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Bard College Catalogue, 2019–20
OverviewThe 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.
RequirementsThe 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 and visual culture 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
- “All at Once,” a series of paintings that explore memory
- “The Interaction of Movement and Sound”
- “Prayer for the Inner Child”
- “The Unquiet Hand,” an emotional record through the medium of textile
FacilitiesThe 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.
Digital I: Digital to Physical
DESIGNATED: ELAS COURSE
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. Coursework 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.
From the use of papyrus in 2700 BC up to the present, paper has been an integral component in the creation and distribution of art and information. Yet it is often overlooked as an artistic medium. This course explores the vast technical and conceptual possibilities of this ephemeral material, pushing paper “craft” into a series of thoughtful and challenging artworks in two and three dimensions. Techniques include large-scale collage and assemblage, weaving, papermaking, hand and laser papercutting, embossing, and pulp drawing and casting.
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.
Digital II: Manufacturing Dissent
DESIGNATED: ELAS COURSE
In a political moment rife with anxiety, it is a challenge to channel concern and outrage into a force for good. The class explores visual and active strategies for responding to our unique political moment, surveying a range of visual devices for articulating concern, dissent, anger, hope, and curiosity. Students use text and image to generate energetic messaging campaigns and create site-specific, user-activated works.
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.
Classes cover the fundamentals of ceramics, concentrating on hand-building and the basic aspects of casting. Different clay bodies and glazes are explored, as are firing temperatures and tools. Students build ceramic objects and explore using clay with other materials and time-based disciplines such as performance and video. No prior experience with clay is necessary, however students must have taken a Sculpture I class.
Sculpture II: Casting
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. Other recent Sculpture II classes have investigated interactive strategies, environmental site installation, steel, and the artist’s process.
Drawing II: Works on Paper
Students are introduced to a range of materials and explore their use through a variety of prompts and directives. Each assignment requires a degree of self-determination in terms of aesthetic terrain, whether from the imagination, life, and/or researching the unlimited world of images online. Prerequisite: Drawing I, Painting I, or permission of the instructor. Other recent Drawing II classes have explored mixed media, the figure, and drawing from nature.
Printmaking II: Experimental Printmaking, “Multiples”
The course covers nonintaglio techniques such as large-scale woodblock and collagraph; explores the use of the laser cutter and digital tools; and opens up the process to drawing, painting, and sculpture. The focus is on the development of projects that utilize printmaking as part of a larger process rather than just for the creation of a printed edition. Themes explored in other Printmaking II courses include silkscreen and intaglio.
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.
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.
Painting III: The Mural
Large-scale studio painting, political banners, and mural painting are investigated in this course. Students go through the mural-making process from idea to execution, making scale drawings, discussing budgets, and considering site specificity. Acrylic, oil, and spray paint can be used, depending on preference and the project. Painting experience required.
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.
Drawing III: Drawn and Quartered
Designed to explore the multifaceted nature of drawing, the course examines the formal, conceptual, expressive, and narrative potential of the medium. Through a series of projects, students investigate various material means (charcoal, pencil, pastel, ink, watercolor) and their application to image and abstraction, a single drawing versus a series, and color versus black-and-white. Prerequisites: Drawing II and/or Painting II, and permission of the instructor.
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.
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.