High School Studio Lesson
Expressively Carol Horst
Our high school recently
moved to a new facility,
presenting many opportunities for art classes to
help make the barren campus feel
like a welcoming space. Our librarian asked me to think about an
installation for a prominent architectural element that extends from
the library ceiling. Many ideas were
considered, but it was a combination of the purchase of some new
digital photography equipment, a
unit on working with the human
figure, and a field trip to a museum
that proved to be just the inspiration that my intermediate art class
needed to collaborate on this project.
This class made a trip to a
museum where we’d focused on
artworks depicting the human figure, including an ancient Greek
amphora vase. We decided our
design couldn’t be fussy, but should
be boldly graphic and immediately
eye-catching. Silhouettes, like the
ones we had seen on the Greek
vase, came to mind.
Moving along to contemporary
times, students immediately recognized silhouettes from Apple iPod
advertisements. Students perceived
a relationship between these idealized, extremely stylish young people
and the figures on the Greek vase.
Function was discussed again: obvi-
ously, the iPod
Inspired by the powerful advertisements
were designed to
graphic silhouettes they’d sell a product.
seen, students used their Were the Greek
own silhouettes for vases designed to
an installation. “sell” or promote
well, perhaps an
ideal body type or cultural idea?
Finally, we switched gears and
talked about Kara Walker’s very
personal and expressive installa-
tion pieces. Rather than idealize
the human subjects of her work,
Inspired by Art
Greek vases became our jumping-off point for a
the human figures
(usually gods and/
or goddesses) in
an idealized way.
Then we looked
at silhouettes made by Auguste
Edouart in the 1800s and discussed
their function. Again, individuals
and families were presented in a
positive way, since these were made
to be sold as portraits.