Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The nude - the depictiction of male and female form

These are both classical works. Sleeping Venus painted by Giorgione in 1510 and Ignudi 1 by Michelangelo also painted in 1510. Although they were both painted in the same time period, they way they are depicted is very different. The woman is depicted as lying down, asleep, not looking at anyone which gives herself up to be looked at and veiwed through the male gaze to be sexualy objectified. She comes across as vunerable, especialy with one arm above her, exposing herself. Her form is loose and relaxed as though comfortable as the object of the gaze. Ignudi 1 is a harsh opposite to this, with his body tense and uncomforable, not giving himself up to be looked at. Although naked, his gladatorial pose prevents the image from being sexual so he is not looked at in the same way as sleeping venus. Both images present steriotypical ideals of their gender as veiwed by the male gaze. The ideology surounding Ignudi 1 was crutial as it was displayed in a church as a representation of angels which are seen as something to look up to and revere so of course angels have to be the representation of human perfection as they were seen as human bodied creatures.

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

When looking at these two images it is easy to deduce that the first image was painted by Diego Rivera and the second by Frida Kahlo. The way they depict women is so different even though they were a couple.
The first image by Rivera is very much looked at with the "male gaze" and is very sexual, with the focus on the womans figure rather than the face, with the curve of the flowers following the curve of her body. The woman comes across as there to be looked at. This is not seen in Kahlo's work where in her self portrait, it lacks the sexualization that Diegos holds. Especialy with the way she has painted her eyebrows, which are, as a monobrow, significantly un-sexual. This brings to focus the way in which women are expected to groom and make themselves beautiful unlike men. Diegos representation of a woman is very much the "ideal" woman where as Kahlo creates a real depiction of a woman. Diegos painting depicts the steriotypical ideal woman, perfectly groomed, flawless skin, blonde hair, perfect figure. Along with the male gaze of this providing ownership over the woman she becomes the "perfect object" and an ideal rather than a reality and becomes something to be looked at. Kahlo's depiction of herself challeges the notion of the male gaze and the authority it holds, by painting herself she gives more of the impression that she is looking at the veiwer through the focus being on her face not her body.

Ideas for an essay question

  • Choose two artists, one male, one female - compare & contrast how they represent the female nude.
  • How does our knowledge of the gender of an artist effect how we veiw a peice of artwork?
  • Outline the way in which a particular artist represents feminism in their artwork?
  • Outline the way in which a particular artist questions gender roles in their work?
  • How work is perceived through use of particular mediums, how mediums are steriotypically a specific genders medium, eg: knitting, embroidery ect are steriotypicaly a female medium in which to work with.
  • The importance/or lack of the female nude in art.

What is Feminism?

"Feminism: The doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men." -

What is "feminist art"?

"May be defined as art by women artists made consciously in the light of
developments in feminist art theory since about 1970" -

- The term "feminist art" suggests a style of art which gives the connotation of it being able to be in or out of fashion as though art that represents womens fight for equality is just a passing phase.

Why are men and women represented so differently in art? Why is the female nude so common?

-art represents the world around us, until recently men where the only "real" artists, women where seen as crafts people and the work they made was always funtional, even when decorative or it was seen as a hobby, not a job. Women were not seen as artists, hence the lack of traditionaly great women artists, we only have relivtivly modern great women artists. Women where there to be looked at and represented in art. They were not allowed to do the looking as that implyed equal footing with men. Painting women, especialy the female nude was about ownership, to be looked at in such a exposed way implys power over the woman, which represents how women used to be treated as objects.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Notes from Practices of Looking - An Introduction To Visual Culture - Marita Sturken/ Lisa Cartwright

Modernity: Spectatorship,Power, And Knowlege: The Gaze and the Other.

