Painting at the U of M is taught within the broader cultural, historical, and contemporary context in which art is made and experienced. Within this context, our undergraduate and graduate students have a rigorous experience in the discipline of painting. Instruction in oil, acrylic, watercolor, and other media, as well as opportunities for mixed media exploration with other areas, is combined with an investigation and discussion of art theory and contemporary issues. Small classes allow students to develop personal interests, aesthetics, and thinking skills. Our faculty and visiting artists provide both group and individual attention through lectures, demonstrations, discussions, and critiques.
Students are introduced to a variety of techniques and principles about the nature of painting with the intention of encouraging individual exploration. Undergraduate painting students are required to take courses in the other fine art concentrations. Because contemporary art frequently takes the form of multimedia works, painting students often create works that incorporate other art media such as collage, photography, drawing, sculpture, digital imagery, and installation.
The undergraduate printmaking program at the U of M exposes students to a concentrated fine art program of both practice and theory designed to provide the foundation for later independent exploration and artistic development. We believe that it is fundamentally important — intellectually, conceptually, and technically — that undergraduate students have a comprehensive educational experience. The size of the department guarantees an exposure to many ideas and stylistic approaches, while flexibility within our curriculum allows for personal direction and development. In-depth exploration in a variety of media and technical training enables students to become skilled in crafting and presenting work. Classroom discussions provide the opportunity to examine a range of contemporary, theoretical, and historical issues that enable the understanding of artwork with a broad context.
The printmaking studios are well equipped for specialized and cross-disciplinary focus in all of the traditional processes including woodcut, metal-plate intaglio, screen printing, lithography, and alternative process photo methods. Hand-worked and photographically-developed approaches are instructed in all media and digitally-produced images are fully explored. Intermediate classes explore these processes in-depth with an emphasis on understanding the relationship of technique and concept.
Advanced courses in printmaking focus on new technology as it relates to traditional print processes. In addition, students are encouraged to combine and interchange the various printmaking processes.
In the 3-D areas, students discover the broad scope of form in space. They explore a variety of means through which ideas and inspiration are conceptualized in sculpture and ceramics. Contemporary trends and evaluations of artistic development are woven into class projects.
Assignments challenge creativity as well as provide a basic understanding of the different tools, materials, and techniques which are used to communicate through three-dimensional form. Undergraduates share and interact with graduate students in large studios which are equipped for welding metals, modeling and firing works in clay, casting in permanent materials, and constructing in wood.
The horizons of sculpture have grown to include different kinds of art production, resulting in a broadening of aesthetic concepts. In response to contemporary trends, sculpture as an art form is redefining itself to include environments, installations, and new media. Our graduate and undergraduate sculpture programs are designed to encourage the exploration of the broadest possibilities of individual expression as well as the investigation and understanding of contemporary art issues. Students are challenged to excel in their production and in the articulation of concepts and concerns that affect and form their work.
In Ceramics, students learn new and traditional techniques in clay and glaze technology, expanding their knowledge in the use of clay, glaze, and slips in the building and decorating of pottery and ceramic sculpture. The use of gas and electric kilns, and other equipment, are included in the program.