Conclusion: Part 1 Contemporary Art


Demonstration of subject based knowledge and understanding.
Broad and comparative understanding of subject content, knowledge of the appropriate historical, intellectual, cultural or institutional contexts.

The research projects in Drawing 1 and Painting 1, the modules I had already completed, focused on the history of art rather than contemporary practice. This meant I had some big knowledge gaps, about conceptual and installation art in particular, so this course has been invaluable. I have learnt to think deeper and take time to understand the context of an artwork and the artist’s motivations. It has also made me much more aware of the importance and prevalence of themes of time and place  including life and death and mortality and how considering them is essential when analysing a work.

Demonstration of research skills
Information retrieval and organisation, use of IT to assist research, ability to evaluate IT sources, the ability to design and carry out a research project, locate and evaluate evidence from a wide range of primary and secondary sources (visual, oral, aural or textual)

In terms of information retrieval and use of IT, my skills are reasonably developed. I understand the importance of using reliable sources. I could certainly improve my skills in terms of designing a research project as I feel I am not working as efficiently as I could. Also I need to make sure I am understanding and responding directly to a research brief (certainly at the assignment stage) so that I don’t wander off at a tangent.

Demonstration of critical and evaluation skills.
Engagements with concepts, values and debates, evidence of analysis, reflection, critical thinking, synthesis, interpretation in relation to relevant issues and enquiries.

I have much to learn in these areas although I believe I’ve made progress and demonstrated some basic critical and evaluation skills. I’ve learnt how important it is to understand the context of an artwork and reflect on the artists motivations.

The ability to communicate ideas and knowledge in written and spoken form, including presentation skills.

While my writing skills are, I believe, reasonably developed my style is more journalistic than academic. I need to get to grips with the necessary structure and referencing. I’ve made progress and my art terms vocabulary and fluency in using these terms is improving. I’m not sure when and how the ability to communicate spoken communication and presentation skills comes into this course although I’d like to think I’m competent in both areas. I find myself talking about art more confidently.

Influence on my own practice and artists to look out for

The study of text in art is hugely relevant to my personal interest in signwriting and has ignited several ideas for me and opened my mind to a wider range of possibilities. I am particularly fascinated by the concept of ‘found text’. Text artists to further research include: Nathan Coley, Jenny Holzer, Edward Ruscha, Richard Long, Ian Hamilton Finlay.

The highlights for this part of the course were the study of  Katie Paterson’s Vatnajokull, Sam Taylor Wood’s decaying fruit videos and Nathan Coley’s A Place Beyond Belief. I doubt very much I would have found my way to these artists on my own.

Research sources
In my research I came across the Khan Academy and Google Arts Project and  found both to be useful.