Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship
Visual Arts 2021

Standards 93306  93307  93308  93309  93310

93306:  Painting

Part A: Commentary

In 2021, Scholarship Painting consisted of submissions that encompassed deeply engaged, succinct, personal, and well-researched enquiries through self-selected concepts / themes. Candidates identified topics of personal interest that provided more than enough conceptual and methodological scope from the outset, which meant that the enquiry began at a high level with informed picture making as an entry point to the painting proposition. Topics drew on a range of painting-centric investigations to expand and extend the related technical and contextual terrain. Candidates’ editorial clarity and criticality, along with the authentic investment in the topic, enabled creative autonomy and encouraged both lateral and nuanced development from work to work as a sequential strategy.

Successful submissions continually expanded the proposition through accomplished technical facility and consistent extension of paint media via analysis and reflective thinking. Candidates recognised their stylistic strengths and pushed these to the limit, supported by the expansive way that drawing was employed, understood and located on the folio as finished work. It was great to see candidates working with the appropriate paint medium in line with the topic and genre, including drawing as an expressive tool. This high degree of technical fluency (working with the required painting style) provided a genuine sense of “why I am doing it in this way” and the implications of how that aesthetic reads. Evidence included sophisticated ways of thinking about colour and tone, discordant colour, layering and effective handling of watercolour, acrylic, and oils alongside compositional decision-making to communicate mood, perspective, and viewpoint.

When the practice inquiry expanded into installation or site-specific works, candidates maintained the conceptual conventions of the identified painterly proposition, which made sense of extensions and productively expanded the project. Generative processes were well-documented in the workbook, revealing connections to personal, cultural, and place (knowledge and own experiences). Workbooks produced in parallel demonstrated the learning gained across time and asserted a genuine and critical body of practice, including analysis of the how, what, and why of the project.

Of note, alongside well-documented folio work was the inclusion of generous and well-written labelling / captions to contextualise practice, from literal description (scale, media, medium) to durational, site-specific, process-based, and other project-related contextual factors. This attention to detail effectively established the scope of practice framework, enquiry undertaken and conceptual intent..

Part B: Report on performance standard

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • were personally invested and connected to the exploration and theme, reflecting a high level and breadth of engagement
  • looked to established practice to analyse own work by asking what, how, and why, critically integrating the new understandings gained
  • employed fluency of skills across their entire performance through a sustained investigation supported by a range of media-driven approaches
  • engaged in risk-taking and inventive processes, including decision making through thumbnails, photographic studies, sculptural and digital explorations..

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • had clear ownership over their theme and subject matter, indicating a strong level of personal investment and commitment
  • were able to effectively edit to develop the work by using an iterative methodology and making a lot of work
  • consistently engaged technically high skill levels in various methods of painting production and language
  • included different drawing approaches throughout the folio to move ideas / notions forward.

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • presented an inconsistent skillset which often reflected a lack or amount of work that, with more investigation, would have enabled skills to develop and improve
  • relied heavily on artist models, practice, and methods and were unable to analyse the relevance of the work referenced to their own
  • engaged in a linear journey that did not allow for reflection or development within picture making
  • showed a disconnection between the folio and workbook and their proposal (claim / intent) and the outcome.

93307:  Design

Part A: Commentary

In 2021, the Scholarship Design submissions were ambitious, with many presenting an extensive body of work through 4-7 briefs around a well-selected and researched topic or issue. Candidates creatively positioned this content to enable flexibility and breadth of scope for conceiving multiple and diverse outcomes and innovation. A recognised strength was the inventiveness with which students voiced personal perspectives and points of view through real-world situations appropriate to the design, artistic, and topic-related contexts.

Candidates awarded scholarships selected and developed formats and assets that enhanced the communication of subject matter and ideas. Consistent with a selection of collateral was their ability to comprehend and exploit conventions that belong to these formats. In addition, they understood a target audience and adapted visual material and language to connect and reach their audience. In this way, the ‘look and feel’ of graphic elements aligned with the intentions set out by the brief and made strong links to their critical expansion and analysis in the workbook. Students organised and executed imagery through playful and investigative processes, including photography, drawing, maquettes, props, performance, and type. Working iteratively led to strong editorial selection and presentation of the best outcomes on the folio and set a platform for them to extend and capitalise on production.

