Questions and Tasks

1. Anish Kapoor

Unit 2. Area of study 2: Ideas and styles in Artworks

Analyse the use of aesthetic qualities in Anish Kapoor’s work.

Kapoor’s sculptures makes us feel the physicality of materials, recalling our earliest experiences and the psychological states associated with them.

It is as if Kapoor wants to lead us out of the gallery, lifting us from the confines of the space to connect us to the fundamental elements of life itself: smell, sound, colour, light and dark, all of which evoke a physical response.

He also invites us to dream, to think back, to remember, to consider our own materiality and then return anew to his sculptures.

Every work exists in its own place and space, but we complete each one with our own response. The works are nothing without the engagement of the human senses. 

(Wendy Anderson, 2009, Anish kapoor An Introduction to the Exhibition for Teachers and Students)

Thumbnail_320Anish Kapoor, England/India b.1954, Void (#13) 1991-92, Fibreglass and pigment, 161 (diam.) x 120cm, Purchased 1998.

Analyse the use of aesthetic qualities in Kapoor’s Void (#13)

Answer the following questions:

1. How does Kapoor’s use colour to help convey a particular mood or feeling?

2. How does Kapoor manipulation of form affect the way you feel about the work?

3. Discuss the main shapes present in the sculpture; which visual characteristics separate the artist’s work from other artist?

4. How has Kapoor used space to create depth in the artwork?

Collate information in your visual diaries in order to recognise Kapoor’s style and unique approach he employs, you will be following a similar process when analysing Joseph Beuy’s Blue on Centre (refer to artist page for background and context information).

Blue on Centre 1984 by Joseph Beuys 1921-1986

Joseph Beuys, Blue on Centre, 1984, Painted metal on card, 316 x 240 mm

* Activity:

Make a series of studies of one of the following subjects: a derelict part of town, a old car yard, a farmyard or garden, a swimming pool. Create a piece of work which uses none of the colours you might expect to find in the real landscape. Your aim might be to balance the tones in your picture rather than re-create the real colours.

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2. Brett Whiteley

Unit 1. Area of Study 3: Interpretation of art ideas and use of materials and techniques

Assessment task Assignment- Art Criticism

whiteley_1_1977_510px.jpg.510x10000_q85Fig. 1 Brett Whiteley, Self portrait in the studio, 1976 (oil, collage, hair on canvas, 200.5 x 259.0cm Purchased 1977 Collection: Art Gallery of New South Wales Photograph: Christopher Snee)

The best way to experiences an artwork is to visit museums and galleries. While we cannot physically visit this work at the gallery it is important that we gain prior knowledge. This knowledge helps us form a critical judgement about art and it is fundamental that we have a knowledge about the art we are judging. This comes through a study of Art history. Therefore it is important that you research the background information provided so you can pass judgement on it.

1. Ensure you have read the Brett Whiteley Blog post and watched the YouTube footage of Wendy Whiteley discussing Self Portrait in the Studio.

2. Take notes of Whiteley’s use of:

  • Techniques

  • Inspiration

  • Ideas expressed in the works

  • Formal and aesthetic qualities

3. Use this information to help answer the questions below:

a) What experience does this work evoke in you? Why/Why not

b) What does this painting communicate about art and life?

c) Why did Whiteley use ultramarine blue so predominately?

From an art criticism point of you will need to think about the meaning behind the work e.g. Why did Whiteley decide to paint his studio? why is their a nude depicted in the composition?

Here is an example of some art criticism:

Similar to Brett Whiteley’s other significant paintings of this period, ‘Self-portrait in the studio’ exudes a sense of the liquid presence of the harbour through what he called ‘the ecstasy-like effect of Ultramarine blue’. Whiteley’s mirror self-portrait also reflects the influence of Eastern art in his portrayal of man as merely part of a larger landscape. However, this painting also hints at a darker side, as Wendy Whiteley explained in 1995:

… he was warning himself and other people watching. It was the cage of his interior, his addiction, the window or a glimpse of possible escape into paradise: the escape from one’s psyche.

4. Your answers can be presented in hard copy (Word Document) or an interactive manner (Prezi, PowerPoint, Blog, Pod cast).

5. An image of ‘Self portrait in the studio’ must be included, together with its title, date, medium and dimensions.

6. A bibliography (please note, marks will be deducted if you only use one or two references).

7. Word limit – approximately 700 words.

Fig. 2 Henri Matisse, The Red Studio, oil on canvas, 1911 (MoMA)
Speakers: Dr. Steven Zucker, Dr. Beth Harris


Compare Self-portrait in the studio (fig 1) to Henri Matisse’s The red studio of 1911 (fig 2). Consider how Whiteley interpreted the theme of the artist and studio. According to curator Barry Pearce, “unlike Matisse, Whiteley never emptied his ego completely from such subjects.”

* Discuss this quote.

