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Visual Arts

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Visual Arts plays a significant role within the curriculum through empowering students to engage in diverse forms of visual communication. Visual Arts provides students with dynamic artmaking opportunities across a range of media and, in tandem, builds students’ understanding of the role of art in both contemporary and historical contexts.

As information is increasingly presented and exchanged through images in today’s society, Visual Arts importantly enables students to critically interpret these visual codes and explore different points of view. Visual Arts promotes the creative and confident use of technologies including traditional and contemporary artforms, as well as emerging Information and Communication Technologies and digital media.

Visual Arts offers a wide range of opportunities for students to develop their conceptual and practical autonomy through creative forms of inquiry, the process of making artworks and investigations of art from critical and historical perspectives. The subject actively supports students to develop their own informed point of view and highlights the value of cultural diversity and the expression of different points of view.

Visual Arts

Visual Arts at Kelso High creatively engages students through an innovative curriculum, which offers exciting, accessible learning opportunities, supported by a team of teachers with specialist expertise in a diversity of media as well as contemporary classroom facilities. These include:

  • 2D, 3D and 4D time-based media investigations including drawing, painting, collage, mixed media, printmaking, film and digital photography, digital graphics, sculpture, video and animation, design, fibre arts, ceramics.
  • Excursions to current exhibitions at the local Regional Gallery and AGNSW or NGA.
  • Collaborative artmaking opportunities ranging from small groupwork to large-scale collaborative artworks
  • Scaffolded learning experiences which develop student confidence, risk-taking and sustained experimentation throughout the artmaking process
  • Engaging art critical and historical investigations which inform and inspire the development of students’ own artistic practice, incorporate diverse cultural perspectives, and acknowledge emerging Australian and international artists
  • A focus on developing students’ autonomy in exploring material ways to represent their ideas and intentions in artmaking as well as in the resolution of conceptual strength and meaning in their artworks
  • Sustainable artmaking practices with an emphasis on using recycled materials and re-interpreting found objects to create innovative artworks
  • Extending students’ thinking about how artworks can be experienced by audiences through the interactive presentation and experimental documentation of artworks via digital photography, stop-motion animation, video and site-specific installations in the school environment as well as excursion sites
  • Celebrating students’ creative achievements through regular exhibition of student artworks in the school environment, learning community and annual HSC art exhibition

Mandatory and Elective Visual Arts

Visual Arts is mandatory for all students in Years 7-8 and provides opportunities for students to explore a range of subject matter and forms through the practices of artmaking, critical study and historical study.

Students can elect to continue Visual Arts in Years 9-10 as a 100 hour or 200 hour course. The knowledge, understanding, skills, and values developed in this course provide a sound foundation for students electing to study Visual Arts in Years 11–12.

The Visual Arts Stage 6 course builds on the Elective course in Years 9-10 and also caters for others who may have a more limited experience of the subject. It engages all students through learning opportunities based on a flexible content structure consisting of practice, the Conceptual Framework and the Frames.

The aim of the Visual Arts course is to enable students to:

  • develop and enjoy practical and conceptual autonomy in their abilities to represent ideas in the visual arts
  • understand and value how meanings are subject to different, and often multiple, interpretations

Students will develop knowledge, understanding and skills:

  • to represent their interpretations of the world in artmaking as an informed point of view
  • to critically and historically interpret art informed by their understanding of practice, the Conceptual Framework and the Frames

Course content

Content is organised in three broad areas connecting artmaking, art criticism and art history:

  • Practice

Practice relates to students’ artmaking as well as critical and historical studies of art. Practice involves the ability to make suitable choices from a repertoire of knowledge and skills, as well as the consideration of the different views that circulate and are exchanged within the field of Visual Arts.

  • The Conceptual Framework

The Conceptual Framework identifies the roles of the artist, artwork, world and audience as agencies of the artworld. It provides a framework to understand and investigate the functional, intentional relationships between these agencies.

  • The Frames

The Frames – subjective, cultural, structural and postmodern – account for different points of view, values and beliefs in and about the visual arts. The frames pose alternative ‘lenses’ to interpret the meanings of artworks, artists’ practice and the representation of subject matter.

HSC Visual Arts

This course provides opportunities for students to build on their understanding of Visual Arts through deeper and sustained investigations of practice, the Conceptual Framework and the Frames. Students learn about:

  • how they may ‘own’ practice in artmaking, art criticism, and art history
  • how they may interpret the nuances and interconnected relationships between the artist, artwork, world and audience
  • how they may develop their own informed points of view in increasingly independent ways
  • how they may develop rich, multi-layered meanings and interest in their own artworks

The HSC Visual Arts program involves:

  • the content of practice, conceptual framework, frames
  • the development of a body of work
  • use of a process diary
  • a range of case studies in art criticism and art history

School-based assessment consists of the development of the body of work (50%) and art criticism and art history (50%). Students’ final assessment consists of an external examination in art criticism and art history (50%) and submission of their body of work (50%).

Tertiary and Career Prospects

The knowledge, understanding, skills and values gained from Visual Arts assist students in building conceptual and practical skills which can be applied to the diverse fields of art, design and related careers. The significant critical skills which students develop – analysis, reflection, judgement and appreciation of visual culture – can be applied in a range of contexts including employment, enterprise and pathways of learning. Many courses are available in art, design and related fields in the university and TAFE sector, and an increasing number are being developed by private providers. These courses are well suited to students who have studied Visual Arts in Stage 6.