Exploring Representation

Assessment Task 1 | Exploring Representation

Faculty Task Sheet

Exploring Representation


The assessment task for term one is divided into two sections.

  • The first is an in class practical task based on contemporary and historical representations of the figure (figurative art).
  • The second is a research task based on the representation of the figure over time, with a focus on a specific body part.

Most people should easily have a clear understanding of the in class task and how it functions in terms of broadening your awareness of figurative representation within various art traditions.

The five works that you will produce for this are essentially media explorations, and it’s up to you to investigate the best way to accomplish this. Rather than work with a set piece approach, I’m hoping to introduce you to the sort of problem solving oriented thinking that you will encounter in the development of your Body of Work later in the year.

Introduction to Colour Theory

What’s involved in each task?

Task 1A – Artmaking

In this task you are encouraged to explore how the figure can be represented thematically and through material explorations with the end result being the creation of five free standing images i.e., not in your VAPD;  where the figure is either the main theme or is included as part of the represented environment i.e., figure / figures in the landscape, figure / figures in genre (scene from everyday life)  setting, figure / figures in an interior setting, figure / figures in a surreal setting, figure / figures as abstraction.

In your process diary you need to include some documentation as evidence of research. Areas of research can include painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, photography, film, video and performance art etc. Also include documentation of your media investigations.

Task 1B – Body Parts

The tendency for our ancestors and us as human beings, to create images representative the world, have been dated as far back as the Paleolithic era. More sophisticated figurative representation in the Western tradition began with the Egyptian, Greek and Roman empires and in the east the oldest continuous tradition comes from China where the earliest representation of human likeness is not recorded until the Neolithic period.

The human form is most commonly represented through the practice of painting, sculpture, drawing and more recently photography.

Our preoccupation with representing our world, ourselves and others in a myriad of settings gave rise to the “tradition” of ‘figuration in art’ and all it’s subsets which were formalized as a hierarchy in the 16th century. That hierarchy consisted of;

  • History painting (paintings with religious, mythological, historical, literary, or allegorical subjects)
  • Portrait painting
  • Genre painting
  • Landscape (figure in landscape)
  • Animal painting (with or without figure)
  • Still life (with or without figure)

So right up to, and including the present day, we have an ongoing practice of representing ourselves and others which now include;

  • Social media, (selfies)
  • Photography, (documentary, street, portrait etc)
  • Film
  • Video.

The key idea behind this task is that you focus on a specific part of the body e.g, hair, eye, hand, foot, mouth, ear, nose, arm, leg etc and document / analyze its representation in art over a nominated period of time. This will be discussed in class, in detail; and a range of student responses to this task will be shown and discussed.


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