Feedback on assignment 4 — Written by Carla Rees (my notes in red)
For this assignment, you have explored the work of Louise Lawler, a New York based artist and photographer who has incorporated portraits of other artists’ work into her own output. Her work is a good choice for this assignment, since it often emphasises the course theme of place by including the locations the artworks are situated in.
You write in a clear, well-communicated way, but sometimes your writing is be more editorial in style than academic. It would be helpful to back up your opinions with more evidence or detail, including the opinions of other academic writers who support your arguments. You should use in-text citations to show where your information has come from, and it would be helpful to use a wider range of academic sources for your information, rather than relying on websites. Now that OCA students have access to UCA’s library, there are numerous online journals and scholarly articles that you can use for your research. Remember to give references for the artwork you include in your essay within the captions; any copyright material needs to be credited, both in terms of the copyright holder and the source, using the Harvard format.
I totally understand I need to understand better the Harvard format, and could do with an example of what I am doing wrong, I thought I was siting my sources correctly, but realize I need to use in-text citations (does this mean with numbers next to the phrase?) This is the first time I have written academic papers, and perhaps I could use some help. I tried to access the UCA’s library, but had some difficulty, which the tech team told me was due to being in Vietnam, with different servers? I will try again and hope the error has been resolved. Being in Vietnam with no access to physical libraries, or book stores, I am sadly reliant on the internet for resources, this is why I tried to find a popular artist, which I could rely on MoMA for information, and did find a couple of papers on Acadamia.Edu, which were really helpful.
I feel there are several areas of your essay that you could explore in more depth. For example, you raise the question of whether or not photography can be considered as fine art; you are arguing that Lawler’s work is indeed art, but suggest that other photographers might not be included within the term. It would be helpful here to expand your argument further; what it is about the work of other photographers that makes it not considered as fine art? Do you have evidence to support your opinions? You say of Lawler ‘her photographs are considered art because she is an artist’ – isn’t this true of all other photographers too? If not, why not?
This is a very important point, and realize now I didn’t clarify why the art world doesn’t regard photography as fine art, and will find some scholarly papers to support my argument and maybe re-visit the idea of if an artist make work, is it considered art?
How does she ‘question the influence of the original art work’? Is it just through her titles, or would you also have the same response if you didn’t know what the titles were? What is the importance of place in her message to the viewer? What is she trying to show when she gives the viewer a new perspective on another artist’s work and how does she achieve this?
Another really great point, I think I touched upon how her words influence her work, how they talk back to the viewer, but there is an example of the same photograph in the exhibition repeated opposite the room with a different title — Lawler challenges the viewer by questioning titles as well as content. She is constantly giving the viewer different perspectives on other artists work through both words and documentary style photography.
You draw parallels with Duchamp, and this is something that could also be subject to further exploration, especially in terms of how the context and reception of their work differs as a result to a changing cultural environment.
How has art changed since Duchamp’s ready-mades, which could have influenced the Picture Generation in the early 80’s? Conceptual and Visually — both artist question the art world, challenging the ideas of what art is at the time.
Regarding the medium of photography itself, it is clearly intrinsically linked to Lawler’s work, but what precisely is the effect of this medium in this context – for example, is she reproducing images/situations exactly as found (ie documentation) or manipulating them in a way that is best suited to the photographic medium? How different might her work be if she was painting rather than photographing, for example? What about the way the images are seen by the viewer, and reproduced? Are they designed to be seen in a particular place or context, or do they have the same meaning when reproduced and seen in other forms? What about the course theme of Time? How does this fit in to Lawler’s work? It strikes me that she is using photography to direct the viewer into a particular ‘way of seeing’ (John Berger’s work springs to mind here – you mention him in your notes on the blog but this is something else that you could bring in more detail to your essay, demonstrating context and an awareness of the work of other commentators) to enable her audience to experience her point of view.
I really wanted to include the work of Jon Berger, its so relevant to the the theme of place, and where you physically view art, I will look into this further. I did think I worked the coursework theme of Time when looking at the photograph “War on Terror” which visits the idea of matriarch lineage on powerful women through time, and their role in photography, literature and painting — art, through anti-war works. As far as looking at the medium of photography itself, reproducing images exactly as they are seen, like documentation, or manipulation, Lawler’s work used the photograph as the starting point, but through time, she has distorted or changes the medium, for example the tracings — not neccesarily a painting, like in the example, but she demonstrated many different forms, in scale/colour/words/distortion.