[237120, A1] Wk 3: Task 3 – Preparation Component A Draft 1 (Part 3)
The practice of the artist and designer is moulded by our exposure to visual imagery – we live and breathe the visual in order to interpret our surroundings and express this perspective to an audience through a variety of media. However, without an understanding of the context, methodology, and purpose of the visual text, information falls through the cracks and is lost to the audience. For artists and designers, this understanding brought on is vital in order to improve our practices. Thus, critical thinking allows for the progression of the artist and designer, refining our analyses of the process of creation and in turn, our own creations.
In order to gain insight into why critical thinking informs the artistic and design processes, it is first necessary to examine how. The visual text can be approached initially through the appreciation of its context; a point which John Ruszkiewicz reinforces extensively throughout his excerpt entitled ‘”Reading Texts” (Ruszkiewicz 32-34). Context into a visual text allows the artist and designer to understand the work beyond what is immediately apparent; to gain in-depth understanding of why the text was made, what influenced its construction, and what purpose it was designed to serve.
Critical thinking about visual texts is important to artists and designers in order to filter visual information into a concrete process. By creating a methodology by which to analyse visual texts, the artist and designer will be able to better understand the world around them to recreate it in their own works. Andrew Wallace describes such a framework in his text entitled “Critical Thinking” (Wallace 45-50). By dividing up critical thinking into the subsets of creative thinking, analysing, problem-solving, reasoning, and evaluating; Wallace provides a framework to approaching visual texts.
While the artistic process can be consciously manipulated through understanding of context and the processes of critical thinking, it is the subconscious influences on the artist and designer which have greatest impact. Nicholas Mirzoeff describes this in depth in his book How to See The World; how image editing and the mass spread of visual imagery in everyday life has changed the way we relate to images (Mirzoeff 1-11). Mass media has distorted the way we see the world around us due to image editing, as the vast majority of the global population are fed filtered images daily which provide an inaccurate view of their surroundings. Mass exposure to images doesn’t necessarily equate to a greater understanding of the subject depicted in those images. This knowledge is important to consider throughout the critical thinking process as an artist or designer, as we are forced to consider perspectives influencing production which are deeply entrenched in social norms to the point of invisibility. By acknowledging influences on art and design practices, we are better able to analyse the inspirations for the works of others and represent a true vision of the world in production.
Thus, looking closely and thinking critically about visual texts is crucial in informing art and design practice through expanding perspectives in both analysis and production of works. By understanding how context aids in analysis of works, artists and designers may utilise structured critical thinking in order to provide informed opinion and understanding of how the origins of the work feed its purpose. To understand the changes in the modern world and unravel these strands to provide a true image of our surroundings is the goal of artists: Thus, critical thinking fuels the art and design practices to describe the world in the form of visual text.
- Mirzoeff, Nicholas. How to See the World: A Pelican Introduction. London: Pelican Books, 2015.
- Ruszkiewicz, John J et al. “Reading Texts.” Beyond Words: Cultural Texts for Reading and Writing. 3rd ed. Boston: Pearson, c.2012. 9-39. Print.
- Wallace, Andrew et al. “Critical Thinking .” Beginning University: Thinking, Researching and Writing for Success. St Leonards, N. S. W.: Allen & Unwin, 1999. 45-50. Print.