Electives

Curriculum

FALL & SPRING ELECTIVES

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ED601 | Narrative Drawing

This course focuses on teaching students how to bring back the narrative to realist art. Through discussions and examples, the artist will explore how the narrative was used in the past and how it can be used today in dynamic ways. The drawing should depict the times we are living in without artistic dogma. The subject matter will be a figure or figures placed in a detailed environment. The artist will explain his working method and materials, which include using photography correctly and working from life.

3 Credits 

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ED602 | Drawing Long Pose

This is a course in strategy. With the myriad of interrelated technical challenges in drawing or painting the human figure from direct observation, this course offers one theory: a single, grand approach (comprised of principles which themselves are open to personalized interpretation) which is intended as one of many blueprints, for weaving a host of tools in the skill set of the visual artist into a complementary result. Students will create a resilient long pose piece to accompany and articulate the lessons of the course, layering such issues into a complex conclusion. Additional work will be assigned in order to support the course content, allowing students to focus on a personal strategy through their own theoretical approaches to the themes of the course.

3 Credits

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ED603 | Drawing and Storytelling

This course provides students with the opportunity to create narrative images with line and color in the form of traditional drawing. Each week, students will be introduced to different approaches to storytelling found in artwork from around the world. Stories will be adopted from historical epics, folk tales and personal experience. Students will then transform their ideas into large-scale sequential images and learn how to use narrative methods to make figurative images more personal and timeless. Students will also explore working with color in drawing, including Asian brushwork technique, acrylic technique, watercolortechnique and oriental style composition.

3 Credits 

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ED604 | Graphic Novels & Sequential Art

This course is concerned with the artistic component of graphic novels, focusing in particular on the language, tools and practice of sequential storytelling. We will cover layout and clarity in the individual panel, page design and book setup, the importance of quick perspective and structural drawing from memory, the digital world, coloring techniques, dynamism in figures and shot choice, working methods and illustrative concision. Several optional reading lists will be provided, featuring graphic novel methodology and theory as well as a cultural overview of important/influential works from the last 20 years of the medium. Students will be given a series of exploratory assignments, constructed to pinpoint common hurdles of the craft, culminating in a multi-week, long-form book project set to mimic a real-world working environment.

3 Credits 

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ED607 | Drawing from Life

This class is focused on creating artworks based partly on drawings of people outside the classroom, finding content for art in the world around us. We will also use cameras to catch details, and examine how photographs as a reference help or hinder the drawings. These drawings will lead to a wider exploration of metaphor and allegory, to creating an artwork which perhaps travels far afield from its sources.  To this end, we’ll experiment with how to create studio works based on the life sketches, seeing what lessons we can get from the spontaneous gestures done under pressure of time and captured in the sketches. We’ll pay attention to the casual movements and signals conveyed by peoples’ bodies: what story do they tell and how can we manipulate and play with these gestures in a studio work to tell a larger story? That said, the first and central problem for the artist is what to say, and why? How does a young artist locate their subject matter? Rather than trying to identify the “good” we’ll look for the interesting and compelling for each student, try to get them to delve into their own psychologies, to plumb the depths of their inner lives and to reveal. Most of all, perhaps, we need to ask ourselves, What do we feel? Why? Supplementing this we’ll explore specific artistic milieus along with the political and social factors which fed into their lives, to highlight how art isn’t done in a vacuum, but responds to external stimuli, even obsessions, filtered through the artist’s personality and interests.

3 Credits 

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EDD601 | 3-D Modeling

This class is focused on creating artworks based partly on drawings of people outside the classroom, finding content for art in the world around us. We will also use cameras to catch details, and examine how photographs as a reference help or hinder the drawings. These drawings will lead to a wider exploration of metaphor and allegory, to creating an artwork which perhaps travels far afield from its sources.  To this end, we’ll experiment with how to create studio works based on the life sketches, seeing what lessons we can get from the spontaneous gestures done under pressure of time and captured in the sketches. We’ll pay attention to the casual movements and signals conveyed by peoples’ bodies: what story do they tell and how can we manipulate and play with these gestures in a studio work to tell a larger story? That said, the first and central problem for the artist is what to say, and why? How does a young artist locate their subject matter? Rather than trying to identify the “good” we’ll look for the interesting and compelling for each student, try to get them to delve into their own psychologies, to plumb the depths of their inner lives and to reveal. Most of all, perhaps, we need to ask ourselves, What do we feel? Why? Supplementing this we’ll explore specific artistic milieus along with the political and social factors which fed into their lives, to highlight how art isn’t done in a vacuum, but responds to external stimuli, even obsessions, filtered through the artist’s personality and interests.

