Embodied Aesthetics: Evocative Art Criticism
There are three components I address. The first concerns the concept of aesthetic experience and its educational value. The second has to do with art criticism. The third concerns the problematic nature of evocative writing as a pedagogical strategy and as research. One of my goals is to develop in my students (pre-service teachers) an awareness of the particularities of their responses to artworks so that they become aware of the intricacies of their personal meaning making as prompted by artworks. In turn, they may share their insights with others, ultimately their own students — to foster active engagement with artworks. In other words, self-knowledge is the starting point of social, and particularly, educational interactions. Thus, initial aesthetic engagement culminates in the writing of art criticism. I am interested in fostering writing that matches the intensity and involvement of my students’ personal experiences with the works in question, and in researching that process
through a procedure that I developed to enable students to map their experiential moments of their interactions with artworks. The procedure provides a basis for: teacher-student dialogue and mutual learning; student self-teaching in terms of successive encounters and the subsequent writing of art criticism. It also provides a phenomenologically based record of the encounter, and data for qualitative research into the constitution of aesthetic encounters.
This study, then, is an examination of the student-based/arts-based research. It will highlight relations between aesthetic interactions and attempts at art criticism in the form of evocative writing. It will also touch on the difficulties inherent in such writing. The data will consist of examples of the aesthetic mapping process and resultant writing.
Keywords: Pre-Service Teacher Education, Aesthetic Encounters, Evocative Art Criticism
Dr. Boyd White
Associate Professor, Integrated Studies in Education