The first encounter
When looking at art works for the first time we naturally have an intuitive response, we like or we don’t like or maybe we feel indifferent. We may have a strong aesthetic response or we may feel an emotional reaction. Our first responses are important, they can signal new directions, genres or artists that we want to explore. An intuitive response is however, only a starting point; we then need to gather more information and place the work in a broader context.
When discussing an art work, for example in the CS, one can start with an intuitive response and work towards a more methodical analysis. See the easy Easy Visual Analysis model page.
Good art should elicit a response of 'Huh? Wow!' as opposed to 'Wow! Huh?' (Edward Ruscha)
This slideshow is an activity I designed for teachers in workshops but it works equally well with a group of students, especially as an icebreaker in new group. It is a playful way of discovering something about your own intuitive responses to art works, both familiar and unfamiliar. By noticing what we are drawn to, we can attempt to understand why some work speaks more strongly to us than others and make conscious decisions to further explore the kinds of artistic expression that appeal to us. This is particularly useful for students who have had little exposure to art history and may be unfamiliar with certain kinds of artistic expression.
Show the slides in pairs
Look at the images below in pairs, use the pdf for optimal on screen viewing Slideshow in pdf best projected on a large screen. Ask students to move to the side of the room that corresponds to the image that elicits the strongest intuitive response ( like or dislike). Ask each person to say a few words about why they choose that image.
Download the Intuitive Response Slideshow in pdf
Teachers notes about the images
In this slideshow we are looking at 4 sets of different approaches to artistic expression.
- Formal vs Expressionistic
- Conceptual vs Representational
- Pop art vs Folk art
- Performance vs Object based
Background information is not necessary when looking at the work as the activity is about intuitive rather than informed response.
The idea is to look at the images, respond immediately, followed by a discussion of your choices. This is enough to stimulate some awareness around personal preferences and possible areas of investigation. End with a question: " What does this tell you about yourself?"
Slide set 1 Formal vs Expressionistic
Agnes Martin and Joan Mitchell
Slide set 2 Conceptual vs Representational
and Winslow Homer
Slide set 3 Pop Art vs Folk Art
Inuit master carver
and Jeff Koons
Slide set 4 Performance vs Object Based
and Damien Ortega