Understanding Visual Communication Winter 2020 Assignment 5

The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria http://aggv.ca 1040 Moss Street (about 1 km east of downtown along Fort Street – very close to several bus routes) Admission Fee with Student ID $11.00 – NOTE BELOW**

10:00-5:00 Tuesday to Saturday 10:00-9:00 Thursday 12:00-5:00 Sunday Closed on Monday

** that is the price for a single student visit which is all you need for this class. But please note: As a member of this course you also qualify for the $12 FASP membership which will give you unlimited gallery access until the end of August 2020.

You can apply for the FASP membership at the front desk of the gallery. Make sure you have your student card with you.

Note: DO NOT take pens into conservation sensitive areas (galleries, museums, archives, libraries) DO NOT approach the exhibits with pencil in hand.

The gallery may or may not permit you to make notes in the exhibition space. Please respect the gallery regulations.

Do not ask the gallery staff what you ‘should do’. They have not seen the assignment. Everything you need is here. Look, Think, Write.

The point of this assignment is to get you looking at art where you can actually interact with it and experience it, and also thinking about how the concepts that you’ve learned in class can be applied to art “in the real world”.

Take a questioning attitude to the visual culture around you and consider how your personal responses to art and culture are shaped and influenced. Try to provide “informed opinions” rather than just “mere opinions”.

The larger goals of this assignment are to: 1) to consider the concepts linking art making with considerations of personal, local, and cultural identities. 2) to reflect on how art can epitomize wider cultural concerns

Last week we looked at how the processes of making and viewing art (particularly landscape art) can be considered spiritual practices. In class this week we looked at the People’s Choice experiment which considered the expectations different nationalities had for paintings that they felt expressed their preferences. Of the various nations polled, there was least variation in primary subject matter – in which the number one choice was landscape.

Currently at the AGGV is an exhibition in which the works of landscape artist Emily Carr are featured alongside that of other Canadian Modernists. The website describes it as follows: “Unformable Things explores the emergence of an increasingly experimental approach to art making in Canada, an approach which Carr once described as the search for ‘essence’ or ‘the unformable things one wants to paint’… while the Victoria-based Carr often described herself as isolated from artists in other parts of the country, this exhibition celebrates her connections to a broader narrative.”

Do you see any connections between any of the artworks in either gallery and the discussions we had about art as spiritual engagement? Do you feel that is significant? Why or why not?

Do you see any connections between any of the artworks in either gallery and the concepts reflected in the People’s Choice Experiment? Do you feel that is significant? Why or why not?

Pick a work by one of the other artists and compare it to Carr’s work. Elaborate on some of the characteristics which define each artist FOR YOU. Consider both style and medium as well as subject. What do you think the artist is trying to express through the use of these features in their work? Do these characteristics resonate with you (that is, do they have meaning for you)? Why or why not?

Note: there are a lot of questions in the two parts of this assignment (see also the next page); they are here to give you a starting point to work from and you do not have to answer every single question. But you should address some points from each section (integrating your answers, rather than treating the two sections separately, might help you cover more of the issues).

A secondary goal of the assignment is to have you thinking about the power of first-hand viewing:

What is your response to these exhibits and their concerns? Identify the purposes of the exhibits, why do you think they are important/interesting (or not)? Are there other objects or information would you have liked to have seen?

Think about the construction of each exhibit: How is the exhibit as a whole experienced by the viewer? (i.e. what do people take away with them?) What did you take away from it?

Consider some of the individual works in the exhibit: (Elaborate as fully as possible. Work on exploring the full details and implications of your ideas and questions.)

What was useful about actually looking at this art in person? (as opposed to lectures, books, internet, etc.) What struck you most? Why?

What was your favourite piece? Why? What piece was your least favourite? Why?

Approach the two pieces again and look at them in detail. Did this second viewing change any of your answers? Is there anything you get out of the pieces from seeing them in this context that you might not if you encountered them individually (i.e. separate from the exhibit)?

Write a short paper minimum 750 words, due to me by email ddudley@uvic.ca Before Monday February 24, 2020 at 3:30PM. Please see course outline for important details on how to format & submit assignments.


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