Posts archive for: April, 2008
  • More human than human tasks..

    Read through the previous blog/essay written- taking your own notes in your own words

    1) Create a double page explaining the progression of the depiction of the human body throughout ancient and modern civilisations

    Use examples such as Venus(Willendorf), Egyptian art, Greek art and the ‘Perfect’ human
    Include images and explain IN YOUR OWN WORDS how this has evolved.Finally explain HOW you think the Human Body is seen in our society today

    2) Find 3 images from advertisements that show the Human Body in an unrealistic light
    On a single page- stick these in and Annotate: How these are unrealistic or over exaggerated human forms- IN YOUR OWN OPINION

    Think about the attraction of the Venus (Willendorf) and the reasons behind being ‘more human than human’ (over–exaggerated)

    3) From the list below, choose 3 artists and research ONE of their art pieces, on another single page, stick these images in and annotate:

    How you feel each artist has represented the Human Form, Is it realistic? Over Exaggerated? More Human than Human?

    You could even start to compare their (piece of) work with Ancient art (pieces)? (Merit/Distinction)
    You may even want to research into the background of these artists’ opinions/ideas (about the Human form and how they want to represent/depict it) (Merit/Distinction)

    Click here for Jenny Saville
    Click here for Robert Mapplethorpe
    Click here for Cindy Sherman
    Click here for Henry Moore
    Click here for Richard Phillips
    Click here for Merlin Carpenter
    Click here for Jake and Dinos Chapman
    Click here for Rineke Dijkstra
    Click here for Duane Hanson
    Click here for Elizabeth Peyton
    Click here for David LaChapelle
    Click here for Karen Kilimnik
    Click here for Vanessa Beecroft
    Click here for Muntean/Rosenblum
    Click here for Orlan

  • More human than human

    Images dominate our lives: they tell us how to think, behave, feel. They mould and define us. Why do images have such a powerful hold on us.

    We humans made art and art made us human.

    Through history there has been a Visual legacy helping us shape our own.

    The Human Body dominates our lives, filling our high-street, magazines and TV screens- and the art world- Art is obsessed with the human form.
    All the images of the human body in the art world (past and present) all have something in common- they do not resemble a REAL human body: artists rarely recreate a realistic image of the human body.

    From the earliest time people have created images of the human form.
    25,000 years ago the Nomadic People roamed the earth. In the 1970’s a small Nomadic Statue (4 inches) was found in Austria.
    This statue was named ‘The Venus of Willendorf’-

    The name ‘Venus’ applying to any female nude of the past and this was the worlds first clue of why our human world creates unrealistic view of the human body: Venus has over emphasised features i.e. over exaggerated large breasts and a large bottom etc.
    But why, as humans do we see ourselves with these over exaggerated features?

    Researchers began to look at the behaviour of seagulls especially when the young chicks were being fed. They noticed that the chicks were attracted to the red stripe on their mothers’ beak as they associated this with feeding time and receiving food.
    The researchers experimented with this theory – producing a small yellow stick with a red stripe (looking like the beaks) to see if the chicks would be attracted to this, as they are to their mothers’ beak. The results confirmed their theory. They then increased the number of stripes- the chicks reaction was very interesting, not only were they attracted to this (over the one-striped stick) but their behaviour intensified and they became more excited by this non realistic representation of a ‘beak’.

    When we look at the brains of our ancestors they seemed to be more attracted and excited by over exaggeration of features. Here, Venus, shows that what mattered most were fertility- these features were exaggerated grossly. Venus was the ideal of the Nomadic People.

    Climate change brought on movement, people needed water to live and so travelled to large rivers such as the river Nile, seeing a New Civilisation created in EGYPT.

    Egyptians were the first civilisation to start using the images of the body extensively in their art but what had changed?
    The primeval need to exaggerate had gone, these images were now driven by something altogether different. They hardly were realistic and seemed to be produced with an organisation as that our developed society can understand.
    Rather than exaggerating each part of the body, the Egyptians were interested about seeing each part at the BEST angle i.e. turning the face to profile, palms of hands out, feet turned but chest front on etc.

    But is this more than just looking good or is there an ‘art’ to it?
    The depiction of the Egyptian body didn’t change for 3,000 years!! It was only images of the human body that generation after generation in Egypt would see. The Egyptian society shared an obsession with consistency and order, values for their society was founded by this and was applied to their art work; designed with absolute precision. The Egyptians created a simple grid system in which their drawings, sculptures, images, writings and architecture would fit into perfectly. An ordered ideal.

    So now looking at images from our modern world we can see how other things from culture and society can reflect and be depicted in to images of the body.
    The Ancient Greek had a fixation with the body and had specific ideas of what the body should look like: an athletic figure became an obsession.
    They believed their Gods were in Human form and if you looked good you were good-becoming God like!
    This occupied the Greek world and reflected in their architecture through images of their Gods, which were realistic.
    Greeks would worship in their temples and want to see their Gods in residence- meet them face to face. These statues were to be so life-like that the Greek worshippers would believe that they were real. Up to this time Greeks could only experience their Gods in small figurines. These statues were so life-like that the Greek worshippers would believe that they were real.

