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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Centre for Open Learning : Creative Arts

Undergraduate Course: Art History in Action: From the Absurd to the Abstract (LLLA07176)

Course Outline
SchoolCentre for Open Learning CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryExplore, through lectures and practical work, how Abstract Expressionism grew out of Surrealism.
Course description Academic Description
In this course students will look at how Dadaism led to Surrealism, which in turn influenced Abstract Expressionism. Through a series of mini lectures, looking at key artists in each area, and practical, studio- based exercises, students will explore how these art movements grew out of each other. Students will have an opportunity to devise their own project, developing a personal response to the art historical information examined, but bringing a contemporary relevance to the work.

Outline of Content
The course teaching is typically delivered over weekly class sessions of around 3 hours each and totaling 30 hours. Alternatively, the course can be delivered more intensely or as a block if required.
Over the class sessions the course will cover:
Week 1. There will be a short lecture on the work of the Dadaists: Hans Arp, Hannah Hoch, Francis Picabia and Kurt Schwitterz. Students will work on simple collages and group drawing exercises designed to stimulate the imagination.
Week2. There will be a mini lecture on Surrealist Art, including the works of Max Ernst, Rene Magritte, Leonora Carrington and Joan Miro. Students will make a series of automatic drawings and collages..
Week3. Dreams and Narratives: Students will create small paintings based on dreams or pieces of writing.
Week 4. There will be a short lecture on the influence of Surrealism on Abstract Expressionism. Artists looked at will include Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler and Joan Mitchell. Students will try out a few techniques, designed to explore this connection.
Week 5. Students will experiment with some more Abstract Expressionist techniques, including action painting.
Week 6. Students will further examine aspects of Abstract Expressionists and will experiment with some more techniques, including Colour Field.
Weeks 7-10. Students will develop their own project based on experiments done in the past six weeks. Emphasis will be on developing a personal response to the material examined and bringing a contemporary relevance to the work.

The Learning Experience
The teaching will be based and delivered in specialist art and design studios or workshops and will typically include a range of practical exercises, introductions to techniques, processes and concepts, and set projects which lead to more focused and personal exploration. Over the course, students¿ progress will be monitored and supported by the tutor. Teaching will include practical demonstrations, one to one tuition, group discussions and critiques.

For work required to be undertaken after the class hours are complete, the course tutor will set students a ¿directed study plan¿ which can be undertaken without the need for specialist workshops or access to models.

Directed study will include research into a range of suggested artists and their associated movements to engender a contextual awareness. Students are expected to demonstrate how their research has informed their work through annotated sketchbooks, a visual digital journal and practical outcomes.
The Directed Study Plan will include preparing evidence of research and practical work to form an appropriate presentation for assessment.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Unless otherwise stated, all students on this short course pay a published course fee per enrolment.
In addition to the learning and teaching resources and content, this fee also includes;
PVA glue, brown paper, black ink, rollers, black printing ink and acetate monoprinting sheets.
Scissors, charcoal, pencils
In addition to the course fee, students are expected to provide the following list of indicate tools, materials and equipment
please list materials and equipment students must provide here:
Acrylic paints (oils can be used): Cadmium red, Crimson, Cobalt or cerulean blue, Ultramarine, Cadmium yellow, Lemon yellow, Viridian or phthalo green, Yellow ochre or raw sienna, Raw or burnt umber, Black, Titanium white.
Palette- a clean white sheet of plastic (corrugated or melanine) or several disposable plastic plates
Brushes- a range of flat and round hog hair brushes, a few soft sable type brushes, a 2 inch flat brush for priming
Supports- a range of cartridge paper, card or boards
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Research, context and ideas (33.3%) Demonstrate insight into the methods, contexts and practices of selected Dadaists, Surrealists and Abstract Expressionists artists which inform and develop personal directions and ideas.
  2. Practice, skills and techniques (33.3%) Use a variety of techniques, materials and approaches to develop a series of experimental and distinctive resolved works that reflect the work of the Dadaists, Surrealists and Abstract Expressionist.
  3. Selection, presentation and reflection (33.3%) Select and present a coherent body of works, including studies and finished pieces that underpin the research and practice.
Reading List
Core Readings
SARANE, A. (1970). Surrealist Art. Thames and Hudson
D¿ALESSANDRO, S. (2013). Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938. New York Museum of Modern Art
SPIES, W. and Von Maur, K. (1991). Max Ernst: a Retrospective. London Tate Gallery
SAWIN, M. (1995). Surrealism in Exile and the Beginnings of the New York School. MIT Press
SANDLER, I. (1970). Triumph of American Painting and a History of Abstract Expressionism. New York, Harper and Row.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Analysis of paintings, knowledge of art historical context.
The ability to employ the use of the sketchbook to explore and develop lines of visual enquiry.
The ability to explore painting techniques, methods and approaches.
The ability to show an insight into critical context and reflective practice.
KeywordsSurrealism,Dadaism,Abstract Expressionism,collage,painting
Course organiserMr Oliver Reed
Course secretaryMs Kameliya Skerleva
Tel: (0131 6)51 1855
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