Fall Semester Final Critique: Today was my final critique of the year and consisted of my class and several professors looking at my work. The critique was confusing at times because I often have a hard time understanding what the art professors are saying. This, (I think) due to the fact that they think about art completely different than I do. But one professor that showed up was very helpful. He, like me, is very meticulous and science based with his work and told me that what they were trying to tell me was that I should start to spend more time on finding and implicating meaning behind my pieces, even though the end product will still be the same; it is the thought that counts. After he said this I felt like an idiot for forgetting to tell the meaning behind one of my pieces, and hastily tried to fix my mistake. But all in all, I think I got a good review?
Brian McCutcheon Critique: This critique was useful in figuring out what to do with my work and were to go with it. Brian McCutcheon, a visiting artist, got me to think of all of my work as a whole. He made me realize that it is ok to be strongly influenced by one thing. For instance, most of my work, not all, consists of animals, and that it is these animals that will connect my works together to create a more unified showing. He then thought that it was great that I was influenced by other cultures (unlike Laura Letinsky) and gave me some ideas on how to connect my crane project to my other pieces of works. He was very helpful!
Liz Roberts Critique: I really appreciated this critique, not only is Liz Roberts a really nice person, but she also saw something in my art that I did not, which made me think more about my work, my influence, and my family. We spend time looking and discussing my fish piece and a deer piece that I am working on, both of which include fabric or yarn. She immediately saw a feminist connection with my work and the need to use and work with materials that are normally related to women. She then got me thinking about why is it that I use these materials and if I am trying to say something about it or addressing an issue. It turned out to be a very interesting critique that gave me more insight into who I am as a person and who my influences are.
Critique Reading: As an assignment, my class was asked to read up on critiques. These are my conclusions and thoughts that I got from the reading. A critique is not like theatre but is a performance of sharing ideas and artwork. Theatre has a script and therefore is planned, whereas a critique is not; we are not forced to prepare for our critiques like they are in theatre. I find that absolute preparation for a critique would make the artist narrow-minded and less likely to listen to what the judges have to say. A critique holds language that to some, gives them a clear explanation, but to others, leaves them more baffled about what it is they should do than when they began. For example, during a critique, a judge might say that they think that the work is too cliché, now what does that mean? It means that the judge thinks that your work has already been done. The problem with this statement is that all work has been done in one form or another but what counts is that it is your work and your interpretation. We live in a visual world and no matter how hard we try we are influenced by the art of others, just like we are influenced by the words of others. During a critique, everyone has an equal voice on their own interpretation but for those without a solid view, they will feed off of the ideas of others. It is this way of thinking that can cause a critique to go well or not. People like to put their own interpretations into the artwork of others without thinking about what the artist meant by the piece. Because of this, I find it beneficial to let people look at and discuss the art first before giving away the knowledge wrapped in it. If the artwork was displayed in a gallery, then the artist would not be there to tell their secrets. Therefore, the viewers need to find meaning in the work by themselves. Critiques give you a basis for discussion and an exploration into ideas. Critiques answer some of the questions that you couldn’t answer yourself and give you ideas on how to move forward. Everyone will judge you, and your work in a critique, therefore it is your job to listen and take notes so you don’t forget what was being said. The way to learn from your critiques by trying to understand the viewpoints of the judges whether you agree with them or not. You can always take something away from a critique by using this method, whether it was a good critique or not.
Class Critique: This critique was a random, show us what you have critique, in which I showed my class my fish that I made based off of a Burmese Nat spirit statue. The piece is made out of yarn and bubble wrap and looks pretty cool if I do say myself. My class gave me some very good feedback on it and told me that I should dive into working with fabrics and yarns because that seems to fit me best. They also suggested that I apply it to one of my other pieces that I am working on. I think that I will take them up on this idea.
Laura Letinsky Critique: I can honestly say this was the worst critique I have ever had. Laura Letinsky was a Vail Series visiting artist who came to Denison to talk about her work and to critique art students on theirs. I went to her talk and found out that she is a theoretical artist, meaning that as long as there is a solid theory behind a piece whether it be a vacuum bought by Jeff Koons and put on display or a painting by Picasso, then that “art” work is considered art. For those who read this and do not know me well, I am by no means a theoretical artist. I believe that art does not need a theory behind it for people to enjoy it and that the buying of a vacuum to put on display in your gallery is not art. But those are just my opinions, not to say that I do not enjoy some of Letinsky’s work, I feel that she had a good eye for color. I only wish that she saw some beauty in my work as I tried to in hers. My critique went as such: Letinsky came into my studio and while I was explaining all of my work to her, she stopped me mid-way to use the bathroom. Which wouldn’t have bothered me if it weren’t for her superior attitude she used when stopping and picked up my critique again. After this, she chose one piece out of many to look at. This piece was my paper crane project, where I have dyed and folder 400 paper cranes to eventually turn into a bigger piece of art that connects my love for other cultures and traditions to my own. She thought my work was racist because I am inspired by other cultures other than my own. Our world is so big that I think you are crazy to not let it affect and mold you into a well-rounded and understanding person. She then called my work boring and not original and thinks that I should be working for my audience instead of myself, which goes against my artistic beliefs. Despite all of this, I think she made me stronger and I was able to laugh her off. But I am sad to say that I was not the only student who had a not so desirable critique with her on her visit to Denison.
Midterm Critique: A few weeks ago my class had our dreaded midterm critiques, which weren’t all that dreadful just long and tiring. My critique went well I thought, actually I don’t remember too much of it because my anxiety over my peers and professor looking at my work wiped my brain of anything they said to me. But fortunately one of my friends took notes for me! Sooo according to my friend’s notes, I was advised to look more into the meanings behind the animals that I depict in my work and to explore the tellings of stories. I was also advised to try even more medians of art like crocheting. Going off of these ideas my newest piece of art, which I hope to put up on my website soon involved an animal and has some crocheted elements to it. Therefore, the lesson that I learned from my dreaded critique is to try new things and fun with it.
Don Colley Critique: My first critique of the year was with a visiting artist named Don Colley who does a lot, and I do mean A Lot of drawings in what seems like an endless amount of sketch notebooks. My critique that was not planned at all! I was supposed to meet with a professor and ended being handed off to Don. But I think that it went really well, and he ended up spending an hour asking me about the stories behind the portrait paintings I’ve been working on about people in a world that I’ve developed. His questions got me thinking and put my I’m not sure’s into heck ya this is what my story is about! Apart from the endless amount of questions he also gave me a lesson in shading, which was needed since I’ve never gotten much training on the matter. All in all, I think it was a very interesting critique that gave me things to think about.