My Hero! Contemporary Art & Superhero Action

For this assignment, you will write a formal analysis on a work that you select in the current exhibition, “My Hero! Contemporary Art & Superhero Action” at the WVU Museum of Art,

You may need to reference the internet for information regarding the artist, subject, etc. Be sure to cite using Chicago Style citations. Use no more than two (2) sources for this paper. Follow this link for more information on Chicago Style citations: Cite using either end notes or simply use footnotes. If footnotes are used a formal bibliography is required. An image of the work discussed should be included at the end of the paper and before the bibliography (if included). Neither the bibliography nor the image count towards page length. It should have the following caption below the image using this format: Figure 1: Artist, Title, Date, Medium, Size.                                                                                                                   In your paper, upon first mentioning the title place a comma then figure 1 followed by either a comma or a period.

A formal analysis essay is an attempt on the part of the author to make a meaningful analysis of a work of art through description of the artistic elements, which constitute the image or object. These elements of visual art include line, shape, color, the depiction of space, and texture. The way in which these elements of art are combined or emphasized also creates meaning and significance.  Remember that the size of the object, in terms of our physical interaction with the artwork, is often an important feature.

For your formal analysis you are required to organize your essay using the following format: subject, composition, style, conclusions.

Begin by defining the subject. What or who is shown?  What is the medium? What is occurring? Sometimes, the title of the work will be helpful in identifying the subject. What is the context is the work? What the time period, culture, etc? Who was the patron of the work? Where is it located? Who is the artist? Is he or she known by a nickname? If so what is his or her given name? In the first paragraph be sure to fully identify the work, including artist, title, medium, date, size, period and location.

Second, how is the work composed or organized? What is the composition? Are things symmetrical, asymmetrical, or nearly symmetrical? Are things organized in a clear way or are they chaotic? How is space depicted? Is there a sense of depth?  Is it shallow or deep? Are the figures life size or near life size? Is it organized using horizontal and vertical forms? Are diagonal lines employed to create visual tension?

The third part of the essay is, perhaps, the most difficult. It is here that I would like you to describe the style of the work. How does the artist manipulate the visual elements and medium (media)? For example, are there crisp lines or shapes, or soft diffused lines or shapes? Are the forms naturalistic, abstracted or idealized? Is color employed? How? Is there a distortion of color or form? Etc.

The last section of your essay is for your conclusions. What is the work’s function? Is it solely an aesthetic object? What does the style signify, in terms of the objectives of the work? Is this work consistent with other works of the same time period, thus demonstrating a historical style, or is this a work of individual style. (You may want to include another work by the artist or another to substantiate your points here.) Does the work of art relate to a time period discussed in class or in our text book? Is the artist making allusions to previous art historical styles or movements? Reassert key aspects previously discussed to prove your points when possible. Please, take time to read your essay or preferably have someone else read it. Even without the aid of images, the essay should describe the work of art, in a clear and concise way.

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