Saturday, November 28, 2009

Assignment: abstract relief sculpture assemblage

Advanced 3D Art

Margaret Mellis, 'F', 1997

This will be your next project. You will create an abstract relief sculpture. It will be an assemblage sculpture, made largely out of wood. Today's blog post will introduce you to this project.

Please read this blog post and look at the pictures. Then, complete today's online assignment by answering the questions below (farther down, near the bottom of this post).

(Note: you will receive an handout with specific instructions for making your sculpture.)

First, let's review some terms:

Abstract art: pictures or sculptures that may be based on actual objects, but where the objects have been simplified, stylized, distorted, or otherwise altered to the point where they may become difficult or impossible to recognize. (The term abstract art is also sometimes used to describe non-objective art-- see below.)

Non-objective art:
pictures or sculptures that do not have any recognizable objects whatsoever. Non-objective art frequently focuses on things like color, shape, texture, and so forth.

Relief: sculpture that is attached to and projects outward from a wall or panel.
There are three kinds of relief sculpture— low, high, and sunken.
Low relief projects only slightly from its background; high relief projects farther out from its background. Sunken relief does not project at all—instead, shapes and forms are defined by carving into the surface. Some of the earliest forms of sculpture involve carving into various surfaces made of stone.

Assemblage: a type of modern sculpture where a number of objects and/or materials are combined and "assembled" to create a work of art. Objects/materials are often "found", but materials can also be things like wood that is cut to a particular size and shape.

A few historical examples of relief sculpture

Ancient Egypt, c.1500 b.c.

Assyrian Empire (Iraq), 665 b.c.

Ancient Greece, c.300 b.c.

Mayan (Mexico), 709 a.d.

Dogon, Mali (Africa), 19th c.

Art Deco relief on a building in Miami, FL, c.1930s

Contemporary (modern) abstract relief sculpture

Today's online assignment: we will be focusing on the sculpture of Margaret Mellis. Go to this website, read at least the first paragraph, and look at the images. Then answer the questions below. To answer the questions, make a comment with your answers. Number your answers, and SIGN YOUR NAME if you want to receive credit!

Margaret Mellis, Rust and Yellow, 1990

Questions for today:

1. What materials did Mellis use to create these sculptures? (be specific!)

2. How did she design/create these sculptures?

3. How are the pieces assembled?

4. Look at the picture titled Detail of Studio. What does this picture suggest in regards to the way she made her assemblage sculptures?

5. Select one of the sculptures by Mellis. Give its title and describe it in detail.

Next step: start thinking about what you might do for this project. Note that Margaret Mellis' sculptures are made out of "found" wood, while most of the others shown above are made out of wood that has been cut to size and shape. How might you approach this project? Where could you find some old pieces of wood?


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ugly Jugs, Face Jugs, Face Pots

Advanced 3D Art

This is your next project. You will make a pot with a face on it. These types of pots have been known as Face Pots, Face Jugs, Ugly Jugs, and sometimes as Voodoo Jugs. Although pots with faces on them go back to ancient times in a number of places around the world, in America, these pots are mainly associated with African-American potters in the American South. The exact origin of these pots is not fully known, but seem to originate with African-American slaves prior to the Civil War.

It is possible that in a tradition brought over from Africa, ugly jugs were made to scare away evil spirits from peoples' graves. They were also apparently used to store "moonshine" whiskey-- putting an ugly face on a liquor jug could have been meant to scare children and keep them away from the whiskey. Whatever the reason, these jugs present a unique means of expression for the potter. Artists in the south and elsewhere have continued to create this type of work up to the present day.

Your assignment for today:

1. Go to the website below, and read the article titled History of the African-American Face Jug, by potter Jim McDowell.

2. Search for images of ugly jugs by using google image search or something similar. Make a comment on this blog post, and provide links to the images that you want the teacher to see. You must provide at least three images; four or five would be even better. Make sure that you put your name on your comment-- if there is no name, you will not receive credit.