Art writing -02

Purpose:

Total at least 700 words

In the Tabula Rasa projects you will use Ossian Ward’s “T.A.B.U.L.A.” (Time, Association, Background, Understanding, Look again, Assessment )method to look at, analyze, reflect upon and write about a work of contemporary art. Through following this method you will practice synthesizing your observations, impressions, research and understandings about the artwork. This will help you approach works of art in any context and be able to have a meaningful experience engaging with even the most challenging or confusing works of contemporary art. It will also help you become familiar with the complex ways artists use specific materials, locations and imagery to communicate their ideas and promote deeper thinking in their artwork’s viewers.

Skills:

    • active observation
    • interpretation
    • personal reflection
    • critical analysis
    • evaluation

Instructions:

Using Ossian Ward’s Tabula Rasa step-by-step process, you will be looking at, learning and researching about, and analyzing a specific artist’s (or artist collective’s) singular artwork or body of related artworks.

Part 1:

T is for Time – Clear your mind (as Ossian Ward says: wipe your brain slate clean!). Set a timer on your phone to record how much time you spend looking at and engaging with the documentation of the artwork(s) in this initial phase. Spend time looking at, analyzing and jotting down thoughts and notes about the artwork documentation in Section One of the included document. Be sure you look at ALL material given here – both photos and video links, if given. At this stage the only information you have is the images and/or video documentation, and the brief informational caption about the artwork (much like what you would experience seeing an artwork on display in a gallery or museum). Take your time, don’t rush through this step in just a few minutes. You need to spend enough time with these images/videos/text to really build thoughtful associations to the artwork. Record the time you spent looking in Part One of the assignment template (note: please do not include the time you spend writing your Association response – just the time you spend carefully looking at all the artwork documentation). (Note: everyone will inevitably need different amounts of time for this stage. I am asking you to honestly time yourself and record the time so that you gain a better sense of how quickly or slowly you engage in the observational process)

A is for Association – In Part One of the assignment template, write about your initial observations, thoughts, reactions, questions and gut feelings about the artwork(s) based on what you have seen so far. What details did you notice about the materials, the imagery, the way the artwork is made or displayed, its scale, its relationship to architectural or social space, etc.? On first observation, what about the artwork hooked you, challenged you, excited you, etc.? WHY? Be specific! Write down all your initial observations and associations with the artwork. You don’t need to know what the artist’s intentions for the artwork are (what the artwork is about) at this stage – discuss what your experience looking at it is. Note: if there is a series of artworks (rather than just one singular artwork) included in the assignment, please make sure you discuss all of them as they relate to each other. Please also ensure that it’s clear from your response that you have indeed looked at all images and video documentation included. (200-300 words please)

Part 2:

B is for Background – Watch the linked video(s) and/or read the provided literature about the artwork provided in Section Two of the included information document. In addition to watching/reading all included explanatory material, please conduct independent research about the artist(s) and their artwork(s) online. Look for other writings, reviews and/or videos that help you to understand the artist’s practice and ideas, and the given artwork(s) in greater depth. (Wikipedia and Artsy are not acceptable sources of information). In Part Two of the assignment template, please include a works cited list of the research you have conducted (at least 2-3 independently-found sources should be listed). Please give the title, author’s name, and website url for each source listed.

U is for Understanding – In Part Two of the assignment template, write about some of the significant or valuable things you learned about the contexts for the artwork(s) and the background of the artist’s ideas and making process. Explain why you found these things valuable for expanding your understanding about the artwork(s). Make sure that you address information you gleaned BOTH from the resources included in Section Two of the assignment document, AND at least one other independently-sourced web resource in your writing for this section. (200-300 words please)

IMPORTANT: remember you must quote and attribute anyone else’s thoughts or writing properly (give the author’s full name and title of the article/website/review. See the “How to Avoid Plagiarism” page in the Welcome Module for guidelines).

Part 3:

L is for Look Again – Take a break! Then, with fresh eyes and expanded understanding go back and look at the artwork(s) again.

A is for Assessment – In Part Three of the assignment template, describe your overall and final impressions about this artwork based on what you were able to see, as well as the information you gleaned about the artist and their work through research. You can discuss the materials, the artist’s ideas, the artwork’s location, the imagery, the historical/social/economic/political/spiritual/etc. background, your own reactions to these things, etc. Some questions that might guide you: What have you come away with from this experience of engaging with the given artwork? Has it shifted your thinking about art? Do you feel the artwork is successful? Why? What do you think this artwork does for its viewers, yourself included? Etc. This section is where you really focus on your own original thinking about the artwork. You’ve already described what you’ve observed and learned about the artwork – now is when you should be analyzing all this information with a personal and critical lens. (200-300 words please)

You can always revisit the Introduction to Ways of Looking by Ossian Ward if you want a more in-depth reminder of how he describes the T.A.B.U.L.A. method.

Your Task:

Before beginning, please download the following documents, which you will use to complete this Tabula Rasa assignment:

Please follow the instructions outlined in the Information Document (and above) VERY CAREFULLY as you look at the documentation of Stephanie Syjuco’s three artworks titled “Total Transparency Background,” “I AM AN…” and “Total Transparency Filter (portrait of N)” and follow the T.A.B.U.L.A. method to respond to the artworks and their background. These artworks, grouped under the series title “Total Transparencies” are from Syjuco’s 2017 exhibition Citizens at Ryan Lee Gallery.

