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Form and Systems


Tying it all together...

Over the next few weeks we’ll be exploring paradigm shifts in contemporary visual art.  A paradigm is defined as a systematic arrangement of all the inflected forms of a work.  It is the the generally accepted perspective of a particular discipline at a given time.  A paradigm shift is a change in thinking from an accepted point of view to a new one.  The PBS Art:21 series presents artists (and art) who are at the forefront of some of these shifts in contemporary art.

This week’s homework assignment is to

  1. Extend the Exquisite Corpse through the creation of a 2D art work that emphasizes form, specifically how harmony unifies the composition by emphasizing the common character, surface quality, shape type, texture, and color. These factors of cohesion are also helpful in the creation and exploration of pictorial movement.
  2. Explore the work of John Baldesarri, systems (see above), and consider the following…

Synthesizing photomontage, painting, and language, Baldessari’s deadpan visual juxtapositions equate images with words and illuminate, confound, and challenge meaning. He upends commonly held expectations of how images function, often by drawing the viewer’s attention to minor details, absences, or the spaces between things. By placing colorful dots over faces, obscuring portions of scenes, or juxtaposing stock photographs with quixotic phrases, he injects humor and dissonance into vernacular imagery. ~ Art:21

Visit the Art:21 Blog on John Baldessari.  Later this month we’ll watch The Systems episode that features artists who realize complex projects, whether through acts of appropriation, accumulation, collaboration, or creating projects so vast in scope as to elude comprehension.  Until then we’ll reflect on the following questions:

  • Can art transcend paradigms?
  • How and why do artists use systems?
  • Why do we find comfort in some systems while rebelling against others?
  • What new forms of grammar and logic do artists invent in today’s supercharged, information-based society?

Feel free to post your thoughts and process steps via your tumblelog and be prepared to discuss these questions next week.

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