Key concepts and terms

Key concepts and terms
As the philosophy for content is the foundation of the
content with attention to new concepts and terms and
and skills relevant to content are achieved through
section of these materials there is a ‘Key Concepts and
new syllabus, we will unpack the
identify how the understandings
the Outcomes. In the Resource
Terms’ table that you can add to.
Activity 4: Practice
The purpose of the activity is to:
understand notions of ‘Practice’
The first of the outcomes refers to ‘Practice’. The syllabus tells us that us that:
Practice describes categories in the artworld
That the practices need to be understood discretely as disciplines, while
appreciating how they interact.
Practices require progressive ownership by students
The Practices are understood through other areas of content
Below are some statements and questions in relation to practice that you can explore
with your students. These enquiries are to assist the student to understand notions of
Includes social structures, positions, actions, and sequences that affect the choices,
perceptions, directions, ways of working and views of those involved in the visual arts.
Students are introduced to the beliefs, interests and values circulating in the visual
arts and how they may proceed in their own work.
Below are questions to introduce to students, through the Preliminary course to address
practice outcomes. These questions arise in teaching/learning activities, negotiations
with the teacher regarding artmaking (in V.A.P.D.)
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The New HSC: Section 1
What procedures can I
use to make art?
What are the various forms
I might use in my Preliminary
How can I learn to use my judgment
about artworks?
How can I make decisions that are not
just ‘first thing that comes into my head’
How should I use the Frames and the
Conceptual Framework to extend my
How can I learn to value creative products?
Can I give form to my mental representation
of ideas
How can I give them meaning?
What will be the qualities, both aesthetic and
expressive, of my representations?
What are my intentions and assessments in
my artmaking?
Does my artwork show conceptual strength
and meaning?
Is it simple or does it have layers
Why did I do this (intentions)?
How did I use signs, symbols, codes
and conventions?
How will others interpret it?
How is this different to
my interpretations?
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Art history
Art criticism
What types of broad–based
study should I undertake in
the preliminary yea
Am I bringing a new approach to this
How have other artists explored this
What aesethic considerations should
I give my work?
What experiments do I intend to
How do I want others to respond to
my work?
How do I investigate art history/art
criticism using the conceptual framework
and the agencies in the artworld?
How do I work out the different
interpretations of art history/art criticism
offered by the frames?
Does this help me form judgements?
How important is representation in a
particular time and place, and over time
and in different places?
How do different beliefs, technologies
and events influence different
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In art making, students need to understand the nature of the practice of artists so
that they can apply acquired knowledge, skills and values to their own practice.
They should explore how artists make selections and decisions, how they organise
their investigations, what actions or procedures they take and what processes of
self–evaluation and editing they pursue.
They need to appreciate how the frames and Conceptual framework can be applied to
artist’s practice and how this gives insight to the representation of images and
ideas in artworks. This understanding can then enable them to explore their own
artmaking using the frames.
The above notions of practice need to be identified in terms of both conceptual and
material practice; ie students should investigate how artists determine conceptual
meaning in their works through a network of explorations and how they experiment
and make decisions about media and process.
Similarly, in art criticism and art history students need to understand how a r t
critics and historians go about their practice, how they make selections,
interpretations and judgements and in what forms they express their ideas. From
these understandings and skills students can then apply their learning to their own
art critical and historical writing and verbal expression.
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Key concepts and terms
Activity 5 will explore the key concepts and terms for art making outcomes P5, P6, H5
and H6.
Activity 5: Artmaking concepts and terms
The purpose of this activity is to:
appreciate the concepts and terms in art making ‘practice’ outcomes
‘Sustained intentions’
The intention or focus for art making can be of a concept, idea, process, event, artist,
theme, style, artist, etc. This intention should be sustained through a network of related
activities, processes and investigations.
The challenge for teachers is to extend students’ conceptual grasp and to sustain their
intention or focus; to provide activities that encourage them to explore and build on
their concepts and to develop and hone their skills of critical judgement of their own
work and the work of others. By investigating art criticism and art history in relation to
their art making, students can come to terms these as disciplines and this should
inform their own practice.
The frames provide them with ways of interpreting interest areas, expanding their ideas
and language. The conceptual framework gives them a structure; they could apply it to
their practice in artmaking and art criticism/art history, recording responses in their
VAPDs and recording the dialogue that they conduct with the teacher.
Within art making practice, students should acquire knowledge, understandings and
skills in relation to both ‘conceptual practice’ and ‘material practice’. They should
sustain explorations in relation to the concept of their work and with the materials and
processes that they employ.
Conceptual Strength and Meaning (Conceptual practice)
Conceptual strength and meaning should be demonstrated in a Body of work and is a
criterion used in its assessment.
As the concept is explored, worked on, evaluated and reworked, the artworks should gain
conceptual strength and meaning. This can range from a convincing statement about a
simple idea, say the representation of fish or other simple object, to the building of layers
of meaning where there is a complex language of signs and symbols.
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The sustained investigation in art making should be encouraged from the beginning of
the Preliminary Course. It involves questioning work through the frames and
conceptual framework with their own work and other artist’s works. This practice should
give rise to a ‘body of work’.
With sustained intentions or investigation and continual re–evaluation and working
back into a work, students move towards coherence in their work.
Resolution is another criterion used for marking a body of work and is addressed in a
separate set of outcomes.
The outcomes refer to:
‘Material techniques’ or manipulation of a medium through sustained investigation
leading to ‘technical accomplishment’.
The notion of technical accomplishment is inferred to be the intentions of the artist.
Resolution is achieved in a student’s work with sustained development, where they
persist with the manipulation of process and media.
In some artworks, it is possible that the media and process constitute the concept itself.
For example, in the colour field paintings by Mark Rothko, the medium and i t s
manipulation IS the message.
Students should aim to integrate conceptual and material practice; ie the conceptual
strength and meaning of a work should be enhanced by technical accomplishment.
Here is a range of artworks by art student Polly Staniford. They represent mixed media
works, including photography, digital images, print–making and found object sculpture.
Titled “Fish”, these works were placed in the category of ‘Collection of Works’.
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The New HSC: Section 1
Polly collected various paraphernalia from the sea over a period of time. She used these
objects either directly in her artwork or a stimulus for the work.
One of the objects she collected was a dead puffer fish that had been washed up onto the
sand. Polly cleaned and dried the carcass, which she later mounted and presented it in a
perspex box. This ‘find’ was pivotal in the exploration of fish, which became the concept
for her explorations.
Polly understood the importance and value of research and, therefore, she explored her
concept in various ways (including visits to the fish market), this attitude logically led
to the development of work in more than one form.
Fish was not an attempt to address ‘deep and meaningful’ world issues; her intention
was to simply explore part of the world that had meaning for her. Her concept was
simple and very much part of her personal experience and as such it became strong
stimulus for the marking of art works. Her work demonstrated a strength of concept,
reinforced by a high technical accomplishment in a range of media.
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The frames
Outcomes P3, H3, P9 and H9 address the frames.
Activity 6: The frames
The purpose of this activity is to:
understand key concepts and terms
select appropriate historical investigations in relation to the frames
Most of you will be familiar with this content from the year 7-10 syllabus.
You may have used terms other than Frames. Some of these are ‘points of view’,
standpoints’. The outcomes refer to frames as ‘orientations’ in art history and a r t
The word ‘Frames’ does not necessarily imply what it means to a student.
You could make actual frames that represent the four frames and insert coloured
cellophane windows through which artworks can be viewed, thereby colouring the
interpretation and understanding according the frame.
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Key concepts and terms
Here is a range of questions that can be posed to students within each frame
These enquires into the frames can be regarded as discrete or fluid. Each frame sets up
different relationships between artists, artworks, the audience and the world. The
questions relate both to the student’s own artmaking and the study of artworks of
Below are questions to introduce to students to address the application of the frames in
teaching/learning activities, art critical and art historical research investigations and
negotiations with the teacher regarding art making (VAPD).
Subjective frame
Cultural frame
Personal psychological experience
Cultural and social meanings
What is my first impression?
What do I see, hear, … ?
What is the emotional impact?
What do I feel, recall, remember?
What am I reminded of?
What intuition or imaginings do I have about the
artwork ?
Do I like it?
What has it got to do with me or my experiences?
What emotions does the artist want to express?
Why did he (or I) make it?
What is it about?
What cultural group, race, place, identity is
What ideology is revealed in ideas, concepts,
manifestoes, shared beliefs?
What social class, gender?
What political stance (dissent or support, propaganda
or protest)?
What beliefs- secular or spiritual?
What significant events?
What meanings?
What signs and symbols reveal this information?
How do these cultural and social meanings affect the
art practices of this artist?
Structural frame
Postmodern frame
Communication, system of signs
Ideas that challenge the mainstream
Describe the visual language of line, shape, colour,
texture, tone, focal point, visual devices lighting,
composition, 3D space.
What style, or period, or art movement?
What materials and processes are used?
What other use do found objects have?
What symbolic value do the above convey?
Why were these symbols, signs selected?
What are the relationships between the symbols,
What formal conventions are shown
eg perspective, tonal modelling?
What cultural conventions are shown eg landscape,
How do all of these explain the world at the time and
Is it mainstream or is it outside the mainstream?
What is appropriated, quoted from another source?
Explain the source and what meaning is added.
Does this produce humour, irony, parody, wit,
What is omitted or disregarded?
What is re-configured and reinterpreted?
What is challenged in social cultural values, beliefs
spiritual/secular, power authorities?
What is challenged in art practices–classifications,
conventions, art movements/styles?
What is challenged about art history, the masterpiece,
art for art’s sake, the role of art?
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Frames and Historical Investigations
Within the Preliminary course outcomes it is expected that students understand the
frames discreetly. You need to select artists/artworks, movements, styles, events in your
investigations that appropriately represent each frame. For instance:
Romanticism, expressionism, abstract expressionism, Frank Lloyd Wright,
Van Gogh, Pollock
Daumier, Futurists, Rodin, Mexican Revolutionary art
Formalists, Cezanne, Mondrian, Bauhaus, Rothko
Dada, Cindy Sherman, Janet Laurence, Roberto Venturi
Even though the syllabus implies discreet understanding of the frames, they
cannot be fully understood if studied in isolation. The same is true when applying
the frames to artists, artworks, movement, styles and events. Each of the above
investigations can be explored and, therefore, better understood if investigated
through all of the frames.
To address both discreet and integrated understanding of the frames, it is merely a
matter of foregrounding one, while others are also explored. Refer to the unit on
‘Modernism’ in the Resource section for ‘framed’ explorations.
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Key concepts and terms
The conceptual framework
The last component of content in the outcomes is the Conceptual framework (Outcomes
P2, H2, P8 and H8). This acts as an organiser to explore ‘agencies’ in the artworld and
their relationships.
If you ask a class of year 11 students to write down what they understand by the term
‘conceptual framework’ it is probable that they will come up with a wide range of
interpretations that may not coincide with the syllabus use of the term. A device which
can be a helpful aid to meaning and provide a physical explanation is a triangular
pyramid (tetrahedron) constructed from straws or wire. With edges of about 15cm, this
can be placed on an overhead projector. The image that is projected should correlate to
the 2–dimensional diagram given in the syllabus.
This device is useful in explaining a) the fixed nature of relationships between the
agencies of the art world, represented by the edges, and b) that the focus for study can be
located at any of the apexes and that this focus can be shifted or rotated.
Activity 7: The conceptual framework
The purpose of the activity is to:
appreciate the relationships between the agencies of the artworld
understand new concepts and terms in relation to the conceptual framework
select appropriate historical investigations in relation to the conceptual framework
The New HSC: Section 1
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description and interpretation of aspects of
the World
representations of experience class ideology
age events technology
Material, physical, virtual
Art, craft, design
2 D,3D,4D/time based
representations of ideas
personal experience,
cultural views, symbolic
interpretations and
challenges to other ideas
the role and value of the audience
as critical consumers, art critics,
art historians, teachers, students,
entrepreneurs, members of public
meanings differ now and over
patron, curator, gallery vs Guild,
Salon, Academy.
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the role of the artist
Who, what,
–to me?
–to others?
Who do I hope will
see my work?
What do I want
them to
The New HSC: Section 1
Let’s look at the agencies in the artworld and who or what they refer to:
What new terms are referred to in each agency?
4D, virtual, material, physical works
the roles of artists as new inclusion in syllabus
the various players in the field of audiences and the roles of museums, curators
Artworks are differentiated as 2D, 3D and time–based. It is, therefore, advisable that
examples of each are included in investigations and that students have ideas about the
characteristics of each.
Also, ‘material, physical, virtual’ objects are listed. Students should have an
understanding of the differences of these manifestations. Teachers should include
interaction with each in student investigation. Notice Question 1a) in the draft sample
exam paper “Artworks can exist as physical things”.
The wide–ranging roles of artists are made explicit in this listing. Students should
explore examples of these and others, and develop ideas about their roles.
Notice Question 7 in the draft sample exam paper “Artists can be warriors, rebels and
great masters”.
Even though the relationship between audiences and artists and their works is implicit
in art criticism/art history of the current syllabus, it has become a formulised part of
study within the conceptual framework.
Audience is a collective term representing a range of interest groups. Students need to
explore a range of audiences in their investigation. For example, if we consider the
Archibald Prize exhibition, which different interest groups or audiences affect the way
artworks are understood or valued, and how artists are perceived? In this case, students
could explore such audiences as curators, judges, sponsors, critics, consumers, etc.
Conversely, students should explore the impact of the exhibition on the visiting public.
See draft sample exam Question 5 “Exhibitions are constructed to represent a point of
view to audiences”.
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The world indicates both the world of the artist and the audience. Students need to
understand how artists represent ideas and images of their world in artworks, and that
audiences bring along to exhibitions and artworks their own ideas and images of the
world which they draw on to make sense of artworks.
