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General Fine Arts Course List

View titles & descriptions for the General Fine Arts department's courses.

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Course # Course Title Credits
FA 498 Senior Thesis I 6 credits
Seniors are given assistance in developing personal directions as artists. Work is independent, either at home or in a designated studio. The senior independent or thesis program offers qualified students an opportunity to work on a continuing series of projects of their own choice in studio spaces provided in the Fox or Main buildings. Requirements: at least three individual critiques with a participating instructor, a final critique with a visiting artist, and a midterm review by a panel of the program’s instructors. In addition to the regular individual and class critiques in each student’s studio art courses, progress is evaluated by visiting artists, critics, writers, philosophers, and filmmakers, and by various faculty members from different departments, with reviews of student work twice each semester. Prerequisite: Senior DR, GFA, PT, or PR Majors Only

Senior level Drawing, GFA, or Painting majors only

FA 499 Senior Thesis II 6 credits
A continuation of FA 498 into the spring semester. Prerequisites: FA 498.

Prerequisite: FA 498

GFA 100 Interdisciplinary Foundation 3 credits
GFA is the major where ideas drive techniques. And just as techniques can be taught, ideas can be germinated adn nurtured. Problem solving skills are addressed in many classes, but developing a problem or recognizing the subtlties of one that already exists is a different endeavour all together. Through a series of excercises adn projects this course will help the student hone these skills while developing an individual authentic voice as an artist. Projects will be based on all the major "catagories" of ideas (formal elements, history, etc.) and end with an independent project. Prerequisite: Freshmen only

Freshmen only.

GFA 105 Color Media 3 credits
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GFA 220 Introduction to GFA 3 credits
This sophomore core course is designed to help students explore their artistic vision and begin to plan the way they would like to construct their own version of the general fine arts major. New GFA majors are assisted in forging a personal approach to visual exploration and expression. Virtually all media are acceptable. This course is strong on personal attention via frequent one-on-one discussions. Prerequistie: Earned Credit or Concurrent Enrollment in DR 252 (Life Drawing) or DR 298 (Studio Drawing).

Prerequisite: Earned Credit or Concurrent Enrollment in DR 252 or DR 298

GFA 232 Photo as Muse 3 credits
This new studio course emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to art making by exploring ways in which contemporary artists use photography as part of their process as in works by Elizabeth Peyton, Marlene Dumas, Gregory Crewdson, Angela Strassheim, Sara Van Der Beek, Oliver Herring, Robert Melee, and Peter Piller. Over the course of the semester, students discuss artists that paint and draw from their photographs as well as artists that use photography to document performances such as temporal sculptures, body art, and narrative stage-sets. The course examines artists that use photography in collage and installation work. Students interested in a range of materials and processes investigate the role of photography in their process while developing a personal body of work.

