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Critique Phil & Guide

My current philosophy on group critiques:
The group critiques I gain the most incite from are when the viewer’s react and discuss the presented work without guidance. By choosing to listen to my audience, I learn how the work operates and what is or is not effective. I find it imperative to take notes including questions that arise. This style of critique allows the artist to take a step outside of the creative role and become a silent viewer.

I suggested this model, if your willing to let your art communicate for you for the majority of the time with the group (I would not suggest this format with an instructor, Visiting Artist, or one-on-one discussions). If you feel time constraints, cut steps one and six.

Step One:
The viewers take 2-3 minutes to write initial impressions of the work on a paper to be given to the artist after the critique. These notes indicate the level of engagement from each person (author can be anonymous).

Step Two:
If the artist is looking for comments regarding a specific aspect of the work, express this focus point for the discussion. Otherwise, continue to step three.

Step Three:
The viewers will discuss the work to evaluate strengths and weaknesses through constructive criticism. Be honest and offer considered opinions you can justify if challenged. If you disagree with someone else’s statement, express why. Offer personal and objective responses that you would value in a critique of your work. The conversation should include references to other ideas, experiences, history, artworks, artists, and so on (whatever makes senses).

During this time, the artist takes notes and evaluates their work from an outside perspective. This style of critique is meant to provide the artist with a variety of information from which they may choose the ones that fit their artistic goals.

Step Four:
The artist expresses his/her vision for the artwork. Describing the content through the current manifestation allows the viewers to understand the artist’s perspective. Respond to the important questions and discussion points.

Step Five:
Open the dialog to the entire group. The artist should asked questions they want answered.

Step Six:
Conclude by taking another 2-3 minutes to write down final responses to the work and resulting critique. Give your sheet to the creator. In this format, everyone can contribute opinions.

Of course, this format does not work in every group scenario...so consider your audience.