Developing Critical Thinking
Form, Subject, Content
• Form may be defined as the physical
manifestation of an idea or emotion.
Two dimensional forms are created
using line, shape, texture, and color
Form, Subject, Content
• The subject, or topic, of an artwork is
most apparent when a person, an
object, an event, or a setting is clearly
represented. For example, the conflict
between the rebels and the Empire
provides the subject for Star Wars.
Form, Subject, Content
• The emotional or intellectual message
of an artwork provides its content, or
underlying theme. The theme/content
of Star Wars is the journey into the self.
Stop, Look, Listen, Learn
• Objective criticism is used to assess
how well a work of art or design utilizes
the elements and principles of design.
Stop, Look, Listen, Learn
• Subjective criticism is used to
describe the personal impact of an
image, the narrative implications of an
idea, or the cultural ramifications of an
Types of Critiques
• Description
– A descriptive critique is a critique in which
the viewer carefully describes what he or
she sees when observing a design.
Gustave Caillebotte, Place de l’Europe on a Rainy Day,
Types of Critiques
• Cause and Effect
– A cause and effect critique is a critique in
which the viewer seeks to determine the
cause for each visual or emotional effect in
a design. For example, the dynamism in a
design may be caused by the diagonal
lines and asymmetrical balance used. Also
known as formal analysis.
Gustave Caillebotte, Place de l’Europe on a Rainy Day,
Compositional Diagram
Types of Critiques
• Compare and Contrast
– A compare/contrast critique is a critique in
which similarities and differences between
two designs are analyzed. Often used in
art history classes to demonstrate
differences in approach between artists.
Raphael, The School of Athens, 1509-1511
Cally Iden, Transforming Crouse College into a
Labyrinth, Student Work
Tricia Tripp, Transforming Crouse College into a
Labyrinth, Student Work
Initial Design and Design variation
Developing a Long Term Project
• Week One Assessment
– Determine Essential Concept
– Explore Polarities
– Move from General to Specific
– Move from Personal to Universal
Developing a Long Term Project
• Week Two Assessment
– Develop Alternatives
– Edit Out Nonessentials
– Amplify Essentials
Jason Chin, A is for Apollo (left) and U is for Urania
(right), Student Work
Turn up the Heat: Pushing your
Project’s Potential
Should anything be added to the design?
Should anything be subtracted?
What happens when any component is multiplied?
Can the design be divided into two or more separate
Claes Oldenberg and Coosje van Bruggen,
Shuttlecocks, 1994
• In time based work, changing the
organization of the parts of the puzzle
can completely alter the meaning of the
Angela contemplates entering the building.
Angela now wonders what will happen when she opens
the door at the top of the stairs.
By repeating the image of Angela, we can present a
dilemma: she is now in a labyrinth—which route should
she take?
Concept and Composition
Robert Rauschenberg, Monogram, 1955-59
Robert Rauschenberg, Monogram, 1st state, c. 1955
Robert Rauschenberg, Monogram, 2nd state, c. 1956