• The Frames form a foundation that supports your understanding of the Conceptual Framework and allows for the understanding of artworks from within a variety of contexts.
  • Whilst each Frame has the tendency to allow you to see formative aspects of an artwork in isolation, they do not necessarily operate independently.
  • The Frames are a mechanism or a model for the analysis of artworks and need to be always seen as such.
  • Artists do not work from a Frames referenced point of view.
  • One of the advantages of a Frames based approach as opposed to a linear historical approach is that you get to understand the artist and work in their broader contexts rather than just recalling them as part of a succession of names and dates.

The four Frames are;

  • Subjective
  • Structural
  • Cultural
  • Post Modern
  • The Subjective Frame engages you in a reading of the artwork from the viewpoint of  the artists intention as well as the audience response. Through this you should get some broader insight into why an artist makes a particular piece of work, the circumstances into which the work comes into being, and how various audiences receive and interpret the work. This would be strongest if it also includes an insight into how an audience interprets codes, conventions, signs and symbols as these can be significant factors that colour personal responses.


  • The Structural Frame engages you in a reading of an artwork from the viewpoint of it’s formal considerations. The function of this frame is to allow you to understand how the formal components i.e., the principles and elements + the primary, secondary and tertiary content operate. No subjective or appreciative analysis is entered into.


  • The Cultural frame engages you in a reading of an artwork from the perspective of the agencies at work in the cultural environment of the artist. This includes the primary, secondary and tertiary contexts of an artwork. Cultural agencies can include; predominant cultural beliefs and social attitudes/mores, cultural myths and stereotypes, economic climate, political climate, pervading spiritual/religious practices and beliefs and dogmas, music, literature, theater, the limits of knowledge, fashion, the frontiers of knowledge, world events etc.


  • The Postmodern frame engages you in a reading of an art work from the point of view of the notions of appropriation, quotation, parody, critique, re-contextualization and pastiche (a work of visual art, literature, theatre, or music that imitates the style or character of the work of one or more other artists). It also deals with notions related to semiotics (both visual and literary). In art these are the formalized ideas of the work of Ferdinand Saussure and Charles Sanders Pierce, who are the forefathers of semiotic theory. The models of reading linguistics and visual images from these two formed the foundations for the latter work of post structuralist philosophers and writers such as Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, Michel Foucault, Susan Sontag etc.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *