Tag Archives: Tutor Feedback

Assignment 3: Final revisions of essay

I gave an initial response to my tutor’s feedback on assignment 3 here. I have since then spent some time reworking and re-writing elements of the essay to try and make improvements or fill in gaps that my tutor had a highlighted.

One of the main things my tutor highlighted was ‘the need to work on integrating relevant ‘theory’ with your solid analysis’. I read Walter Benjamin’s essay, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction some time ago, but recently read Ways of Seeing by John Berger. I found within Berger’s book (which draws heavily on many of the arguments Benjamin’s essay made), much more accessible. I also found that Berger’s arguments were relevant to the assignment, particularly the issue of the distinctness of an original and the notion of a ‘language of images’. I’ve tried to incorporate these arguments in my revised essay.

My tutor also noted that Golz work (the artist whose re-appropriation I studied in my essay), was postmodernist. I had manged to get part way through reading Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction by Christopher Butler, so I carried on reading, and discovered that Golz work was a good example of postmodernism in it’s obsession with using elements from art of the past, and in it’s bid to force viewers or audiences to question art by taking elements of past movements and re-working them. Golz work also has a feminist slant to, and I found Berger and Butler both useful in explaining her effort to address the representation of women in society at the time of Vermeer and in today’s postmodernist society. I’m aware that I still don’t have a comprehensive understanding of Postmodernism but I feel like at least I’ve tried to grasp some key concepts and refer to them in a way that’s appropriate to the subject of the essay.

My tutor also noted that Golz had drawn on elements in her re-appropriation that were similar to elements seen in typical Vermeer paintings, again this highlighted to me the need for further research. I found a book in my library dedicated to Vermeer; A view of Delft Vermeer then and now, by Anthony Bailey, which me to uncover how The Girl with The Pearl Earring would’ve been seen by an audience at the time. I used this to help improve my semiotic analysis of the original. Which leads to my final point of improvement – I was encouraged to be more deliberate in my semiotic analysis, so I decided to make that the initial starting point of my re-written essay, beginning with the denotation and then moving on to the connotation of the original.

I think (at least hope), these changes and further research have made my essay much more informed. I’ve certainly tried to incorporate wider themes, refer to key course textbooks in the revised essay.

Assignment 4: Final revisions of essay

I wrote previously about revisions to my essay for assignment four here.  Now a few months after originally revising the essay I allowed a bit of time to re-read my tutor’s original feedback and my revised essay. Reading the essay back I felt that my writing was a little too apologetic, I was skirting around the arguments I really wanted to make rather than actually saying ‘this is my opinion’ and providing the evidence to back that up.

I’d also taken some time to read ‘Ways of Seeing’ by John Berger and found this provided some interesting observations on Photography which I tried to reference in the essay. Essentially my re-vision of the essay focused on making arguments more succinct, writing a an introduction with clearer initial arguments and making a bolder conclusion. In my first version I hadn’t wanted to make a clear case as to whether or not I considered the photographing of Goldsworthy to be the work itself. I decided that I did feel that his work was in fact heavily wrapped up in the use of photography to the extent that it really becomes part of his work, although not the entirety of it. I think in my second version I managed to convey this much clearly.

It’s worth me mentioning or acknowledging that my tutor recommended reading, Landscape and Western Art by Malcolm Andrews, I looked into buying it and came to the conclusion I couldn’t afford to at the moment, sadly when I searched for it in my local library they used to have a copy but somebody stole it awhile ago (so it’s just on their records). I know the book would’ve helped me to explore why Goldsworthy’s photographs seem to sit alongside the romantic view of the landscape.

Assignment 5: Tutor Feedback & Re-writing Essay

I wanted to take some time to reflect on my response to my tutors feedback on assignment 5. I’ll try and be clear about practical changes, where I’ve added or re-written elements of the essay and worked on any other feedback my tutor gave me.