Often, the artist and audience are from different worlds, and this creates circumstances
for different types of understandings of artworks. Where artists and audiences share the
same world, the audience’s understandings might be challenged. See Question 6 of the
Draft sample exam “ Artists seek to interpret the world in new ways”.
In the Preliminary Course it is advisable to foreground each of the elements of the
Conceptual Framework. What event, issue, concept, movement, style, artist etc. might
you select to high–light each agency?
As students move through the Preliminary course, they should question the
relationships between the agencies of the world and start to ‘frame’ their investigations.
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Key concepts and terms
Activity 8: Representation
The purpose of this activity is to:
understand what is representation
appreciate how the application of the frames and conceptual framework can provide
insight into representation
Representation is the process of interpreting and depicting an idea or aspect
of the world in a particular way. It involves a mental operation in which
certain qualities of the idea/world are used to produce another idea which i s
registered in the artwork.
Ideas or aspects of the world that are represented are communicated or
depicted through image or word and become ‘texts’ or ‘narratives’ in an
Artists re-present ideas, images, issues, events etc. They bring to the present
or give presence.
The audience is confronted with this re-presentation and responds to what i s
represented or communicated to them. They combine this with their own
ideas or expectations about artworks to arrive at new representations.
Representation in the field of the visual a r ts is interpreted and documented
by art critics and art historians. Their representations are evident in their a r t
The artwork below is an artwork by Polly Staniford exhibited in a school exhibition, part
of a collection of works. Polly has represented her ideas about fish in this work. She has
also represented her understanding of artworks as sculpture and art exhibits (indicated
by the ‘Do not touch’ sign and the presentation table).
Audiences bring their representations or notions about artwork and fish to the
exhibition. They understand the sculpture as an artwork. This object would have a very
different representation if it were placed in a petshop or seafood restaurant.
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Below is an extract from “Art of the Postmodern Era” by Irving Sandler (Harper Collins
1996) that might assist you in your understanding of what is representation.
…But fewer and fewer you critics, scholars, and intellectuals seemed t o
be listening to formalists of any persuasion. Instead, they saw an
unbridgeable rift between art critics, who paid close attention to what
was ‘within’ the frame of the work of art, that is, its formal components,
and art theorists, who looked ‘beyond’ the frame to the social,
economic, and political context within which art came into being and
whose institutions it served. Art theorists paid particular attention t o
class and gender, which they claimed shaped art. They shifted critical
attention away from the particular work of art to its social context,
claiming that art could be understood only by investigating the extraaesthetic circumstances within which it was produced and exhibited.
Above all, they insisted that what counted most in art was what it
represented. Representation was defined as the complex of images and
texts through which a society represents itself–images and texts that have
become so ingrained as to be accepted without question. The work of art
was treated as a kind of “text” leading to a discourse on representation.
Instead of focusing on the singleness of the art object, art theoreticians
dealt with its multiple contexts, with the polyvalence of meaning, with
intertextuality–more specifically, with the patronage of art, the class
interests served by it, and its relation to popular culture. This resulted in
a considerable diversity of approaches among art theorists. They analysed
the content of art from the often conflicting perspectives of Marxism.
Feminism, history (rather than art history), sociology, psychoanalysis,
semiology, and linguistics. But they all agreed that art was essentially
about representation, not formal issues…
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The New HSC: Section 1
Representation, the Frames, Conceptual framework
and Practice
By applying the frames and Conceptual framework to the investigation of the field of
art, students can gain insight into representation in art making, art criticism and a r t
The Conceptual framework could be explored through any of the frames.
The agency ‘ World’ could be examined via the Cultural frame, where the example of
WWI could be seen to give rise to art movements and artworks that register the social
and political horrors of that event (see Futurism or ‘Guernica’).
The ‘World’ of new technologies could be explored through the structural frame to give
meaning to the representations in Howard Arkley’s work. The technology of air
brushing gives insight to his material practice.
Audiences could be examined through the Subjective frame. The Archibald audience
have strong personal responses and views as to who should be prize winners. This i s
dependent on their previous notions of what portraits should be and how they should be
Generally speaking, visitors to the Biennale expect to be challenged both by the nature
of artworks and their social implications; they could be understood as Postmodern
Art critics and historians, by way of their selections, interpretations and judgements,
are framing their responses to artworks. Feldman, in his formalist analysis of artworks,
employs the Structural frame, Robert Hughes could be seen as being motivated by
cultural considerations in his art histories. Griselda Pollock challenges conventional
art histories through the Postmodern frame.
In Section 2, Teaching and Learning Activities further explores the integration of
content. These should assist student’s understanding of representation.
The New HSC: Section 1
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