Critique: Yi Dynasty Jar

There’s something so fundamental about the critique. It offers a structured forum for us to discover debate and redefine our work and the way we think about it. The tricky bit is having a balanced structure and willing open-minded articulate participants. Having said that I must aknowledge that willy-nilly, waxing on, this is n’that, subject off shoots are a part of the processes and have aided artists, provoked thinking, considering, exploring etc. These sometimes helpful offshoots can also be futile, irksome and misleading. To sort out the conundrum that is the critique I’ve come to realize it is imperative to have a mediator. Someone conscious of the subtle nuances within conversation that can guide those participating in discussion. The person acting as a guide can free up conversation allowing those participating to speak more freely and more wildly and perhaps more informatively.

In critiques it’s always helpful to know what the artist wants to get out of the talk. It is customary for the artist to start by explaining the work and what they’d like help with or what specifically ought be ruminated upon. It makes sense to dwell upon their issues in the beginning and come back to them in the end. As participants we also want to get things from the critique it’s important that these things are acknowledged but don’t drag down the conversation too much. It is all a fine dance. There’s a fine line between a successful crit and an unsuccessful crit …and it’s always nice if no one cries.

Since, for these critiques we don’t necessarily have a guide and I have no idea what you want out of this, nor much of an idea what I do. Perhaps the puropse is to expand my vocabulary and think intelligently about this and that and the other thing, to harness a keen eye and make the synapses fire between eye and mouth.
We are just going to wing it.

It is my dream to have a form for self crit, an outline to be a helpful guide for a critique. I always wonder if it is possible to critique yourself an have asked friends this before. They have said no. I reckon we can make it happen. Some day soon I’ll create a template for having a decent crit, mapping how they can work and how we can make them work!

For now, tell me what you think? Did you take a look at yesterday’s post? Did you enjoy the Yi Dynasty jar?

(I sure did enjoy it. I figured to begin we’d start with something classic and devoid of color. Simple. But dare I say this pot is anything but simplistic.)

Did you think it beautiful? Why? What is its strongest attribute? Weakest?

(I do believe it is beautiful. But must acknowledge that beauty is an arbitrary thing and not the most import thing nor the idea to give something reverence or validity.

The form is strong, yes. But, still it is not of the magic proportions to make me swoon. It is rather made for use and visualually very pleasing. It is grounded and wide based as to be stable and the mouth is mimicked in porportions (a lovely touch) but also wide enough to access with hand the innards of the jar. It is worth noting here how deceiving photos are. We are in a way arbitrarily critiquing the photo too. Had that angle been different our perception and perhaps reactions to the form and surface of the pot be radically different.
The weakest bit for me is the painted ground or roots of the main flower. The more I look at them the more I dislike them. I am not certain weather this is in part because the cut off the bottom surface of the vessel so bleakly as sometimes that can be nice, but not in this instance. I also am itching to see the top girth of the lip, if thicker than one might assume I would be pleased, if thinner, I think much of the pots integrity would be lost.)

Are form and surface suitded to one another? Why? Doe it matter? What do you think of the caption proclaiming the design as an “economical strength in painting” and the vessel full of impurities- yet of strong form?

(I would say yes. Yes the form and surface are suitable. I especially enjoy and way the undulating vines connect the leaves on the shoulders. The oval petals and leaves are rounded but slender giving the pot a buck up and reference to slender uplifting height, though it is a sturdy thing. Sturdy despite its elegance not in-spite of it. Sturdy, stout and slim. What a combination! What a thing to pull off. And this may be my whole point: The pot is pulled off nicely, in its entirety it is good.

I would disagree with the caption and state that it is not solely the painting that saves this pot. (as noted it is a part of the painting I feel weak). In regards to the flaws so stated, I note the glaze irregularity at the base and I dig it, I relish it. I like it for I am no purist but rather enjoy objects that are not prefect by industry standards, I like the indelible marks on things made by man. Having said that the photo allows us little interaction with the pot and there could be huge character flaws we can simply not be privy to. Giant cracks, holes in the bottom etc.

Does the age and location (The Victoria and Albert Museum) sway your regard towards the piece? By what means?

( I will here admit that museums give objects credentials and pedestals. Raising them above our everyday objects in perceived worth. This does not mean what is contained in museums necessarily merits such stature. I can not say if found at a flea
market instead of a publication on world ceramics this pot would be given the attention I am giving it here. But would my attention be led to the pot and a crit given my statements would be the same. I just might not buy it. The pots we love in museums are necessarily the ones we want on our homes.)

That is enough asking for today. Stay tuned for my answers and opinions!


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