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Concentration on sculpture.

Having just completed a lengthy two-dimensional assignment concerning positive and negative space, our general art students were ready to apply their knowledge to a three-dimensional project. The logical progression was to build on what they had recently mastered concerning space, and begin to explore volume and form. The objectives of the sculpture unit were for the students to:

* understand the concept of three-dimensional design;

* develop an understanding for analyzing the strengths and weaknesses in sculptural form;

* use the sculptural form expressively.

A general lecture and slide presentation on sculptural construction was presented to the class. Methods of developing a three-dimensional form by constructive, additive, subtractive and forming techniques were discussed. Several short assignments were designed to introduce the concepts.

Project 1:

Students were given two sheets of 9" x 12" (23 cm x 30 cm) white drawing paper and asked to shape one sheet by folding and bending it into a free-standing sculptural form. With the second piece the students were allowed to cut and bend the sheet to create a sculptural form. They were encouraged to turn each form as they worked and develop a critical eye for the sculptural possibilities.

Project 2:

Following a slide lecture on the works of Alexander Calder and Naum Gabo, the students worked with paper or poster board to solve the problem of creating three-dimensional space using two-dimensional planes. Each student was to choose one geometric shape, vary the size, repeat the shape and cut several pieces from the poster board, no larger than 5" (13 cm) in any one direction.

The students arranged the poster board shapes into a free-standing sculpture, emphasizing positive and negative space to create volume. During class critiques, the students realized the many variables to be considered in creating volume: the use of planes and lines, open and closed space, and the effect of light on the sculptural form.

Project 3:

The sculptural unit culminated with Cubist self-portraits in cardboard. After looking at slides and reproductions of artworks by Cubist artists such as Picasso, students did several pencil studies of their faces, breaking them into planes. Then they copied their profile and frontal silhouettes onto sheets of corrugated cardboard. Using X-acto knives, the two silhouettes were slit up from the bottom and down from the top in the approximate center of the shape and joined together to create a free-standing base. Students used mirrors to select which elements to emphasize: positive and negative space, realistic or abstract, size, positioning, or point of view. The cardboard was lest unpainted to allow the color to unify the form. Pieces were added to the face and hair to show detail and secured with a hot glue gun. I encouraged the students to turn and evaluate the form as they worked. Critiques and an exchange of ideas really sparked them to work to a wide variety of successful conclusions.

Leila W. Koeppe is Art Director and Terri Cummings, Art Instructor at Fort Worth Country Day School, Fort Worth, Texas.
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Title Annotation:projects for three-dimensional design sculptures
Author:Koeppe, Lee
Publication:School Arts
Date:Apr 1, 1991
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