Ellen Driscoll (director), Laura Battle, Ken Buhler, Adriane Colburn, Daniella Dooling, Kenji Fujita, Arthur Gibbons, Jeffrey Gibson, Beka Goedde, Medrie MacPhee, Dave McKenzie, Lothar Osterburg, Judy Pfaff, Lisa Sanditz, Joseph Santore, Shinique Smith, Julianne Swartz
The Studio Arts Program is available to the student who wishes to major in the program and the student who wishes to experience the visual arts and apply that experience to other disciplines.
The student who wishes to moderate into the program and graduate with a degree in studio arts must complete the following course components: two art history courses (one to be completed by the time of Moderation; it is also recommended that one be based in contemporary, post-1945 art, when offered); four studio courses from among Drawing I
(required), II, III
; Painting I, II, III
; Printmaking I, II, III
; Sculpture I, II, III; Cybergraphics I, II
; Extended Media I, II
; and Art 405-406, Senior Seminar
At the end of their fourth semester, moderating students are asked to present a body of work to a group of three faculty members—determined by the program and including the student’s adviser—to assess the student’s work to date, clarify strengths and weaknesses, and discuss curricular and academic goals for the rest of the student’s Bard career. Moderated studio arts majors are eligible for the final curricular component of the Studio Arts Program, which consists of Level III studio classes in a variety of painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, extended media, cybergraphics, and printmaking options. The content of each studio class and the degree of structure are up to the individual instructor.
Recent Senior Projects in Studio Arts
- “Home Body,” an installation made of textiles that explores the makeup of identity
- “Matrix of a Moment,” an installation piece using sculpture, drawing, printmaking, photography, and writing
- “Myth and Abstraction,” large-scale, abstract paintings dealing with myths of creation
- “Watch Moon,” a project in printmaking that explores ideas of femininity and witchcraft
The exhibition space in the Fisher Studio Arts Building permits an ambitious schedule of exhibitions, which are an integral component of the program. In addition to open student exhibitions, Senior Project shows, and Moderation exhibitions, student work on particular themes is presented at student-curated and faculty-curated shows. Bard’s Center for Curatorial Studies is another on-campus site for exhibitions of contemporary art. The Bard College Exhibition Center, located in the village of Red Hook, has approximately 16,000 square feet of gallery, studio, and class space. The Center gives seniors the opportunity to present their Senior Projects in a professional space dedicated solely to the exhibition of student work.
The descriptions below represent a sampling of courses from the past four years.
An introduction to tools and methods for producing and manipulating images. A series of exercises to build image-making skills, primarily in Adobe Photoshop.
For students who have had no experience with painting or need a brush-up. Lectures, demonstrations, exercises, and assigned projects provide a basis in the fundamentals of painting. Students explore color mixing and paint handling and review various compositions/color-organizing principles as they relate to painting.
Students investigate form, space, surface, material, location, and gesture, with particular focus on direct and improvisational ways of working. Assignments usually begin with an exercise that introduces a medium, technique, or set of ideas. Students work with cardboard, string, found objects, and other simple materials to make three-dimensional artworks before moving on to mold making and casting, light carpentry, and welding. Group critiques are supplemented by demonstrations in materials and techniques, presentations of contemporary artwork, and discussions of readings.
The goal of the course is to give students confidence and facility with basic technical and perceptual drawing skills and to further develop visual awareness. The focus is on learning how to see, in order to translate 3D objects into 2D equivalents. A variety of techniques and media are introduced, and regular critiques are held.
This course introduces several traditional printmaking practices—woodblock, monoprint, and intaglio—and alternates between precise assignments and very loose and experimental processes. In this way, students learn a specific set of “good print shop practices” as well as an awareness of how artists can innovate with printmaking.
Color influences all aspects of our experience—perceptual, emotional, psychological, physiological, even spiritual. The goal is to develop a working knowledge of color as it may be applied to any visual medium. Assignments range from vigorous color studies that train the eye to forms of expression more personal in nature.
Extended Media I
The expansion of art’s definition means that the terms used to categorize works of art are often technically incorrect—e.g. film used to categorize “films” not shot on the medium of film. These same terms point to the incredible proliferation of tools and techniques that are becoming readily available to the general public. Through readings, critiques, and assignments, the class explores artistic practices that have stretched previous categories while creating new categories, such as social practice, postmedia, and post-Internet art.
This course is focused on expanding a student’s studio practice by incorporating processes that fluctuate between the digital and the handmade. An emphasis is placed on inventing hybrid techniques through the collision of digital tools (Adobe Creative Suite, basic video editing) and manual fabrication (drawing, collage, installation). A series of projects rooted in large format, laser, and 3D printing lures digital processes out of the box and into the tactile world.
