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How to Interpret Sculptural Artforms – Part One

So you enter a gallery, a public space, a friend’s home or a business office and there it is – a three dimensional artwork that you’ve never seen before. Maybe it’s not even an artform or sculpture – what exactly is it? And how does it make you feel?

As three dimensional artforms  speak, their language is dependant on the surroundings they occupy Рlight, shadow, space and texture are just a few elements that help shape the effect of that artwork on its viewers. Is there a correct way to interpret a sculpture or three dimensional form? Or is it mere feeling and sense of mood that determine our interaction?

I came across an interesting series of slideshows on the website of Artist and Educator, Mark Creegan. If you go to this link, there are a few slideshows about art interpretation. I publish here Mark Creegan’s list of ¬†DESCRIPTIVE questions to ask yourself when viewing a three dimensional artforms;

    • What is it?
    • What is/are the material/s?
    • What type of form?
    • What formal elements are used?
    • What organizing principles are used?
    • What degree of dimensionality?
    • What is the method of construction?
    • Where is it?
    • What type/s of experience?
    • How does it interact with the space?
    • How do you interact with it?
    • How does negative space operate?
    • Where does sculpture end and space around it begin?
    • How is it displayed (pedestal, hanging, floating, propped, lying on floor, etc) ?
    • How is gravity dealt with?
    • Does gravity seem to work with piece or is the piece seemingly defying gravity?

In Part Two, I’ll list the next round of questions.