“A Conceptual Structure of Visual Metaphor”
Studies in Art Education, 2006, 47(3), 229-247.
By Daniel Serig
Reviewed by: Kristin Baxter, Ed.D.
In his 2006 article in Studies in Art Education, Daniel Serig poses the question, “Is there a conceptual structure to the creation of visual metaphors by artists that closely aligns with the cognitive view of metaphoric thinking?” Unpacking this complex question and the researcher’s response to it requires significant work and commitment on the part of the reader, yet such efforts are greatly rewarded. In preparing a review of this article, my goal was to extract the gems of insight and understanding (and there are many) from this research and pose new meanings of them for teaching artists.
Serig frames the purpose of his research with Eisner’s (2002) observation that it [the cognitive consequence of engagement in the arts] is a way of thinking about the aims of art education that is still trying to secure a firm foothold in the larger educational community. The arts have long been perceived as being “affective” rather than cognitive, easy not tough, soft not hard, simple not complex. (p.35)
Serig responds this conundrum with his study that, “aims to help gain that firmer foothold in the educational community reflecting art practices as complex, cognitive endeavors that generate meaning” (p. 233). The ambitious research project that he describes in this article, which is based on his dissertation research at Teachers College Columbia University, certainly does establish that firmer foothold in the educational community with his conceptual structure of a visual metaphor. Though how we, as readers, arrive at his conclusions and implications is a complex yet deeply rewarding journey.
[Full article in TAJ 7(3)]