Assignment 5 - tutor feedback

Overall Comments

This final assignment demonstrates the extent to which you have been able to draw effectively on all elements of the module in order to support the independent production an individual and imaginative outcome to a good standard. There is evidence of competent technical and visual skills together with an ability to use the design process realize your intentions and to present the final outcome in a professional way. Your theme book is well researched and there are clear links between the development of your ideas and the artists’ work you have looked at. With the latter, you have demonstrated a pleasing ability to establish common ground and concerns across a variety of genres.

Your learning blog is a well-organized record of your progress through the module and there is a good sense of how you feel you might extend your practice in the future. Congratulations on the successful completion of the module, Sarah. I have really enjoyed working with you.

Stage 2: Focusing on a theme: Shadows

You successfully and sensibly narrowed down your theme which helped you to quickly focus on your chosen area. I was impressed by the wide ranging references you made to a number of very different artists and the genres within which they work. In addition to this, you established very clear links between these and your chosen theme. I think that this preliminary exploration was the key to the success of your final piece as in all cases, you identified the illusion of depth created by the shadow. I thought that this effect was most apparent in the collage by Tim Noble and Sue Webster.

The other interesting aspect you explored was the extent to which visual perception can change or alter the viewing or reading of an object. This was well illustrated by your comments relating to the ‘eagle’ and ‘mammoth’ shadows and the alternative viewings of objects such as the can opener. In these cases, there were possible links to surrealist art where the familiar can become very unfamiliar when used in a different context. This could have taken you down a very different route and one which you did consider very early on in your theme book.

With your ‘plate stack’ drawing, I was also reminded of the extent to which different viewings can allow the brain can switch the positive negative elements of a drawing to create alternative meaning as in the ‘candlestick/faces’ drawing and the ‘young girl/old crone’ experiments. If you have a little spare time, it might be worth doing a little more research into visual perception. See suggestion below.

Your final selection of leaf shadows was a simple yet effective design decision. At this point, it might have been helpful if you had been a little more explicit in terms of which of your leaf shadows you were selecting and what formed the basis of your decision. i.e. why these particular shapes? The relationship of the layers was a tricky element to handle and it was certainly helpful to use acetate and semi-transparent papers to give some sense of how the images might look when used in conjunction with each other.

Stage 3: Developing your design

Your storyboard helped you to pull together the various elements of your design and to consider which fabric might be most suitable for the execution of the final piece. It was interesting to see how the images looked when laid directly over each other. The impact was certainly not nearly as exciting as when you created space between the layers. I did wonder whether this was the point at which you decided to use the embroidery hoops as a framing device. Did you at any point think about maintaining the separateness of the hoops so that the viewer could chose in what order to view the overlaid images? Did you also make a conscious decision at this point in terms of the scale of the piece? To what extent do you feel that the use of the embroidery hoops made this decision for you? Do you think that the final design would have worked on a larger scale?

Stage 4: Making a textile piece

The final piece was beautifully executed. The drawn outline served the dual purpose of highlighting the shapes of the shadows but also had a very strong solid linear quality when viewed against the light. This was quite remarkable and unexpected. It was almost as though the line actually existed in the physical space. Did you consider stitching the outline at any point? It would be interesting to see if this would create a similar effect.

Did you think about alternative ways of mounting the layers at some point? How might the image have changed if you had suspended each layer on a supporting rod? This would have introduced a further element of movement and unpredictability to the piece.

I was interested to read your comment about subsequently discovering other artists who have worked in a similar way e.g. Caroline Bartlett. You might also like to look at Caroline Broadhead’s work.

Learning Logs/Critical essays

You have been very conscientious in documenting the development of your final piece and from the outset you had a clear idea of in which direction you were going to go. Maybe because of this, you didn’t feel the need to justify your decisions quite as well as you have done previously. I think that if you have time, it might be worth returning to your log entries for this final piece before you submit your work for assessment in order to make your decisions a little more explicit. This is in no way a criticism of the final piece which I feel demonstrates a good level of creativity, together with quality of outcome.

Suggested reading

Arnheim R     2004   Art and Visual perception. The Creative Eye

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