SHAPE, BALANCE, FORM AND MATERIAL IN ART
Since January, Grade 3 students have been learning about artists whose work focuses on the use of geometric and abstract shapes, balance within space, the form of their work, and the use of unexpected and traditional materials. Each week, students were introduced to new artists and explored different topics through their work, such as Piet Mondrian, a leader in the development of modern abstract art, and Henry Matise, known for his works of intense colorism.
The unit culminated with an artist visit in early March. Local contemporary artist Christopher E. Manning visited the classroom and presented to the students about his practice, which includes photography, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, and collage. Manning also shared about working in the industry as the Head of Exhibitions and Facilities at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and as an adjunct professor at Manhattanville College.
After seeing Manning's work on-screen and in-person, students worked on a collaborative sculpture project inspired by his use of found materials and nontraditional forms. An assortment of materials including cardboard, paper, cloth, ribbon, yarn, and wire was used to create three-dimensional works of art, keeping in mind how artists such as Louise Nevelson and Christopher E. Manning used unexpected materials. Each sculpture included an element of balance inspired by Alexander Calder and shapes inspired by Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky, Marc Chagall, and Henri Matisse. Students will also paint their sculptures monochromatically in a future class, thinking about how Louise Nevelson, Beth Lipman, and Christopher E. Manning use color in their sculptures.
Students not only expanded their knowledge of artists throughout history but also had the opportunity to engage in hands-on learning while building their own three-dimensional pieces.