PeterDoig, White Canoe.

  1.  Who is the artist (name, nationality, etc.)  and, briefly, what are the important aspects of his/her background that directly contribute what he/she creates – if there are any?  How are they in evidence in the specific work you are discussing?
  2.  What has the artist said or written about her/his body of work in general?  Provide quotes.
  3.  Has the artist said anything about this image specifically? Provide quotes.
  4.  How does the image under consideration reflect both the artist’s generalized statements and the specific statements? Does it deviate from those in any way?
  5.  Does or how does the image under consideration deviate visually in any way from what the artist has created previously?  If so, how and in what way?  Does it deviate in any way in terms of its  its thematic content? If so, in what way?
  6.  How do critics and curators sum up the artist’s larger body of work? Quote the most important critical statements you can find.  Identify the source of those quotes via footnotes.
  7.  How have the critics and curators addressed this specific work of art? Footnoted quotes needed.
  8.   From the evidence in the image, how do you think those critical/curatorial statements were arrived at?
  9.  Do you agree or disagree with those statements?  Why?



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       1     What is the subject matter of this artwork: that is, what do you actually see?  Does the artist treat it naturalistically or has it been intentionally amplified in some way or deformed and thus abstracted?

       2     Do you think that the subject matter is something imagined by the artist or something s/he observed or does it suggest or resemble or refer to something familiar in our shared culture such as a myth, a scene or character from a book, a scene in a film, an historical event, a news article, a place, a familiar object or …? Can you then describe the original source you are connecting the image to and discuss how, in your estimation, the work of art under consideration refers to and relates to it?

       3     Does the image depict something the artist has remembered or experienced personally or does it depict something from our shared experiences of contemporary life? Explain. Does it suggest a particular time/era?  A specific place?  A secific culture or cultural moment(s)?  What is special about this time, place, culture or moment(s) in the artist’s life or in our shared social experience?  

       4     Does this artwork closely resemble a work of art you are aware of from art history or the textbook or online lessons whether in its execution, aesthetics or its subject matter? Please be thoughtful here and do not pull something out of your hat. In what ways is there a visual connection? What is that work of art about thematically? Do you think the artwork you have chosen is about something similar or is the connection just a coincidence?

       5     Can you look through the image and identify any visual symbols that seem familiar to you?  What are these symbols’ traditional use and meaning in culture? In art? How do those symbols operate in the context of this image? (For example, do you see two people walking or sitting in a garden?  Could this refer symbolically to Adam and Eve in Eden? Could they be referring to youth or old age? Or…?)  Make sure that the symbolic meaning you identify fits with the other visual information in the image – and is within the realm of reason given the research you have done on the artist.  Please do not be extreme here, but thoughtful instead.

6      Can you develop any metaphors from the symbols in the work that point outside the image to any larger social, economic, moral, political, scientific, historic or religious ideas?  We have spent some time discussing these issues in the online Module 1.  (Eg. is an image of a slice of cake on a fancy silver plate merely a mimetic representation or is it  meant to symbolize Marie Antoinette and thus metaphorically suggest the French Revolution?  and further, to suggest the proliferation of food banks that are now familiar in our societies and thus the growing inequalities brought on us by rampant capitalism? Or…?).  Again, you must back up your metaphorical conjectures not only with visual evidence from the work itself but also from what you know from your research about the artist’s larger body of work and the broader thematics operating in his/her body of work.  Cite your answer here.

7     Can you consider these connections and metaphors you see operating in the image in terms of our shared contemporary social or cultural experience? That is, how does this work of art seem to refer to or discuss contemporary life? In what way? Can you discuss the symbols in terms of their their possible current social or cultural usage? (Eg. A man and a woman walking in a garden may symbolize young lovers, or Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, but using contemporary lenses, they might point more to our current interest in environmental issues.)  What in the image tilts you toward that position?  Where is there evidence for this in the work?  In the research you have done about the artist?  Cite your answer here.

       8     Is the work of art merely mimetic?  Does it instead point outside itself to the artist’s life?  Does it instead observe how we all think about and conduct ourselves in the present? Is it all of the above? Does it ponder ideas/issues? Which ones, as per your research? Cite. What is the evidence you see in the image for your answers to these questions?  

9     How do a) the techniques employed by the artist (eg. Frottage or hand stitching something or blowing up a photo to a massive billboard-size scale, etc.) and b) the media the artist chooses to work in (glass, wood engraving, etc.) effect and contribute to the meaning of the work?

       10   Do you see a connection between subject matter, the themes and the techniques the artist employs? Explain.


LAST QUESTION: IN BRIEF: write a overview focusing on the content of the work of art.  Refer to what the artist and critics have said about the work.

Select one (1) of the following three works of art below and view it online.Closely examine it.
1. PeterDoig, White Canoe.
2. Aganetha Dyck, The Extended Wedding Party
3. Brian Jungen, Prototype for a New Understanding.

Read a short online essay or article about the artist you have chosen.
1. PeterDoig:
2. Aganetha Dyck:—homage/
3. Brian Jungen:


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