Interpretation and Evaluation By Anton Mararenko
Interpretation and Evaluation • Interpretation and Evaluation are two great tools that help us understand the message behind a work of art. • Together, they piece all the elements of the artwork together and allow us to judge them. • Such elements could be techniques, the terrain, or even something as simple as emotions within the artwork.
The Good Stuff is in the Middle • A work of art is like an Oreo cookie, the good stuff is in the middle. • Interpretation and Evaluation help us go through the layers of an artwork and understand each on its own. • Then we understand the meaning behind it.
Inanimate Objects • Also, think of the dark cookie as a barrier that has to be overcome to understand the meaning of an artwork. • The cookie can represent inanimate objects that we may not analyze closely and take for granted. • For example, something as simple as a traffic sign. • We will see such an example later on.
So what’s the point of Interpreting and Evaluating? • Good question. • Interpretation is a process when the mind scopes in on individual details and stores it in “files” in the brain. • Once enough details have been gathered, we begin to evaluate what these details mean and make one statement. • These processes help break through that ambiguous dark cookie and get to the clearer picture which in this case, is represented by the creamy inside.
Some works of Art are repulsive. • Not true. • Although some photographs or paintings may not be our cup of tea, there is a reason for this. • It is because the artist did a very good job hiding all the elements and the message itself in the work that we simply take it for granted and turn it away.
Astor Place, 1932 by Francis Criss • First I will give you an opportunity to consider this scene, and think about what you see.
Furthermore, • If we think, many paintings that are found in exhibits are usually not grass fields with beautiful flowers or a nice sky with clouds. • They’re usually intriguing and some point, a little odd.
Astor Place, 1932 • First notice how the shade occupies a large portion of the scene. • Next notice the billboard that advertises Steel. • Also notice the 2 light traffic sign and the keep right symbol. These are two inanimate objects we may have over looked at first. • There are also 2 nuns on the corner. • However, where is the Church?
Evaluate • Now we can use the details we interpreted and evaluate them. • First the billboard. It is large and in the middle of the scene, so it must be of importance. • Next, the sign is shining brightly on the billboard. This adds emphasis. • Also, the keep right sign is pointing in the direction of the billboard and away from the shade. • It is almost as if it is try to guide us in the “right way”. • Finally, the 2 light traffic light is either red or green. • This could mean that you’re either in the business (of steel) or not. There’s no time to think.
Walter Miller Shooting from Woolworth Building, 1912-1913 • In this photograph we see a man sitting on a steel beam that is protruding from the unfinished skyscraper. • This photograph emphasizes the power and dominance of large buildings, or in respect to the previous painting, to steel.
Walter Miller Shooting from Woolworth Building, 1912-1913 • Now let’s consider the photographers perspective on this photo. • He took the shot from the top down. • This was done to give a birds view of the entire city. • Also, this helps emphasize on the grandiose achievement made by the engineers on creating such a massive building.
Interpretation and Evaluation • As demonstrated by the examples, Interpretation and Evaluation are two incredible ways to understand a work of art. • Furthermore, the two processes help us understand the meaning behind an artwork and also appreciate how the artist hides such details but also connects them. • Through thorough Interpreting and Evaluating, we can also get a rush of emotions because we can easily connect with the scene.
What happens next? • Well, if you carefully Interpret and Evaluate a work of art, then you have a feeling of satisfaction because you solved the puzzle. • Personally, I feel great when I figure out the message behind a photograph and I appreciate the hard work and creativity the artist put into it.
So, • Never give up on an artwork. • All artworks have a hidden message behind them and a meaning. • And be sure to never judge a work of art by your first impression, give it a chance.