In Design, candidates employ the workbook as a reflective and inquiry-led site for research, questioning, examination and analysis. In this way, synthesis and new readings, including higher levels of communication and intention, are discovered, which re-position the folio and reinforce the students’ command of critical, contextual and conceptual tools and strategies. Many collated a resource for their topic and enquiry and drove a drawing practice that evidenced an array of tactics: collection, observation, sequencing, multiples, photography, pattern, and font construction to produce the visual elements necessary for undertaking the briefs. This approach ensured a comprehensive and authentic undertaking of the overarching proposition.

Of note, alongside well-documented folio work was the inclusion of generous and well-written labelling / captions to contextualise practice, from literal description (scale, media, medium) to durational, site-specific, process-based, and other project-related contextual factors. This attention to detail effectively established the scope of practice framework, enquiry undertaken and conceptual intent..

Part B: Report on performance standard

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • identified and made critical new links between phases of making which fostered and deepened ideas, enabling lateral thinking, and high levels of analysis
  • established original, authentic, and real-world briefs that were defined and manageable, demonstrating ownership from the outset
  • sourced research from a wide range of resources (interviews, online, historical, etc.), which was integral to decision making made throughout the enquiry
  • exploited materiality and cross-disciplinarity to determine formats utilised, often negotiating between surface, materiality, 3-D and 2-D objects, print, and spatial propositions, and assets.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • excelled in ideational development and sustained an inquiry that generated thinking and a focus on narrative, meaning or message
  • managed visual acumen and an ability to craft and exploit graphic strategies to communicate ideas
  • made decisions from deep inside their topic and subject matter which were driven by research and content that could sustain text and image relationships across a range of design mediums
  • employed an array of graphic tactics and used sequence and iteration to advance ideas and exploit visual conventions located in the research

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • showed generation of ideas in workbooks but laboured on process or steps to make their design work with minimal evidence of deeper investigation or the ability to move beyond description
  • emulated artist models too closely, evidencing a lack of analysis and integration of ideas into work
  • stopped developing work once the best outcome was attained therefore failing to move beyond or expand with greater depth / synthesis, thus the investigation became narrow, linear, and literal
  • engaged with briefs that were complex with unrelated concepts and links, thus struggled to explore in ways that advanced their ideas coherently.

93308:  Sculpture

Part A: Commentary

In 2021 for Scholarship Sculpture, candidates presented highly experimental submissions that dealt with well-positioned topics explored via sculptural practice and conventions. These were astute, investigatory, and highly fluent submissions (folio supported by a comprehensive and enquiring workbook). Many propositions were activated through material excavation, pushing materials, and processes beyond their limitations to expand their potentiality. 

Identified topics and propositions were personally relevant to the candidates, encouraging a depth of realisation and ownership through practising. The level of applied innovation is commended for both the methodological framework established by candidates and how they then conceptualised “thinking through practice”. In evidence, in both the folio and workbook was an analysis of established sculptural practice, including the formal and conceptual conventions related to the language of sculpture.

Candidates effectively used workbooks to expand and clarify the intent and conceptual contexts of the sculptural activity on the folio. Documentation was well-managed and composed to capture the artwork in its intended capacity, whether object-oriented, assemblage, formal-conceptual, performance, or durational. Photography was also exercised in parallel with sculptural work, especially with performative practice and representation of propositional thinking such as time-based.

A strength this year was the consideration of scale as a central concern. Many works were structurally affected by their literal scale construction, making them believable as sculptural ideas and dimensional forms versus mock-ups. Small scale, when used, was to signal sculptural drawing, maquette, and miniature works and was appropriate to the conceptual context. Candidates also produced work in their local environment(s), allowing for ambitious and invested projects that reflected real-world scale and relevance to site and community. In this way, candidates continue to be inventive in negotiating the relationship between technical and scale aspects to produce engaging and exploratory sculptural investigations.

Of note, alongside well-documented folio work was the inclusion of generous and well-written labelling / captions to contextualise practice, from literal description (scale, media, medium) to durational, site-specific, process-based, and other project-related contextual factors. This attention to detail effectively established the scope of practice framework, enquiry undertaken, and conceptual intent.

