Signs and symbols

Through the subjective, structural and cultural frameworks create a sculptural self-portrait using the additive approach.

The task

Through the subjective, structural and cultural frameworks create a sculptural self-portrait using the additive approach. Use newspaper, plaster bandages and clay to make a bust and head. Paint the outside of the sculpture with acrylic paint.

The sculpture will be influenced by the sculptural portraits of Chinese artist Ah Xian. The sculpture produced should:

  • have similar physical characteristics to yourself
  • be painted with patterns and/or symbols reflective of your personality/self
  • be documented in your visual arts process diary.

Practices

There are three practices. These include:

  • art making: vocabulary and understanding the process of additive sculpture, sculptural construction through paper, plaster bandages, clay and acrylic paint
  • art criticism: series of questions in class based on the frames
  • art history: research and investigation into western, Chinese and Indigenous cultures, artists' practice and sculptural self-portraits.

Sculpture requirements

The following are requirements for the task:

  • Materials - sculpture must be made of newspaper, plaster bandages, and clay
  • Size - roughly 40cm high x 40cm across (bust to the head)
  • Four symbols and/or patterns painted with acrylic paint, reflecting your personality/self
  • The sculpture must represent your physical form - your eyes, nose, mouth and so on.

Visual arts process diary requirements

  • 3 detailed ideas/sketches of your sculptural bust and head
  • 4 detailed ideas/sketches of your symbols/patterns and why they reflect your personality
  • A3 page sketch of the sculptural bust and head with symbols/patterns explaining why you have chosen them
  • 4 paragraph reflections on the process of making the sculptural self-portrait - explain what is working, how you have created your sculpture, changed your sculpture and how you could improve

Outcomes

A student:

  • 5.3 makes artworks informed by an understanding of how the frames affect meaning
  • 5.4 investigates the world as a source of ideas, concepts and subject matter in the visual arts
  • 5.5 makes informed choices to develop and extend concepts and different meanings in their artworks
  • 5.6 demonstrates developing technical accomplishment and refinement in marking artworks.

copyright NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003

Teaching and learning activities

Artmaking

  • Students will be given the art making assessment task. Key vocabulary will be discussed - symbol, pattern, culture and portrait, additive
  • Teacher introduces the art making process for the unit with an example of what students will create.
  • Students will begin researching, experimenting and sketching patterns, symbols and colours that relate to themselves.
  • Students are given a critical and historical study task based on Ah Xian's art making practice and Chinese culture.
  • Students continue to sketch ideas in their VAPD for their sculpture. They follow art making assessment guidelines.
    • 3 detailed ideas/sketches of sculptural bust and head
    • 4 detailed ideas/sketches of symbols/patterns and why they reflect personality? at least 3 sentences to accompany each sketch
    • A3 page sketch of sculptural bust and head with symbols/patterns and explanation of why they were chosen
  • Photos of each student will be taken from front, side and back perspectives. This will enable the student to understand the 3D shape of the head, neck and bust when they begin to build their sculpture.
  • A demonstration of how to begin the sculpture will take place. Vaseline will be placed on each student's face and plaster strips applied.
  • Students will be shown how to make the frame of the bust and head with scrunched up newspaper and masking tape.
  • A demonstration of how to apply plaster bandages to each individual section is shown.
  • Students reflect in their VAPD about the process of making their artwork each week.
  • Students continue placing bandages over head, neck and shoulder sections, making sure there is a gap at the base of the head to attach the neck.
  • Students draw their design onto the sculpture based on their sketches from their VAPD. They begin to paint sculpture with acrylic paint.
  • Students continue to paint sculpture. Once finished they complete an evaluation sheet based on their sculpture and participate in a group discussion about their final designs.

