Thursday, 20 October 2011

Pattern & meaning assessment

Today was our Pattern & Meaning Assessment.  I felt really fraught last night, because I had problems hanging my fabric.  I planned to hang both the coloured print, and the black one, but discovered the coloured print was too long to hang to show the full variation in the colour print.  After much angst I decided to display the coloured print along the 4m table.  The black print was hung by Paschael, who although tiny, is surprisingly strong, and very agile, to be able to hold a roll of fabric and tie each end on to a beam, while balancing on a ladder.  I just can't do this because I have a long term back problem.

Black fabric hanging, with design development work
When the fabric was hung, I found it really depressing and oppressive.  I did not like when I was working on it, but my emotional response was surprisingly heightened when it was hung. I thought it was horrible.  But I reflected on it and decided not to express my full views on it at my review, but focus on the coloured piece. 

I had planned carefully what I wanted to say in my review (this is something I learned at mid-semester - don't fly by the seat of your pants in your self assessment).  I talked about the careful colour mixing I had done.  I thought I would be pulled up for not hanging the coloured piece, and I was right. I explained that I physically could not hang it - it is very heavy because it is worked on canvas, and I thought the fishing line would break and I'm just not strong enough or flexible enough to get up a ladder and fix it. I was criticised for making the confused section end with a straight line. But to me, the confused section ended with a straight line which represented death - so a straight line indicates the sudden finality of it. Pam thought I should have worked the hand frame to give whole leaf images forming a straight line. I was asked for my views on the black piece and said I felt it was worked like a commission - to a customers specification - but that it was not my taste.  I restrained what I said, but I think my body language showed how much I loathed it.

I went out for lunch with another student afterwards, and we chewed the fat.  We noted that the feedback given to different students appeared inconsistent.  One student was told work needed a concept: meaning behind the work, because this is a Pattern & Meaning class. Therefore work needed to consider what meaning the viewer would get from the work and it is the role of the artist to define the meaning in advance.  Yet when another student was not clear about what the viewer was to take from her body of work, she was told "maybe it's up to the viewer what meaning they wish to give it". 

Also we noted that both of us had had the tutor pull out some samples from our mid semester assessment, stating these were really interesting and that we should have worked up these samples as they were amongst our best work.  Which was probably fair comment.  But during the mid-semester assessment, when these pieces were on display, and had been privileged by a good position for viewing, they had been completely ignored for comment.  Which is a bit frustrating for the person receiving feedback.

I noted that my work was criticised for being displayed on the table, but no mention was made of how accurately I had rolled it at either end, onto white plastic pipe, cut precisely to length, filed so no snags detracted from the aesthetic.  Yet comment was made about sloppy practice from students from other classes hanging fabric from wooden dowel that protruded either end from the fabric, which detracts from the aesthetic.  I know the assessors have a lot to take into account when evaluating so much work, so fast, but it would be nice to have some recognition of details well done.

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