In college while studying Visual Arts, we had critiquing days that the class would sit in a room for up to 8 hours. You could equate the complaining (bragging) about the ‘hard work’ of critiquing art for 8 hours to an academic student complaining (bragging) about staying up all night to study. I am sure our 8 hours would morph into 10 hours when we would tell friends or family about our day – add 25% of the actual time, to give the desired effect.
It’s funny looking back on that now. Feeling like we were so important spending so much time sitting in one room discussing works of art. We knew to bring a picnic, as we would be there all day, rotating between sitting on the floor, desk, chairs, pacing and standing during this time.
Looking back, I also realized how much I learned from doing this and why it matters. Critiquing isn’t necessarily what you may think it is. It was discussion. We were not putting down the artist or the work.
We would discuss each work in turn, until we had gone through the work of the entire class. We talked about a piece until there was nothing left to talk about, which meant sometimes just finding ANYTHING more to say about it. With the perspective of each person in the room (combination of upbringing and life experience), we would touch a wide range of topics and could talk about one work for long periods of time.
Every work would bring out different thoughts or feelings and ideas to the artists’ intent with the piece. Each piece would also bring out thoughts or feelings of the viewer. This brought a great sense of empathy and understanding.
Looking at the work from many different angles, you are always searching for what it means, and what it could mean for you as the viewer, and ways you could obtain impact in your own work.
Art critiquing enhanced my ability to understand people, problem solve – by looking at something from every possible outlook or view, as well as communication and discussion – which can only be a benefit to me who had been a very shy child (gradually moving past this 😉 )
I am still so fascinated how art is SO different for every individual. If you have a group of people painting the same image, they all turn out completely differently.
As I am writing this now, I am thinking this is one of the reasons I like meetings, the longer the discussion the better!