Introduction to Visual Art

Tony Allard, Instructor

Tuesday 12 – 3:50 Rm 220

Thursday 12 – 3:50 Rm 220 and Rm 346

Web site:

 

Course Outline and Scope

The goal of this course is to expand your awareness and appreciation of visual art and to examine the function of art within past and present cultures. We will be looking at art from a number of different orientations, such as: the formal elements of art; the role of representation and “realism” in art; how political forces insinuate themselves into historical and contemporary art making; the influence of the “objective sciences” on the arts; and the recent merging of art, mass media and popular culture. In addition to the lectures we will also engage in hands-on studio activities (Conceptual Aerobics) which will further enhance your appreciation for art and the process artists go through in making art. The studio activities do not require that you have any previous training in visual arts.

 

In pursuit of the primary goals of this course, I encourage you to keep an open mind to the material that I will be presenting--keeping in mind that you may encounter some art that may not be appealing and, in fact, may not seem to be art at all.  I think, however, that to develop a genuine appreciation for art, you must be willing to experience the widest possible range of artistic expressions from around the world. To expand your appreciation of art beyond what you are currently familiar with, you must be willing to question and challenge established definitions of what art is and to develop your own sensibilities and critical thinking about art.

Outline of Lecture Topics:

1. Introductory remarks: What Is Art?

2. Analysis of the formal elements at work in a work of visual art including: Color, shape, line, texture, space, design, perspective, 3 dimensional illusionistic space and composition.

3. Taking a close look at the fine arts media, materials and technical methods for both two dimensional and three-dimensional work including: painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, mixed media, electronic and digital media and environmental media.

4. Architecture, a brief history of materials and methods including among others: the arch, the vault, domes, post-and-lintel construction, ferroconcrete, and reinforced concrete architecture.

5. Identification of concepts or orientations which cut across forms, cultural context, etc.

6. An appropriate use of language ( vocabulary, jargon) widely used in writing about and discussing art.

7. A general timeline of the art of prehistoric art to the present.

8. A brief look at art beyond Europe and the United States such as, among others, African Art, Native Arts of Mexico, Peru and the United States, Islamic Art and Chinese Art.
Outline of Studio activities: Conceptual Aerobics
Note: these studio activities will be presented chronologically in conjunction with lecture topics and are intended to expand on the material covered in lecture. No projects will be assigned; these activities are participatory in nature and therefore, you will be graded on the quality of participation.

1. Socialized vision. A variety of exercises to increase your awareness of visual habits that are the foundation for how our vision gets socialized. Oculus introduced

2. Blind contour drawing, drawing with both hands
3.
Working with two and three dimensional design for the visual arts
4.
A visual/suclptural/performative retelling of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

5. We explore a variety of methods for creating perspective and the illusion of three-dimensional space on a two dimensional surface. The main focus will be on Linear Perspective from the Renaissance and multi-dimensional perspectival methods from the 20th Century

6. Creating Ephemeral art works

Course Objectives:

1.  demonstrated comprehension of the course material through participation in class discussions, in written responses to examinations, in term papers and class presentations.

2. demonstrated ability to analyze major formal elements in visual images such as line, color, shape, composition, design and perspective.
3.
a familiarity with several diverse orientations towards art: historical, sensual, social, psychological.

4. to reach an understanding of the historical, cultural and social influences on the production, consumption and experience of visual art and culture.

5. demonstrated ability to discuss stylistic characteristics of specific visual artifacts in terms of historically significant movements and schools.

6. to fully  participate in Studio Activities and gain hands-on experience of the Visual Arts process.

Main Requirements

The work you do for this class will consist of the following:

ü     reading assignments completed

ü     taking careful notes during each class

ü     participate in class discussions

ü     developing a list art terms with definitions

ü     3 quizzes (dates listed on weekly schedule)

ü     writing critiques of works of art (5 pages, double spaced paper)

ü     full participation in the studio activities, including discussions

Reading  Assignments:
Weekly reading assignments will be given which coincide with the topics the lectures and visual presentations. The dates when the reading assignments are due are posted below in the week by week schedule.

 

Required Texts: Understanding Art (Sixth Edition), Lois Fichner-Rathus Wadsworth Press

 

Writing Assignments:

You will be required to write one critical paper on an artifact of your choice. This artifact must be local and you will need to visit the site where it exists. In this paper you will demonstrate your understanding of the vocabulary terms presented in the course by using them in your critique of the artifact. The writing assignment will require research and a thorough visual examination of the artifact. I have included a list of several museums, galleries and arts organization in town that you can visit in order to complete this assignment. The assignment is due the fourth week of class on Thursday.

 

Grading

Using the A through F scale, the grade of C is average. To receive an average grade, you must attend every class, complete all the assignments and participate in class discussions. To receive an above average grade you must fulfill all the above mentioned requirements for a C, then you must do above average work to receive a B. To receive an A you must do exceptional work and participate in class at the highest level. NOTE: I do not  give extra credit and work handed in late will be downgraded accordingly.

Your final grade will be determined by the following:

ü     20%  class participation/studio activities

ü     30%  written critique of art

ü     50%  quizzes 

100% Total

FINAL EXAM DATE:

Thursday, July 3 Rm 220

 

ATTENDANCE

ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class. Part of your overall course grade will be determined by your cooperation, time and attention given to the class. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to find out what material was covered during the absence. I strongly suggest you exchange phone numbers/email with someone in the class to take full responsibility for any absences.

              I have a strict and clear attendance policy, as follows: You are allowed two absences which will not adversely affect your grade. Absences are neither excused nor unexcused. After these 2 absences, each absence will lower your semester grade by one full letter grade. In other words, if you are doing C work in the class, and you miss 4 classes, you will fail. If you are doing A work, and you miss 3 classes, you will receive a B.