Critical and historical studies

  • Students are introduced to the concept of sculpted self - a sculptural self portrait. Students write unit overview in their visual arts process diary (VAPD).
  • Students create title page for their VAPD.
  • In their VAPD, students collect and record information that explores their personal world, their interests, personality and physical characteristics, and their relationships to society and others. Students will begin writing ideas of how they may want to represent themselves.
  • Students are given a list of questions in order to help them understand themselves.
  • Students view Australian hyperrealist sculptor Ron Mueck's work, Mask 2 (2001-2002) and watch Beyond the bounds of human limitation, Mask 2 at the British Museum on YouTube.
  • In their VAPDs students answer the following questions focusing on the subjective frame.
    • Critical study: What do I see and feel about the artwork? What does it remind me of? Do I like it? Why or why not?
    • Historical study: What do others see and feel about the work, considering its historical time?
  • Class discussion following the viewing of the YouTube videos on the making of the artwork 'Baby'.
  • Students review the frames as a way of making and interpreting artworks. Students explore the structural frame and subjective frame and some aspects of the conceptual framework through an investigation of artists who use sculpture as a way of creating self-portraiture in their works - David Malangi, Ah Xian, Tom Friedman and Jim Dine. Students will answer questions in their VAPD about the artworks.
  • Students read about Brigiat Maltese's artwork Animal, Vegetable, Mineral (1994) and answer questions based on the subjective frame in relation to her work.
  • Introduce students to the different roles, functions and activities of artists in creating sculptural 3D artworks, and the contexts in which audiences view these artworks, as well as the experience they bring to the viewing. Discuss how sculpture functions as art, the artist's intentions and personality, audience expectation and response.

Marking guidelines

For an A grade 17 to 20 marks a student in this range:

  • Investigates different and varied painting techniques extensively; confidently manipulates and arranges text, colours, shapes and textures into a sophisticated and unified composition.
  • Demonstrates an extensive understanding of how the structural frame can be used to develop text, colour, shape, texture and scale. Uses symbols and visual codes to communicate personality traits and interests clearly.
  • Considers audience interpretation of symbols and experiments with visual qualities, symbols and words to communicate and represent complex ideas about self.
  • Uses the visual arts process diary extensively to sketch, reflect and document process of ideas to an outstanding level.
For a B grade 13 to 16 marks a student in this range:
  • Investigates a range of painting techniques and thoroughly manipulates and arranges text, colours, shapes and textures into a composition with unified areas.
  • Demonstrates a thorough understanding of the structural frame and develops text, colour, shape, texture and scale. Uses symbols and visual codes to communicate personality traits and interests.
  • Considers audience interpretation of symbols and experiments with some visual qualities, symbols, numbers and words to communicate and represent ideas about self.
  • Uses the visual arts process diary effectively to sketch, reflect and document the process of ideas to a high level.
For a C grade 9 to 12 marks a student in this range:
  • Investigates painting techniques and manipulates and arranges text, colours, shapes, and textures into a sound composition.
  • Demonstrates a sound understanding of the structural frame and is developing skills in using text, colour, shape, texture and scale. Uses symbols and visual codes to communicate some personality traits and interests.
  • Considers audience interpretation of symbols and experiments with a sound level of visual qualities, symbols, numbers and words to communicate and represent ideas about self.
  • Uses the visual arts process diary to show sketches, reflections and process of ideas to a sound level.
For a D grade 5 to 8 marks a student in this range:
  • Investigates some painting techniques and manipulates and arranges text, colours, shapes and textures into a composition that still needs to be unified.
  • Demonstrates a basic understanding of the structural frame in using text, colour, shape, texture and scale. Uses symbols and visual codes to communicate a basic personality trait and interest.
  • Is learning to consider that audiences can interpret symbols; experiments with a limited range of visual qualities, symbols, numbers and words to communicate and represent ideas about self.
  • Uses the visual arts process diary in a limited way, showing limited sketches, reflections and process of ideas.
For an E grade 0 to 4 marks a student in this range:
  • Investigates little or no painting techniques and manipulates and arranges text, colours, shapes and textures into a composition that is not unified or resolved.
  • Demonstrates little or no understanding of the structural frame in using text, colour, shape, texture or scale. Uses symbols and visual codes to communicate a elementary personality trait or interest.
  • Doesn't consider audience interpretation of symbols; little or no experimentation with visual qualities, symbols, numbers and words to communicate or represent ideas about self.
  • Uses the visual arts process diary in a limited way, showing few or no sketches, reflections or process of ideas.
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