Electives

Curriculum

Fall Electives

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History of Drawing Technique

This is a unique course in the relationship of technique to content in drawing traditions up to the present day. Students gain both practical experience and a historical perspective on the use of materials and technique employed by draftsmen in a number of historical periods. Wet and dry media on various supports are explored in a studio format. Students prepare paper with grounds for use with metal-point, tempera, inks applied with pen and brush, both natural and fabricated chalks, and various forms of charcoal. Through readings, lectures, discussion and museum visits, the development and application of drawing technique are studied as both a reflection of and impetus for the artist’s ongoing search for form and meaning.

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History of Sculpture Composition and Technique

This course employs lectures, reading and the rigorous discipline of classroom exercises to investigate several key figures in the history of Western sculpture, focusing on the relationship between technique and broader cultural issues in the associated period. Following Rudolph Wittkower’s seminal thesis entitled Sculpture: Processes and Principles, class lectures will retrace different trajectories of carved and modeled figure sculpture up to the threshold of Modernism, studying the connection between methods of execution and evolving concept of form. The studio component of the course emphasizes the emergence of the clay sketch model, or maquette, as a tool for expanding the formal and iconographic vocabulary of monumental sculpture. The evolution of technique is further studied through a sequence of studio exercises in which models are posed for reference while students emulate the characteristic methodology of a specific artist or historical periods in the realization of a new sculptural composition. Collectively, the exercises promote a comparative historical analysis that elucidates the changing metaphoric content of technique itself, and provides a theoretic foundation for the student’s personal segue into contemporary practice.

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Artistic Anatomy IV: Ecorche II

This course offers in-depth analysis of the bones and musculature of the head, neck, arm, and hand, with frequent reference to the effect on surface form of the live model and an on-going review of proportional and mass relationships. It also includes reference to the application of this knowledge in works of art.

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Figure in Lithography

Since Alois Senefelder invented lithography more than 210 years ago, the human figure has played a major role as subject and vehicle for expression in the medium. This course addresses both basic and unique technical problems faced when working with the figure and pictorial space in lithography. Students will work from the live model on stone and aluminum plates as well as pursue a suite of self-directed prints. No printmaking experience is necessary.

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Printmaking Seminar

Printmaking Seminar addresses a different theme every semester. Each student develops a suite of prints, printfolio, installation or other format of printmaking. Dialogue with ongoing thesis work is encouraged. The seminar is designed to offer a uniquely printmaking-focused forum and medium for exploring one’s imagery. Consistent with the mission of the Academy, the problems of figurative representation and its application in a contemporary milieu remain at the center of printmaking seminar’s criteria despite the diverse themes it addresses. Enrollment is limited to students with printmaking experience. Demonstrations and lectures are given on techniques and topics germane to the semester theme. Previous and current themes: Fall 2010 Narrative Printmaking, Spring 2011 The Paper Museum, Fall 2011 Site Specific Printmaking

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Professional Practices

The Professional Practice program, which runs in the fall and spring semesters, effectively and efficiently prepares students for the practical realities of operating in the art world. The aim of the program is to develop students’ awareness of career opportunities and skills for navigating the professional world. Workshop sessions expose students to the worlds of private studios, galleries, museums, higher education, grants and residencies, and related careers. Considered are: practical and legal issues of finding studio space and gallery representation; presentation, documentation, promotion and pricing of work; writing artists’ statements and resumes; researching granting and residency opportunities and writing applications; researching job opportunities and writing letters of application. Students should gain an understanding of the structure of the art world and strategies for identifying and planning a career strategy.

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Alchemical Painting

This is an advanced painting course that explores issues and practice of painting as a physical studio practice within the conceptual landscape of contemporary art. The class will focus on the needs of the individual student as they develop a unique and self-directed body of work created with materials and methods that suit the purpose of the individual. There will be three “Studio Immersion” 6- hour sessions that explore alternative painting and drawing media and methods: encaustics, monotypes, acrylic under-painting, beyond the sables: alternatives to the brush, rubbings, pours and happy accidents, encaustic oil sticks, alkyd painting mediums, and many other non-academic methods and materials.

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Content in painting: Investigating an Iconographic Cosmology

This course centers on understanding, engaging, and creating iconographies, delving deep into existing systems of representation to disassemble and reassemble them into a new and unique interpretive lens. Through mining archives, scouring the internet, and conducting research in scholarly publications and museums to source imagery, students will create their own organizational data bank/archive to house and store imagery, coding and sorting images and symbols based on their constructed meaning and interpretative lens as the foundation for their own, unique synthetic realities. Through a multifaceted creative process and workshop, students will draw inspiration for archival materials and research, focusing in on imagery and iconography that intrigues them, creating a database of these images, and reanimating and fusing existing iconographies and visual tropes into a new, body of work, reflecting the unique perspective and voice of the student.

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Figure & Drapery

This course will study the response of drapery to the effects of the internal forces of the structures of the body upon perceivable surface form. Too consider drapery (or for that matter—the clothed figure), not as a simple applique, but as the sculptor’s final conception of surface form development into a sculptural convention, with an empirical understanding of the structure of the figure as the driving force behind this form of sculpture.

Spring Electives

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Painting Color Theory

This course will explore the mystery and magic of color interaction, and discover how to use color purposefully in your painting. The principles of “color theory” observed by Josef Albers are sometimes thought of as being modernist, but these principles were understood and employed by the old masters. Artists such as Vermeer, Hopper and Monet understood the secrets of color—how to adjust and manipulate color relationships to intensify the portrayal of light and material, to strengthen a composition, or to create spatial effects.

