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The be all end all of ELEMENTS & PRINCIPLES


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Aug 08 2002 - 13:11:52 PDT

I think 20th century artists introduced an element that is sometimes
included on lists and sometimes not TIME
mobiles/kinetic sculpture, evironmental art, installations, performance,
film, video, animation... all need to deal with the element of time and
viewer manipulation through that time.
I made Time a unit in my Advanced class ( but that was mostly justification
for getting computer equipment. In my district, if the curriculum demands
something that requires technology then you will probably get the

It seems to me that contemporary art puts in some disregard a "reverence"
for the traditional elements and principles and I'm coming to the belief
that I'm not sure how important the emphasis is. And I'm also always looking
how Western the standards are. I'm department coordinator and I know the
the Es & Ps are in the curriculum from day one of art education, but still I
get them in high school and they really haven't grasped the expressive
qualities of the elements or the power of the principles to direct viewer
attention. Sometimes they can name the elements, the principles ????? they
don't know. And when you think about it things like balance and rhythm and
spatial relationships are pretty sophisticated concepts.

What I do know is, that a lesson that incorporates personal content, meaning
and connection makes it much easier to direct the use of structural form in
order to communicate that meaning. When there is something they really want
to say visually, you can guide them through that communication by
suggesting compositional elements. They are much more responsive to
listening when they own the result.

P.S. in my experience, the forgotten element is texture