Assessment Task 1 | 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)
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.
The imprint of the hand in this image acts as a documentation or record of presence at a site. Whilst we don’t know the purpose of the practice or the thinking behind someone 30,000 years ago doing this, we are now, witness to the reproduction of something that has a corporeal existence elsewhere in the world via photography, print and online archive and is a tangible record of someones existence.
An historical image depicting the hand of God parting the Red Sea so that Moses could lead the Jews to safety as they fled from persecution and bondage in Egypt.
Toward the end of his career, Rodin began to use giant hands in a series of original and idiosyncratic arrangements, with titles such as The Hand of God, The Hand of the Devil (1903), The Cathedral (1908), and The Secret (ca. 1910). The first of these represents divine creation expressed in terms of the sculptor’s art: the rough stone is both primeval matter and the sculptor’s medium; the smooth, white emerging forms held by the hand are the bodies of the first man and woman, while the great, life-giving hand itself is a symbol of the original Creator, and, perhaps quite literally, of the sculptor as well. The Hand of God was another of Rodin’s works that has had wide appeal, and there are numerous versions of it, both in marble and in bronze. This marble was commissioned from Rodin in 1906 by one of the Metropolitan Museum’s trustees. Rodin’s Hand of God molding man in his image not from dust but Mind. This links to the allegory and grand narrative of Biblical creation. These are the roots of Western Civilization.
The purpose of the hand in this image is to act as an amulet for protection. This would be in accordance with accepted beliefs and cultural practices.
This 1508 sketch was a preliminary study for an altarpiece commissioned by Jakob Heller (1460-1522), a wealthy merchant, member of the town council, and mayor of Frankfurt. Dürer finished the sketch in detail, to be copied exactly in the final painting of the altarpiece. Only the central panel depicting the Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin was executed by Dürer himself. Dürer worked for 13 months on the final painting, determined to make it so sound and beautiful “that it will remain bright and fresh for five hundred years.”
“The artist predicts that in the future humans will evolve and adapt themselves to enhanced science and technology just as men and animals in the past evolved to adapt themselves to their natural circumstances. He sees this future as our destiny, not as a negative, gloomy dystopia. His work is thus based on neither utopia not dystopia. Wang represents the relations between man, technology and science through the bodies of cyborgs. The artist considers it important to escape from human bondage in order to achieve harmony between men and machines. He thinks this harmony can be achieved through the process of religious practices and spiritual enlightenment. In Buddhism, the Bodhisattva of Compassion helps people attain enlightenment, Arhat is a spiritual practitioner of asceticism, and Buddha is a being who reaches the highest level of enlightenment. Through them, the artist intends to follow the path of enlightenment, breaking away from anxiety, agony, and pain. The artist has no intention to emphasize religious connotations through these Buddhist icons but to reflect his own or our own existence between utopia and dystopia.” excerpt from ‘Colossal’
This image is by designer Guido Daniele. The hands have been painted as elephants as part of a promotional campaign for AT&T in India. The image links directly to the cultural stereotype of the elephant as a powerful and reliable mover. In this instance the stereotype is being associated with the movement of information.
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