Take a look at titles and descriptions for the General Fine Arts department's courses offered.

FA 498 Senior Thesis I

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 campus 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.

Senior level Drawing, General Fine Arts, or Painting majors only

FA 499 Senior Thesis II

A continuation of FA 498 into a consecutive second semester.

Prerequisite: FA 498

GFA 220 Introduction to GFA

This 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.

Prerequisite: Earned credit or concurrent enrollment in DR 252 or DR 298

GFA 235 Papercuts 2D to 3D

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 AD! 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. This course explores 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.

GFA 245 Performance

Students are introduced to the basic principles of using the body in time and space in relation to an audience in order to convey meaning. Students gain a perceptual understanding of the history of performance art through readings, film and video, and will develop the vocabulary with which to discuss and critique performances. Exercises help students explore the use of the body in space and time, along with the use of materials in order to create meaning and content. Students may work with autobiographical material, dreams, text and personas, as well as visual and sound elements.

GFA 250 Water

Humans 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. It is also an overview of how historical and contemporary artists have approached water as a subject in their work. Students focus on their 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.

GFA 259 Hands-on Ideation

Innovations have provided artist with new way to express themselves for centuries, from early optics to today's digital technologies. In this interdisciplinary course, students reimagine their current studio practice by leveraging technology to quickly explore new processes with an emphasis on pushing into new artistic territory while establishing a fluid dialogue between digital and analog methods of art making. Students combine drawing, painting, hand building with digital tools such as the Adobe Creative Suite, time-based media, laser cutting, vinyl cutting, 3D printing, digital embroidering, etc. Presentations introduce new topics and examine how technology affects our understanding of space and material, modes of production, and contemporary art practices. Also, students examine how digital imaging and fabrication technology is aiding artists to create in new ways-looking at Eric Standley, Blair Martin Cahill, Aaron Koblin, McArthur Freeman, Julie Mehretu and the experimental architecture and design studio, Minimaforms.

Prerequisite: FF 111 or FF 112

GFA 270 Collage & Assemblage

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 276 Mining "Home"

Upon meeting someone new, among the first things we ask are "where are you from; where do you call home"? We ask because we feel the answer will tell us something important about this [/a] person's identity. Whether it is your parents' house halfway around the world, the third double-wide in the trailer park or the classroom from your after-school program, the word "home" can represent a lot to different people. Explore the concept of place or home in weekly assignment using various mediums in an interdisciplinary studio environment. Students from diverse backgrounds and locations will bring their own skill sets to the class to investigate the idea of "home".

GFA 305 Mixed Media Book

This course focuses on a variety of contemporary book forms and emphasizes the freedom to develop the content within. Structures are created by experimenting with scale from the small and intimate to the large and expressive, to the sculptural, with a look at installation. Students also create with a variety of materials, exploring the relationship between the book form and materials selected. Some areas explored include trace mono-prints, contemporary paper cutting, wet and dry media, embroidery drawing, alternative surfaces, and dipped paper encaustics for transparent books.

Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors only

GFA 310 Personal Ideas

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. In-class work facilitates exploration of the day’s topic and students work in any medium.

Prerequisite: FF 162

GFA 312 Visual Commentary

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

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 through regularly scheduled individual and group critiques.

Junior level General Fine Arts majors only

GFA 343 Climate Change, Sustainability

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 course 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.

Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors only