Conversation: Critique

Eva Sutton

How can the ineffable, singular process of the critique — so vital to art education and art making — be translated from the spoken realm to the visual and back again? And what would we learn from such a translation? Eva Sutton, Professor, Photography, asked a group of five artists, designers, and faculty from the RISD community (Christina Bertoni, Professor, Foundation Studies; Daniel Hewett, Critic, Landscape Architecture; Norm Paris, Assistant Professor, Foundation Studies; Elliott Romano, BFA 2013 Photography; and Ian Stell, MFA 2012 Furniture Design) to take up that challenge. Each created a visual representation of their understanding of what happens during, leading up to, and after the critique process, in an effort to access the core function, effectiveness, and unique methodologies involved.


Art making follows an internal paradigm, an invisible metronome with inaudible rhythms. Design is a sympathetic resonance, an expressive response to something that calls for attention, but has yet to be fully understood or articulated. Although it is often perceived that artists, designers, and creative thinkers experience “eureka moments” in which a brilliant idea emerges, in practice, creativity is a long process. It often requires the maker to make something again and again, learning each time from the previous iteration.

The process of making has a solitary component, but it is immensely helpful to engage with others in a feedback loop, a conversation ...

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