Art Inquiry

Art Inquiry

Tempe Center for the Arts Art Inquiry Activities by Mary Erickson, Ph.D., with Arizona artist Denise Yaghmourian When we inquire, we ask questions to help us solve a problem or explore an object or event in depth. Art inquiry guides us in asking questions.

Art inquiry questions help us LOOK beyond the obvious. COMPARE similarities and differences. LEARN background information. INTERPRET what artworks are about! This is a portrait by Linda Tracey Brandon.

List 3 things you notice right away. LOOK questions can guide you to observe an artwork carefully. Subject Matter Questions What is the expression on the persons face? What clothes is she wearing?

From what direction is the light coming from to illuminate her face? Technical Questions Look at this painting detail closely. What tools did Brandon use? Where is the paint applied thickly and/or thinly? Where are short and long

brush strokes? Where is there more than one shade of a single color? Questions about Art Elements and Principles Where are the lightest and/or darkest areas of the painting? Are the colors mostly warm and/or cool? Look for the color orange. Where is it bright and/or dull?

Is the composition symmetrically balanced (same on both sides) or asymmetrically balanced (each side different)? Explain. Now its your turn Look at this self-portrait by Gary Faigin. Pick out one detail that might not be obvious. Ask your classmates to find it.

Now ask a new questionabout subject matter, technical process, and/or an art element or principle. Joan Waters made both of these sculptures. Even though the works are unique, they look alike in several ways. COMPARE questions can help

us see how artworks are similar in style and theme. Questions about Style How is the shape of these two sculptures alike? Both sculptures have many parts. How are the parts similar? Can you see light through both sculptures?

Which sculpture has areas that reflect light and which has areas that let light pass through? Questions about Theme Ron Bimrose Bob Martin Corinne Geertsen

Which two artworks are similar in theme? What big idea or theme do both the first and third artworks share? Now its your turn Look carefully at these two prints by Randy Kemp. In what way are they alike and/or different? Find one detail that is similar and/or different. Ask your classmates if they can find it too.

Larry Yaez made this print called Cocina Jaiteca. Cocina is Spanish for kitchen. Jaiteca is a madeup word (pronounced hightech-ah). What questions would you ask Yaez about himself? Asking LEARN questions to discover new information can help us better understand and appreciate artworks.

Question about the artists life and family Yaez was born in 1949. His grandfather lived in Arizona before it became a state. He remembers playing with his toys under the kitchen table as his mother and aunts gossiped and told stories. How does this information give you a better understanding about his artwork?

Question about the artists physical environment Yaez grew up in Yuma, a small city near the border between Arizona, California and Mexico. His father worked for the Bureau of Reclamation that transformed desert land into irrigated fields. As a teenager, he worked in those fields picking vegetables and fruit and chopping cotton. How does this information give you a better understanding about his

artwork? Questions about the artists culture Yaez has fond memories of the smells of traditional Mexican holiday foods, like Christmas tamales. Catholic ceremonies and celebrations, like baptisms and confirmations, were important events in the community. His mother, like other women in his community, made altars around the house.

How does this information give you a new understanding about his artwork? Denise Yaghmourian made this work called Pixel Patterns - Blue. It is about 18-inches square. What do you think about this work? When we ask INTERPRET questions about how

people understand an artwork, we can usually make better sense of it ourselves. Question about the artists intention What does the artist say about her work? Yaghmourian says I am intrigued by the subtle and sometimes more obvious changes that occur in the

repetition of the same object or image. What does the artists point of view help you notice about the work? Question about an individuals response Yaghmourian made Pixel Patterns - Blue with childrens craft materials (Perler beads). What do you think a

child might say about it? An eight-year-old said, Its like looking at coral from up above. Coral and ocean. Question about an art experts understanding How does an art expert understand the work? Julie Sasse, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Tucson Museum of Art wrote

[Yaghmourian] finds beauty in the mundane, turning the products of our mass production/ mass consumption into formal studies of shape and pattern. How does the art experts perspective help you understand the work? Question about your interpretation What is your interpretation of the artwork?

After considering all these viewpoints, what does Yaghmourians work mean to you? What do you think it is about? Use your art inquiry skills as you explore the 20 Questions exhibition at the Tempe Center for the Arts. Mitch Fry Kaori Takamura

Mary Bates Neubauer Special thanks to artists: Linda Tracey Brandon Gary Faigin Joan Waters Ron Bimrose Bob Martin Randy Kemp Larry Yaez Corinne Geertsen

Denise Yaghmourian Mitch Fry Kaori Takamura Mary Bates Neubauer

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