Studio 9: Fine Art - On being Critical

Studio Outline

Contemporary art practice has a discursive nature, and art practitioners seek an engagement at many levels — conceptual, historical, material, and contextual — with the work of others. Art practitioners develop their practices in dialogue and tension with this sense of other: through engagement with artworks, concepts, and contexts, articulated in and through art practices. It is argued that knowledge of art practices, issues, and debates, is so significant that it is this that defines the subject area, not particular methods or techniques. A current core method of both art practice and art education, is the debate, dialogue and engagement with artworks.

For practice to be art it needs to be situated in an ‘artworld.’ The dissertation offers the opportunity for the student of art practice to locate the particularities of their studio project work in the field of their chosen ‘artworld.’ It will foster identification of works related to the student's studio project work and issues raised by that work, and engender the skills and methods of critical thinking and academic writing to further develop critical engagement. The dissertation builds on work done in the studios, and in contextual and critical studies and facilitates the development of depth and detail of understanding. It is envisaged that the understanding developed through researching, structuring, and writing a dissertation have on-going benefits for the studio practice. It is also a clear and necessary route through to further study.

First seven weeks of study

Weeks 1-7: The first seven weeks will be concerned with identifying the ideas and debates with which your studio practice is concerned, and what has been written on these issues. Whatever the ideas are — paint, humour, landscape, shape, narrative, art in a social context, the everyday, popular culture, politics, representation of animals etc. — you will need to find out what has been written about them, and the debates that taking place in relation to the issues. This is the first step to developing a dissertation about the issues you are concerned with in your practice which engages critically with the issues.

Tutor: Linden Reilly

Reading List

1. Elizabeth Fisher and Rebecca Fortnum, On Not Knowing: How Artists Think,(London: Black Dog Publishing, 2013)
2. Charles Harrison, An Introduction to Art, (Yale University Press, 2010)
3. Allan Kaprow, Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life, (University of California Press, 2003)