Visual arts

Visual arts is a mandatory course in Stage 4 in which students study art making, critical and historical studies through a use of the conceptual framework and a variety of frames.

The elective course allows students to further develop their critical understanding of the artist and different points of view of the visual arts. They also expand on their art making practice, using a variety of materials and techniques.

Further information and teaching support is available in the NSW 7-10 Visual Arts Syllabus.

Visual Arts content is organised into three broad areas that are applied to both artmaking and critical and historical studies. Practice, the conceptual framework, and the frames provide a language and structure to support students in making meaningful, fully resolved artworks, and in their interpretation and analysis of other artists’ work. In Stage 4, practice, frames and the conceptual framework can be considered separately. As students progress through Stage 4 and 5, the relationships between these are explored in more meaningful ways.

Programming for the frames

The four frames offer a flexible and robust lens through which to interpret artmaking, art criticism and art history. The frames provide an interpretive scaffold from which students can generate a range of understandings from different perspectives.

The frames resource (DOCX 81.7KB) provides examples of how each frame can be used to explore the function of the ‘agencies of the artworld’ and the relationships between them.

Introduction to the frames

A student-centered module which introduces the frames as a tool for understanding and engaging with different points of view in artmaking and critical and historical studies. Students demonstrate their knowledge by completing a series of reading, writing and artmaking activities that explore historical and contemporary artworks from subjective, cultural, structural and postmodern perspectives.

Framing portraiture

A student-centered module which explores portraiture as an area of practice, using the frames as a tool for understanding and engaging with different perspectives and points of view in artmaking and critical and historical studies. The first section, ‘Technical drawing practice’, contains a sequence of activities designed fro students to develop and refine their drawing skills as they learn about the conventions of portraiture. This is followed by four standalone lessons that apply the perspectives of the subjective, structural, cultural and postmodern frames to an artmaking and critical/historical activity exploring one or more focus artworks.

Stage 4 sample unit

Mapping memory - Badger Bates

This 10 week unit of work investigates the artmaking practice of Barkindji printmaker Badger Bates. Students interpret the artist's use of visual language to represent personal and cultural meaning in his work ‘Mission Mob, Bend Mob, Wilcannia 1950s’, and then develop their own set of signs and symbols to create a lino print that represents a site that has personal significance to them.

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New perspectives in art and technology

This digital resource package provides Stage 5 students with opportunities to investigate and interpret contemporary intersections between art, technology, storytelling, social change and collaboration by focusing on the practice of five Australian artists including:

  • Tamara Dean
  • r e a
  • Joan Ross
  • Alexia Sinclair
  • Lynette Wallworth.

Knowledge and skills creative arts - KASCA visual arts framework

The KASCA visual arts framework breaks down the core components of practice, conceptual framework and the frames into a series lesson sequences. All lesson sequences come with ready-to-use differentiated learning and teaching resources and are available in an online format here and an e-book (PDF 12.75MB)External link version that can be downloaded to your smart device.

Lesson sequences

Interpreting art - part 1 - the frames

Students will criticise works by professional artists and engage in the practise and processes of creating their own works.

Interpreting art - part 2 - the conceptual framework

Students are introduced to the conceptual framework through analysis of practice by examining artworks and engaging in criticism.

Interpreting art - part 3 - graffiti art

Students investigate the meaning of graffiti art through a study of online curation.

Artmaking - Part 1 - Introduction to public art

Students investigate contemporary cultural art practices through the topic of public art.

Artmaking - Part 2 - Drawing

Students investigate the meaning of public art through a development of artmaking towards a target audience.

Artmaking - Part 3 - sculpture

Students investigate public art, identifying areas that are current and relevant, to enable them to create a 3D sculpture for a school exhibition.

Artmaking Part 4 - photography

This sequence allows the students to explore the postmodern frame to question and challenge the artmaking processes while creating a collection of works.

Identity - Part 1 - ceramics

Students look at abstract techniques used by artists to communicate meaning to an art audience and the use of the elements of design.

Identity - Part 2 - Portraiture

Students look at mixed media techniques used by artists to deconstruct and reconstruct meaning shaping their identity to an art audience.

Identity - Part 3 - printmaking

Students are introduced to the practice of screen printing through a portraiture case study of Shephard Fairey.

Identity - Part 4 - installation

Students investigate still life through art history and compare this to contemporary practices of the ready-made object.

Compositions within landscapes - Part 1 - painting

Students investigate Aboriginal art to inform the practice of structural and cultural frame in art making through landscape painting.

Compositions within landscapes - Part 2 - drawing

Students investigate traditional drawing practices through one and two point perspective focus using the elements and principles of design.

Compositions within landscapes - Part 3 - printmaking

Students are introduced to the concept of appropriation through print making.

Compositions within landscapes - Part 4 - ceramics

Students are introduced to ceramics through an exploration of landscapes and sculptural design inspired by the work of Riccardo Biavati.

Visual arts posters

The visual arts frames, conceptual framework and practice posters are available to print and display in your classroom via the links below.

The visual arts frames infographic (PDF 5.57MB) defines and provides teaching and learning activities for each fame in an eye-catching format.

The visual arts frames included within this infographic are:

  • subjective frame
  • cultural frame
  • structural frame
  • postmodern frame.

Stage 5 sample unit - signs and symbols

This unit involves an investigation of drawing, painting and sculpture conventions to make an artwork that represents self. Students explore the conceptual framework to make artworks that represent themselves through signs and symbols in the structural and subjective frames. In critical and historical studies they investigate, interpret and explain how contemporary artists have represented themselves through the medium of sculpture.

Explore the sample unit signs and symbols.

This website may be useful in the teaching of visual arts for Stages 4 and 5.

Learning from home resources

Student guided online learning sequences to support learning from home or in the classroom

Mise en Scene google site

A student-centred online unit that builds understanding of the importance of mise en scene in film-making and photography. Students will  investigate the practice of classic filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and his influence on four contemporary photographers inspired by his practice.  Students will demonstrate their understanding of mise en scène in their art historical and critical writing and their artmaking. The activities would be appropriate for Photographic and Digital media and Visual Arts students. 

If you need further assistance with accessibility for any of these resources, please get in touch with us at SecondaryEducationUnit@det.nsw.edu.au

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