Prerequisite: FF 199

GFA 235 Papercuts 2D to 3D 3 credits
This class will explore a variety of inventive contemporary paper forms with a look back to traditional paper cuts from history. Learning the potential of paper through discovery of folds, rips, tears, and over-cuts will lead to personal exploration. Paper has been folded, cut and pasted for centuries all over the world. One of the earliest known paper cuttings is from China and dates back to 960 A.D.! Some areas explored will be papel picado (perforated paper), silhouettes, paper engineering, sculptural structures, installation, led lights, 3D book structures, pop ups, shadow puppets, 3 dimensional theaters, and collage.
GFA 240 Drawing from the Tablet 3 credits
This course is being run concurrently in the Illustration Dept and the General Fine Arts Dept as one double section class. In this class students will work in the traditional studio/life drawing manner with models and varying timed sessions [quick sketch through sustained drawing] but will work exclusively in digital form using tablets and laptops. Composition, action, dramatic lighting and many other drawing schemes will be employed. Students will be supplied with a tablet but must supply their own laptop. Enrollment max will be 36 students.
GFA 245 Performance/2 Directions Wrksp 1.5 credits
This class will be an opportunity to work with each artist for three weeks. As performance has become central to the contemporary definition of interdisciplinary practice, this workshop will help to refine students' capability to plan and execute performance and performance-based installation works. Students will explore and master the technical aspects of gallery-based (as opposed to theatrical) performance art, and study historic performance works. Students will develop and hone performance skills, including planning, production, and the performance itself. The workshop will conclude on the final week with the presentation of a performance or performance-based installation work.
GFA 250 Water 3 credits
We are fundamentally connected to water. On an individual level and as a civilization water permeates all aspects of our lives. This course is an opportunity for students from majors to deepen their understanding of water and to apply their developing skills as artist to this subject. Through readings, film, guest lectures and field trips we will immerse ourselves in the science, history and esthetics of water. This class will be an overview of how historical and contemporary artists have approached water as a subject in their work. We will focus on our current relationship with water and how rapidly changing climate is resulting in a massive redistribution of this substance. The impacts of drought, sea level rise, storm intensity and polar ice melt are rapidly becoming major factors shaping our lives. This is a multi-disciplinary class so students are welcome to develop projects according to their major snd field of study.
GFA 267 Inter/Arts: MICA/BSO 3 credits
The goal of InterArts: MICA/BSO is to present contemporary visual art to a new audience: visitors to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Joseph Meyerhoff Hall. Through frequent class meetings and rehearsal and concert attendance students will be guided through the process of transforming concepts into site-specific works of arts that will be installed as a cohesive exhibit in the symphony lobby at the end of spring semester. A wide variety of mediums are encouraged. Previous exhibits have included painting, graphic design, illustration, video, photo, drawing, printmaking, fiber, digital arts and sculpture. Prerequisite: Undergraduates at the Sophomore Level or Higher Only

Undergraduates at the Sophomore level or higher only.

GFA 270 Collage & Assemblage 3 credits
Collage has been described as the primary medium of the 20th century. The multi-layering of images and materials reflect the cultural and technological flux of the modern age. This mixed-media course explores the 2D and 3D possibilities of working with collage and assemblage. Course content examines the formal narrative and conceptual issues of the collage process and form. Weekly slide lectures and materials examine artists working within these media. Students are encouraged to develop a personal direction.
GFA 275 Imaging from Culture 3 credits
As artists we are part of an evolving world culture. This studio course helps students see the common denominators as well as the differences in various cultures and apply those insights to their own work. By investigating certain patterns/aspects of human behavior (e.g., death, marriage, celebrity) students expand their thinking about their work and how it communicates in the larger context. Students may work in any media/genre and complete four works over the semester. Prerequisite: Undergraduates at the Sophomore Level or Higher Only

Undergraduates at the Sophomore level or higher only.

GFA 282 High Touch Meets High Tech 3 credits
Students develop a body of work bridging the gap between traditional painting and drawing media and the digital image (especially the use of Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter). The similarities and differences in working by hand and onscreen are explored. Typically, initial work is hand-drawn or painted; then images will be scanned and manipulated via the computer. The resulting digital prints are reworked by hand and possibly scanned again until the desired effects are achieved. Students are asked to push the restrictions usually associated with the digital image. This course is designed for students with a background in painting and drawing and a basic knowledge of computer imaging. Prerequisite: EA 210/ FF 210 (Electronic Media and Culture)

Prerequisite: FF 210

GFA 305 Mixed Media Book 3 credits
This class will focus on a variety of contemporary book forms and emphasizes the freedom to develop the content within. Structures will created experimenting with scale from the small and intimate to the large and expressive, to the sculptural, with a look at installation. We will be creating with a variety of materials, exploring the relationship between the book form and materials selected. Some areas explored will be trace monoprints, contemporary paper cutting, wet and dry media, embroidery drawing, alternative surfaces, and dipped paper encaustics for transparent books. The class will be supplemented with related artists slide lectures, articles, MICA's Book Arts collection, and visiting artists. Prerequiste: Undergraduates at the Sophomore Level or Higher Only

Undergraduates at the Sophomore level or higher only.