"The gaze, whether institutional or individual, thus helps to establish relationships of power. The act of looking is commonly regarded as awarding more power to the person who is looking than to the person who is the object of the look." - (Page 111, begins line 9) For example, in art, media,film,etc the male gaze is used. This is where the audience is forced to veiw the image through the eyes of a man (typicaly a heterosexual man) and this effects the way we veiw the subject he is gazing at (typicaly a woman). This then "helps to establish relationships of power", the relationship being men having power over women. This idea is progressed further in mediums such as film because the male gaze causes men to have the leading roles. This creates a structure in which women are denighed agency/objectifyed by the male gaze, lowering them to the possition of a prop. This creates steriotypical gender roles in the narrative structure. Which means that men typicaly play a role in which they are active and do things and women typicaly play a role in which passive, powerless and an object of desire .

"The traditional of institutional photography, in which prisoners, mental patients, and the people of various types were photographed and catelogued,can be related to the traditions of visual anthropology and travel photograph, as well as the tradition of painting peoples of so-called exotic locales. All funtion to various degrees to represent codes of dominance and subjugation, difference and otherness." - Page 111, begins line 11) The use of art as a tool present the differences bettween people creating opposites. This creation of opposites creates superiority through the belief that something that is everything that you are not must be negative through the belief that what you are is good/better/more important. It also gives the ability to define the norm in a certain area, creating a hiarachy.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Gender and Art

Notes about the book Gender and Art, edited by Gill Perry

  • "such histories [modernism] are almost exclusively concerned with the work and activities of male artists, and they are documented and consolidated through a discourse,or set of historical narratives, which has been seen to be 'masculinist'." - Gender and Art, Part 4 Gender, Modernism and Psychoanalysis, Introduction: gender, modernism and feminist art history - Gill Perry (page 195, begins line 22)
  • "Most histories of modern art tell us that those artist's groups which have become the focus of French and European modernism before the war, notably the Post-Impressionists, the Fauves and the Cubists, consisted almost exclusivly of male artists who exhibited together in the 'independent' salons or in smaller private galleries." - Gender and Art, Part 4 Gender, Modernism and Psychoanalysis, Case Study 8, The Parisian avant-garde and 'feminine' art in the early twentieth century - Gill Perry (page 199, begins line 1)
  • "The Academie Julian, founded in 1868,was one of the most famous schools to provide studios for women. It was one of the few places where could study from the nude in late nineteenth-century Paris, but fees for female students were as much as twice those for male colleagues." - Gender and Art, Part 4 Gender,Modernism and Psychoanalysis, Case Study 8, The Parisian avant-garde and 'feminine' art in the early twentieth century - Gill Perry (page 199, begins line 17)

Gender and Art

My notes about the book Gender And Art edited by Gill Perry

Key points from the book:

  • " 'Gender' is defined here by the cultural construction of femininity and masulinity, as opposed to the biological sex (male or female) which we are born with." - Gender and Art, Introduction: gender and art history - Gill Perry (page 8, begins line 19)
  • "An interest in gender, then,need not necessarily be the exclusive domain if those concerned with the representation and history of women. It also gives us a framework to explore a wide range of issues,including the ways in which ideas of femininity and masculinity are constructed in our culture" - Gender and Art, Introduction:gender and art history - Gill Perry (page 10,begins line 10)
  • "can our knowledge of the artist's gender inform our understanding of the work in any way?" -Gender and Art, Introduction: gender and art history - Gill Perry (page 14, begins line 4)
  • "Questions of representation: how is gender difference represented in the image; if the image includes figures,how are men and women represented? Do any aspects of these figures and the ways in which they are painted suggest specifically feminine or masculine characteristics?" - Gender and Art, Introduction: gender and art history - Gill Perry (page 14,begins line 6)
  • "What is the role of gender in the physical or social enviroment represented: are these figures depicted as inhabiting a specific social/domestic/private/public space which could be related to their gender?" - Gender and Art, Introduction:gender and art history - Gill Perry (page 14, begins line 10)
  • "can we talk about the techniques of painting as being either masculine or feminine?" - Gender and Art, Introduction: gender and art history - Gill Perry (page 14, begins line 13)
  • "How does our gender affect the way in which we look at a painting" - Gender and Art,Introduction:gender and art history - Gill Perry (page 14, begins line 13)

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

What I want to focus on:

Feminism in art - Feminist Film Theory, male gaze, is masculinism ever portraid
in art?, objectification of women in art (the female nude),confoming to gender
roles in art and the gender differenciation bettween art and craft & how
that has effected what we veiw as 'historical masterpeices' today, abject art
(the way in which female bodily funtions are abjected by a patriarchal social
order and how this is displayed through abject art)

I have chose this to focus on because I feel like it interests me the most currently.

