Continuing our introduction to Syllabus concepts: The Frames There are four Frames: Subjective Structural Postmodern Cultural The Frames give us 4 different ways to think, write and talk about art. Different people see things with different viewpoints, as we know… what factors could contribute to different viewpoints (on anything, not just art)?
Last session we looked at the Conceptual Framework. It was a diagram that told us stuff that we kind of already knew. In the artworld, just like the soccerworld or any other world, there are relationships; different roles that people take on. People, institutions, objects act as agents. That is, they influence the artworld in different ways. WORLD The Conceptual Framework: The 4 agencies of the Artworld. ARTWORK ARTIST AUDIENCE ARTWORK
Like soccer, art is a human activity. As humans, we are affected by: our world; the people we interact with or live with; our emotions; other artworks or ideas we come into contact with. The Frames are a structure to help us understand art better, by being aware of what influences artists, and different viewpoints.
1. Subjective Frame: The Subjective Frame is to do with FEELINGS and RESPONSES from the artist or the audience. It also covers imagination; dreams; atmospheres; memories. • Subjective Frame questions could be: • How do I feel about the artwork? • What do I see? • Is there a mood or atmosphere in the work? • Might it refer to memories or dreams? • What emotional response might the artist / art critic / art historian be aiming for from the audience? • How is the personality of the artist / writer conveyed?
Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890)Wheat Field with Crows, oil on canvas,50 x 103 cm, 1890 The various frames lend themselves to different artworks and movements in art. This writing uses the Subjective Frame to write about Vincent’s painting: The painting is of a landscape with no figures in it except a flock of crows. It gives the work a kind of loneliness. There are no buildings either, which may add to this feeling. There seems to be a lot of energy that the artist has put into the painting, by the way he has applied the paint. This energy, combined with the boldness of the colours he’s used, make the atmosphere of the scene somewhat agitated and intense.
2. Structural Frame:looks at the way the artwork is actually created, including composition, materials, and technology. This frame also looks for symbols (visual meanings) or visual language. Also, what art movement that the art belongs to (e.g. Impressionism.) • Questions in the structural frame may include: • How is the artwork composed? • What materials have been used? • What kind of technologies has the artist used? • What symbols or codes may be used to convey information?
Jim Schindler, (U.S. n.d.) McDonald’s logo, 1962. Using the Structural Frame to write about the McDonald’s logo: The image is simply composed,with a single capital letter “M” being formed by two arches. The M is placed centrally and takes up a large part of the field, which signifies its importance. The gold colour could also symbolise importance, or power. The image is created industrially, so there are no brush marks or evidence of human hand. It is designed with a purpose, rather than created as an artwork. It’s purpose is to be instantly recognisable, as well as fun. We know it means ‘McDonalds’. What other meanings could we read in this image?
3. Cultural Frame: this frame considers the WHEN and the WHERE an artwork was created. Depending upon our cultural context, artworks can mean different things to different people. We can’t get away from cultural influences, whether we are aware of them or not. What is acceptable, offensive, funny or meaningful does change over time and space. It also may look at the artist’s philosophy, politics and intention. Questions using the Cultural Frame could be: Are the signs and symbols specific to a particular culture? How might other cultures understand this? Is the artist attempting to reflect the attitudes of a time and place? How? Are beliefs about race, gender, social class included in the work? Does the work have a political significance?
The artist ShirinNeshat talks about her own work, Using the Cultural Frame…. http://www.moma.org/explore/multimedia/audios/27/652 ShirinNeshat, (Iran, b.1957) Speechless, 2 pieces from the series Women of Allah, photograph & ink, 1993-7
4. Postmodern: Postmodernism was a movement in art, around the 1980s-90s. This Frame arose from that period.This Frame is most relevant to use for art that has been created since the 1980s. This frame acts to challenge and question what is truth; and previously held rules or conventions.An important idea is that there is no one, single truth; that groups within society who were previously not heard or not recognised, have their own stories and their own truths (for instance, youth; women; gay people, indigenous peoples.) Another key idea in the Postmodern frame is that there is nothing truly original….that things are rearranged, and only the MEANING changes. Postmodern frame questions could be: How does the art challenge history? Are traditions disregarded by the artist? How? How are signs and symbols being reinvented to create new meanings? Are conventions such as irony, parody, and appropriation being used? Does the artwork de-stabilise our expectations? (Does it do something we are not expecting an artwork to do?)
Banksy, (U.K., n.d.) Follow your Dreams, Boston 2010 Banksy’s art is well suited to using the Postmodern frame. Here we have the phrase ‘follow your dreams’, which is a cliché of Western society. It’s one of those sayings that parents or teachers might say. The idea behind it is that if only you are prepared to put in enough effort, anything you want can be yours. By showing an image of a workman who’s just put ‘cancelled’ over it, Banksy is questioning, or challenging, the truth of the original saying. He is using parody (imitating something in order to ridicule it.) He is also using irony (whichis seeming to mean one thing, but actually meaning something else.) These two often go together.
These Frames sound so confusing….. You will start to get the hang of them over time. You honestly will. We will be practising with these terms every session, and by the time the Exam rolls around, you will feel much more comfortable with them.
Rosemary Laing, (Aust. B 1959) Weather #10, C type Photograph, 110 x 180cm, 2006 Let’s use the Structural Frame to have a talk about this image