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Painting/Drawing at the Met

This course provides students with the unique opportunity to copy paintings directly from originals in the galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This long-established practice has been crucial in the education of many of the greatest painters in history. It is interesting that so many of the most creative and original artists (Rubens, Poussin, Blake, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Picasso, Manet, Degas…) strongly believed in the value of copying.

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Sculpture Relief

The purpose of the course is to introduce students to a variety of techniques and approaches not covered in the standard curriculum such as: working with wax, the clothed figure, relief and the depiction of motion.

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Intaglio

This course expands the drawing process to explore the narrative realms and sensory rich properties of intaglio printmaking. It is augmented by regular technique demonstrations for those unfamiliar with the methods. Unlike most printmaking courses, this one focuses on the particular techniques and languages that are best suited for creating the volumes and light effects in figurative representation. The processes include, but are not limited to, line etching, engraving, drypoint and mezzotint. Students work from a live model on certain projects but are expected to complete a print or suite of prints based on a self-directed concept or theme.

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Printmaking: Multimedia

Students explore traditional and new printmaking techniques in series of related prints, unique objects, and explore their relevancy to contemporary art. The class is a seminar/workshop in which Directed research and practice in printmaking for individualized development of content and technique. Emphasis is placed on exploration and growth in the intellectual, conceptual and expressive aspects of the printmaking process.

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Mixed Media Animation

This class provides an overview of the basics of stop motion animation, and explores diverse approaches to animation. Topics covered include: storyboarding, paper cut-outs and Claymation; building characters sets and armatures; lighting, camera setup, software, importing footage, timing, and editing. Developing an understanding of traditional, hands-on animation practices is very important, especially in our contemporary world where technology is so prevalent. Through an exploration of various materials—acrylics, inks, oils, additives, wire, fabrics, clay, silicone, foam and mixed media—students will create exciting combinations and discover inventive approaches to animation that will bring painting, drawing and sculpture to life—creating the illusion of movement.

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Portrait: Spatial Concepts & Head Structure

This course will concentrate on advanced aspects of portrait painting: the examination, analysis, and depiction of light; the illusionist structures of chiaroscuro, scale, and perspective; and the appropriate material and palette of colors for portraiture.

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Painting Flesh

This painting course will examine the subtleties of flesh, exploring the variations of skin ranging from humans and other animals to fruits and vegetables. Working from life, photographs, and imagination, we will investigate a variety of options in underpaintings, glazes and color systems that will amplify texture, reflections and depth of flesh. Students will discover painting techniques to capture subtleties of color and translucency in the skin, making their subjects vibrate with life.

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Technical Narrative

This class will feature a narrative setting with the model in context to the Memento Mori theme. Each pose will feature the theatrical as topic. Both pretext and subtext will be discussed. The Memento Mori as it represents the futility of time and the temporal nature of all things subject to decay, as represented as a psychological vehicle for each pose and still life set up. The narrative thematic Memento Mori will constitute the class focus. The development of a thinking eye through the selective pursuit of form and color are topics made use of with each pose. Painting from life affords the opportunity for selectivity through the observation of changes that develop from moment to moment. Students must be aware of the variety of subtle changes observed in class from the slightest shift of the model’s pose to a change of color and tone due to a reflected light. All the variety of changes that occur informs a painting and becomes in some way a remnant of that experience. The process in representing those experiences as a unified whole is the challenge of painting. Student’s perceptual skills are conceptual concerns that give meaning and allow expressive direction to painting.

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Stone Carving

This course is designed to introduce students to the tools, techniques and materials of sculpting in stone. Basic and more advanced principles of the reductive process are covered, including the proper use of manual, pneumatic and electric tools, direct versus indirect carving, the employment of calipers and measurements, models for 1:1 or enlargement reference, and abrasives and finishing techniques. Additionally, the characteristics of various carving stones are discussed, including marble, limestone, alabaster, travertine and granite. The practical components of the course are supplemented with slide presentations examining stone sculpture from archaic times to the twenty-first century. Important historical artworks are covered, as well as the use of stone as a contemporary artistic medium.

Fall/Spring Electives

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History of Painting Technique

This course explores basic principles of the layered painting techniques that developed and flourished in Europe in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, and examines how varying approaches to illusion, form, color and content are intrinsic to the expressive aims of painting. While the context of the class is historical, emphasis is placed on the practical application of technique to the student’s own painting. Instruction will be given in the use of toned grounds, underpainting and grisaille. Various forms of paint application will be explained and examined: alla prima, velatura, glazing, etc., with specific attention to the optical effects of paint and color perception. A variety of palettes and mediums will be examined in terms of their historical applications. Discussions of technique and its relationship to content will be strongly encouraged. Students gain practical experience as well as insight into past technical developments.

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Artistic Anatomy III: Ecorche I

This course provides a thorough analysis of human anatomy through the construction of an Écorché (an anatomical sculpture of a flayed figure). Each student begins by sculpting a skeleton out of plastilene, onto which is attached first the deep and then the superficial muscles of the body. Relying on Old Master drawings, diagrams, specially prepared dissection casts and the live model, the instructor demonstrates how the forms of the bones, muscles and tendons are transferred to the écorché.

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Comparative Anatomy

This course is designed as an elective for all students interested in comparative anatomy to enlarge their repertory on the subject of Artistic Anatomy. It would be helpful if students in this course have already taken Structural Anatomy I so that they could make skeletal comparisons with animals. Students taking this class should also have a general working knowledge of the human muscular system for comparisons with animals.