GFA 307 Cultural Perspectives 3 credits
As the world increasingly connects, this studio class introduces students to a culturally diverse group of artists, curators, critics, and more. Students will learn of and research artists of varied backgrounds, while exploring current issues such as ethnicity, race, class, gender, and identity all within global context. Developing a body of work over the semester is critical and contributes to the course dialogue. Research findings will inform the topics and presentations for allotted weekly discussion. In class and out of class working is expected. Visiting artists bringing their unique perspectives will join the class for reviews and critique sessions. This course is open to all media.
GFA 309 Visceral Intersections 3 credits
New studio course; explores interdisciplinary ways to create atmospheric, interactive installations and performances that dig into the passions and obsessions of the human condition. In the the first half of the semester, students examine questions of identity, place, perspectives, and context through a wide range of cutting-edge works by such artists as Lee Bul, E.V. Day, Cai Guo-Qiang, Christine Hill, Christoph Buchel, Thomas Hirschhorn, Judy Pfaff, Dieter Roth, and Jason Rhoades, as well as various collaborative teams at the 2007 Venice Biennale, such as New Forest Pavilion, P3, and system projects such as Migration Addicts. In the second half of the semester, they shift to a collaborative brainstorming team and create a unique tag or identity for purposes of self-promotion.
GFA 310 Imaging the Idea 3 credits
Aimed at developing conceptual and philosophical ideas in each individual’s work. A range of thoughts in different disciplines from science to religion and literature is discussed to provoke deeper exploration into individual points of view. Students work in any medium. In-class work facilitates exploration of the day’s topic. Group critiques are used to review work done out of class with a focus on content expressed. Prerequisite: FF 150 (Painting I), DR 252 (Life Drawing) & DR 298 (Studio Drawing).

Prerequisite: FF 199

GFA 312 Imaging from Current Events 3 credits
Throughout history some of the most eloquent responses to events of the times were images. From Goya and Daumier to Sue Coe and Mel Chin, artists have shown the significance of events in ways that words can't. Beyond just illuminating important relationships and power structures, art points to significance on an emotional level and reveals what it's like to be alive in this time. Each class will begin with a discussion of the week's events, linking them to ongoing issues and looking at ways that our different backgrounds and personal life story influence the way we view current events. Class time will be used to develop a piece based on the discussion which will be discussed at the end. Out of class time is devoted to completing a series on an area of particular interest.
GFA 320 GFA Junior Independent 3-6 credits
Students are assisted in developing a personal direction in any fine arts medium or combination of media. This course provides the opportunity to explore the initiation of a sustained body of work in preparation for the senior independent program. Attendance at all critiques and at least 12 hours of committed effort per week are mandatory. Instruction is via regularly scheduled individual and group critiques. Junior General Fine Arts Majors Only

