B.F.A. Studio Practice Areas
The Department of Art's B.F.A. program is designed for students who identify themselves as artists/scholars. The program provides the student with the opportunity to develop a mature artistic practice at the earliest possible stage, a practice informed by areas of study and research provided by the university beyond the Department of Art. We believe the curriculum empowers and fosters a sense of responsibility that favorably impacts learning, engagement, and enthusiasm in all realms of the student's life. The art component includes both studio classes and art seminars across media, while the elective component comprises art history requirements and first-year writing seminars plus the full range of elective classes selected by the student with the advisor's input.
Digital media touches every corner of our lives today, opening up new forms of expression and new ways of connecting with each other. The computer tools of the 1990s have given way to cross-disciplinary practices with connections to global networks and interactivity. Whether as a tool for the creation of traditional art objects or as a means to solve cross-disciplinary, intermedia problems, the digital art curriculum incorporates research-based tactics. Through art projects and creative assignments, students develop their critical eye and learn new ways to express their ideas while sharpening their technical skills. Through workshops, lectures, presentations, and guest artist talks, students respond to the myriad ways that contemporary artists incorporate digital data as a means of production and expression.
Drawing classes at the introductory level focus on expanding the technical expertise of the student while providing a means of addressing contemporary modes of generating images, as well as an investigation of traditional and nontraditional drawing materials and methods. Advanced level classes utilize drawing as a means of conducting research into the opportunities for diverse disciplines to inform artistic studio practice, and to investigate the potential of the medium for communicating complex ideas.
Students are given experience with various techniques and processes within a topical study structure that encourages the development of conceptual, formal, and aesthetic concerns within both traditional and experimental forms. Current topics include contemporary issues in the mediation of spatiality; film and its genres to address narrative, appropriation, temporality, framing, scale, and other issues; historical legacy of material presence and research into the formulation and application of painting materials; pictorial languages and identifying appropriate scale of production and modes of delivery, ranging from a two-dimensional picture plane to site-specific installation.
Our students use photography to examine the world, culture, perception, and creative inquiry itself. Through making, choosing, amending, and refining images, students build coherent visual experiences. We teach considered use of digital and analog tools. Small and large format inkjet printers, an extensive darkroom capable of traditional and alternative monochrome processes, a digital teaching lab, lighting studio, and a variety of cameras and related gear are available to students. Classes generally progress through the regular critique of work. We build a dialogue with contemporary and less recent practices. The photography curriculum allows our students to engage with images, and through their photographic endeavors to address the scope of artistic practice.
The pluralistic nature of printed matter allows us to explore a range of human experience in art, design, and science. Through a unique relationship to history, each age of print from the earliest examples until now is rooted in a reciprocal dimension of technology. The vision of a creative and material print experience is embedded in a vast array of public and private experiments through advances in technology. We embrace the potential of all analog and digital print processes in the production of singular, variable, and editioned works that may include prints, artists' publications, online projects, installation and digital/expanded drawing, and multiple form making. Sources for studying print-based work abound in the collections of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art and Kroch Library, and opportunities for applying print in all media — digital and analog — are present across disciplines. Community is expressed through the collaborative and symbiotic print experience.
Our students explore technology at the intersections of hand-craft and machine-craft, visual communication, social engagement, new narratives, mixed media, public practice, and lens and screen-based work. Offered are a range of digital (2D and 3D) and analog print studios staffed with supportive technicians allowing for projects and publications in collaboration with artists, writers, and researchers across campus and beyond. Unique print opportunities present in partnership with each of our three campuses in Rome, New York City, and Ithaca.
The area of sculpture offers students the opportunity to develop their work in a wide variety of traditional and experimental media. In the supportive environment, students gain technical proficiency and practical knowledge of technology, while being challenged to explore and consider the medium of sculpture broadly and through a critical lens. Students are encouraged to experiment, take advantage of the access to fabrication facilities and other resources offered by the university at large, and pursue their individual artistic interests such as interdisciplinary projects, site-specific installation, social practice, and public art. Group and one-on-one critiques that push students to grow as artists and independent, critical thinkers are a fundamental part of the learning process.