If you miss class it is your responsibility to find out what you missed and catch up. I suggest you contact a fellow class mate in this regard.

 

Week to Week Schedule:

Week 1__________________________________________________

Tuesday May 27th

Introduction to the class

--Instructor’s introduction

--Careful reading of the Syllabus and introduction to the course

--Grades, attendance, assignments

--Introduction of textbook, Understanding Art.  
--Working with the textbook, how to take notes, quizzes
–-Conceptual Aerobics Studio activities introduced

First lecture:

I  INTRODUCTION Pg 1 – 24

1. What Is Art? What is the functions of art in a given culture?

--“Socialized Vision” and representations from different Cultural perspectives

--visual literacy, representation, culturally bound visual habits examined
--opening the senses: considering the senses before and after they are socialized

-- perception exercises

--First reading assignment

Reading due for Thursday:
I  INTRODUCTION Pg 1 – 24, for review of main topics covered on Monday.

1. What Is Art

II. THE LANGUAGE OF ART  Pg 29 - 75

2. Visual elements of Art

 

Thursday May  29th
I  INTRODUCTION Pg 1 – 24, brief review of main topics.

1. What Is Art

2. Visual Elements of Art
Reading due for next week:

2. Visual Elements of Art (continued)
3. Principles of Design Pg 81 – 108

4. Style,  Form and Content

STUDIO WORK: Conceptual Aerobics

--Socialized vision. I will conduct a variety of Conceptual Aerobics exercises to increase your awareness
of visual habits that are the foundation for how our vision gets socialized.
--Introduction of the oculus, a device used by artists to compose pictures.

 

Week 2__________________________________________________

TUESDAY June 3
2. Visual Elements of Art (continued)

3. Principles of Design Pg 81 - 108

Reading due for Thursday
4. Style,  Form and Content

 

THURSDAY June 5
3. Principles of Design (continued)

4. Style, Form, and Content

Reading due for Tuesday:

III TWO-DIMENSIONAL MEDIA Pg 125 – 172

5. Drawing

6. Painting

7. Printmaking

8. Camera and Computer Arts

STUDIO WORK: Conceptual Aerobics

--Blind contour drawing, drawing with both hands
--Principles of Design explored with the oculus

Review for First Quiz Tuesday, June 10
Review all material we have covered thus far for the Quiz on Tuesday
which includes terms and concepts from my talk on Socialized vision and from all of Sections I and II.

 

Week 3___________________________________________________

TUESDAY June 10

First quiz over all the material we have covered thus far

Then,

III TWO-DIMENSIONAL MEDIA Pg 125 – 172
5. Drawing

6. Painting

7. Printmaking

Reading due for Thursday:

8. Camera and Computer Arts

 

THURSDAY June 12

8. Camera and Computer Arts

Reading due for next week:

IV THREE-DIMENSIONAL MEDIA Pg 207 – 251

9. Sculpture

10. Architecture

11. Craft and Design Pg. 257 – 278
V. ART THROUGH THE AGES
12. The Art of the Ancients Pg. 285 – 307

13. Classical Art: Greece and Rome Pg. 311 – 338

--Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, From Book Seven of Plato’s Republic (Handout)

STUDIO WORK: Conceptual Aerobics
--Color theory, creating a three dimensional color wheel

--Exercises designed for working drawing, painting, and printmaking
--Cameras and computers, camera obscura, working with the oculus

 

Week 4__________________________________________________

TUESDAY June 17
IV THREE-DIMENSIONAL MEDIA Pg 207 – 251

9. Sculpture

10. Architecture
11. Craft and Design Pg. 257 - 278

-- slide presentation: two and three dimensional design for the visual arts

Reading due for Thursday:

V. ART THROUGH THE AGES
12. The Art of the Ancients Pg. 285 – 307

Screening: Iraq: From Summer to Saddam

13. Classical Art: Greece and Rome Pg. 311 – 338

--Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, From Book Seven of Plato’s Republic (Handout)

 

THURSDAY June 19th

Critique of a Local Work of Art Due

V. ART THROUGH THE AGES
12. The Art of the Ancients Pg. 285 – 307

13. Classical Art: Greece and Rome Pg. 311 – 338

Reading due for next week:

15. The Renaissance Pg. 367 – 398
17. Modern Art Pg.427 –  463

18. The Twentieth Century: the Early Years Pg. 467 – 487

Review for Second Quiz
STUDIO WORK

--A visual/sculptural/per formative retelling of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

Week 5___________________________________________________

TUESDAY June 24th
Second Quiz

15. The Renaissance Pg. 367 - 398

Reading due for Thursday:

17. Modern Art Pg.427 –  463

18. The Twentieth Century: the Early Years Pg. 467 – 487

 

THURSDAY June 26th

17. Modern Art Pg.427 –  463

18. The Twentieth Century: the Early Years Pg. 467 – 487

Reading due for Tuesday

19. Contemporary Art Pg. 491 - 530
 
STUDIO WORK: Conceptual Aerobics

--We explore a variety of methods for creating perspective and the illusion of three-dimensional space on a two dimensional surface. The main focus will be on Linear Perspective from the Renaissance and multi-dimensional perspectival methods from the 20th Century
--Creating perspectival anomalies in three dimensions; installation art

--Creating Ephemeral and anti art works

Week 6________________________________________________

TUESDAY July 1

19. Contemporary Art Pg. 491 – 530

Reading due for Thursday:
Review for Third Quiz

 

THURSDAY July 3
Third Final Quiz