Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Missoula Art Critique Group

Just got back from an Art critique group that my friend Carol O'Bagy started. I have to say that I can't encourage people enough to do this type of thing. Those of you who have taken my classes, know that I always end with a critique session...which often means my classes run a bit late. When I was in Art School I LOVED the critiques. One thing to remember is that often what you see in your head is not what everyone else sees. Remember, Art is communication, and the idea is to get your ideas across. The creator must be willing to defend his/her position and intention. Both the creator and the viewer grows from such and experience. My critiques are NEVER NEVER negative. I believe they should be about helping people grow, and not about shooting people down. I love when people give me suggestions...I may not always use them, but I always consider them, and sometimes when I do use them I wonder..."gee why didn't I think of that"

The hardest thing to do in a critique (if not down right impossible) is to be totally aesthetically neutral. We all come from a different point of view aesthetically, and we all have biases. But that is okay, those biases are worth hearing and considering. I do try and take on the position of "if I had your aesthetic, what would I do differently?". I'm not saying that it is easy to do that, but it is worth attempting, because it helps me understand and appreciate art that I may not initially gravitate towards. Plus, some of the issues that are addressed in the discussion, probably are applicable to my style.

In a nutshell. I think it's worthwhile venture. Thanks Carol and keep up the good work. Those Missoulians who are interested in participating drop me a line and I'll forward it to Carol. Those of you who want to start something in your neck of the woods, I did find a good article on starting and maintaining such groups online at Fiberarts Magazine. Check it out.


Megan Pickwell said...

Thats a really interesting entry to read Michael - I found your input just as you said you try to be in your class. Finishing with the critique was great on a number of levels as for me it not only made me think about my piece, but it was so interesting to hear other students talking about where they were comming from and perhaps going to with their pieces.

Angie in AZ said...

Thanks for the great link Michael! The critique was one of my favorite parts of your class and you know how to do it well. I'd love to have a local group for this. When I was taking some watercolor classes, we had critiques and again, one of my favorite things. I've saved the link to this article so thanks for posting it. See ya' in August!

Rhonda Scott said...

I am chiming right in and letting you know that the critique part of the class, as I said in my blog was the icing on the cake, or should I say the rust on the relic? Michael it was so generous of you to take the time and find something positive to say about everybody’s pop can icon. I really enjoyed learning some of your rusting techniques and plan on taking another one of your classes soon. Would love Italy in the fall in fact I will probably already be in Europe so it is a possibility…grazie…Rhonda Scott

Elaine Kerr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elaine Kerr said...

As a workshop instructor, I must remember this. The best critique I ever had was from a very accomplished elderly artist who stated my assemblages were too real and an interesting experiment might be to photograph them, cut up the photos, integrate them into the original. He was telling me to 'alter' them before alter and art were used in the same phrase. (I thought, "You're nuts, old fella"). Took me 10 years to realize he was right!

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