SchoolArts Magazine

MAY-JUN 2007

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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High School Studio Lesson Identities in FLUX Tom Wagner H ow the world views you, of unique style. how you view yourself, Contemporary artand how you view others ists such as Chuck are concerns that artists Close, Alex Katz, have explored throughout history. Susanna Coffey, Carrie Mae Weems, Since the ways in which we underand Zhang Xiaostand ourselves is constantly changing, I began my unit on self-portraits gang were included to enhance student by introducing students to the work of several master artists via a Because our vision of ourselves PowerPoint preand others is always changing, sentation. we wondered how we might We looked at the self-portrait show two self-portraits in the work of Remsame picture. brandt, Picasso, Above: Work in progress. Below left: Finished work. and Frida Kahlo, Taylor, grade twelve. understanding of a and discussed the possible influvariety of techniques ences culture and society had on angles and exaggerated expressions. each artists' style. More recent work and styles artists use to investigate Since we wanted to layer one picportraiture. from Francis Bacon and Andy Warture with another, students made In our contemporary period, hol helped to broaden our notion experimental portraits on tracing many forces and events have paper. This allowed them to overlay reshaped concepts of identity on a worldwide basis. Students wondered the drawings and see one behind and through the other. They worked how pictures might show the effect out strategies for the parts they of time and history on identity. We wanted revealed and the parts they wanted to show two self-portraits wanted hidden. in the same picture. Because I have Students used these images to a background in performance, I explore the three major contempotook this opportunity to introduce rary identity themes. Their portrait a contrapuntal approach. In music, contrapuntal refers to having two or could reference cultural issues, more independent but harmonically personal relationships, or investigate the idea of continual change. related melodic parts resounding I asked each student to submit a together. written intent form that identified their issue. Preparation We began with two classes that Procedures focused on facial proportions, size, Since continual change was one of and sighting techniques. Students the most common aspects of idenmade practice sheets of facial featity, we planned a project using a tures that explored a variety of 32 SchoolArts May/June 2007

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