P3- Contextual Studies Assignment 4

Student name Sue Gilmore Student number 301644
Course/Module Contextual studies Assignment number 4

Overall Comments

You have put a lot of work into this assignment. The concept behind it works – finding a theme that is relevant to your own work and illustrating it with the work of two quite different artists. There is plenty of material. It now needs to be structured more tightly. As is common in a first draft, is overly long and contains repetitions and details that are not immediately relevant to the focus of the piece. Many good points are lost among the pages.

It takes courage to cut out bits of information that you have struggled to find. It is similar to how we have to cut out bits of our practical work if they are superfluous. Go over your essay and take out any information that does not support your concerns and any quotes that do not add anything. Each section needs to be reduced. Some things would be better in a different section. Aim to cut about 1000 words from it.

You will also need to go over the piece and fine tune the writing style, looking out for any grammatical errors, things that don’t make sense and words that are repeated too often.

 Assessment Potential after Assignment 4

 If you follow the advice given, I suggest you will be successful at assessment.

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

 The structure of the essay is reasonably well thought out in terms of the different sections. The introduction and conclusion should be more succinct. Keep the same semi- academic, semi- informal tone throughout. This can be done with a more structured use of quotes and questions. Why not start every section with a quote and/ or a question? However, too many quotes dilute your stance.

Strangely, after I had read your essay, I got an email from another student who is also doing some work on Impermanence. She had researched the Japanese aesthetic Wabi Sabi- finding beauty in impermanence, the imperfect and the incomplete. It may be worth looking up.


The first paragraph which introduces your place is fine. It sets the tone of the essay as more personal rather than wholly academic.

It would be better to get to your point more quickly after this. You talk about impermanence, but I think you should also mention memory and, perhaps mutability. It strikes me that trees are quite permanent in comparison with many works of art. The difference is that they grow and change through time. They don’t deteriorate in the same way as latex. What can you say about the different kinds of impermanence?


You could start this section with Hesse’s quote about art not lasting (or another quote if you prefer). You could also work in here the merging of art and life. It would be an idea to define latex. In general, the work on this section is relevant and has a good balance of academic and personal points of view.


Your work on Newling needs more structure. It is a bit incoherent. Do not feel you have to describe his works in detail, as this can be quite tedious for the reader- a few photographs will do the job more powerfully. You do not need to talk about so many of his works. Focus on a few for the essay- other pieces can be part of your log, although can be mentioned in passing in your essay perhaps. Spend more time exploring his concepts. What is it about his work that deals with impermanence? How does this relate to Hesse’s kind of impermanence? Some of the work in later sections can be edited into this.

You can put the email correspondence and mind maps in an appendix.

Memory- artistic legacy

It might be an idea to start this section with the quote from Herman de Vrais (leaving it out of the introduction).

Evidence- Documentation

This section is overly long and not focused enough. The Kaprow quote may be relevant to Newling’s work, but is very long and may be better left out.  Much of the descriptions of Newling’s work, like dealing with the liminal and embracing impermanence, should be in the earlier section on him. Don’t introduce new things about his work here, unless they are related to documentation. It may be better to focus on the Smithson connection in this section- this would cut out the first two paragraphs. Say a bit more about what ‘second nature’ is.

Another idea is to start with the question ‘What happens after you have gone?’


Again, this needs to be more focused and should not be longer than a page.

Watch you don’t introduce new concepts in your conclusion. You mention the merging of art and life as another link- this should not be mentioned for the first time in the conclusion. You also talk about negotiating the area between control and lack of control and permanence and impermanence. If this is important to you, it should be made more apparent in the body of your essay. A conclusion is a summing up, so keep it to this.

Relating back to your own position at the end is a neat way of finishing things off and keeps the essay’s personal note alive.

Pointers for the next assignment

Send me the final draft of the essay, fully illustrated and referenced. Be brave and prune back! Remember, any interesting facts that are not immediately relevant to your essay can be put in your log.

Tutor name: Olivia Irvine
Date 7.5.15
Next assignment due 30.6.15

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