Lori Sokoluk Art

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If asked to provide a critique of someone’s work, how to proceed? The following is a version of a pretty standard format for a formal critique.  


Photo credit: Ray Ophoff


0. Set the parameters. Before the session, set the purpose and boundaries.

  • Ask the artist why they asked for a critique, and what they hope to get out of it. This will give me, the critic, some direction.
  • Remind the artist that different viewers may find different meaning in the work. Ultimately, they have to feel if something is authentic or not.

1. Describe what I see. This is a way to start looking at the work.

  • type of artwork
  • subject, objects
  • colors, shapes, lines, textures
  • light
  • first impression - what jumps out at me
  • predominant mood or visual effect

2. Analyze the artworkDescribe how the technical elements are utilized to create the overall impression.

  • color
  • repetition
  • lines, shapes, forms, direction
  • texture
  • proportion
  • contrast
  • balance
  • emphasis
  • rhythym
  • unity
  • how does each element contribute to the mood, meaning, and aesthetic sensation?

3. Interpret the artwork. Apply my own suppostion to the artist’s intended purpose.

  • What do I think the artist is trying to say?
  • Expand on the feeling conveyed, what it means to me and why.
  • Explain what I think is the artist’s purpose and how/why the choices of elements/materials/colors/etc contribute to that.
  • Identify any symbolism and how that contributes to the intended purpose.

4. Evaluate the artworkDraw conclusions and reach judgements about the work.

  • State what I think the work’s value/purpose is (for example: to evoke nostalgia, encite joy, ...) and why I feel this way.
  • Describe the work’s relevance to the art community and beyond
  • Explain where I think the work is strong and where it falls short.


Thanks to Dem Apples for this version.

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