Painting Curriculum

Curriculum

YEAR ONE | Fall Semester

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P501 | Painting I: Direct Painting Intensive

This course examines the language and techniques of direct painting from the figure, still life and plaster casts. Students will paint using a variety of strategies derived from current and historical practice. Direct painting has been the method of choice for figurative painting in the modern era, but other techniques are encountered in the history of western art, often as foundations or reference studies for more layered development. Theoretical approaches to tonal structure and color theory will be addressed in depth. While emphasis in this course is on analytical seeing/interpreting, self-directed work plays a significant role. By providing a classroom structure for the review of independent work, the course achieves a vital dialogue between the method of direct painting and the myriad intentions of the artist.

3 Credits

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A501 | Artistic Anatomy I: Structural Anatomy

This course provides instruction in the perceptual and conceptual means needed to construct the human figure in two or three dimensions from the model or from memory. It begins by examining the body’s structure through the study of the mechanics of motion, surface form and human anatomy. The instructor emphasizes the proportions of the skeleton, the major body masses and the movement potential in the joints. Students construct simplified male and female figures in plastilene, first conceived as a series of blocks and then refined into more realistic forms.

3 Credits

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D 501 | Figure Drawing I Intensive

This course begins the process of developing the student’s ability to represent the human figure in pictorial space, clearly situated on a perspective ground plane. Emphasis is placed on gaining an in-depth understanding of the body’s underlying geometry and anatomical structure. A conceptual model of the figure is developed by correlating drawing from the live model with the study of Old Master drawings and diagrams that present the body as a series of interlocking volumes governed by hierarchical principles. Each session emphasizes a different body part or connective joint. Students learn about the characteristic contours of muscles and how body parts move in relation to one another and to the picture plane.

3 Credits

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H501 | Art & Culture I: 1860-1960 The Birth of Modernism and Its Aftermath

The Art & Culture sequence offers a challenging and advanced scheme of study and explores a range of theoretical perspectives that shape attitudes towards visual art and reflect on the human figure’s enduring role. Invigorated by current research, the two-semester program encourages students to explore conceptually and creatively the ways in which contemporary artistic practice and critical theory inter-relate. It aims to expand the students’ knowledge of contemporary artistic developments as well as to deepen understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of academic discourses on visual art. The series draws upon the fields of art history, philosophy, museology, literary theory, post-colonial studies and cultural studies in addressing the critical challenges posed by artistic practice. Classes prepare students to engage in studio practice within a broader context and allows them to fully engage in an ongoing cultural discourse.

Students will study the theory that surrounds critical movements of early Modernism through Minimalism and conceptual art of the 1960’s. The role of representation, figuration, and abstraction within the attendant cultural arena will allow students a broad base for understanding the relationship of recent history to contemporary concerns in art.

3 Credits

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A 503 | History & Theory of Composition I

This course investigates historical modalities and methods of compositional construction in Western figurative art from Classicism to early Modernism. The essential topics covered are: forms of spatial construction and illusion, the relationship of content to image, and the relationship of image construction to form and compositional content in various social and historical contexts. The aim is to give students an understanding of the possibilities and strategies of compositional realization, and instruction in the application of these strategies to their own ideas through studio work and class assignments.

3 Credits

YEAR ONE | Spring Semester

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D502 | Figure Drawing II

This course emphasizes proportional accuracy, foreshortening, detail-mass relationships and the use of light and shadow to draw the figure as a convincing volumetric and spatial form. It integrates the conceptual geometricized model presented in Figure Drawing I (D101) with the perceptual, naturalistic concerns presented by the live model. Long poses allow the student to develop drawings that reflect a more complete realization of the human form.

3 Credits

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P502 | Painting II: Indirect Painting

This is a course in optical mixing of color through layering, the common painting method in pre-modern times and gaining in acceptance among contemporary artists. Students paint using underpainting (imprimatura), glazing and scumbling techniques. Through this method of episodically building up a painting, students are able to address a variety of problems in sequential fashion and indirect painting becomes a valuable resource for students’ independent studio work. Projects in this course include self-directed assignments and instructed classroom figure painting.

