2D UNIT IX: Time Frames

Project IXG  Dream Time
  • To gain experience with symbolic imagery that conveys time, change, or motion.
  • To find visual equivalents for the feelings of a fantasy, dream, nightmare, or reverie.
Project Overview Your challenge is to plan and execute a photomontage that both explores a "dreamlike" sense of time and conveys the feelings of a personal fantasy or dream.

Project References


Cubism, Op Art, Surrealism, Aboriginal painting




still image, frame, symbol, metaphor, "dreamtime," allegory



15 x 20" illustration board, x-acto knife, scissors, rubber cement or graphic arts paste, collage/montage materials (magazine images, prints, photos), ruler, paints and brushes, pens and pencils.


1. Before coming to class, review the thematic concept of Fantasy as found on the website. Also read the Time, Change, and Motion discussion for Unit IX.

2. You may want to work on some ideas in a diary or record your dreams.

3. Look through magazines for full page photos, advertisements, and images. Find at least three different illustrations of "time passing." Adhere the images to a page(s) in your journal.


1. Develop a series of alternative compositions using multiple thumb-nail sketches, remembering to focus on time, change, and motion (see vocabulary above).

2. Using magazine images, your own photographs, or computer printouts, create a photomontage on a 15" x 20" illustration board.


Critique Ideas


When you have completed your composition, divide into small groups and exchange artworks with another group from the class. Within your group, work together to respond to each print in turn. Consider the following

1. Describe the various approaches to illustrating "time" your fellow artists used.

2. Point out any personal symbols the artist used to indicate a particular meaning.

3. Discuss ideas the artwork seems to communicate. After some sharing of interpretations, attempt to state the message of the composition in one sentence. (This artwork is about...)

4. Explain how the shapes, symbols, or other elements of the composition support its message.

5. Divide each group into two subgroups: viewers who role play that they agree with the artist and other viewers who role play that they are skeptical.

6. Describe how each set of viewers would respond to the artwork. Each student should volunteer to present an interpretation of one of the artworks basing that interpretation on the small group's discussion.

Assessment Examine the final artwork to determine whether the artist communicates an idea, whether they use depth cues effectively, and whether the image is organized (composed) effectively.

As students offer interpretations of their classmates' artworks, note whether they can identify a message and point to aspects of the artwork that support that message.

Items for a Fantasy Portfolio might include:
--a series of photomontages based on dreams
--written interpretations of surrealist prints and paintings from your local Art Museum

Return to UNIT IX Overview