This is a theoretical and technical introduction to 3D modeling’s applications for figurative painters, draftspersons, and sculptors. Digital 3D modeling. plastic modeling, and assemblage have proven to be valuable alternatives to the use of photography for dimensionalizing image concepts. Demensional models had been used extensively by figurative artists in the academic tradition since Poussin and now are proving to be critical to contemporary studio practice for leading artists such as Adrian Ghenie, Will Cotton, Nicola Verlato, and Amy Bennett. Emulating their methodologies, students will execute a series of projects including building figures and environments by hand, applying photo source imagery to digital environments, plus lighting and camera applications both virtual and real. The course will include visits to the studios of artists using these and similar technologies in the production of their work. In the end, the culmination of this process will be an ambitious self-directed project utilizing 3D technologies.

3 Credits 

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EH601 | 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.

3 Credits 

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EH603 | 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.

3 Credits

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EI601 | Independent Study

Except under specially approved circumstances, only second-year students have the option of applying for an Independent Study in the fall or spring semester. An Independent Study may only replace an elective and cannot be used to replace any required courses. An Independent Study course may only be taken once during a student’s MFA studies, can only be taken with a member of the fulltime faculty and requires a written proposal from the student no later than the first day of classes for the semester during which the Independent Study would be conducted. The written proposal must be approved by the student’s primary faculty advisor and the Faculty Committee, who determine if the student is prepared for a self-directed course of study.

3 Credits 

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EMM601 | 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.

3 Credits 

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EMM602 | 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.

3 Credits

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ENS601 | Nature Science: Man & Beast

This course is designed to explore the unique challenges of animal and natural subjects in art. The academy prides itself on being a cohesive cultural institution that deals uniquely with the human figure in contemporary art. In addition to the figure, elements from the natural world are integral in the work of many representational and conceptual artists. This course will help to fill in the cracks of how we make images that incorporate natural forms, animal imagery and animal locomotion in art making. The idea is to approach this from a perceptual, cultural and historic model, as well as a scientific and anatomical model. Students will gain a better understanding of animal anatomy and natural imagery in their art. Students will develop their work both in terms of personal iconography and the understanding of physical and technical representation.

3 Credits 

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EP601 | 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.

3 Credits 

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EP602 | Painting from the Imagination

By using observation and analysis, students will explore using their visual memory as a basic for the creation of space and form. While traditionally trained artists have always utilized observation, the fully formed artist must know how to paint beyond what they see if they are to transcend the limitations of direct observation. “What is” is not always as compelling as “what can be.” This class will push students to take what they know, what they see, and what they can visually codify and corral it all into the service of what has never been seen before. Working from life and observation, students will internalize the optical phenomena of the visual world in order to recreate the “system” of the thing within imaginary spatial and luminance models. Both the figure and direct observation will be used, but only as a means to document material phenomena that will be reproduced from imagination in subsequent compositions.

3 Credits 

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EP603 | 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.

3 Credits 

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EP604 | The Figure Inside Memento Mori

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.

3 Credits

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EP605 | Painting Long Pose

The focus of this class is to develop a thinking eye through the selective pursuit of form and color. 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.

3 Credits 

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EP606 | Contemporary History Painting

In 1436, Leon Battista Alberti argued that history painting was the noblest form of art: “as being the most difficult, which requires mastery of all the others (still-life, landscape, figure & portrait), because it is a visual form of history, and because it has the greatest potential to move the viewer.” Virtually forgotten for over a century, the genre known as history painting has been slyly making inroads in a few contemporary artists’ work, generally under the radar of the art world’s gatekeepers. In this class we shall define history painting very broadly, taking into consideration the maxim that the personal is political, and concentrate on the ambitious, multi-figure composition that tells a tale, allegorical or otherwise. The final painting does not have to be huge, so much as ambitious.

3 Credits

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EP607 | 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.

3 Credits 

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EP608 | 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.

3 Credits

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EP609 | Psychodynamic Painting

To explore what this whole notion of making a work of art can “mean”– firstly to yourself! How highly subjective this business of making art really is. How deeply idiosyncratic. What the much maligned notion of expressivity: the imagination, transforming the world, whether with the logic of a dream, or the so called perceptual world around us (or both)–can lead to…or lead us from. Putting all your complicated stuff upfront: your skills & your liabilities, your fears & desires. How “unacceptable” things for a lawyer or a parent, can be very valuable grist for an artist’s mill. For example, I find my anger (harnessed of course) a very useful tool for making my own work. The terrific freedom that one can explore in being an artist. For example, one have an alter ego… i.e. a choir boy (girl) by day & God knows what in the studio at night. I’ve found it’s a useful way to think about it. We’re all so repressed, but it’s after all an imaginative realm. Safe. Fictional. It’s fantasy, that’s why it’s been around for so long. Transforming the world in paint can be anything from the caves to whomever…35 thousand years & counting! A pretty exhaustive & rich a tradition we’re in fact plugging into. That’s why the perpetual desire on the part of pundits to declare painting “dead” continues to be so laughably absurd.