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Assignment 4: Response to Feedback

There’s a few points which following my tutor’s feedback on the essay I have considered and will look to incorporate in a more fluid form into my essay.

Questions/Viewpoints to add into altered essay:

My tutor mentioned his work was in the same vein of romantic works – Is his work pastoral or idyllic, like the romantic paintings and early landscape photography? Link to Graham Clarke’s The photograph chapter on Landscape.

Graham Clarke talks about British Landscape photography as a form of controlling the landscape (for reference p.55), “The photograph allowed the land to be controlled, visually at least – to be scaled and ordered”. It makes me wonder about the element of control in Goldsworthy’s photographs. It’s another layer of man-made control and order, he constructs the sculptures from natural elements, but he is then adding another layer of man made alteration with the use of the camera to not just capture but frame our view of his ephemeral sculptures.

The man-made construction of his ‘natural works’ is somewhat a contradiction or juxtaposition of ideas: especially in sheep throws where he himself is visible in the photograph – its clear he is altering and in charge of the landscape not so natural as he makes pains to claim?

Issue of major income coming from photographs Goldsworthy publishes in coffee table style books – this is mentioned in the Guardian interview here.  I mention it because it adds a further complexity to the debate of whether or not the photographs are art in themselves. It is the sale of such books that forms a major part of income (my tutor pointed this out to me). This reminds me of Grayson Perry’s series of Reith Lectures which formed the basis for his book ‘Playing to the Gallery’.

At some point during the lectures he comes up with boundaries or markers to help us decide what art is and one of these is about whether or not the art work is deemed sell-able or has a monetary value. If that is a marker for something being art then Goldsworthy’s photographs are art works. As the Artist has control over his works, presumably Goldsworthy could refuse to sell the photographs, citing that they were not the art work but rather a reference point or a tool to make the actual work accessible to a wider audience (than himself and any assistants!). But he does sell the photographs, as objects but also as photo-books with length text explanations.

My tutor mentioned the use of text alongside his photographs as worth exploring – I agree with her in that it seems like another form of shaping our interaction with his work. He goes to great lengths to explain his process, the weather that shaped his work, his own feelings towards it, the history of the place etc. After reading these things it’s impossible not to see the themes of place and time within his work, he’s presented those things to us. I wonder what conclusion we would come to if we presented just with the pictures, no accompanying information? I’m also beginning to see how carefully constructed the interaction with Goldsworthy’s ephemeral pieces is, there’s the carefully framed photographs, the in-depth textual explanations or observations. It’s as if these temporary works are being embalmed or enshrined for the purposes of preservation. But I think in the effort to preserve the work can become lost, what we have instead is an artefact.

 

Assignment 3:Reflections on Tutor Feedback

I realise I often don’t give the time/space to reflect on my tutor’s feedback on an assignment before diving straight into the next one. Her feedback was lengthy but helpful. There’s a few things I want to pick up on as room for improvement following her feedback:

  1. I need to make sure when I read recommended texts for the course I do the following things;

a) Make notes on my responses, thoughts, questions that arise on my blog as I read – this isn’t something I’ve done so far.

b) Make space/schedule time for reading these texts – I’ve given a large proportion of the time allocated to study to working on the exercises and assignment but haven’t set aside an amount of time for reading to support or supplement my studies. In all honesty I’m not sure how best to do this! Should I set aside an afternoon a week to read textbooks? Or a couple of hours a week?

2. Learn from previous mistakes:

For the next section on Photography, I’ve gone ahead and bought the texts my tutor recommended; Ian Jeffrey Photography: A Concise History, Susan Sontag On Photography, Graham Clarke The Photograph: A Visual History, Charlotte Cotton The Photography as Contemporary Art.

3. Recommended Essays or Documentaries;

My tutor mentioned Walter Benjamin’s 1936 Essay, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, as an important essay exploring mass communication. I found a version of it online, here.

She also recommended I watch John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, series of programmes made in 1972. I have also found a link to these on YouTube and will begin watching those and making some reflections in my learning log.