Designed for students who are serious about painting, especially from life. Issues discussed in Painting I serve as building blocks for complex figurative compositions. The focus is on the figure, color relations, and how the sensation of color interacting across the plane can create light and space. Recent 200-level courses have also addressed abstraction, materials, and the figure.
Sculpture II: Casting Workshop
Students make one- and two-part rubber molds; work from sculpted forms in addition to found objects; and explore various aspects of life casting, using alginate as the starting material. As the semester progresses, the molds become more complex and intricate. The course includes a field trip to the Polich Tallix foundry. Recent courses have also addressed the artist’s process, interactive strategies, and collage and assembly.
Drawing II: Analog to Digital and Back Again
The class explores the intersection of digital printing and traditional drawing techniques. Students work with found and self-produced images that have been manipulated using Photoshop, and then incorporate them into larger works on paper or other 2D surfaces. Assignments include digital image manipulation, experimentation with printing on various materials, experimentation with alternative drawing materials and processes, and exploration of the multiple. Other recent Drawing II courses have explored the figure, mixed media, and drawing from nature.
Through a series of short assignments in the first half of the semester, students are exposed to more advanced techniques—e.g., multiple-plate registration, printing in color, and the use of different papers—and encouraged to experiment in order to expand on familiar techniques. Students then take on more ambitious projects. Themes explored in other Printmaking II courses include intaglio and print techniques that cross over into drawing, sculpture, and other media.
The Painterly Print
A monotype (a.k.a. the painterly print) is essentially a printed painting. Although it is technically the simplest form of printmaking, it strives to honor the individuality of the hand’s painterly impulse. For this reason, monotypes are a wonderful tool for a painter to quickly develop ideas of color, light, shape, and composition. This class explores the monotype process in relation to painting, using traditional techniques and experimental ones that evolve in response to the pursuit of the student’s individual ideas.
Bookmaking for Visual Artists and Photographers
Art 230 / Photography 230
See Photography 230 for a full course description.
Extended Media II
An advanced course meant to encourage individual projects, questions, and approaches. It follows a workshop model, and uses the languages and attitudes of performance art as a general methodology. Students explore movement-based thinking beside alternative strategies of object making in an effort to remain flexible. Special attention is paid to work that incorporates time-based media, installation, writing, and digital technology.
Class assignments deal with projects that require no physical existence. Graphic novels, large-scale sculpture, and urban painting are addressed as examples of artworks that exist as virtual presentations of potentially physical objects. Also explored are projects that require no foundation in physical manifestation, such as game or social media manipulation and concept-driven imagery based on data mining and mapping. Basic skills in video editing and website management are recommended; Photoshop skills are required.
In this course, students focus on enhancing technical and critical skills through the development of individual themes and independent studio practice. Studio work is complemented by discussion of pertinent topics in historical and contemporary painting. Students should be prepared to investigate, experiment, and use individual imagination to produce a body of work consistent with their artistic voice.
The defining characteristic of this advanced course is the freedom and space that each student is given to explore their ideas and go beyond personal limits and preconceptions. All media and methods are welcome as long as they are accompanied by a consideration of the specific spaces of UBS (Bard College Exhibition Center). Students are treated as working artists and are expected to install three site-specific projects. Open to ambitious, self-guided students awaiting a challenge.
Acting As If: Parody, Camp, and Spectacle
This course introduces contemporary artists whose work incorporates aesthetic references drawn from alternative subcultures, drag, mass media, and cultural events. Students read selected texts and watch artist videos that explore these ideas as strategies for expressing critical perspectives on popular culture. Two-thirds of class time is spent creating independent multidisciplinary artworks that relate to the ideas presented. Prerequisites: a minimum of two 200-level studio arts courses.
An exploration of drawing in its traditional and experimental forms, from the observed to the imagined. The goal is to help students locate ideas essential to their art and then develop those ideas in the process of drawing. In addition to assignments, students are expected to develop independent drawing projects in consultation with the professor. Prerequisites: Art 107 or 108 and Art 207-208.
Photogravure and Photographic Printmaking Techniques
Students work with traditional and contemporary photographic printing processes, including photogravure, the most beautiful and challenging of all. Also explored are a number of photographic processes that look at the bridge between traditional printmaking and photographic processes, including carbon and gum bichromate printing, as well as some faster, cheaper, and easier ways of photographic printmaking that include the use of Xerox and inkjet printing.
All studio arts majors engaged in Senior Projects meet for a weekly seminar/critique/discussion. The aim is to create a forum where students can exchange views and ideas. The seminar’s form and subject change from week to week but include writing assignments, group critiques, discussions of exhibitions on campus, and conversations with guest speakers.