Junior level General Fine Arts majors only

GFA 323 Settings and Sources 3 credits
This class provides students a wide mix of methods, ideas, unique facilities, settings, and sources. Although students will be encouraged to develop a body of work that naturalistically represents or abstractly interprets a specific subject or activity such as rural landscape, horses, orchestra, theatre, and ballet dancers, any kind of independent work is acceptable. Slide presentations, as well as group and individual critiques, will augment the weekly studio and on-site experiences.
GFA 324 The Art of Sci Fi Production 3 credits
This interdisciplinary studio/lecture course will deconstruct varied approaches to understanding the depiction and production of science fiction narrative in literature and media. Using their choice of media and material context, students will be encouraged to develop a series of projects that address science fiction imagery, production design, concepts, 3D objects or props consistent with science Fiction narratives. The practice of representing this content will encourage conceptual skills and pictorial methods already present in the media that surrounds us. Students will research past and existing models of futuristic content while using already familiar traditional media and also learning new tools, materials, and methods for 3D fabrication. There will be technical demonstrations of practical prop-building, as well as3D software and its application to the machines available in the digital fabrication DFAB lab, for those students who want to use these methods for object building. Students will work in a studio for a majority of the course with a smaller portion reserved for lectures, slide presentations, selections from cinema and intensive critique of the work produced. This course will require eight hours of homework each week.
GFA 325 Connecting Spaces 3 credits
Landscape since beginning of time has served as muse and metaphor for life. Contemporary view of landscape in Amerrican urban environment suggests a world and place of conflict and crisis. Course explores phenomenological, poetic, social, and political aspects of place through analysis of role landscape has played in various art forms and through a focus on specific site or trail in Harford County. Team-taught by painter and landscape architect, trail will be a vehicle for examining such issues as how we physically and culturally respond to our environment, implications of path vs. pilgrimange, public vs. private art, permanent vs. ephemeral, and role of artists as intermediary of culture.
GFA 327 Bodies and their Coverings 3 credits
War paint. Eyeliner. Tattoos. Scars. Piercing. Thin body. Broad body. Expressive face. Poker face. Fashion. Costume. Plain. Beautiful. Loose and open body language. Tight and closed body language. All and many more inventions and behaviors have contributed to the vastly varied human visage. All have triggered far-flung creative imaginations and will continue to do so. In this course students select their own projects and are free to work in any 2D or 3D medium (video, painting, drawing, photography, digital, animation, fiber, printmaking, ceramics, etc.). Instruction is via slide lectures and movies and includes individual and group critiques. Model is provided on request.
GFA 330 Mindmap 3 credits
In this interdisciplinary class - a keen desire to invent, investigate, and interpret is a prerequisite - students in this course will be asked to define and confront the cultural moment and by marring media while disregarding traditional notions of material boundaries will endeavor to advance the aesthetic frontier. The probability that a robust discourse will accompany such open-minded and dynamic experiments, explorations, and experiences is a forgone conclusion. Students taking this class will be expected to make innovative work vigorously and to engage in a healthy dialogue energetically.
GFA 332 Moving Pictures 3 credits
Visual comparison of cinema with other visual arts media with emphasis on how each medium treats space, light, time and storytelling. Course taught with films and slides screened on alternating weeks. Frequent critiques of student's individualized visual responses to the ideas presented in the class. Wide exploration of form and medium are encouraged.
GFA 335 Renaissance 2.0 3 credits
How might learning about the origin and elements of the Renaissance enhance one's creative practice in 21st Century Baltimore? What existed in the cultural environment of Florence circa 1500 that contributed to the explosion of ideas and creative energy in literature, philosophy, politics, science, religion, and principality, the arts? And how might we as artists, five hundred years later, seize our own cultural moment, affect and enhance our artistic milieu, and stimulate and fortify intellectual life in our own time and place? In this course, intended for sophomores, students will have the opportunities experienced by their Renaissance forbears to expand their own cultural awareness, develop an artistic identity, share philosophical and technical discoveries with their artistic peers, and, ultimately, to begin to think of themselves as cultural agents empowered to make connections across communities, cultures, and even centuries.
GFA 338 Interactive Animation 3 credits
This course is designed to use the computer to reexamine and explore existing work at new levels using motion, sound, and interactivity. Using it as a point of departure, past work is scanned and manipulated with Adobe Photoshop and Director. The possibility of using other programs is discussed. Students create a series of integrated animated loops that the viewer can explore interactively. Prerequisite: DR 252 (Life Drawing) and DR 298 (Studio Drawing).

Prerequisite: DR 252 and DR 298

GFA 340 Themes & Narrative 6 credits
This interdisciplinary studio/lecture course will explore varied approaches to dealing with the narrative. Students using their choice of medium, will be encouraged to develop a series of work revolving around a single narrative theme. Students will explore the many aspects of visual storytelling while learning to use numerous skills and pictorial devices. Students will work in studio in a concentrated block of the class and a smaller portion will reserve for lectures, slide shows, selections from cinema and intensive critique. This course will require eight hours of homework each week.

Prerequisite: FF 198, FF199, and an additional 3 credits of Drawing

GFA 343 Climate Change &Sustainability 3 credits
Our climate is rapidly changing due to the effects of human industry. Climate change is presenting the global society with the necessity for new criteria of industrial and social production. How will this include the production of art and design? The goal of this course is to present students with the challenge to examine, investigate, confront, and potentially apply what these criteria are. This class focuses on the theoretical, practical, and aesthetic issues of sustainability. Beginning with an overview of the history of the science of climate change, students look at global movements responding to this event. Students who are considering entering some aspect of this field are welcome as well as those who are seeking to extend their art practice to address the many issues encountered in the massive change toward global sustainability. Undergraduates at the Sophomore Level or Higher Only

Undergraduates at the Sophomore level or higher only.

