SchoolArts Magazine

APR 2018

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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40 APRIL 2018 SchoolArts that multiple correct interpretations exist for a single work of art provides opportunities for careful examination. Of equal importance is that conflicting interpretations can readily lead to deeper conversations about context and personal assumptions. One way to guide students towards art critical inquiry is to employ familiar prose and poetry formats such as narratives, letter writing, sonnets, cinquains, or free verse. The activity outlined in this article calls upon the format of an acrostic poem to deconstruct art - A L L L E V E L S W e automatically engage in a form of deconstruc - tionism when we encour- age our students to find personal meaning in works of art. Through the lens of critical inquiry, students are invited to explore obvious as well as obscure ideas expressed in artwork. In essence, art criticism helps viewers to peel back layers of visual clues that enable them to "read" a work of art. It is this unmasking of clues that leads to multiple interpretations (that is, deconstruction), which ultimately leads to finding personal meaning. Embracing Interpretation Life experiences, cultural or societal events, belief systems, age, gender, and many other factors influence how individuals see and interpret artworks. Embracing the concept work and uncover visual evidence that leads to varied and well-sup - ported interpretations. The Process The simplest form of an acrostic poem vertically arranges the first let - ter of each line of the poem to spell a word or phrase. Most acrostic poems do not rhyme. Practice 1. Select an artwork with a short title, such as van Gogh's Irises, and display it for the class. Since this title has six letters, use capital letters and write the word "Irises" vertically on the page 2. While they are examining the painting, ask students to brainstorm words that use the letters in "irises" to describe what is seen. Remind students about the vocabulary of art and ask them to consider how the elements and principles are shown. Here is an example of brainstormed words about van Gogh's Irises: Intense violet Repeated colors and shapes Includes irises and marigolds Shows contrast Environment Shapes of flowers 3. Ask students to elaborate upon the brainstormed words and phrases to write complete sentences. Note that sentences do not necessarily finish at the end of the line; rather, they can continue to the next line. Brainstormed words also can be shifted to other lines. Guide students to contemplate how the title of an artwork can imply artistic intent. Here's an example of a finished acrostic about Irises: In this painting of a garden, Repeated colors and shapes of flowers with Intense violet, rich orange, and a Art Criticism as Art criticism helps viewers to peel back la ers of visual clues that enable them to "read" a work of art. DECONSTRUCTION CONTINUED ON PAGE 45. Pam Stephens A student deconstructs the artwork Slam by Jim McNeil.

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