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Art and Art History

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The Department of Art and Art History offers courses of instruction in the studio arts, history of art and art education. Students may elect majors or minors in studio art and art history.

Studio courses (in drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, photography, video and digital art) stress the fundamentals of visual communication and help students cultivate the technical skills necessary for the effective expression of their ideas in a given medium.

Art history courses combine traditional and non-traditional approaches to the study of art, past and present, and stress the importance of viewing visual artifacts and architecture within their social and cultural contexts. Students are encouraged to look at art in an active and engaged way and to think critically about the meaning of art and visual culture in the contemporary world.

Both programs, studio and art history, prepare students for graduate programs or entry into a wide variety of professional careers in the arts. Studio majors in the department have gone on to successful careers as practicing artists, commercial illustrators and art educators; those with majors in art history have become art critics, art historians, museum or gallery professionals or arts administrators.

Every year, in addition to the usual courses of study, the art and art history department sponsors a number of cultural events that connect the department to the campus at large. The Art Center's three large gallery spaces provide a changing schedule of 10-12 exhibitions annually; visiting artists, critics and historians present their own work and meet with students for critiques and discussions; department faculty and students get together for group critiques and the annual major-minor mixer, and the department sponsors a popular bus trip each semester to visit museums and galleries in Chicago, St. Louis, or Cincinnati.

Courses in Studio Art

ARTS 153 Introduction to Painting. (1 course , