Students studying painting in the Department of Art receive a rigorous introduction to the discipline in courses that explore traditional image making in paint on canvas and paper. They also explore a full range of interdisciplinary approaches and are encouraged to produce and integrate digital and photographic imagery, and to experiment with painting in three-dimensional environments and installations. The painting sequence builds the knowledge and critical skills necessary to develop an independent, expressive direction, and leads to a broad understanding of art’s contributions to and interactions with history, culture, society, and daily life.
Beginning students learn essential methodologies and practices in oil- and water-based media. Introductory classes cover the potential of still life, figure, and landscape, as well as investigations into abstract painting. Critiques, slide lectures, and visiting artist presentations are important components of the curriculum.
Intermediate level courses offer opportunities to work on narrative approaches and thematic development in a variety of materials. By examining, analyzing, and working with historical images alongside those from popular culture (graffiti, graphic novel, fashion, etc.) students gain insight into their own paintings, while becoming better readers and interpreters of visual imagery. Throughout the curriculum, students experience painting both from life and from the imagination.
On the advanced level, students become capable of articulating their intentions, developing their work thematically, and evaluating it independently, in groups and with faculty mentors.
All BFA students complete a senior thesis project in their final year, combining a cohesive exhibition or screening of work, a significant piece of writing, and an oral defense, all directed by a faculty committee. Faculty also provide support to students wishing to engage in practicums and internships, both inside and outside the university.