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Teacher: Roy Forward

There’s one thing we all must do if we want to see art, understand it, talk about it and enjoy it, and that is to hold a conversation with it. Sound too much like “I talk to the trees, that’s why they put me away”? It’s worse than that, because we first have to let the art talk to us. Only then can we respond with our questions, deal with our likes and dislikes, relate it to what we know and don’t know, and realise we may need to know more. In this course we practice doing all that and more with many memorable works of art.

This course has a companion course called “How to converse about art”. Each is a complete course on its own and they can be taken in any order.

Whenever possible the works used for illustrative purposes are in the National Gallery of Australia.

Course outline

  1. Let the art begin
  2. We listen
  3. We respond
  4. Liking and not liking
  5. What we know and don’t know
  6. All we could know

Learning outcomes

At the completion of this course you should be able to:

  • Identify the features of a work of art that speak to you in particular
  • Attend to and analyse the experiences the art provokes in you
  • Recognise and work through hunches, flash reactions, initial mistakes etc
  • Respond to how your likes and dislikes are helping, hindering, or changing
  • Remedy the information gaps for a more informed response