The discipline of Visual Arts is multi faceted. As a 21st century driver for innovation in fields such as science, engineering and medicine, I am heartened to see its value within the curriculum celebrated and our students embracing it not only as a discipline within itself but also as a vehicle to help broaden their critical thinking, creative and communication skills in other fields of study. For over a decade, the Yale Center for British Art has welcomed first-year students from the Yale School of Medicine to look at paintings closely for fifteen minutes without consulting the label text or Googling information. This time of independent, sustained looking is now a crucial skill that is constantly challenged in an era of social media where students constantly scroll through images and texts, where images are short lived in order to ‘live in the moment’ which is now part of their accepted world. In 2000, when Linda Friedlaender at the Center and Irwin Braverman at the Yale School of Medicine began bringing medical students to look at paintings, the average attention span was 40% longer! The Visual Arts Department constantly strives to challenge the students through their artmaking and Critical and Historical studies to look, observe, question, predict and evaluate with sustained engagement.
The Visual Arts Department is delighted to welcome Ms Sarah Cameron (ex student 1998), to the faculty to replace Mrs Isabella Fabrizio who is currently on maternity leave after the birth of her daughter, Nicola Siena on the 24 August. Sarah comes to us as a very experienced Visual Arts educator who has spent time teaching in the United Kingdom and Cambodia and will be working with us until the end of Term 2 2017. We would also like to welcome Charlotte Putman who is joining us as our new art assistant.
On the 19th August, we celebrated the achievements of our Year 12 students with the Annual Year 12 HSC Bodies of Work exhibition which was opened by Luisa Catanzaro, Director and Owner of Artereal Gallery. Ms Catanzaro spoke highly of the achievements of our students and commented on in particular the sophisticated conceptual nature of their ideas and the high level of skill materially executed in the creation of the works. As I write this report, we are in the final stages of preparing our Year 12 students for their upcoming HSC Examinations. The students have received their Trial Examination results and are now working hard to maximise their results. We wish them the best for their upcoming HSC Examinations.
On the 13 and 14 May, Year 11 students participated in their annual Visual Art camp where they spent one day investigating Cockatoo Island as a site for artmaking with guest artist Craig Waddell. The students also went to the 2016 Sydney Biennale and worked the next day in the Marian Centre with Craig Waddell and master printmaker Brenda Tye, resolving their drawings and photographs from Cockatoo Island into a series of paintings and etchings. These art days were highly valuable for the students, enabling them to work for an extended period of time. We congratulate Claire Grimble who was selected, based on her portfolio, for the Extensive HSC Studio Practice Program at the National Art School. Claire worked in life drawing. Currently, Year 11 are completing their examinations for the end of the Preliminary HSC course and we wish them success.
There are so many opportunities offered in Visual Arts. Year 9 students have been completing a unit of work this Semester based on the Harbour in conjunction with their study of Australian Modernism. The students had the opportunity to work with artist in residence, Sarah Fordham for an extended afternoon, exploring colour mixing and painting techniques. They are now in the process of working towards a short film. Year 9 Photographic and Digital Media have been busy exploring digital photography, studio practice and working on a photostory based on their English Shakespeare study of Macbeth. On the 13th September the students had the opportunity to work with photographer Ben Ali Ong where they viewed his portfolio and participated in a skills based workshop using Adobe Photoshop. We also congratulate Hollee Crews and Eve Parker who have been selected as semi finalists in a National competition, the Moran Photographic Prize. Year 10 are currently investigating the conventions of portraiture and are working on a canvas painting based on a significant female figure in their life. Year 7 are working towards resolving their paintings based on food and will begin their ceramics unit early in term 4. Year 8 have begun investigating the Renaissance and Postmodernism and are completing a digital appropriation based on their chosen painting from the 15th century. Recently the students had an excursion to the Art Gallery of NSW and the MCA where they viewed the permanent collection and the contemporary show, ‘Telling Tales’. We look forward to seeing all parents and friends at our Annual Elective Artshow which will be held in the foyer on the 17 and 18 November.
Mary Costello (Mrs)
Visual Arts Coordinator (Acting)