    But how did this happen?
    There was an artistic revolution- Egypt was over thrown by an Egyptian with the help of Greek Mercenaries and with that came a ‘marriage’ of nations. They began sharing and exchanging ideas and now working together.
    This was the most rapid artist revolution that has happened in the History of mankind (from figurines to life size statues). Greek artists started to create large statues like the Egyptians (instead of figurines). Egypt rigid style wasn’t enough for The Greeks and they did something that no artist had done before- they started to use their eyes.
    Greek artists had produced a truly realistic body (Kritian Boy). For the very first time man creates a human fully nude and realistic.
    What effect did this realism have on the Greeks?

    Within a generation, the Greeks had stopped creating realistic images of the human body but why?
    When it comes to the human body, we are driven by that primeval instinct exaggeration (Venus of Willendorf). The Greeks had perfected the ideal body, which seemed boring and too realistic, now they could re-work this principal exaggeration into their art as they had the knowledge to do so.
    The Greeks dissatisfaction with perfection wanted to have something more human than human?!!
    How could they create statues that would satisfy them and be worthy of their temples?

    They wanted to capture a figure poised from action- achieving physical perfection and more. Creating a grid through the figure- so half would seem to be moving and tense while the other side relaxed and composed. This new found reality gave exaggeration an overwhelming feeling.

    That is the instinct that dominates the answer- humans don’t like reality, but subtle exaggeration; what we chose to exaggerate is where it lies today.
    As modern society became more culturally diverse, so does what we exaggerate-
    The art of Comic caricatures – is what draws us to extreme of the human form

    Catwalk models- possess what our minds register as impossible

    Clothing and marketing images-capture us with exaggerated parts of the body that we regard as important

    In our own cults of the ‘body beautiful we even do it to ourselves.

  • Giving birth to the image.. the tasks

    1) Create a double page explaining the how prehistoric art was founded and the theories of where the imaging comes from.

    Use examples such as Cave Paintings from Europe and Africa
    Include images and explain IN YOUR OWN WORDS how this has evolved

    2) Altered State of Consciousness:

    a) Document, over the next few weeks, a dream you have had- try to illustrate
    and annotate exactly what you saw.

    b) Experiment closing your eyes near a lot of light (artificial, outside or near a window), keep them closed for a length of time 5-10 mins(!) and again document what you ‘saw’ or experienced such as colours, shapes, lines and annotate/describe the experience of your brain being deprived of visual stimulus.
    (On a single page)

    3) From below, chose an artist or group (you could even select your own appropriate artists) and research their art/graphics

    On another single page, stick these images in and annotate:
    How there are similarities between their ‘wall/graffiti’ art and the accessibility of cave paintings?






  • the day pictures were born...

    We give lines meaning, tell shapes from another, and define and separate colours
    The ability to read images is essential to our lives! Imagine a world without images and pictures….
    Images now dominate our lives but there had to be a beginning and how did this happen?

    We create pictures and images all the time and understand what they mean.
    When did we first get the ability to create images and understand what they mean?

    In 1879 a local Spanish man with his daughter went to explore the landscape and local caves. His daughter ran off deeper in to cave only to discover large paintings in the walls and ceilings above her.
    They had discovered the first prehistoric paintings.
    Archaeologists questioned their authenticity as they were too good!
    After findings these paintings in the Altamira caves, there were many other discoveries all over Europe. Over the decades, discovery after discovery were made and proved that they were genuine.

    But what was the reason for this creative explosion- when did and why people started to create images of the world around them?

    Firstly, the main reason seems to be for them wanting to create representations of things of the world around them such as animals and hunting scenes. Then on second glance it seemed to be everything around them. Even experts saw that these paintings included particular animals; almost as an obsession, animals such as horses, reindeer and bison. It was thought perhaps these paintings were instructive, showing others how to hunt these particular popular animals. But when experts in prehistoric art looked at the work, they found that there was little connexion between their art and their hunting diet.

    These cave images puzzled people; if they were to be seen why were they so hidden away and so inaccessible?
    Why did some of these images not represent hunting? But were made up of abstract shapes, random patterns and colours?

    What is a picture?
    How can you create a picture when you have never seen one before? How do you then come up with the idea of creating one?

    Instead of working out why people painted images in caves- people should have been working out how we got this amazing ability to create images in the first place.

    Across in South Africa, similarities were made between these European Hunting scenes and their own Bush Paintings, but when looking more closely things in these paintings did not add up.

    We can’t find out why these people painted like this as these people and their tribe do not exist, but when looking back at documentation we can get some ideas about their life. In the Bleek Manuscripts, Bleek has documented and archived their life through interviews, journals, testimony and manuscripts. These African tribes were interested in the spiritual world and this ‘world’ would be accessed for healing, ceremonies and rituals. A member of the tribe (usually the Shamen) would alter their state of consciousness and travel into a trance and pass almost into another world. Could this finding help solve the mysteries behind the cave paintings?

