Essay / Avant-Garde

Storming the Battlements

storming battlements
Variation in mark-making: A minus. The passage where the slotted visor gives way to the billowing crest is especially strong. Could have used some punctiliar elements. There is only one dot in the whole composition. And the rectilinear elements are curvilinears in disguise.

Contrast: A. Good decision to go with the blue marker and leave the background untreated. Very intelligent deployment of darks (sword and sheath) and near-darks (plume)

Control of lines: B. Watch tendency to let lines run downhill left to right; close the forms at the bottom of the neck.

Gestural force: A plus. Spirited!

Composition: B plus. Strong horizontals and verticals (sword, castle wall) set off by a striking diagonal (sheath) in strategic bottom right of image. Vertical of sword pointed at figure on the wall, nice touch. Figure on the wall balanced by helmet crest. Total composition is drifting into too strict a hieratic structure; it could almost have a grid superimposed on it. Also, because you let the horizontal line run downhill, it touches the plume at almost a visual tangent; a bit above or a bit below would have made a stronger separation and popped the forms apart better.

Proportion: difficult to assign a grade without determining whether the ovresized head is intentional for expressive or cartoony effect

Imagery: A minus. Like all art, this piece is more valuable for the questions it poses than for any answers it might give. Is the knight attacking, or defending, the castle indicated by the horizontal line? What is the meaning of the wave being offered by the figure on the castle wall? Well chosen, minimalist imagery that invites dialogue with the viewer, but it runs the risk of being too obvious at the first look.

Overall grade: A. Keep up the good work. A few thousand more knights and I think we’ll have something.

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