Ellen Driscoll (director), Laura Battle, Ken Buhler, Adriane Colburn, Daniella Dooling, Kenji Fujita, Arthur Gibbons, Jeffrey Gibson, Beka Goedde, Maggie Hazen, 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; Digital 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, digital, 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
- “Failed Starts,” an animation about the process of creating work
- “Self/Portrait,” an exploration and subversion of the convention of self-portraiture to highlight the true composition of self-identity
- “XXVII,” a series of abstracts
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 digital image creation and manipulation for display in print and on screen. With Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator at the center, the class explores the possibilities of creating imagined and composite landscapes that are feasible only through digital fabrication. Course work fosters a body of work consisting of online sketchbooks, site-specific installation, digital collage, gifs, large-scale printing, and laser cutting.
Instruction emphasizes the acquisition of a basic visual vocabulary, with assignments focusing on value contrast, warm and cool contrast, creating tonality, understanding the expressive and structural possibilities of the materiality of paint, and how all of these elements factor in the composition of form and space. While much of the work is done from observation—still life, landscape, and model—assignments also incorporate abstraction.
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 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 readings.
The goal of the course is to give students a solid foundation in the methods and terminology of intaglio (etching), from drypoint, etching, and aquatint, to wiping and printing. Original prints, as well as reproductions, provide a historic background to printmaking and show how artists have used these techniques throughout the centuries.
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 postinternet art.
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.
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 transitions.
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 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, and drawing from nature.
Printmaking II: Print to Form
In this course, students print material in order to compose large-scale drawings and build objects. They also expand their experience working on and with paper by shaping printed paper into 2D and 3D forms. A variety of traditional, photomechanical, and experimental print processes are explored, including watercolor monotype, chine collé, collagraph, and Japanese woodblock printing. Themes explored in other Printmaking II courses include silkscreen, 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.
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.
In addition to direct perception by the naked eye, this course allows the student to draw upon a variety of resources, some more often relegated to science or math (microscopes, computers), as a means of gathering visual information about basic structures in nature, growth patterns, and other phenomena less than immediately apparent. The class focuses on the gathering of visual data and then adopting it for exploration in drawing projects. Other recent Drawing III courses have explored mixed media, the figure, and collage.
Printmaking III: Photographic Printmaking Processes (Photogravure to Photopolymer)
The first part of the semester focuses on a hands-on experience of the history of photography, with photogravure (the only continuous-tone photographic process) at its center. Students also explore halftone techniques such as photo etching, screen printing, and photopolymer, with excursions into nonsilver photo processes such as cyanotype, gum bichromate, and carbon printing. The second part is dedicated to the realization of student projects.
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.