Today, you will discuss and evaluate the “laptop” exercise of TWO people in the classroom. After pairing up, you will have 15 minutes to discuss your partner’s work, then 15 minutes to discuss yours with them. We will do this twice, so at the end of the hour you will have given and received two critiques.
Use the below strategies to guide your critique. These are helpful tools that you may implement in all future group critiques, so familiarize yourself and try several!
DESCRIPTION /// “A verbal account of what is there.”
This type of critique aims to introduce us to the work — we need to be sure we’re all noticing the forms and features that are present. (Never assume that everyone in the room sees it the same way…we don’t.) Try to describe as many aspects as you can: Colors…size…materials…imagery and subject matter…interactive features…alternate views…
ANALYSIS /// “A discussion of how things are presented with an emphasis on relationships.” Focus particularly on formal relationships of relative size, relative position, relative color, contrast, etc. Focus on design principles: balance, contrast, harmony, unity, repetition, emphasis, graphic hierarchy, directional movement and so forth. These are all matters of the relationships between forms.
INTERPRETATION /// What meaning is conveyed in the artwork? What is the content and concept for this project? Are there any aspects of this work that prompt an unwanted interpretation? Are there aspects of this work that are ambiguous or vague? Is that ambiguity OK? How explicit or unambiguous should the artist want the message to be? How does the chosen imagery contribute to, or detract from the intended message? How does the form (composition, colors, balance, dominating formal traits…) contribute to or detract from the overall meaning of the piece?
CRAFT AND VIRTUOSITY /// How well are the materials (medium, tools, processes) being used? Do the materials or strategies offer more potential that is not yet being exploited in the work? Are there other materials/processes that would provide a better solution? Is virtuosity with materials dominating the work? Does it overshadow the core message or purpose of the work?
FEASIBILITY /// Were there feasibility obstacles in creating this piece? (ask the artist, if available) Not enough time to complete? Too much time and not enough of a constraint? Material limitations?
ROOTS & SOURCES /// What prior works (artists, designers, ideas) does this build on? How does this work extend a dialogue of ideas? What is it that makes this work a part of that conversation or tradition? Have you seen work like this before? If yes, then what could be added or redacted from the composition to enhance its uniqueness?
COMPETITION & PEERS /// What else has been done, or is being done that is similar to this? How does this compare? In what ways does this offer something that others do not offer? In what ways is this basically repeating what’s already been done?