We’re back in the saddle again!

Alright, it’s time to get back to it.  I apologize for my absence, but for those of you who have been keeping track, I finished my master’s degree, my new baby is old enough to feed herself, and I’m starting to get the required amount of sleep to sustain the human mind.  So let’s get back to it.

I’m really excited about the work my team put together last year.  We worked to create a consistent, conceptual framework for all level 2 art classes.  We did this for multiple reasons.  First, why have every teacher on your team reinvent the wheel?  If someone has a good conceptual lesson, why waste my energy coming up with a different one?  Many hands make light work.  Also, we have a lot of what I’ll call double dippers in our advanced classes.  These are juniors and seniors who are taking multiple art classes at the same time.  By using the same conceptual framework, we allow the student to integrate ideas from multiple classes, and continue their thought processes throughout the day.  For instance, if a student is working on color theory in a painting class, they will continue exploring those concepts in their sculptural class.  They will just be working with those concepts sculpturally.

Below are the brief descriptions for these conceptual projects that I will be using for my school website.  I worked with these lessons last year, and they worked well.  This year will be all about polishing and tightening.  Also, the lessons will only take me a little past the halfway point, and we will be transitioning to a TAB/Choice style independent study for the second semester.  The students and I enjoyed that format last year, but I need to work a little on reinforcing authentic artist strategies once we get there, so that’s my big goal this year.  Let me know what you think.


Self Portraiture

How can you portray yourself beyond a photorealistic representation?  

In this project you will refine facial proportions and explore ways to represent unseen characteristics of the self in a visual way.  We will analyze a variety of artists who created self portraits from Rembrandt to Marc Quinn.  Resources for this project can be found HERE.


Inside versus outside

Why would the outside of an object be different from its inside?

In this project you will learn to depict volume and space while exploring the physical, social, and psychological reasons that outside appearances can vary so greatly from what is contained inside.  We will discuss a wide variety of artworks including architecture from the Byzantine Basilica of San Vitale (500 ce) to the contemporary installation, Take Care of Yourself (2007), by Sophie Calle.  Resources for this project can be found HERE.


Light versus dark

What haunts you?

In this project we will develop our use of contrast in creating form while we examine what it means to be haunted, and how that meaning has changed throughout history and across different cultures.  We will discuss the cultural practices associated with being haunted as well as the work of a wide range of artists from Hieronymus Bosch to Rachel Whiteread.  Resources for this project can be found HERE.



What is the bright spot?

In this project we will learn about the properties of color as well as its effective use as a communicative tool in artmaking.  We will use color to explore how humans have a desire to find optimism in even the darkest of times.  Artists ranging from Caravaggio to James Turrell will be considered for their use of light and color.  Resources for this project can be found HERE.


Order from chaos

How do we take control?

In this project we will strengthen our ability to design complex compositions and create emphasis while exploring the various ways order is employed in the face of chaos.  We will look to a wide range of artists including Suprematist Kasimir Malevich and conceptual artist Chris Burden.   Resources for this project can be found HERE.


Living outside the box

How do we craft our identity?

In this project we will test the limits of our understanding of what a work of art can be while reflecting on how we personally craft our identity, and the flexibility of that identity in the many social environments we exist in.  We will encounter the various ways artists have created identity by exploring artwork including Frida Kahlo’s Two Fridas (1939), and the Soundsuits of contemporary artist Nick Cave.  Resources for this project can be found HERE.


Breaking the rules

What can a work of art be?

In this project we will organize the various assumptions about what a work of art can be into a list of rules.  We will then design work that violates those rules and challenges our understanding of art.  For inspiration, we will look at a range of artists that pushed the boundaries including DaDaist Marcel Duchamp and contemporary artist Sarah Sze.


Self discovery

Who am I as an artist?

From this point on, the students will be given creative control of their artmaking.  They will work with the instructor to design their own projects to continue the aesthetic and conceptual discovery that they have found most intriguing. 



2 thoughts on “We’re back in the saddle again!

  1. I would love to access at least one of your resource buttons for the various units. I am new to TAB but was taught in this way so trying to get back to it…


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