3 Credits

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EP610 | The Figure in Costume

This class will feature a narrative setting with the model in costume. Each pose will feature the theatrical as topic.. both pretext and subtext will be discussed. The costume as surface ornament, as disguise, as protection, and as a psychological vehicle 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.

3 Credits

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EP611 | Still Life: Perceptual, Experimental, Historical

The limitations of still life provide an excellent format for students to explore and deepen their understanding of oil painting. The first part of the semester, working from life, students will hone their perceptual skills by focusing on the surprising nature of light, the complexity of color, and how one translates this into paint. Still life has often been used (Cezanne, the Cubists, Morandi) to experiment with composition, form, space and the nature of representation. In the second part of the class, students will work individually, exploring and developing their own approach and visual language. Throughout the course, we will look at the history of still life painting, from the earliest Greco Roman mosaics to current shows, analyzing the multitude of ways to make a painting.

3 Credits 

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EP615 | Subject Matter Lab

What is subject matter? What kinds of subjects are appropriate for ambitious painting? By some accounts, modernism killed off the idea of content entirely, or reduced it to what de Kooning called something “very tiny,” a mere glimpse. Pop art brought it back, albeit in ironic forms, and now the power of subject depends on its relationship to formal innovation, art history, and our own “period eye.” Through discussions, slide lectures, and a series of assigned projects, this class will offer a radical group investigation of what is arguably the most important task for representational painters.

3 Credits

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EP617 | Narrative Painting

This class will explore different approaches to storytelling through painting. We will develop tools for generating images and explore a variety of sources of inspiration ranging from fiction, current events, movies, personal histories, and appropriation. There will be an emphasis on brainstorming and experimentation versus realizing fully executed paintings. We sill discuss the history and meaning of narrative art as well as consider contemporary examples and what it means to make narrative paintings today.

3 Credits 

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EP616 | 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.

3 Credits

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EPDS602 | Copying 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.

3 Credits 

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EPD604 | War of Love: Drawing and Painting of Epic

In this course, students will derive inspiration from literature, fiction, cinema and pop culture to re-create a series of semi-modern and semi-historical epic images. Students will work with long paper scroll, multiple panels with both painting and drawing technique. We will be practicing the traditional narrative method of image making to engage with the conceptual approach.

3 Credits

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ES601 | 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.

3 Credits

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ES603 | Unusual Materials

This course will teach students how to make contemporary, exciting and highly imaginative figurative sculptures using a variety of found objects and everyday materials that are very accessible, inexpensive and easy to construct. An emphasis will be placed on personal expression, while employing traditional methods of anatomy, gesture and scale. We will learn to create sculptures that take on a life of their own because we will first start with a base of reality. Time will be taken to create a human or animal armature that is correct in proportion and scale so the student will then have the freedom to take it to a different level of abstraction with there always being an underlying reality that helps the viewer relate to it. The size of the piece will be the student’s choice. The students will learn to construct sculptures using different materials such as objects from nature, fabrics, recyclables and sustainable materials, wood, lightweight metals, plastics, wire, tape, glue, screws and household objects. Minimal tools will be needed to replicate what artists use living on a minimal budget. This will be a direct sculpting process with no need to make molds. This is a class of complete expression to compliment the technical skills learned in other sculpture classes.

3 Credits

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ES605 | Mixed Media Sculpture Elective

This course is designed to challenge ideas of what sculpture is and what it is made of. We will experiment with a multitude of materials, from silicone, fabric and wax, to found objects, trash and food. We will explore temporary sculpture, discovering the freedom of impermanence and the magic found through destruction, along with various ways to document the lifecycle of an ephemeral sculpture. Students will have the opportunity to investigate sculpture that is movable, functional or wearable. We will find inventive ways to juxtapose materials in order to gain dynamic combinations that play with surface, form and texture. This class will have an overall focus on experimentation, how to use and combine unconventional materials and how the materials dictate the overall feeling and meaning of a sculpture.

3 Credits

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ES608 | 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.

3 Credits

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ES604 | 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.

3 Credits