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Three-Dimensional Analysis

Source: Understanding Three Dimensions by Jonathan Block and Jerry Leisure
(©1987 by Prentice-Hall, Inc.) ISBN: 0-13-937202-4
, p. 109-110

In this last chapter is presented a protocol for analysis—a series of
questions to ask and answer about your work and that of others. You
will remember from the chapter on conceptualization that the last step
in the creative process is anafysis. This chapter will help you to com-
plete the cycle.

1. What was the artist or designer trying to accomplish? How did
they define the problem for themselves? What were their goals?

2. How do we perceive the piece? What is the total field it encom-
passes? Which aspects of that field are explicit and which are

3. Do we break the piece down into parts for understanding? If so,
how are they grouped—by similarity, proximity, color, material,
direction, gesture, or other means? Do the groupings overlap?

4. Are some elements or parts of the object more important than
others? Which ones? Could any elements or parts of the piece be
removed without drastically altering its character? If so which
ones and how many?

5. If you were to do a series of variations on this piece, what form
would they take? Which elements would you retain and which
would you modify?

6. Is the scale of the piece appropriate? How would it be changed if it
were much larger or smaller?

7. Is the presentation of the piece appropriate? How does it relate to
its surroundings? What would it be like in a different environ-
ment? In what ways would its current setting be altered if it were

8. Is there a good balance between craftsmanship and concept? Does
the quality of construction add or detract from the ideas in the

9. Does the piece change our visual perceptions about materials or
form? Does it surprise us in any way?

10. What aspects of the piece would be appreciated fifty years ago or
fifty years from now?

11. If you were to execute a series of objects related to this project, how
would you group them for an effective presentation?

12. Can you think of the smallest possible change that might signifi.
cantly alter the character of this project?

13. Were there any accidents or unforeseen circumstances that were
successfully incorporated into the work? How would the work have
been different had these events not occurred?

14. How would the appearance and effect of the piece be altered if it
were rendered in another medium?

15. Does the piece have some elements or features which seem to be
“favorites” of the artist? Do they work to the benefit or detriment
of the project as a whole?

16. What aspects of the piece are open to differing interpretations by
the viewer? Do they dilute the strength of the object or increase its

17. Beyond the expenditure of physical and mental effort, has any part
of the artist’s personal being been invested in this project? In what
way is this reflected in the work?

18. Is it possible to conceive of an object that would be the formal
and/or conceptual opposite of the piece? What form or forms would
this opposite take?

19. Does the object have any gestural or emotional characteristics? Is
it somber, whimsical, cynical, uplifting, .. . ? From what elements
do these qualities arise?

20. Does the object have any narrative content? Does it tell a story or
make a statement? How?