Part B: Report on performance standard 

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • presented personal subject matter or observations and perspectives about the world in which they inhabit as a vehicle to drive sculptural ideas
  • established clarity of sculptural intent that was complimented by a range of sophisticated modes of sculptural making and practice
  • considered every step critically to advance the central proposition both laterally and inventively into resolved outcomes
  • demonstrated a command of materials and processes to articulate rich and complex sculptural ideas / thinking.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • used personal experience to locate the conceptual framework of the sculptural investigation within a range of sculptural activity, methods, and processes
  • exploited material qualities to allow for informed and lateral extension of ideas in the production of work, often using material as metaphor
  • operated in a multitude of sculptural modes with an appropriate degree of finish pertinent to the central proposition
  • deployed drawing systems to support and expand sculptural outcomes enabling ideas to be explored swiftly and efficiently.

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly: 

  • made sculptural work that was highly derivative of established sculptural practice and artists’ work
  • lacked a range of appropriate artistic references and tried to develop work by superficially referencing established practice without criticality
  • demonstrated intermittent success with technical processes or utilised inappropriate methods or techniques in the production of work, including repetitive outputs with the same material or technique
  • presented the same images / work multiple times from the folio in the workbook, offering no additional evidence and thus not advancing the sculptural proposition.

93309:  Printmaking

Part A: Commentary 

In 2021, Scholarship Printmaking comprised a field of innovative enquiries that fully embraced the print medium. Candidates excelled at expanding the notion of what print is,   pushing the boundaries and limitations by handling various print processes with technical dexterity and conceptual subtlety.

Many candidates presented profoundly personal research projects that were moving and nuanced in application. Making from a personal perspective / deep interest established a rigorous and engaging pursuit of practice that was especially meaningful for students. A particular strength was how they tackled these topics through excellent drawing skills and print media knowledge coupled with self-reflective analysis and critical thinking. Each submission prioritised different methodological, process and media strengths reflecting the individuality of their enquiry, thereby exhibiting a comprehensive understanding of the relational value of multiple print processes.

It was clear that candidates had a repertoire of skills and subject matter to draw upon, indicating that they started from a place of understanding. Many seamlessly mixed a wide range of print processes to accommodate their purpose, such as monoprint, etching woodcut, collagraph, drypoint, pronto plate, digital, transfer / photo release, embossing, mezzotint, and screen printing. In contrast, others successfully developed fluency using just one process to explore a topic, such as additive or reductive monoprint. Students purposefully employed collage also to make decisions as an efficient way to work through ideas and a practical means to ‘make composition’. Students were astute in the scale selection, ordering, and layout of the folio. Using this approach successfully to emphasise conceptualisation and decision making.

Picture making approaches ranged from hyperrealism to energetic, expressive gestural drawing. The discipline of printmaking was always crucial to conveying ideas, and at times, failure provided options to push on from in a controlled way. There was a consciousness in the lightness of touch, weighty mark making and the use of colour and tone as a formal-conceptual device; for example, dark, moody, monochromatic monoprints to create atmosphere contrasted with bright, flat, screen-printed colour for more playful and graphic submissions. Watercolour and reticulation were also employed sensitively in conjunction with intaglio prints.

Of note, alongside well-documented folio work was the inclusion of generous and well-written labelling / captions to contextualise practice, from literal description (scale, media, medium) to durational, site-specific, process-based, and other project-related contextual factors. This attention to detail effectively established the scope of practice framework, enquiry undertaken and conceptual intent.

Part B: Report on performance standard 

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • showed exceptional engagement and ownership of their enquiry with evidence of independent thinking through a precise, conceptually led investigation of the selected proposition
  • explored pictorial, conceptual, and technical concerns intelligently and broadly, through analysis in an interconnected relationship between the folio and workbook
  • demonstrated strong drawing skills and a high level of technical fluency based on individual stylistic strengths / interests
  • presented a large number of works and experimental investigations in both the folio / workbook to reveal sustained critical thinking and self-reflection as questioning.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • set up a straightforward proposition, often of personal significance with enough scope to allow an ongoing investigation and enable the development of a depth and range of explorative and inventive ideas
  • evidenced sustained and thorough research in both workbook and folio, including related concepts from other fields, critique of own work (as well as unsuccessful works), and their own photographs to explore composition, synthesis of ideas from established / contemporary practice, technical explorations, collages, thumbnail studies, new works, and future possibilities
  • produced sophisticated work that consistently demonstrated a high level of fluency of technical skill by intuitively and seamlessly integrating processes to reform ideas and create further possibilities
  • showed confident use of a range of pictorial devices to explore composition and extend into innovative ideas, using the workbook to chart thinking and decision making.

