AS Real Exam

Today saw the end of several weeks of hard work by our Year 12s – they had their 5hour art exam. We had such a diverse range of work; one student had found two dead terns and a dead gannet, stuffed them over Easter and hung them up this morning and painted them on a huge canvas, another made a mask out of latex and ham (which really creeped me out!), we had sculptures of seed pods, all sorts of amazing ideas! It was a tight squeeze getting the 46 students into the department all at the same time, but I was really proud of how they conducted themselves.
There was a running theme of dead things in this project, not from the titles, but students have been bringing in dead animals, meat and fish for about a month – hopefully my classroom might smell a bit better next week. I think it goes to show how curious and imaginative the students are, they use their art to investigate things that interest them.
We mark all the prep work and final pieces during the exam, the grades were good today, with a few students who changed their projects round and exceeded expectations, which makes the hard work worth while. Now though is definitely a time to chill out for a bit, absolutely cream crackered!

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Productive afternoon

Yesterday was really productive (amazing what a bit of sunshine can do!). We were back to school for INSET in the morning, and we discussed a new project for Year 10 Applied Arts – they will be working with an archaeological team who are digging up some Ice Age sites near to school. The students will have to make a pop up museum (in a container) and lots of signs for bus stops and the dig. This is great timing for resources – the British Museum currently have an exhibition on called ‘Ice Age Art: Arrival of the Modern Mind’ and we also started to watch an amazing programme called ‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’ about the Chauvet caves in France – completely blew us away and left us very excited about the project!

Two sculptures made from air-drying clay. Left outside to weather.

Two sculptures made from air-drying clay. Left outside to weather.

I went home thinking about the sculptures again and made a couple out of some different air drying clays. They have a Hessian base and have been lovingly left outside – surprise surprise its raining today – to “weather”. So far, not much to report – hoping for something amazing to happen over night, but expecting to find some slightly slumped bits in the morning!

I also got busy with some printing ink too, just using a drawing from my sketchbook and a photograph of one of the figures from Pompeii.

Thanks for reading! (and Hi to Daphne Gertrude, Frankie and Dave if you have stopped by!)

Ideas of a Modern and Postmodern Art Education

I am writing an assignment about art education at two different schools that I teach at, and I’ve suddenly found myself in a pitfall of an argument about modernism and postmodernism in art education. Currently reading a fantastic book called ‘Teaching Art in a Postmodern World’ by Lee Emery photo which has been very interesting in discussing the pro’s and cons of both. However, I’m in a quandary – I am not sure who is going to asses my assignment, so I’ve had to put a little footnote describing both terms and I’ve found myself trapped in a CFAP (Critical Fine Art Practice – my degree) footnote argument (anyone who did the course will understand the fun of footnote arguments, in themselves their own essays!). Here is my first attempt:

4 Please note that references to modern and postmodern art education are based on periods of art. Modern art can generally be seen as late 1800’s to potentially 1970s (this is open to debate which is not necessarily important in this essay), and encompasses movements and artists such as Cubism (Picasso), Manet, Monet, Degas, Gauguin – those artists particularly interested in painting an idea of realism, many which focus on the qualities of light, colour and human interaction (Minimalism of the 60s indicates the shift from human interaction with the environment to ideas revolving around the purity of colour and shape – Rothko, Serra and Stella to name but a few). Postmodernism arrived after WW2, when artist began to use their work to question and comment on the world around them. It was a reaction to the horrors of WW2 and quickly developed into the highly conceptual work of the 1980s where the idea was to shock the establishment. Artists include Joseph Beuys, Warhol, Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. This is a highly debatable summary of the two movements – if anything, modernism and postmodernism are umbrella terms for a whole host of other movements. However, their ideals are a theme throughout these movements and each has its own merits and negatives – one only has to stand in front of a canvas painted white in a gallery and wonder which leg is being pulled.

I think I might have to revise it – it makes me laugh, and I’m tempted to throw in a bit of Clement Greenberg for good measure, but I don’t want to be too postmodern about it…