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Blog 5: Unit 1 Summary

Throughout unit 1 we discussed the ideas of formal analysis and critical pedagogy. These concepts were good stepping stones in understanding the meaning of an artwork. This allowed us to comprehend the artist’s meaning and purpose for their work and what they were trying to say. I remember during the first two weeks I could only see what was literally in front of me. For example, when we analyzed the painting of the women, I only noticed what was there. I didn’t see the details and precision put into certain parts of the artwork.

One concept we learned was formal analysis. It is an explanation of structure in ways which visual elements function with a piece of work. The purest form of formal analysis is defined to what the viewer sees because that’s how the eye looks at art. Visually speaking there are numerous of ideas and images we see off a piece of art. We use different components such as line, shape and form, space, color, and texture to evaluate what the art means. These components break down the significance of what the artist is truly trying to depict. Also, there are different characteristics and concepts in the components that can describe what is happening. The color, line, scale, space and mass all effect how interpret a piece. According to Anne D’Alleva, “Formal analysis means looking at the work of art to try to understand what the artist wants to convey visually.”D’Alleva is telling us to consider the reason for the creation of the piece and not to focus on what we only see through vision. Using the other concepts can give us a grasp of the true meaning of an piece of work.

Another concept we talked about was critical pedagogy which can be found in Paulo Freire’s well known “The Pedagogy of the Oppressed.” This text talks about the “banking model of education” where it treats students as empty vessels to be filled with knowledge. Freire argues that the traditional education system lacks critical thinking and a loss of creativity. How Freire describes this education is educators and teachers deposit information and knowledge into students, or in other words filling up your piggy bank with coins. This method taught students how to memorize information rather than understand what they are being taught. Instead of teaching students the what if, why, and how’s, they simply state facts and expect students to retain that information.

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