From the Research Review Section, edited by Judy Hornbacher:

A review of

“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)]

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One thought on “From the Research Review Section, edited by Judy Hornbacher:

  1. I was wondering how many Artists were interviewed at the teacher’s college?
    In other words when I did an MFA and a grad teaching assitantship some 30 years ago I went into the classroom already knowing that the students had not been in college level design.

    There are I suppose, artists that have had no design in their background but it seems that understanding design and possibly some art history that the cognitive shift may occur.
    I teach with a point of view that you can control right cognitive shifts(Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Dr. Betty Edwards) and it seems to me that what you are talking aBOUT IS THE ‘ CAN YOU TEACH CREATIVITY’ point of view. I believe that all humans are prone to creativity whether relating to visual metaphor, myth, legend, or maybe even intuition to ac certain degree.

    The point of art is highly suspect when one refers to the above research and really all it comes down to is that ‘I like to create’ and many of the students I have taught over the years also liked the creative process.

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