Critique and Formal Analysis:
Students often get nervous when presenting their artwork, or emotional in ways that distract from their original intent and goal of the assignment. Even seasoned artists, comfortable in their technique and creative processes, encounter this phenomenon. It can be difficult to get any meaningful feedback from our peers, if we cannot first give them a clue as to what we want out of a critique. I’ve created a list of points to help my students guide each other to give constructive criticism that is individually valuable.
This worksheet explains how to present your artwork for critique in a way that inspires feedback.
Worksheet: How to Present Artwork for Critique
This worksheet explains how to formally analyze another artist’s work in writing or discussion. It is loosely based upon the practices used by many wonderful educators that I’ve had the privilege to witness and the information provided by the articles cited at the bottom of the page.
Worksheet: Formal Analysis
I use this slide presentation to show my students an example of how analysis works. I selected a clear analysis of Keinholz’s State Hospital and separated and identified the 4 distinct parts of a formal analysis. It is important to point out the use of specific vocabulary in relation to the elements and principles students learn in their foundation courses, and also to identify where the analysis and interpretation overlap with the author’s opinion and hypothesis.
Formal Analysis Power Point: Keinholz Sculpture
I give this presentation to my students close to the first critique, then give them the first worksheet before their critique so that they can organize their thoughts and present their work. My advanced classes are required to do a written self analysis based upon this format before our first critique and provide comparisons between their artwork and artists of influence.
During the critique I give students 15-20 minutes to answer the following on a small sheet of paper, and then we begin talking.
- Choose 1 piece of artwork that stands out to you.
- What do you see first? Use vocabulary we learn in this course.
- Use one sentence to describe what the artwork is about.
- Consider what you think is important about the piece.
- Does the piece remind you of anything or any artwork and if so, what?
- Does it evoke a feeling or represent something symbolic?
Clements, Roberts. The Journal of Aesthetic Education, Vol. 13, No. 3 (Jul., 1979), pp. 67-78, Published by: University of Illinois Press DOI: 10.2307/3331994
Barrett, Terry. “Principles for Interpreting Art.” Art Education, Vol. 47, No. 5,
Sept. 1994:8-13. Print.
This information is presented for educational use and may be reproduced, for that use. It may not be reproduced for commercial publication without the author’s permission.