3 Credits

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H504 | Theory and Practice of Composition II

This course begins where History of Composition and Design I ends. Beginning with the birth of Modernism, it takes students through the various strategies of representing form and content from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 21st century, covering such movements as Modernism, post-Modernism, Surrealism, Conceptual Art, Pop Art, Expressionism and Realism. Formal aspects and compositional strategies will be considered and evaluated in their social and political contexts. Relationships of past art to the development of contemporary figurative art will be addressed.

3 Credits

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A502 | Artistic Anatomy II: Anatomical Drawing

The goal of this course is to improve the student’s powers of observation by providing a basic understanding of the human body’s underlying structures and to delineate strategies for representing those forms two-dimensionally. Emphasis is placed on anatomy (skeletal structure, muscular origins and insertions, and surface forms) and proportion. Ample time is given to students to work directly from the model. Focus is also placed upon the variety of the human form as represented by artists both historical and contemporary.

3 Credits

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Elective

Elective

3 Credits

In the second semester, students select one elective course based on their area of interest. Electives provide students with the opportunity to enrich their core curriculum and gain experience with new concepts and techniques. Students are encouraged to select an elective outside their concentration. Click here to view offerings.

YEAR TWO | Fall Semester

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P603 | Painting III: Synthetic Painting

Building upon Painting I and II, this course addresses the problems of composing and executing multi-figure paintings. The course examines strategies for the continued development of technique and its relationship to content and image making. Issues of transposing figures to imagined or constructed spaces and general pictorial compositional development will be addressed. Lectures and demonstrations may also be given and examples of multi-figure composition throughout history will be discussed.

3 Credits

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H602 | Art & Culture II: 1960 to the present

The Art & Culture sequence offers a challenging and advanced scheme of study and explores a range of theoretical perspectives that shape attitudes towards visual art and reflect on the human figure’s enduring role. Invigorated by current research, the two-semester program encourages students to explore conceptually and creatively the ways in which contemporary artistic practice and critical theory inter-relate. It aims to expand the students’ knowledge of contemporary artistic developments as well as to deepen understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of academic discourses on visual art. The series draws upon the fields of art history, philosophy, museology, literary theory, post-colonial studies and cultural studies in addressing the critical challenges posed by artistic practice. Classes prepare students to engage in studio practice within a broader context and allows them to fully engage in an ongoing cultural discourse.

Seminar II addresses critical theory, modernist paradigms and the contemporary environment. A research paper that will be developed and graded as a component of the MFA Thesis II course is required. The paper should make a convincing argument for the MFA Thesis by citing relevant sources in philosophy, culture and artworks, and stand as a verbal study of an argument for the MFA Thesis. Individual reasoning, analysis and perceptions should inform this endeavor as they do the visual work.

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I601 | MFA Thesis I

In the first semester of the MFA Thesis, the emphasis is placed on developing individual direction through the exploration of ideas resulting in the execution of artwork. These ideas may first be outlined in maquettes, studies and compositional plans that clarify, refine and consolidate the developing work. Photographs and other material not hand-crafted by the artist may serve as valuable references but do not qualify as gradable material in this context. The MFA Thesis I works are presented in-progress during the mid-semester critique and should show significant development as coherent artworks for the end-of-semester critique.

3 Credits

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2 Electives

Elective One 3credits

Elective Two 3 credits

In the fourth semester, students select two elective courses based on their area of interest. Electives provide students with the opportunity to enrich their core curriculum and gain experience with new concepts and techniques. Students are encouraged to select electives outside their concentration. Click here to view offerings.

YEAR TWO | Spring Semester

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P604 | Painting IV

The instructor presents a series of advanced problems in painting and theory. The challenges may range from a tableau vivant, requiring students to paint directly from a multi-figure setup, to a more conceptually driven work that develops from wide-ranging references. Individual criticism, group critiques and self-directed projects are crucial aspects of this studio class.

 

3 Credits

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I602 | MFA Thesis II

In this course, students continue building on the body of work and themes addressed in MFA Thesis I. In addition to completing paintings, drawings or sculpture over the semester, students are required to refine their research paper that began in the fall semester in Art and Culture II. (See paper description above.)

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2 Electives

Elective One 3credits

Elective Two 3 credits

In the fourth semester, students select two elective courses based on their area of interest. Electives provide students with the opportunity to enrich their core curriculum and gain experience with new concepts and techniques. Students are encouraged to select electives outside their concentration. Click here to view offerings.