
Analysing a piece:
- Style? – Realistic/Abstract/Expressive (gesture/movement)/Non-objective (NO OBJECT)/Conceptual – the idea is more important than the visual impact.
- Formal Elements – Line (actual/implied/contour and phsysioglogical?/Shapes (geometric/or organic?)/Value (how has light to dark contrast been applied?)/Light (what areas have the most light?)/Colours (primary,secondary,complementary.Warm/cool. Are there any meanings or suggestions imposed by the choice of colour?/Textural (actual, simulated or subverted?) Space (2D/3D, shallow, deep, overlapping, perspective. Realistic, linear or exaggerated?)/Time (time implied, stopped time, time of reference. Motion (blurred, kinetic, implied.)
Somewhere in-between abstract and realistic. Perspective is flawed. Unease, something does not seem right. Feels like the house is far away, edge of painting. Contrast between pink dress and grey dark house. Girl is looking towards house, do not see her expression, Do not need to see her face. On the floor, power struggle between her and the house. House is at the top, looking up at house. Inferior to the house. Body language – uncomfortable. .The way you interpret her posture – is she turning away from the house, or towards it?? Hands are not resting in the grass, gripping the ground – support. Grass is cut around the grass, emphasises the idea that she is further away from the house. Head is upright, focused on the house – moment of pause. She is centred to the left, read painting left to right. Implied lines, eye-line to her house. Repetition through grass strokes, so much grass gives a sense of depth and overwhelmingness. Feels quite gothic. Horror film esque.
Describe the work literally, as if to someone who cannot see it.
Try to be objective. Do not judge at this stage, observing and describing.
Principles of Design
- Movement/direction – where is the eye being led.
- Focal points – What is the focus, the dominant area. What do you notice first, second and third.
- Postive/Negative Areas – What is in the foreground/background/middle ground?
- Economy/Repetition – Are there any repeating patterns?Why?
- Proportions (scale) – Are the elements correct to scale?
- Balance – Is the composition balanced? Does this add to the mood of the painting?
In the MoMa.
Christina’s World is in the MoMa in NYC. It was painted by Andrew Wyeth in 1948.
82cm x 1.21m
Media is Egg Tempera on Gessoed Panel. Tempera, Levkas.
Strange material to use for the time.
Subject: Olson House, Christina Olson.
Look at the Title – Your thoughts or reactions may be validated by learning the title. Does it validate your ideas? Vague? Meant to be left for interpretations? Does knowing the title give you a biased idea?
Christina’s world. Automatically assume that is Christina in the painting. Her world – does the house represent her world? ‘Her world’ is this psychological? Logically assume that is her house due to the description. Uneasy title – ‘her world’ seems uneasy, unsettling.
- Are there any interactions or narrative between elements?
- Is there any symbolic meaning you are aware of?
- Use of icon/iconography – e.g heart = love.
- Are there any apparent themes?
- Are there any references to historical timeframes/events etc?
Blackbirds/crows or ravens? Symbol of death. Birds all fly away. German expressionism – surreal. Dark lines,shadows, contrasts. More of a social reference. Dress is traditional. Pink dress – contrast, to portray her as naive/feminine/girly emphasised. How old is she? Looking at the girl in detail – hair is greying? Is it the sun? Her hand is a bit wrinkly, strained. Ankles, thin. The way she is laying her legs on the ground – extremely unnatural. Not as urgent as her torso – trying to pull herself to the house. Wrinkles, ambiguous age. Stuck in a rut. Poor times. Body is twisted and broken – portrays her mental state.
- Personal thoughts – what attributes do you think the world has? Why do you think this?
- Do you get a ‘meaning’ from the work?
- In order to get a deeper meaning, do you need to research further. Do you want to know more?
- Do you recognise symbology within it, do you need/want to apply a more educated response in order to engage with it.
- Is the work for a limited audience or is it accessible? Is it inviting? How do you feel about this?
- What are YOUR personal reflections?
Remember you are viewing the work subjectively. Back up your argument.
Look at more contextual things. Such as the artist.
Andrew Wyeth – Realist Painter. Magic Realist painter. Realistic but surreal at same time. Important painting. Father died in 1948. Magic Realism show 1948
Who is Christina Olson – Gave artist a studio. Polio. Paralysed from the waist down as she grew older. Used to crawl around. Watching her crawling one area to another.
Critical Analysis of the same work:
Create a structure
Looking at other peoples work is just as important
Goals Of Research