One positive, successful aspect of the work and one negative or problematic aspect for discussion. Anonymously (or intended to be).
Quite a balanced way of providing a platform for discussion – although the tendency to become defensive is surely there. No one knows your work better than you do, and without a little connection to the work it can be difficult to make a more detailed point on others work. Point being, taking the time to actually get interested in the work of others is necessary. Previously I wouldn’t have taken much interest in the work of others – it was just something else in the studio, which I didn’t want to waste my time thinking about. Quite selfish and poorly thought through. Just looking, creating discourse and learning from others is part of what an artistic community can be about – working completely alone is almost possible, but surely not advisable, having some sort of relationship with those around you isn’t just healthy but often fruitful. Even if you don’t like or agree with their strategies, you can take something from the relationships you form around your practice.
A crit should absolutely be a positive experience rather than a shouting down of your ideas and intentions. However, on the whole I felt our group was far too nice. It would have been more useful to have more criticism – but I believe that stems from a lack of knowledge/perhaps interest in each others work. And the intention of not being too personal. I admit I could have prepared better as I knew some of the individuals’ in the group work better than others and this made contributing to the discussion somewhat more difficult on those I had less knowledge of. What it boils down to though is that it is important to make the effort to be involved and make a contribution where you can – like it or not, the decision to participate in a course such as this means you are in a group and part of a community which requires input. I do believe we often think about what we can get out of experiences rather than what we can give. This however seems a bit backhanded as the failure to understand how wider participation can in turn aid your own development is a wasted opportunity.
But – I don’t wish to be negative, and as a starting point this crit format worked well and I do think given another opportunity the discussion would and will become more and more productive and rewarding, not just skimming the surface. On the whole I did get quite a lot out of the day – an opportunity to practice talking about others work and having a real chance to explore other themes which are and are not related to my own practice. Coupled with some pointers for how my own body of work could develop, the day was a success. Last year I wouldn’t have thought spending a whole day in a crit worthwhile, today I do.