    The paintings were not about real life experiences and scenes but were about the spiritual experiences, encounters and trances. The hunting scenes were recreation made from hallucinations and dreams.
    Could these Spiritual African images now have significance and a relation to the European Cave paintings?
    Both images showed an obsession with animals, European paintings would graft humans on to animal bodies to make unrealistic characters and both paintings were scattered with dots over the images and animals
    Many scientific experiments have been done on the visual parts of the brain. When people are said to go into Visions- alter states of consciousness, they begin to see zig-zag lines and bright coloured dots.
    When the brain is bombarded with information it will begin to see shapes, lines, colours and grids. Also the same happens when there is not enough information coming in through the eyes (visually) i.e. when you are blind folded- in other words if you were entering a dark area with no light like a cave.
    This would explain these strange patterns- deep into the caves these people experienced sensory deprivation which encouraged hallucinations, which they then painted. Abstract shapes and colours were just the beginning, as they stayed longer in the caves they had hallucinations of things of importance to them i.e. such as animals. These will now be seen as 2D images on the walls of the caves. They were not making images that they had seen outside the cave but nailing down visions created inside their heads.

    How did we get from here to our image dominant society and then stop painting in the caves?
    Imagery seemed to lose it holds over human life-how did the power of the picture recapture itself?
    People and civilisations didn’t stop- people moved their images from inside the cave out into carving into the landscape and stone. From there images became an important and public thing.
    Images created the world today- immense effort was and is put into the images, creating images founded civilisations, brought together people and farming, culture was founded.

  • visual communication

    Task a)

    Collect and find evidence of when YOU think humans first began to create images and get the ability to first create images. Try and explain what you think these mean or perhaps why you think these could have been the first images.
    To achieve MERIT/DISTINCTION- think about the importance of these images in the context of history and design.

    Task b)
    (in pairs) Create a simple mindmap that explores the ideas behind

    How we read images?

    Explore where you think reading images has come from, how it is used nowadays in things like advertising, design, art and media and link it to personal ideas about how you think we learn to understand something visual (as you would when you are first starting to read?)

    Task c)
    * Answer this question- You can use examples that you have found to support your own answer to the question and include personalised opinions formed with other students, etc. Think about the question and how as an Art student how you could ‘creatively’ present your own findings.

    What do you think the world would be like without images?

    * Task c) is going to be presented to the rest of the group and you will be expected to feedback your ideas during Wednesday Period 6-7. You will have time to think about what you are going to say.

    This new project is going to be more design-based rather than Fine Art based, therefore tutors will be assisting and showing you how you could develop and present your work. Using this as sound advice you DO NOT have to create any ART work at the moment (Especially NOT in a sketchbook) instead we would like to hear your own sophisticated thinking behind these tasks/questions and see your own gathering of independent ideas.

  • hol-i-day!

    If you would like to further your study and develop your past projects and outcomes, there will be opportunity to attend support sessions within the looming holidays.

    There will be chances to work with Post 16 tutors on a one-to-one basis, improve and refine your existing work, outcomes, annotations and evaluations.
    You will also have the chance to work on existing projects that need to be completed (A/S level Art course).

    If any of you would like to sign up to the sessions, please notify the post 16 art tutors so that they can monitor which students will be attending these days.

  • What you have to do?

    BTEC National Certificate Year 1

    Before the group critque, check over the list below to see if you have completed or answered all points of the project:

    Check list (An Overview for what needs to be done)

    - Recording; collecting, recording, collating, observing, drawing, documenting, photographing, capturing.
    Recording should be based upon first hand experiences with and within the landscape, including drawings and sketches. These will represent not only things you saw but things you felt.

    - Investigating; researching, analysing, exploring, experiementing, studying, inquiring, examining, consulting.
    Investigating should be based around independent artist research, in this case a 1,000 word visual essay on your own chosen landscape artist. Compare their work and ideas with your own and develop comparitive work and inspired ideas. Show understanding through your collated knowledge and formulate a sound opinion about their work in the correct context.

    - Making and Developing; constructing, composing, planning, designing, preparing, producing, experimenting, developing, synthesising, fabricating, generating.
    Making and Developing should be based around you developing your first initial drawings and ideas, to further your own response and understanding about the landscape, what it meant to you, what you are trying to say and capture. Link your own ideas with the work of other artists and annotate throughout your sketches and designs. Manipulate and develop your own knowledge and understanding of materials and techniques, to find and refine the outcomes and ideas you want to exhibit.

    - Final Outcome/s; exhibiting, presenting, performing, showing, displaying.
    Your final outcome/s should be based firstly on all the above work, your outcome needs to be sophisticated in the making and the concept. Your outcomes needs to show how you can formulate your own independent, personal and individual ideas. This can be shown through a series of high level evaluations and annotations. You will need to present a body of creative and imaginative art work, this you will show infront the rest of your group, who will pose questions about your own art work and ideas. Think about your initial starting points, keywords, impressions and experiences, and how this final outcome/s reflects this.

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