IB A Coherent Body of Work

The first problem any painter faces is what to paint.  Before we lift a brush we need to know why.

We have been looking at different artists to try and help start up some inspiration within you, and to get you to think about what it is you have an interest in as an artist.  We have also looked at styles and themes.

With this assignment we will start thinking about a “theme” that can be a guiding principle for your work.

A Coherent Body of Work
The Exhibition, a component of your IB Art portfolio, requires your work to demonstrate a “theme” that unifies and connects all of the individual works in the show.  What they really mean is that it must look like a coherent body of work; works that show that you have a vision, style, or message and know how to convey that over a series of works.

A coherent body of work can be created Three different ways:

  • Style:  the works all fit within a similar visual aesthetic.  Cubism would be a fantastic example of this, where the subject does not matter, but how the subject is depicted does.
  • Theme:  the work follows the same topic, content, or narrative throughout the work.  An example would be a series of paintings that talk about nature and man’s place within it, or a series of drawings dealing with feminist issues.
  • Technique:  the works are all related because the artist explores the same material or artistic technique throughout their body of work.

Examples of Coherent Theme
These 4 images are all by Mary Cassatt, an American Impressionist who depicted the day-to-day domestic lives of upper class women.  Even though there are some differences in stylistic appearance between the works, they all serve as this window into the private world of these women.

Examples of Coherent Style
These images by Picasso demonstrate his coherent style.  While his topics would widely vary, the way he depicted space and the human form followed the rules of Cubism–rules set by him.

Examples of Coherent Technique
El Anatsui is a contemporary artist coming from Africa, with a unique body of work.  He crafts large, hanging tapestries from bits and pieces of foil wrappers from wine and liquor bottles, bottle caps, and pull tabs from beer cans.  While there is a coherent message about consumerism, the effects of alcohol on society, and colonialism, what is most striking is his choice of materials and technique.  Even if you did not get the backstory behind his work, his manner of working makes his material instantly recognizable.

Pick a Theme:
I want you to pick a theme.  This may be the theme you already had from last year, or this may be something brand new.  Keep in mind, I’m saying theme, but I mean “coherent body of work,” so your theme can be a theme, a style, a technique, or a combination of those.

for your homework I want you to write a paragraph two paragraphs.  The first paragraph should state what your theme or style is.  Your second paragraph should state why you are exploring this theme or style. Keep in mind this is the foundation of your artwork for this semester.

Thumbnail Sketches
A thumbnail sketch refers to a quick small sketch than an artist makes to start planning out or visualizing something they want to make.  The name refers to the idea of it being a small sketch, but in truth they may be as large as a whole sketchbook page.  Quality-wise, they are somewhere between a doodle and a finished work of art.

For your homework assignment I want you to create 3 thumbnail sketches to go with your theme or style.   I want each thumbnail to be different, and yet still strive to match your stated theme or style.

So In total I want you give me the following

  • a paragraph (or more) stating your theme or style
  • 3 thumbnail sketches of ideas (paintings, sculptures, whatever) that can fit with that theme

This is due Monday, 1/14, by the beginning of class.  Turn this in via a brand new PowerPoint titled Exhibition, and put this PowerPoint in your Exhibition Folder.  This is a formative grade.

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