Last Thursday in our study skill session, Cath Davies taught us how to efficiently analyse pieces of artwork.

Skills in Constellation

  • ability to analyse materials (understand context of meaning)
  • acedemic debate (theory to support everything your saying) – ‘theoretical underpinning.’

at the start of the lecture we were given an image of a white bowl with noodles in it, black chopsticks and a dismembered Barbie doll within the noodles. We were asked to analyse the image using ‘Cath’s Columns’. in the first column we were asked to describe what we could see in the image, bullet pointed. For example:

  • bowl
  • noodles
  • chopsticks
  • dismembered doll (in the bowl)

then in the second column (labelled analyse) we analysed everything we had just described so it would connect to what was previously written taking symbolism, cultural meanings, possible meanings & connotations, so;

bowl/noodles/chopsticks – eating, consumption, cultural difference, east Asian food

dismembered doll – typically western white female, no head (no voice) just the ‘perfect body’ of the doll (perky boobs, tiny waist.) = discrimination? The doll is within the food, so it is to be eaten, the east being influenced by the west, fusion of east and west cultural differences. The phrase ‘you are what you eat’ maybe the east trying to become the west. Possible outcomes, barbie doll + food = eating disorders? Also, barbie dolls are made in China, so the manufacture of the barbie doll contributes to workers in China i.e. Putting food on Chinese families tables so there is also an economic factor to this image.

The last column is Theory. In this column we add theoretical perspectives either to support or challenge the previous column, with all the possible factors in the previous column we would take it to the library and find books and information about what we have discovered. So, for example find quotes and articles about barbie dolls and eating disorders perfect figures.

I found this lecture very useful for our work on the baby cage essay, as i can now look at the breif and go through the columns easily and pick out my own interpretations of the image.



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18 years old, first year fine art student in Cardiff :)

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