Saturday, December 29, 2018

Material Thinking: The Poetics of Process

Material Thinking: The Poetics of Process is a series of workshops I have designed for visual art students with the onus on creating meaningful artworks through a poetic interpretation of the relationship between making/process and the use of materials. The following outline provides an overview of concepts and approaches. I am available to present these workshops throughout Queensland together with Material Thinking: Poetics of Process lectures, artists' talks and professional practice workshops.  

MATERIAL THINKING: The Poetics of Process

A series of studio-based workshops that explore the poetics of making.
Presented by visual artist Dr. Glen Skien (DVA,MVA)


The Poetic Concept

Material Thinking: The Poetics of Process provides the opportunity for visual art students to engage in a series of creative workshops underpinned by a form of ‘material thinking’. Through a series of studio-based strategies that allow for unexpected poetic associations, material thinking provides a platform for the development of students conceptual thinking. The emphasis of any process driven methodology is a belief that the ‘making’ informs the conceptual, in contrast to the concept perpetually informing the process of making.

The motivation of each workshop is for students to embrace a contemporary application of collage-based disciplines that enables them to analyse and interpret their initial exploration of materials and process to help define their conceptual concerns.

The models that support each of the workshops are structured towards printmaking, collage and drawing-based practices such as the monotype, montage, photographic transfer technique, the artists’ book, and the box assemblage. The interdisciplinary nature of each workshop allows for a mix of 2D and 3D interpretations. The outcomes of each lesson provide students with the opportunity to create meaningful responses through a better understanding of the relationship between materials and process.  

The strategies that guide each of the material-thinking workshops are as follows:  

·         Creating unexpected juxtapositions to form unfamiliar visual relationships.

·         The merging of self-narrative (personal stories) as a way of questioning cultural and historical narrative structures.

·         Imaginative play. Students are urged to embrace the concept of

‘intuitive knowing’.  

·         Exploring the nature of the fragment. Students explore the capacity of ‘the fragment’ to inform narratives relating to identity and notions of place.  

·         The deliberate shattering of progressive narrative structures.

·         Leaving conceptual gaps that create spaces of doubt. The notion that not every element or response needs to be bound to a semiotic intention.

·         Embracing and deliberately extending perceived contradictions.

·         A rigor of observation and appreciation of the meanings and contexts often embedded in both materials and processes.

·         Engagement with poetic and metaphoric thinking/making.

Phenomenology Based Descriptions

A significant element to the series of material-thinking based workshops is the integration of a written component whereby students are encouraged to document their reflections on processes and use of materials. Essentially these descriptions present a form of deconstruction and personal decoding of student’s outcomes. In its most fundamental definition phenomenologically based descriptions provide a strategy for documenting both objective and intuitively grounded responses that offer a platform for identifying and articulating the essential meanings embedded within their studio responses. The basis for inclusion of phenomenology-based descriptions relates to providing students with a personal strategy for facilitating independent analysis and evaluation of their studio outcomes. The documentation of studio responses also provides a method for students to identify the context of their works in relationship to professional artists and contemporary arts practice.
For a more detailed outline of each workshop please contact me:
Glen Skien
mob:0427 850 782


  1. I love how you write about process!

  2. Kia ora Glen, workshops look very interesting. I would very much like to attend if you have dates and places.

  3. Your writing here informs and challenges me to think deeply about the teaching piece. Thank you.

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