ACV206 - Abstraction in the Visual Arts

Unit details


2024 unit information

Enrolment modes:

Trimester 1: Burwood (Melbourne), Community Based Delivery (CBD)*

Credit point(s):1
EFTSL value:0.125
Unit Chair:Trimester 1: Simon Grennan

ACV101, ACV102 or ACV205 or ACI202.

From 2025:

Students must have passed 1 unit from ACV115, ACV101, ACA102, ACV205 

Incompatible with: ACF204, AAV218
Typical study commitment:

Students will on average spend 150-hours over the teaching period undertaking the teaching, learning and assessment activities for this unit.

This will include educator guided online learning activities within the unit site.

Educator-facilitated (scheduled) learning activities - on-campus unit enrolment:

1 x 3-hour seminar per week


*Community Based Delivery (CBD) is for National Indigenous Knowledges, Education, Research and Innovation NIKERI Institute students only.


This unit examines the potential of abstraction as both a mode and strategy to develop powerful and exciting approaches to contemporary art practice. Concentrating on the diversity of possible approaches, the unit will emphasise the importance of methodology in generating an appropriate working process for each student. The first half of the trimester focuses on an introduction to abstraction examining what this term means and especially what it offers as a language and frame for expression. Students will develop a conceptual, aesthetic, and material methodology for generating studio work in an abstract idiom. The unit is structured around a multi-disciplinary approach to art making including painting, drawing but also photography, sculpture, installation and performance. It will consider abstraction as a vital means of understanding the individual but also the world more broadly. Studio enquiry will be informed by seminar presentations, class discussion, consultation, and the student's own independent research. An historical appreciation of abstraction is a critical part of this units focus. The second half of the trimester will examine the ways in which abstraction has been incorporated into contemporary art with a specific focus on key areas such as Aboriginal art, art and technology, conceptual practices as well as new approaches to painting. This material will investigate the ways in which abstraction has been utilised across two, three and four dimensions to speak to a wide range of contemporary issues around identity, concept, form and social change. Throughout the trimester, students are expected to work both during class and outside class and always in regular consultation with their lecturer. Students are also expected to visit galleries, present at critiques and contribute to discussion as a requirement for successful completion.


These are the Learning Outcomes (ULO) for this unit

At the completion of this unit, successful students can:

Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes


Develop a studio methodology for generating aesthetically, technically, and conceptually sophisticated artworks

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO4: Critical thinking

GLO5: Problem solving


Demonstrate technical and material competence in the production of artworks

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO5: Problem solving


Produce studio and journal research that is engaged with, and informed by, the historical, theoretical, and aesthetic contexts of the visual arts

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO4: Critical thinking


Assessment Description Student output Grading and weighting
(% total mark for unit)
Indicative due week
Assessment 1: Folio   60% Information not yet available
Assessment 2: Journal and Exercises 1600 word
or equivalent
40% Information not yet available

The assessment due weeks provided may change. The Unit Chair will clarify the exact assessment requirements, including the due date, at the start of the teaching period.

Learning Resource

The texts and reading list for the unit can be found on the University Library via the link ACV206
Note: Select the relevant trimester reading list.

Please note that a future teaching period's reading list may not be available until a month prior to the start of that teaching period so you may wish to use the relevant trimester's prior year reading list as a guide only.

Unit Fee Information

Fees and charges vary depending on the type of fee place you hold, your course, your commencement year, the units you choose to study and their study discipline, and your study load.

Tuition fees increase at the beginning of each calendar year and all fees quoted are in Australian dollars ($AUD). Tuition fees do not include textbooks, computer equipment or software, other equipment or costs such as mandatory checks, travel and stationery.

Use the Fee estimator to see course and unit fees applicable to your course and type of place.

For further information regarding tuition fees, other fees and charges, invoice due dates, withdrawal dates, payment methods visit our Current Students website.