Ideas for my essay question:
  1. chose the work of two artists and contrast and compare the way in which they present feminism through their art practice.
  2. Compare the work of a feminist artist who portrays the female nude to an non-feminist artist who portrays the female nude.
  3. Compare the portrail of women in video art to the potrail of women in cinema (male gaze, ect.)
  4. The gender differeiention bettween art and craft and how that has effected what we veiw as historical masterpeices today (with craft seen histroicaly as womens work and art as the role of a man, there are no 'histricaly great women artists', there is no female 'version' of picasso because at the time no woman would be allowed to fill that role)
  5. the way in which female bodily funtions are abjected by a patriarchal social
    order and how this is displayed through abject art
  6. Is masculinism ever portraid in art? (masulinism as in anti-feminism (female nude/male gaze) or masulinism as in fighting for mens rights (usualy on subjects relating to children/custody).

Usefull links

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Brainstorming ideas about what I want my essay to focus on.

Do I want to look at a topic and then find relevant artists or look at an artist and look at a certain topic to do with them?

Topics that interest me:

  • Situationism
  • Feminism in art - Feminist Film Theory, male gaze, is masculinism ever portraid in art?, objectification of women in art (the female nude),confoming to gender roles in art and the gender differenciation bettween art and craft & how that has effected what we veiw as 'historical masterpeices' today, abject art (the way in which female bodily funtions are abjected by a patriarchal social order and how this is displayed through abject art), ect.
  • Where/how art objects are displayed - The effect of the gallery system, how objects become funtionless once veiwed as art object/displayed in an art gallery (museum as a mausoleum)
  • Street art as an art form - yes/no/perception of it
  • Pornography as an art form/how does situation and circumstance effect the way we veiw pornographic imagery. Why do the connotations of pornographic imagery change depending of were it is veiwed.
  • The effect of photography on painting as a medium
  • Photography as a political tool
  • The effect of editting software on how we veiw imagery/what is fake/real.

Artists that interest me:

  • Guy Debord
  • Christian Boltanski
  • Valie Export
  • Carl Andre
  • Louise Bourgeois

Usefull links: (tate gallery info on femenist art)

Research skills

Research Skills seminar 03/02/2011
-Finding books in the Library (LRC)

  1. Arrive on the PCA main page and click ‘eLibrary’
  2. Use quick search and select ‘Author’, ‘Title’, ‘Subject’ or ‘Keyword’ (eg: to search for David Hockney put ‘Hockey’ in the search box with ‘Author’ selected)
  3. then press ‘Search’
  4. You will then have a list of results, showing the location of the books and their classmark.
  5. Locate the classmark in the library to locate the book.
  6. Be aware of the ‘Status’. If it reads ‘check shelves’ the book should be there. If there is a due date (eg: ‘DUE 10-01-11) then it won’t be there until that date and if necessary make use of the ‘Request’ function.

Finding journals online using JSTOR:

  1. Arrive on the PCA main page
  2. click ‘eLibrary’
  3. On the right hand side, click on the link to JSTOR
  4. Go to ‘Advanced Search’
  5. Input your search terms
  6. To narrow your search, tick the relevant boxes underneath (eg: ‘Art and Art
  7. To view the journal, click the PDF link on the results page
  8. The journal will then open in Adobe Reader
  9. Once the journal is open in Adobe Reader, you can right click on your mouse and save
    it to your computer for future reference!

Essay writting

The first and most important aspect of writing a good essay is to examine the question.
The importance of close analysis of the question as the basis of a good essay cannot be overestimated.Look carefully at the key words which the question contains, as these will give you the pointers you need to begin to think carefully about how to proceed with your essay. Examples of key words might be: examine, develop, analyse, compare. All these words offer a way into discussion of the topic in hand and give you a good idea of the way your essay should be written.

