CAN Self Assessment

What an interesting and educational unit CAN has proved to be.  As I worked through the exercises, research and assignments, they seemed to tease out threads of insight, understanding and appreciation.  But it wasn’t until I reached the end that I realised I’d been educationally ‘Tango’d’. Clever.

So what are these threads? My number one take-out would be the research into the work of the ‘psychological’ artists Crewdson, Falconer and Darwell.  Their storytelling uses different devices; Crewdson the elliptical single image tableaux, Falconer the autobiographical series and Darwell the allegorical journey through depression.

But each story, told by a visual language, gives a far greater insight than words could have done.  In my Falconer blog, I described the images as visual ‘post-it notes’ upon which I could write my thoughts, thereby enabling a deeper understanding of such complex topics.

The ‘Washing Up’ series by Shafran opened my mind to the idea of self-absented portraiture.  This, coupled with the combination of elliptical, allegorical photography and the Bashers’ typographical photographs, informed my work for Assignment 5.

Other learning highlights included Barthes’ semiotics model, described in ‘Rhetoric of the Image’, which I used for the deconstruction of the KFC advert in my academically styled essay for Assignment 4.

The notion that an artist has one central story to tell as discussed by Crewdson legitimised my continuing interest in the idea of visually depicting feelings, emotions and psychological matters.

And finally, the inevitable tension that exists between the use of captions, anchors and relays to assist understanding and the postmodern notion of individual interpretation.

In terms of my strengths, I think I’m good at generating ideas, but equally importantly, I seem to be good at producing an outcome. I seem to be prepared to take risks and follow hunches. I’ve (belatedly) learned that the depth of research has a real bearing, not only on the consequent level of understanding but, as I get older, actually helps to retain the knowledge mentally. 

Other than the inevitable artistic and technical shortcomings, my greatest weakness is the failure to communicate my passion for this subject. I receive constant criticism for posting too few blogs. Whereas before I felt that my extracurricular activities (e.g. plays, books, concerts) were a private irrelevance as far as the degree is concerned, my Tutor finally convinced me of their importance in my broader artistic education. In future, I will record them with diligence.

In terms of my best work I would like to highlight the following. My research into the life of Francesca Woodman for Exercise 3.1 provided an insight into the life and untimely death of this talented artist. Deconstructing the works of Darwell, Falconer and Crewdson provided such great examples of visual language. My research into Notan informed much of my thinking in this unit.

As far as the future is concerned, I may try to leave my ‘central story’ behind for the IAP unit. That said, I’m not at all sure that it will leave me! I may also try to be radical and shoot colour!

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