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Midway Reflection and Essay assignment for you: Expanding the Paradigm

April 11, 2016

ARTS 470/670

Advanced and Graduate Sculpture





This is a midway self-reflection for the final piece. In order to stay focused on the concept of creating a substantial work that is created in parts, I am asking for your critical assessment of the progress you are making. (The sentences below in quotes are taken directly from the assignment as I gave it.) The midway self-reflection is due on Wednesday, April 13th at 2pm. It should be typed. It can include drawings. FYI: I will be using these points, among others, when evaluating your final piece.

  1. “From this point forward until the end of the semester you will be working on a single piece that is ambitious in scope. Its concept and content will follow from the past 7 weeks of material studies. This piece should challenge you to reach new and rewarding places in your work. [“…. representing a fresh approach to materials and methods.]” Now that you’ve begun the piece, do you think of it as ambitious or safe? Are you finding it rewarding or dull? Describe your reactions. Discuss your level of devotion and discipline. What is needed?
  1. “You should be able to recognize and discuss the lineage from which it came: artists who are influencing you, current and historical movements and the role of technical (building, material manipulation) exploration in your work.” To what degree are you learning from your research of other artists? Are you advancing in your technical abilities and craftsmanship with the materials that you are using for this piece or is it more of the same? If so, how? If not, why not?
  2. You are halfway through the allotted time for this piece. It is almost 50% of your grade in the course. Can you calculate your progress and extrapolate to the finished piece? What do you need at this moment? (realistically)

NOTE: Below are are some questions I asked you at the beginning of the problem. Talk about whether and how you are keeping these in mind.

What is your system of creating multiple modules?

What are your intentions for creating something large from many parts?

How does it relate to you/ your direction? What do you stand to get out of this?

How long does it take to make ONE?

Is a single module of interest to you? You’ll be making many, so be sure you’ll stay engaged.

What do the materials have to do with the method?

And what do they have to do with the sense we make of the whole?

(The above is due on April 13th at 2pm)



As noted in the Expanding the Paradigm assignment you will write an essay in conjunction with the piece. The essay will be handed in three days before your critique.

Here is an outline format for you to follow:

  1. Introduction:

The intention of the essay is to cull out your place in the larger world-conversation about artmaking, craft, and audience. Lay the foundation of this by discussing, in broad terms, your views on the function of artmaking, craft and audience. (recall our reading on craft to refresh some terms — feel free to quote from this or other articles). At the end of your introduction, you should state the purpose of this investigation and propose the analysis you are going to perform: be it to formalize your work habits, understand your work in light of another’s, etc.

II. Introduce your influence (Graduate students: you will choose two artists):

You will choose one artist to whom you turn for direction, and discuss what you seek from them. Be sure to include your ideas about the means and implications of creating a larger work through modules/units. What do you grasp in their work that resonates with your processes of thinking and making… and why does their work resonate?

III. Discuss the specifics of their work in relationship to yours:

You will also write about the visible parallels you see between their work and yours. Reveal these overlaps in terms of methods (the technical), materials, and intentions. Additionally, you should discuss the trajectories they’ve sent you on and clarify how your work diverges from theirs.

IV. Conclusion:

Bring your work, your artist’s influence, and the art-craft-audience conversation into focus. How does your work converse with the audience? Is there functionality inherent in your work — and does it therefore refer to craft? How are you addressing craftsmanship? Are you using craft as an ironic strategy in your work? How? How does modularity read in your piece — is it referring to some system, i.e., consumerism, nature, etc.?

V. Graduate Students: You will produce a one-paragraph artists statement that accompanies your essay.

Extra credit for Undergrads: You will produce a one-paragraph artists statement that accompanies your essay.


Essays can be fun! This writing will help you to refine your intentions and concretize your results if you take it to heart and link all four (five for the grads) parts together.

This essay will be a minimum of 3 typed pages (12 pt. / 1.5 spacing) to a maximum of 5 typed pages. In addition to the 3-5 pages of writing, please include at least two images of your work and two of your artist(s). Failure to hand in the essay three days before your scheduled critique will cut the credit you receive on your final studio work by half. Late work will not be accepted.

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