This folio is chosen as an exemplar because it is focusses on abstraction
throughout. The majority of folios where abstract painting is undertaken begin with
a phase of works devoted to gathering subject matter derived from observations of
objects or scenes. While legitimate, I often suspect that such a starting point is not
necessary or of particular interest to the candidate to develop their project.
Candidates should feel free to derive subject matter from abstract pictorial motifs,
or interrelationships between media as this one has. Compositional and procedural
ideas are generated through simple mixed media works, with the collage based on
a book cover being an apparent origin of an important motif and the use of
stitching and dotted lines.
Traditions of painting that use gesture and ecriture as both pictorial motif and
process for making and thinking about the work are an influence on this candidate.
Artists such as Antonio Tapies, Cy Twombly, Juliao Sarmento and John Reynolds
appear relevant to this work.
The painterly vocabulary of this folio is well understood by the candidate.
Although restrained, the candidate is able to develop a substantial range of options
through panel 1 which are analysed and prioritised in panel 2. Noteworthy is the
change of tonal range of the works and the introduction of veils or glazes to
increase the layering or depth of surface in the paintings.
Also successful is the range of shifts of mark making which produce and effect of
alterations of scale from the fine linear dot lines, into larger dash marks and then
up to a single or grouped ‘I’ or ‘cross’ motif.
The phases of working from the lower half of panel 2 and on panel 3, are modest in
number but demonstrate the candidates’ ability to evaluate their ideas and methods
and to build the series of work by altering composition, scale, colour scheme and
textural treatment while maintaining the established vocabulary of motifs. This
shows depth and insight.
This folio demonstrates the candidates’ proficient skill in the rendering of the
illusion of 3-d forms and graphic linear pattern and the illusion of solid objects.
The work also reveals an ability to move the work between referencing ta moko
and whakairo, and painterly exchanges between figure and ground.
The work advances from the early, ’tea stained’ reference to parchment to a more
successful underlay of stain or wash in blue and red where the rendering and
drawing more elegantly weaves across the picture plane and mingles with the
Folios that have a large, space consuming work on panel 3 are often criticised in
examiner reports because they often reduce the opportunity for the candidate to
demonstrate how they have evaluated, deepened or expanded their understanding
of their own work and advance their purpose. In this folio however, the final
triptych of works shows how the candidate benefits from focussing on a careful
rendering of forms (in the phase of works from the middle of panel 2 and the top of
panel 3) and also upon what appears to be a thoughtful designing of the last work.
The work also reveals the candidates ability to combine western and maori
traditions of representation.
This folio is noteworthy for several reasons. It too shows the candidates limited
skill in realist figure drawing, and the project takes a long time to develop into a
coherent and purposeful inquiry where the pictorial idea becomes clear. The
drawings of figures on panel 1 establish a subject matter but this is only loosely
linked to a ‘narrative’ theme. The second and third phase of drawings of the floor
plan and perspectival images of the rest home are where the subject matter for the
project begins to take shape. The works of panel 2 reveal a divergent
experimentation into several types of pictorial structure as the candidate works to
develop an idea. The use of linear and planar forms and a consistent use of colour
and tone are what holds the work together here. The works of the bottom of panel
2 and panel 3 show the ‘pay off’ as the structure and vocabulary of the work
consolidate. The imaginative interpretation of the original subject matter and the
sophisticated progression of the pictorial vocabulary produce sufficient evidence of
the candidates’ knowledge of the possibilities of their chosen type of work and the
systematic development of their purpose in the project.
Every year we see a large cohort of folios devoted to cars and car culture. A vast
majority of them revel in a lust for ‘The Fast and the Furious’ and ‘boy racing’ and are
disabled by weak rendering and imagery that is trapped in its origins in the films and
magazines. Not so this folio. This candidate’s use of photo-derived source imagery is
used to guide the rendering and point of view. From the start this candidate sets about
with inventions of composition and montages of imagery that are sustained
throughout. The folio contains too many options as it progresses as the candidate
invents narrative and pictorial themes one after the other. There is evidence that the
candidate lacks a clarification of the purpose of the project as they put the subject
through a broad range of paces. Despite this, the handling of graphic and illustrative
devices is dynamic and skilful. The control of monochromatic and tonal schemes and
shifts between linear (diagrammatic) and rendered illusions is likewise skilful and
This folio contains a very simple pictorial proposition, one which reveals the
candidates limited but adequate skill in drawing human figures and also a clear and
genuine inquiry into delicate exchanges between realist observation and painterly
Panel 1 shows the candidates gathering of subject matter from either photographs or
life study portraits using ink or watercolour. These demonstrate an inquiry into both
the structure of portraits and how gentle layers of pigment can be applied to make an
image emerge. The works of panel 2 are more iconic and the candidate begins to
concentrate on effects of under and over painting and the gentle resonances of colour.
The urban architectural spaces are introduced, made sense of and then the figure is
included. The warmth and coolness of hue and how the figure can activate the space
becomes the focus of the project in the latter sections of the folio. The inquiry of the
first section is applied and improved upon and the candidates skill and control of
procedure advances consistently throughout.
Again, this folio reveals the limitations in the candidates’ skill in figure drawing
and painting, but also an ability to generate, develop and clarify a pictorial idea at a
level appropriate to this examination. A single artist’s model (in Jeffrey Harris) is
chosen and the candidate applies both a mode of expressive gesture and
compositional devices from this model to their own subject matter. All the works
show a genuine investigation into picture making where shallow pictorial space
and graphic mark making are manipulated. The montage works on panel 3 are an
advance on the simple layered juxtapositions of figure and textured background
operating on panel one. These latter works demonstrate some control of gestural
mark making and a more complex fractured composition than the works at the
beginning. This modest project is skilful and systematic enough to achieve the