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • had propositions that were narrow and did not provide enough potential or scope to sustain a year of in-depth study
  • used description and past tense in the workbook and included photos of work on the folio, or the print plates to narrate what they had done as a step-by-step description, without stating why they were making decisions and how this informed next steps
  • included images and descriptions of artists’ works with limited or no reference to how they had informed their thinking and artmaking, or mimicked other artists’ works
  • repeated similar pictorial concerns across works by 'jumping on the spot' with ideas, rather than pushing forward to explore a range of approaches.

93310:  Photography

Part A: Commentary

In 2021, the Scholarship Photography submissions included passionate and heartfelt enquiries into topics such as self-identity and image, personal journey, socio-political, ecological and storytelling as a genre. These propositions were led by investigations that prioritised experimental photographic devices and conventions to propel the practice forward. The candidates awarded Scholarship presented submissions that aligned conventions explicitly to the photographic inquiry (narrative, interview, documentary, story, essay, still-life, formal-conceptual).

The sophistication and academic rigour applied through an understanding of photographic conventions and personal conviction was exceptional in all requisite areas: focus, method, concept, context. A highly-informed conceptualisation of photographic conventions was employed throughout the folio work and effectively documented in the workbook. Photographic conventions were always kept at the heart of the proposition, meaning candidates could take control and have clear directorship evidencing informed creative direction. In this way, one can see the relationship between method and concept in action as it builds.

Folios were well-ordered and edited with obvious distinction regarding the hierarchical nature of the photographs, including the chosen scale of final works. Pictorial links established across the folio enhanced the work's readability, moving the enquiry to a phase of synthesis and sometimes unanticipated searching.

The workbooks played an essential role in unpacking the depth of engagement and criticality applied in developing the folio work. Good workbooks create an analytical and reflective set of notes against the photoshoot, demonstrating they were moving through phases and the subsequent discoveries or analysis, which were then put into play. There was a strength in candidates’ resourcefulness to strategically use photographic processes in line with their proposition, which helped maintain momentum and inventiveness.

Of note, alongside well-documented folio work was the inclusion of generous and well-written labelling/captions to contextualise practice, from literal description (scale, media, medium) to durational, site-specific, process-based and other project-related contextual factors. This attention to detail effectively established the scope of practice framework, enquiry undertaken and conceptual intent.

Part B: Report on performance standard

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • undertook genuine and authentic research to enable a considered visual response to produce fluent and analytical submissions with a connected relationship between the workbook and folio
  • engaged in extensive research that was both supporting and parallel and indicative of a high level of commitment to practising
  • presented photography practice that was reflective, analytical and conceptual with contextual information that positioned itself in and around the proposition
  • produced an extensive and comprehensive volume of work with authenticity whereby their proposition shared a relationship with ‘who they are’.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • presented a well-ordered and edited folio with conventions and pictorial interests that had transparent relationships with well-researched concepts
  • formed analytical notes in the workbook that were positioned relative to the folio to demonstrate reflection and enable understanding of the movements between phases of work
  • used research and established practice to form natural directions, encouraging an authentic and strong bond and relationship between the proposition and inspiration
  • demonstrated reflective practice and critique of their work, whether it was through experimentation of process or investigating their concept from more than one position.

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • lacked a comprehensive proposal that was supported with appropriate research
  • developed an over-reliance on established practice that meant their work was held by the conventions of the model, thereby generating intangible readings of the work, especially when conventions and artists’ work are mimicked
  • demonstrated a lack of confidence with photographic language and printing skills, thereby lacking understanding of the discipline and media they were working with
  • presented a workbook after the fact, repeating much of the imagery on the folio with literal descriptions, not allowing for analysis and synthesis of ideas.

Subject page

Previous years' reports

2020 (PDF, 586KB)

2019 (PDF, 302KB)

2018 (PDF, 146KB)

2017 (PDF, 77KB)

2016 (PDF, 238KB)

 
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