Having thought carefully about what you are being asked to do, the next stage is to gather your evidence. You should jot down the details of all and any resources to which you refer (either directly or indirectly) because plagiarism is a major concern and it is easy to plagiarise without meaning to.

It is a good idea to begin to compile an alphabetical list of all sources used at this stage as this will save you time with your referencing and bibliography later, as well as helping you to keep track of where you sourced your evidence. Remember to present this research in the Harvard style. Try to strike a balance between the evidence that supports your own ideas and those which appear to contradict you. Remember, a good essay presents a balanced case and displays an awareness of all points of view (within reason), not just those that agree with your own!

Thorough planning saves time although it might seem to be wasting it at this point when you just want to start writing. However, a plan is essential to complete a structured, reasoned and researched response on any given topic.Begin by looking back over the question and those ‘key words’ that you selected. Next, consider the evidence you have collected and consider how the two complement each other.

It is useful to make a rough plan or diagram of your essay at this stage where you write down paragraph headings and which evidence you will use where. Later, when you are actually writing your essay, you will be able to look back at this to remind you of how your thoughts actually progressed and why you made the choices that you did. Structuring your essay in this way will also help with coherence as your argument will be more clearly developed and concise, with paragraphs flowing naturally to your conclusion. Doing this will also reveal any gaps in your evidence or linking which you can sort out before beginning to write

If you have followed through carefully all the stages above, then this should be the easy part, but if your research is your evidence then the written essay is your case. You should present this with as much attention to detail as you paid to your research.Your spelling, grammar and punctuation should be perfect. Don’t rely on your computer’s ‘spell and grammar check’ as it is not by any means infallible. Carefully proof read your work. Better still, get someone else to do this as another pair of eyes will often spot mistakes you may have overlooked. A ‘study buddy’ can be really helpful.

A good introduction sets out clearly your response to the topic and how you are going to present that response. Remember to keep your introduction short and to the point ending with a ‘feed’ into the opening paragraph of the main body of your essay.

In the main body of your essay, each paragraph should be based on a separate but related aspect of the main topic of the essay. Following the plan you made earlier, write each paragraph almost as though it were under a sub-heading to the main title and supplement each of your points with the evidence you have collected.Try to end each paragraph in the main body of the essay with a ‘hook’ to the next i.e. an idea that introduces the topic of the subsequent paragraph.
This will help your essay to flow better and seem to be establishing a pattern which will ultimately lead to your conclusion.

The conclusion should be a summation of your argument. By now, your reader should have been given such a strong sense of your central argument. The conclusion brings closure to the reader, summing up your points or providing a final perspective on your topic.

When your essay is completed, read it through to check for errors. As mentioned above, it can be useful to ask someone who has not seen your work to proof-read it for you. Ensure that you have correctly referenced all quotations and completed a bibliography according to the Harvard system. Your bibliography is very important, as evidence of your research and wider reading and to demonstrate that you recognise the importance of acknowledging sources.
A bibliography should never be a rushed, last-minute task but rather should evolve naturally, as your research does.

Analysing my work

  • Have I interpreted the implications of the question thoroughly? Have I missed anything?
  • Does the introduction analyse the implications clearly and give the reader a clear indication of the structure of my answer?
  • Have I arranged the material logically?
  • Does the essay move fluently from one section to the next, from paragraph to paragraph
  • Does each topic sentence introduce the subject of each paragraph clearly?
  • Have I developed each argument sufficiently?
  • Have I made my arguments clear, or are there difficult passages that would benefit from being rewritten?
  • Do I support each argument with sufficient evidence and examples?
  • Do all my examples and evidence really work?
  • Have I shown, rather than told, the reader wherever possible?
  • Have I answered this particular question relevantly?
  • Have I dealt with all the implications of the question that I identified in the interpretation stage?
  • Have I covered these in enough depth?
  • Have I spent too much time on less significant issues, while only dealing superficially with any of the major issues?
  • Have I presented a convincing case, which I could justify confidently in a discussion?
  • In the conclusion have I avoided introducing new ideas that haven't been dealt with in the body of the essay?
  • Have I tied my conclusion in with my introduction

Planning essay writting:

  • Before writing up organise all the research and quotes into clearly defined sections
  • Make an outline plan for your writing, ie. what specific pieces of writing will go where: the intro, main, and conclusion?
  • Plan the placement and order of paragraphs, quotations, and images within your essay
  • Redrafting is an essential editing process.
  • Expect to prepare/edit several drafts before submitting a final version
  • Use the spellcheck tool after each draft and proof read for typos and errors
  • Re-read drafts for clarity and fluency
  • Leave enough time and NEVER skip this process

Essay Planning

Once you have read (and made notes) on the main areas you will be covering make a plan of how you will construct your essay:

  • Introduction – this is what I’m going to say
  • Main Body – this is saying it
  • Conclusion – this is what I said

First section - Introduction (possibly just one paragraph)

  • Indicate the main points
  • What subject will you be discussing
  • State what ground your essay will cover
  • If applicable, indicate your approach or research methods

Second section – Main Body

  • Explain the subject, issues and theories
  • Give examples, supported by illustrations
  • Show what others have said
  • Comment as you go along and create a discussion

Third section – Conclusion

  • Give a brief account of the issues set out in the question (tie the conclusion to the introduction)
  • State opinions ensuring they match the strength of your arguments
  • Summarise the main points

Essay question:

  • Identify and demonstrate an understanding of the key ideas and theories that affect the practice, production and consumption of art, design and media
    -social, political, economic and historical contexts
  • Begin to apply appropriate theoretical approaches to the study and interpretation of art, design and media.
    -With guidance, begin to apply an appropriate theoretical approach to the study and interpretation of art, design and media
  • Research, evaluate and contextualise their own area of practice informed by key ideas and theories.
    -Investigate a range of art, design and media practices utilising basic research methods and employing standard acedemic conventions
  • Demonstrate a range of communication skills utilising academic conventions.
    -Demonstrate written and verbal communication skills

Interpreting the breif:

  • Analyse
    -Examine in detail, showing positive and negative aspects
  • Describe
    -Give a detailed account of …
  • Define
    -Give the exact meaning of …
  • Outline
    -Give the main points of …
  • Summarise
    -Give a brief account of …
  • Compare
    -Point out all the similarities between items
  • Contrast
    -Point out all the differences between items
  • Explain
    -Make clear, possibly giving examples and reasons
  • Visual Analysis: -Formal Qualities-What do you see?-Denotation
  • Visual Analysis: – Content/Meaning – How do you interpret? - Connotation
  • Critical Analysis: – Modes of Critique – Response from others
  • Assess: – Weigh up the value of and give a judgement


  • Reading, Reading, Reading
  • ‘Collect’ quotes to suit your purpose. Use reading handouts and lists for this purpose
  • Build your list of references as you build the research
  • Keep notes from lectures that could be relevant to your essay
  • Collate all research material in your journal
  • Structure your journal to suit your purposes and establish an effective retrieval system

Recomended research sources:

  • Books
  • Newspapers
  • Reviews
  • Journals
  • Magazines
  • Elibrary & Athens
  • Internet
  • Galleries
  • Films, Documentaries
  • Essays, Dissertations
  • Lectures/notes
  • Artists’ Interviews
  • Performances

Not recomended:

  • Google
  • Wikipedia
  • Ask Jeeves
  • Student work

Writting Strategies

Interpreting the assessment breif and planning:

Divide it into stages:

  • This gives you a clear plan of what is required to do.


  • how will it help you demonstrate what you know about the issues raised in the essay question.
  • Identifies the questions you want your sources to answer
  • Keep a track of all your sources using Harvard System

Divide essay into stages:

  • Establishes clear structure of your ideas and arguments
  • Ensures arguments will be clear and consistently argued with sufficient evidence to support them
  • Reduced risk of omitting important and relevant sections

Writting the essay:

  • Enjoy the process
  • Define the task
  • Plan the assignment tasks
  • Make an outline plan for your writing
  • Stages in the writing process
  • Grammar, spelling and punctuation

Avoid familiar problems that emerge in writing:

  • Weak structure
  • Irrelevance
  • Insufficient evidence
  • Insufficient examples to support argument
  • Lack of fluency, inconsistent arguments, etc.