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, 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
- “Mental Media,” a material examination of the nature of the human brain and its relationship to the mind
- “The New Audience Theory,” a mixed media installation where every move the audience makes becomes performance
- “UnDone: A Careful and Meticulous Deconstruction of Domestic Objects”
- “The Way She Saw It,” paintings of influential women
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.
The definition of sculpture is always expanding to absorb new materials and strategies. It can include objects, actions, time-based media, sound, and light. This course introduces the language of contemporary sculpture through building objects and installations, looking at slides and videos, drawing, writing, verbal critique, and discussion. Students explore how meaning is communicated through sculpture, using materials including wood, fabric, clay, metal, and found objects.
This course emphasizes the study of drawing as a tool for articulating what the eyes, hand, and mind discover when coordinated. Students primarily work from life, forms from nature, and the still life in order to gain fundamental and essential drawing skills. Line, shape, value, gesture, volume, weight, composition, and space form the basis for translating 3D to 2D, and these are addressed through assignments and reading.
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: Steel
Students learn to weld and cut steel using oxygen-acetylene, plasma, MIG, and TIG techniques. These techniques are then employed to fabricate a tool, a container, and a thought. Recent Level II courses have addressed casting, environmental site installation, the artist’s process, and interactive strategies.
Drawing II: Collage
A hands-on introduction to collage that emphasizes direct and improvisational processes. Students work in a range of mediums, exploring different techniques and strategies and expanding on their collage-based work with shifts in size/scale (the digital printout) and with time-based media (stop-motion animation). The class also looks at cubism, surrealism, Dada, appropriation, “street art,” and other work made in the public space. Other recent Drawing II courses have explored mixed media, the figure, analogue to digital and back, 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.
Bookmaking for Visual Artists and Photographers
Art 230 / Photography 230
See Photography 230 for a full course description.
Art and Climate Change: You Are Here . . . Now
The landscape is one of art’s most enduring subjects. This interdisciplinary course examines how art and science collide at a time when climate change is reshaping our physical and social landscapes. Students investigate current art practices, hear from scientists about their research methodologies, and consider agency, activism, and the aesthetics and visual rhetoric of greenwashing. Individual and collaborative projects engage a range of skills, disciplines, and approaches—from propaganda to public practice.
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.
Designed for students who have completed Level I and II courses in painting, sculpture, or drawing/mixed media, with the expectation that juniors will begin to craft a work ethic and ongoing studio practice. The course is demanding, with each student vigorously developing a body of work and presenting work for class critiques.
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.
Sound as a Sculptural Medium
Art 321 / Music 321
See Music 321 for a full course description.
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.