Criteria for Success:

I can’t emphasize the first step enough: TAKE TIME! Rushing through this assignment will result in superficial responses and research. In your writing for each step of the process you should demonstrate your openness and willingness to be stretched by the artwork. Your responses should be detailed and specific to show that you really are carefully looking at and responding to the artwork and all the background information you learn through the process. You can make use of things you’ve learned so far this week about Ways of Looking as reference points to strengthen your approach to this artwork.

Below is the rubric that will be used to evaluate your Tabula Rasa Assignments. You may use this rubric to self evaluate whether you have done an excellent, satisfactory or insufficient job completing the assignment.

Rubric

Tabula Rasa Rubric

Tabula Rasa Rubric

Criteria Ratings Pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomePART 1: Time

1 to >0.5 pts

Full Points

Student has recorded their time spent reviewing all the documentation in Part 1, demonstrating they’ve spent sufficient time looking at all included images and video links in depth.

0.5 to >0.0 pts

Room for Improvement

Student records too little time (i.e. only a few minutes) to fully engage with all the images and/or videos included in Part 1. This will vary depending how much documentation is given.

0 pts

Zero

No time is recorded.

1 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomePART 1: Association

2 to >1.5 pts

Full Points

Student thoughtfully describes their observations, associations and initial impressions about the artwork(s) based ONLY on the documentation available in Part 1 of the assignment. Student makes clear and detailed reference to the artwork(s) to support their observations.

1.5 to >1.0 pts

Sufficient

1 to >0.5 pts

Room for Improvement

Student’s description of their observations, impressions and associations about the artwork are generalized, vague, and/or lacking in detail or depth.

0.5 to >0.0 pts

Insufficient

0 pts

Zero

Student submits a completely unconvincing response that isn’t clearly related to the artwork documentation in Part 1 or to the Association writing prompt / no writing submitted in this section

2 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomePART 1: Length

1 to >0.5 pts

Full Points

Association response is at least 200 words in length.

0.5 to >0.0 pts

Room for Improvement

Association response is between 175-199 words in length.

0 pts

Zero

Association response is under 175 words in length.

1 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomePART 2: Background and Research

2 to >1.5 pts

Full Points

Student lists at least 2-3 independent research sources (beyond those given in Part 2) by title, author name, and url link in the Bibliography section of the template.

1.5 to >1.0 pts

Sufficient

1 to >0.5 pts

Room for Improvement

Bibliography lists only one resource, demonstrating that the student has conducted little independent research.

0.5 to >0.0 pts

Insufficient

0 pts

Zero

No independently researched sources are listed in the Bibliography section of the template.

2 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomePART 2: Understanding

2 to >1.5 pts

Full Points

Student gives a thoughtful account of what has shifted in their understanding about the artwork(s), clearly discussing material from the resources given in Part 2 AND from at least one independent source in their bibliography.

1.5 to >1.0 pts

Sufficient

1 to >0.5 pts

Room for Improvement

Student’s account of their understanding is superficial or unconvincing and/or lacks clear reference to EITHER the included Part 2 resources or their independent research.

0.5 to >0.0 pts

Insufficient

0 pts

Zero

Student submits a completely unconvincing response that isn’t clearly related to any Background research or to the Understanding writing prompt / no writing submitted in this section

2 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomePART 2: Length

1 to >0.5 pts

Full Points

Understanding response is at least 200 words in length.

0.5 to >0.0 pts

Room for Improvement

Understanding response is between 175-199 words in length.

0 pts

Zero

Understanding response is under 175 words in length.

1 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomePART 3: Assessment

2 to >1.5 pts

Full Points

Student gives a meaningful, thoughtful and personalized argument for their final assessment of the artwork(s) which clearly demonstrates the progression of their ideas, impressions and observations.

1.5 to >1.0 pts

Sufficient

1 to >0.5 pts

Room for Improvement

Final assessment is superficial, vague and/or lacking in depth and specificity / student reiterates things written in previous sections without expanding those observations into a convincing, culminating assessment.

0.5 to >0.0 pts

Insufficient

0 pts

Zero

Student submits a completely unconvincing response that isn’t clearly related to the artwork(s), to research about them, or to the Assessment writing prompt / no writing submitted in this section

2 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomePART 3: Length

1 to >0.5 pts

Full Points

Assessment response is at least 200 words in length.

0.5 to >0.0 pts

Room for Improvement

Assessment response is between 175-199 words in length.

0 pts

Zero

Assessment response is under 175 words in length.

1 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeProper attribution, quoting and paraphrasing

3 to >1.5 pts

Full Points

Student consistently attributes sources by name and title accurately and properly quotes and paraphrases when referring to someone else’s words or ideas.

1.5 to >0.0 pts

Room for Improvement

Student sometimes, but not consistently, quotes, paraphrases, and attributes by name the authors/artists whose words/ideas/artworks they are sharing

0 pts

Zero

Student fails to properly attribute any sources by name/title, or to quote/paraphrase properly, thereby risking a situation of plagiarism.

3 pts

Total Points: 15

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