GFA 365 Schizodesign 3 credits
This course is an opportunity for students to be engaged in an experimental research practice that focuses on understanding and solving challenges facing Baltimore City. This will be developed through investigating and developing new artistic processes and material outputs. Guided by concepts like metamodelization and schizoanalysis, this class will look to processes of examining the social, psychic, and scientific models currently in place, then recombining or replacing these models with something that might work better. Students will be focused on multiple threads of a central social challenge: the economic crisis and its impact on employment in Baltimore City. The studio format will be a non-stagnate framework, functioning like a drifting platform moving through the city and building relations, information and ideas while disseminating new understandings and inventions. The class location methodology can be seen as an assemblage of the Situationist International’s subversive “derives” and Colin Wards ideology of “streetwork”—using the urban environment as a resource for learning, which integrates a community based program of decision-making on local urban issues.

Prerequisite: FF 199

GFA 372 Personal Direction 3 credits
Students will explore sources for the ideas expressed in their work by examining their personal history and artistic identity. Topics common to artists throughout the history of art range from psychological and philosophical to scientific and mythic. These will be presented to encourage deeper exploration into individual points of view. This course is appropriate for the Intermediate/Advanced level student who has developed a personal direction or the student who is making the transition from assignment based courses to independent personal based work. There will be weekly slide lectures, discussions or museum visits and regular group adn individual crits. An inner disciplinary course, there are no restrictions on medium, form or imagery.
GFA 375 MICA/Peabody/JHU Collaboration 3 credits
The Intermedia Studio is intended to encourage collaboration among student composers, performers and artists at MICA and Peabody Conservatory in a team environment, and to engage students in the investigation of a range of interdisciplinary multimedia projects, including Internet, live performance, electronic theater, installation, video, and animation. This course is envisioned as an ongoing structure to bring music and visual arts students together from MICA and Peabody to promote and facilitate the creation of intermedia art and to further explore shared resources, joint research, and exhibition/performance opportunities. Juniors and Seniors Only

Juniors and Seniors only.

GFA 385 Art in Context 3 credits
In the contemporary art world, artists are not only responsible for making work, but for providing the context for it. This course takes a comprehensive look at the practices of contemporary artists, how artists working today relate to one another, historical models of art making, and the contemporary art market. The focus is on the young, up-and-coming generation of artists. The first half of each class introduces a group of artists and take some position on their working practice, the second half is concerned with group critiques of students’ individual work. The idea is to present a holistic picture of what it means to be an artist today. Undergraduates at the Sophomore Level or Higher Only

Undergraduates at the Sophomore level or higher only.

GFA 390 Response to Cinema 3 credits
From its start, cinema has influenced and been influenced by the other art forms, from literature, painting, photography, illustration, and the comics through costume design, fashion design, stage set design, graphic design, and performance art. This course invites students from all disciplines to enter this relationship via their own independent works in media of their own choosing. For inspiration, movie imagery is studied via movie clips in tightly structured class meetings. The course includes many clips from classic and foreign movies, including European, South American, Asian, and Icelandic. Students work at home on projects of their own choosing inspired by movies.

Prerequisite: FF 199

GFA 393 Watercolor Technique 3 credits
Introduces basic and advanced techniques of watercolor as applied in a variety of disciplines. Emphasis is given to the handling of wash area and brush strokes in experimental and traditional ways, color mixing, and uses and representation of volume spaces.
GFA 460 Defrosted: The Opera Project 3-4.5 credits
This is an honors course in which selected students will work on animation/video projections and/or painted drops in collaboration with faculty and artist in residence David Humphrey to develop and produce visuals for the October 2013 premiere of the opera Defrosted – A Fantasy Opera about Roy and Walt Disney in 2 acts. The course will meet for two weeks in January and then bi-weekly throughout the spring semester.