Statement of Inquiry: Still Life is a traditional genre of Art; as contemporary artists we can take a new, unusual and fresh approach to remix an old genre.
In a nutshell, this unit appears to start quite traditional – it is designed to take students through a series of “traditional” art-making skills and techniques such as drawing from observation and new print-making media (screen-printing / lino prints). We look at the usual suspects; Jim Dine, David Salle, Pat Steir, Juan Gris etc. All students complete at least one print and a series of drawings. This is just the beginning, hang in there! Also, students do have the option of bringing their own objects from home to draw from (otherwise they draw from a pre-arranged set up in the classroom). It was interesting to see what the students brought to the art class, further along the unit special meaning and significance started entering into their work based on these. Now, here is where we throw a “spanner in the works”, to fit with our statement of inquiry to take a fresh approach to remix an old genre. Students are exposed to a range of contemporary artists and set off on their own research to think about how they would like to produce a final work for our exhibition. Again, materials, size everything is completely open. Planning sheets are used to guide their decision making also, knowing your students is key here – watching them during the beginning stages of this unit, knowing their strengths and suggesting artists to match their strengths and push them further is essential. I have found this development sketches planning sheet very useful (apologies its handmade!) It is like an equation for students who struggle with the development of ideas (some don’t need this at all). Artist number 1 + Artist number 2 + mix the 2 artists together + your own idea = IDEA FOR FINAL ARTWORK, hooray!
Peer critiques are essential to the process plus conferencing with the teacher before embarking on a final artwork.
It is a long unit spanning 9 weeks but what the students receive in return is some great skills, techniques and artist thinking processes that will serve them well in the DP.
Here is the still life remix 1 sheet outlining the tasks
Grade 10 still life remix rubric available here.