3. Bridgette Riley

Unit 2. Area of Study 2: Ideas and styles in artworks.

Exploring Blue and Pink…


Bridget Riley, Blue and Pink, 2001, Screenprint on paper, 282 x 1186 mm

Part A) The following questions will assist you when exploring: 1. Subject Matter, 2. Cultural Contexts, 3. Influences 4. Ideas and Meaning.

1. Subject matter

What are the ideas or themes portrayed in the artwork?

What you can see in the artwork. Are there shapes, patterns, people?

Can you identify the genre of the artwork? Is it still life, 
landscape, Op Art, Pop Art?

Does the artwork have a theme, beauty, love, death? Is it about science, physics, psychology, culture, war? Is it based on issues, politics, global warming, identity, control?

2. Cultural contexts

Is there a reference to a particular gender (male, female), culture, language or period of time? Is it feminist, Indigenous, Chinese, German?

Is it about a particular class, such as the rich, lower class, middle class or the destitute?

Is it about a specific place, country, space, environment? Is it suburban, rural, desert, forest or a seascape?

3. Influences

Is the artwork influenced by other artists, film, advertising, poetry, history, literature, exhibitions, television?

Are their social, political, cultural influences?

4. Ideas and meaning

Is it a way of thinking, a belief, philosophy, perception, behavior or attitude?

Is it founded on morals, feeling, imagination, body image, identity, ecstasy or other issues?

What is the meaning behind the artwork?

5. How are all of the above questions connected?

Part B) Art Elements: 
the elements that play an important role in the accomplishment of an artwork (for example, colour, line, tone, shape, texture, form)

Colour is the dominant art element in Riley’s Blue and Pink (2001).  Riley has made the creative decision to keep her screen print to a limited palette of only two and harmonious colours (soft pink and vibrant blue)

The use of colour is an intrinsic part of conveying a specific type of emotion in art.

Why do you think the design component of a design has such a significant impact on the way a piece of art is conceived?

* Activity:

Choose two pieces of opposing artworks from different periods of time and discuss the different emotions evoked in each, approx 500 words.

4. Klein and Riley

Unit 2. Area of Study 2: Ideas and styles in artworks.

Analyses of two inspirational Artworks:

Monochrome Painting and Op Art…

Yves KleinYves Klein- Blue Monochrome, 1961,Dry pigment in synthetic polymer medium on cotton over plywood, 6′ 4 7/8″ x55 1/8″ (195.1 x 140 cm

Research the artwork, Blue Monochrome, 1961 of French born artist Yves Klein (the page on Klein will help you here):

  • How has Klein used colour to create meaning?

  • How has ‘monochrome’ painting influenced the style of his work?

  • How has the scale of his artworks impacted on the communication of ideas?

  • How does the blue make you feel when looking at the monochrome painting?

  • Inspect the work closely and from a distance; compare your aesthetic appreciation of the different views.

bridget-riley-Blue-and-PinkBridgette Riley- Blue and Pink, 2001, Screenprint on paper, 282 x 1186 mm

Research the artwork of English Painter Bridgette Riley, Blue and Pink, 2001 (the page on Riley will help you here, have a look at some of the links):

  • How has Riley used line, pattern and visual illusions in her art?

  • How has nature influenced the style of her artwork?

  • How did Op artists use psychology and mathematics in their work?

  • How does it make you feel looking at the optical trickery? Take note of the effect it has on your eyes and brain.

  • How has the use of Pink and Blue in this artwork impacted on the communication of ideas?

In an oral presentation, compare the works of both artist and their use of colour and scale. Discuss the impact of culture and inspiration upon the artists through observation and research of the artworks.

The table below will help you with this Analysis, use it form comparisons between two artworks.

Artwork 1

Artwork 2

Artist name:

Artwork Title:


Subject matter:





Aesthetic qualities:

Historical/cultural context:

Your own feelings:

* Activity:

Op Art Software:

Have a go using OpArtica II Tunnel – great free downloadable software (or you can run it within a browser) that allows you to create your own Op Art. Very easy to use and gives excellent results.

5. Kapoor and Klein

Unit 1. Area of Study 3: Interpretation of art ideas and use of materials and techniques



Fig 1.


Fig 2.

Anish kapoor (fig 1) was heavily influenced by the French artist Yves Klein (fig 2).

1. Read the information below:

Klein worked with pigment in painting, performance and sculpture. He is associated with the colour ultramarine blue, which he named IKB (International Klein Blue). He worked extensively in his early career with 23 IKB, producing a series of monochrome (one-colour) works. In collaboration with chemists, he developed a new way to attach dry pigment to surfaces by using a synthetic resin compound, thereby giving the colour the same intensity as it has in dry form.

2. Research which works by Kapoor engage with the ideas of “emptiness” and “the sublime”?

3. In your visual diary write a response about how you think Kapoor has been influenced by Klein?


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