Thursday, 14 May 2015

Tutor Report MM Pt1

Open College of the Arts
Tutor report


Student name  
Sylvia Philpot
Student number         
Painting 2: Mixed Media
Assignment number    


Page 1 of 1

Dear Sylvia

Overall Comments:

Many thanks for your First Assignment work.


Overall Comments:


This is good start to the course with some paintings that are showing promise and potential. You seem to be very confident with construction and I am impressed with the amount of work you have produced in your sketchbooks and log book. There is already evidence of creativity and I like your open, experimental approach which is helping to develop your ideas and concepts – There are some issues with strength of design, use of colour and more critique rather than description in the logbook but I can only see that you have the potential to do well on this course.




 I know that you are doing this course with the intention of aiming for the degree in Painting/Creative Arts. I am also aware that you are using the OCA website and hopefully contributing to the forums. It is also important that you occasionally post work on the site for comments by your student peers and gauge your work against that of other students on the same course.


Please also look at the summary of Assessment guidelines and ensure that you are aware of the standards expected. Also make full use of the student resources on the OCA website, look out for recommended exhibitions to visit and consider attending Study Days. The use of the resources and the attendance at Study days will help to improve your approach to your online blog and sketchbooks.


Assignment Presentation

Please can you ensure that your proposal includes your name and student number and that you include details of your blog address with your assignment. I had to trawl back to your student profile to find your blog address.


I would also request that you follow OCA advice and send your work in a plastic or polypropylene portfolio A2 that is lighter and save on postage. This can be sent without wrapping as long as you seal over the clips with strong parcel tape. Many students send their work to me now by this method and it works well. You can choose to send work by parcel post, signed delivery or parcel force as long as the weight is less than 2 kilos.


I will give you more feedback on your Assessment potential once I have seen you second Assignment to give you time to settle to the course.


Feedback on assignment


The work you have presented for this assignment demonstrates

Competent technical and visual skills, a competent realization of ideas, presented well showing judgment. There is a reasonably effective grasp of ideas and communication of visual concepts. There is also evidence of creativity and risk taking with imaginative and successful outcomes. (Assessment Criteria) – this description give you some idea of your standard based on this initial assignment.


If we then look at your physical texture piece, which is a very good start, we are given the message you intend –that of a distorted visage of a corpse that has been tortured and sacrificed. This has archeological connotations (context) which link back to not only the sacrificial images of Peru but also (closer to home), that of the peat bog sacrifices in Ireland and Denmark. You also mention the influence of Anselm Keifer in terms of the colour and texture, which is good.


However I would push you a little further in terms of context and suggest that you look at the work of Jean Fautrier – A now rather overlooked French painter and an exponent of Tachisme whose paintings and sculptures in the hostage series reflect the experience he had of being captured by the Gestapo and hearing the tortured cries of their victims


The design of the image works quite well in that the incline and twisted nature of the cloth and heavy impasto emphasize distortion and writhing pain.


The impact of the image in terms of the use of the colour of the materials, cloth/material tone and white impasto is good but rather obvious. I would therefore point out that Fautrier does not have to use blacks or obvious symbolism to convey the terror and intent in this hostage series which are varied in colour and are highly effective symbolist works.


Moving on to your second painting – the Red Bull collage – this collage has an impact on the viewer in terms of the colour, the use of text, lettering and numbering and the palimpsest nature of layering, which reveals and conceals. However much of the symbols employed are not really evident until we read your description and evaluation. I wonder therefore if some of the images of the bull should have been made more explicit for your viewer as a focal point or points – – Is there more concealing here than revealing here?  And this also raises a question about the thought behind the placing of the collage – is there a plan or purpose to the placing of letters, numbers or symbols?  I would also direct you to think about your support and the shape of your support. Why did you use a square board for this image? Is there an element of framing here or is the image part of something much larger? What would be the purpose of framing this image? Could you have made the whole support into the shape of a bull and how would that have affected the decisions about the placing of the collage? –Think about Picasso and Braque’s original intention when they invented collage – to break up or interrupt the picture plane – is your image doing this or is it just a synthesis of ideas that convey harmony rather than dystopia?


Sketchbook /Exercises


This is a very good book with a good range of textural experiments, collage, decoupage and photgraph-based images.

You have followed the exercises very well and your sense of colour, use of materials and design is improving with some exciting outcomes. This is very thorough background study and the variety of outcomes shows that you are questioning, researching and gathering influences from artist as diverse as Piper, Klein, Tapies and Schoolwerth. Please keep up this level of research and investigation.



Learning Logs/Critical essays:

Please try to include more critique in your logbook/blog. You have understood that the logbook is partly a vital diary of your progress through the course, self -appraisal/practical understanding of the course projects. However the blog must also show evidence of continuous questioning and cognitive thought. You do this to some extent but your approach can also become too descriptive. The assessors want to know about process but they want to know more about your thought process, intent and evaluation. Look at what is working in your work and write notes about it and do the same for what is not working. Evaluate your work in terms of Concept – the message to your viewer –explicit or implicit – your intent – why are you doing this piece of work and what do you want to achieve by it? Unpack your thought process; Construction/composition – do the forms (figurative or abstract) look correct –is the design working? How do the decisions and restatements you are making improve or detract from your intent – e.g. the design emphasis and the message in the work Context – influences from primary sources (location, artifacts in galleries, artists work or objects, buildings etc), secondary sources – internet, books, artists, articles, journals/magazines; Also a conscious understanding of how these influences can be absorbed back into your work and finally do not forget to analyze the use of colour, tone, use of material ( including justification ) gesture, mark –how these help to change or express your character in your work – unpack your personal research, analysis and self –reflection.


Suggested reading/viewing

Go to the Tate Britain and look at the Painting Now exhibition, which includes the work of Tomma Abts, Gillian Carnegie, Simon Ling, Lucy McKenzie and Catherine Story.  Please also look at artists such as Richard Artschwager, Hughie O’Donohugh, Per Kirkeby, John Hoyland, Dorothea Rockburne and Elizabeth Murray.


I would also recommend reading a Thames & Hudson Book by Suzie Gablik called Progress in Art – this is a book from the 1970’s and you will find it on Abe books – this books helps you to understand perception and the cognitive thought processes of both artists and viewers.


Pointers for the next assignment

·        Think more about the wider concepts of your use of calligraphic marks and text in terms of design, message/meaning, supports used, framing


A good start to the course. Well done.


              Yours Sincerely,


              Richard Liley







Tutor name:
Richard Liley
Next assignment due

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