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Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Visual Arts Video Clips

Abstraction: Gerald Ferstman



Gerald Ferstman discusses and demonstrates the spontaneous nature of his abstract painting technique and the social messages that make up his thematic output. Ferstman guides viewers through the initial stages of a new work, usually planned out in terms of basic composition and color selection, and onward into an explosion of creative movement, expressive painting, and stream-of-consciousness expression. Ferstman’s methods articulate his deep convictions concerning the ways in which society determines who we are and what we do, passionately resisting the boundaries of conventional style in favor of an abstract technique. Ferstman says that though his work’s messages can sometimes be disquieting or challenging to the viewer, he hopes to generate some new ways of thinking.

Suggested Uses:

  • Use to spark a discussion about artists’ methods and intentions as well as the creative process in general. Have students create art based on the video and your discussion.
  • Use in conjunction with a discussion of the purposes of art (e.g., art as social commentary).
  • Compare and contrast the techniques and methods different artists use in their approach to the same medium, using painter profiles from Spectrum of Art and Through Artists’ Eyes.
  • Compare and contrast Ferstman’s work and process to the work and process of realistic painters featured in Looking at Painting to better understand abstract art.
  • Use as part of a “careers in the arts” unit or as an introductory activity before an artist-in-residence visits your classroom.

For more information:

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