Nancy Graves at the Brooks Museum of Art

I live about two hours from Memphis, TN. So, we visit frequently. There's a wonderful art museum there. I like it because I've learned about a lot of artists who are so mainstream by visiting. One such artist is Nancy Graves. 

She was an American artist known for a focus on natural phenomenon. When she was just 29 years old, she was given a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. At the time she was the youngest artist and only the fifth woman to ever achieve this honor. 

I'd never heard of her until 2014, when I took these photos. I was pregnant with my first daughter then. Since giving birth to my first daughter (I now have two daughters), I've been very intentional about discovering, learning about, writing about, reading about, and teaching about female artists. Actually, I've been more intentional about diversity all together. 

Anyway, here's a great female artist for you. This work is Folium from 1978. It is oil and encaustic on canvas. 

I love the colors. These photos are close ups of the work. So, it is one work. I just took several photos. 

There is also a really great audio on the Brooks Museum site that accompanies this work. It can be used in the classroom to guide students through the artwork. There is some great vocabulary in this audio. I love how it talks about the forms and the objective/non-objective aspects of the work. 

After having the students analyze the artwork, they can estimate how many colors are used, the length of the forms, how many times warm and cool colors are used, etc. Then, they can actually count or measure to collect data. I would have them record the data using charts and graphs. They can transfer the data from one kind of graph to another. Then, I would have them write questions for other students to answer using the data collected. 

They can also create their own work. I'd have them do some thing abstract like this with a lot of colors. They can just free paint, but be sure to have them use some objective and non-objective elements as they work. Then, they can do the same estimation and data collection using their own work or the works of their peers. They can also write about the process of creating the art. 

If you had students estimate and count the pink spaces in just this one section, they'd have some larger numbers to work with.

What are some other ways that you can think of to use this in the classroom?