You gotta love Louise Nevelson.
She made hundreds of sculptures that kept evolving and more often than not, kept getting bigger and bigger. I love that she elevated scrap material and other people's throwaways to high art status.
I did three projects based on her work this year. One was more tied to her work than the other two, but her sculptures provided a springboard for our students to think sculpturally.
I introduced the 5th grade classes to her work and emphasized the concept of unity through her monochromatic paintings and discussed the differences between freestanding and relief sculpture.
These classes worked in teams of 3 or 4 students and assembled wood pieces on 18x18" squares of plywood. I stressed that they didn't have to make their relief sculpture look like anything- a park, a city square, and to just arrange shapes of different sizes in an interesting way. The next class was spent painting these pieces either all gold, white, silver, or black.
My goal over the summer is to install these small group pieces and assemble them as one giant relief sculpture on our campus. It will be approximately 15x8".
The 4th graders created relief sculptures as well. However, they were not limited to the square format. They were introduced to Louise's work, as well as the concepts of radial symmetry and complementary colors. Their sculptures could show symmetry or asymmetry, but it had to show radial.
After assembling and gluing their pieces they were able to chose a pair of complementary colors and paint it. They could also add white to make tints. By working with opposite colors, I emphasized that they could make certain parts of their sculpture pop out and create focal points in the design.
This project was done in an extended lesson during testing at our site. I met with the class for one hour & 45 minutes.
The 2nd graders created freestanding sculptures based on the artist's work. Their limitation was that they had to fit the bottom of the sculpture on a 4.5 x 4.5" cardboard base. They could then build up as high as they wanted, as long as their sculpture was stable. It had to have stable balance. They built it the first day and when I met with them the following week they painted the pieces using a set of analogous colors- 2 primary colors that are mixed together to make a secondary color.