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Lesson Plans

Re: what teach elements and principles for?

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Robert Alexander Fromme (rfromme)
Fri, 23 Oct 1998 21:44:11 -0500

At 07:49 AM 10/23/98 -0700, Kevin Smith wrote:

>I hope you don't mind that I ask you some questions:
>1)What are the values of teaching elememts and priciples of a design
>to students?

The large majority of visual artifacts providing examples for the study of
art history can be examined with the understanding that their appreciation
must involve their "form and their content." (Of course, form is "how it
looks" and content is "what it means".) Within that large body of work, we
find a substantial number of items which suggest that the unity of formal
concerns (the finished quality of "how it looks") is critical to the
effective meaning or "content" of the finished effort. In other words, the
medium, the artist's style, the technique, the subject matter, the
contextual cultural environment (cognitive system) surrounding the
production of the work and all other factors are not sufficient until the
composition (the orchestration of elements and principles) has been
included in the mix. Therefore, one can make the assumption that formal
concerns (the elements and principles) are critical to any appreciation of
that body of work from art history. In turn, their study will also serve
any art student who intends to develop a foundational understanding of
traditional art production.

Next, if we consider the trend toward abstraction in the last half of the
past centruy and the first half of our century, we discover that what was
once a matter of form and content, slowly developed through experimentation
to art where "the form was the content" (Abstract Expressionism). Here , an
appreciation of formal concerns (the element and principles) is critical to
an understanding of the historical developments of the period. In turn, if
we are to understand and appreciate the developments which followed abstract
expressionism ( pop, photo-realism op, minimal, earthwork, idea art, etc.)
we need to understand the role that form (the elements and principles)
played in the evolution of ideas which can be seen as extensions or
reactions to that movement.

>2)When one talks about elements and principles, it seems that they are
>the components of abstract expressionism.

You are right........ and they are also the components of Paleolithic,
Neolithic, Egyptian, Minoan, Greek, Roman, Mediaeval, Gothic, Renaissance,
Mannerism, Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassical, Impressionism, Post-impressionism,
Expressionism, Dada, Pop, Photo-realism, Op, Minimal, Earthwork, and to some
extent, the presentation of art artifacts from Conceptual or Idea art.

>Do you think art teachers still need to consider to teach abstract
>expressionism, even though the contemporary art world has paid less
>attention on that.

Well, I think I answered this question earlier when I suggested that an
understanding of art throughout history has involved the interdependence of
"form and content", "form which became content," or the "artifacts of
content which are presented as form". Logic would suggest that formal
concerns (the elements and principles) should have an important place in
teaching and learning about the visual arts.