ERIC Number: ED284254
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Aug
Reference Count: 0
The Knowing Eye: An Applied Arts Approach to Visual Knowledge.
Barnhurst, Kevin G.
Since visual knowledge of the specialties within graphics and photography is difficult to pinpoint because it is nonverbal and intuitive, graphics educators fall back on teaching technical expertise--the procedures and equipment used for newspapers, magazines, and television stations. For centuries visual knowledge was the realm of the unlettered, the communication system for the ignorant, and only in the modern era has meaning been found for the term "visual literacy." By 1920, Roger Fry had proposed that all art could be seen as essentially an arrangement of shapes, lines, and colors--a concept that formed the basis for formalist criticism, now pervasive in the thought and teaching of almost all things visual. While a visual language was emerging in art, the older definition (art as storytelling) persisted in the popular mind and was adopted in the early seventies by the "visual literacy" movement in education. However, reading pictures is not exactly like reading language. The definition of visual literacy might include recognition of the value of visual experience. Instead of seeing only symbols and their hidden meanings, the adult eye might be trained to see their textures and patterns and to know enough of the formal elements to interpret ordinary visual images. Higher forms of visual literacy might include the principles of design, such as unity and proportion, derived from classical theories of aesthetics. Graphics instructors sometimes confuse technical computer skills with real visual knowledge, but intuitive aspects of visual knowledge could be explored in the computerized studio. This applied arts approach draws on theoretical developments of art and on the applied nature of professional and technical education. (Footnotes and references are appended.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (70th, San Antonio, TX, August 1-4, 1987).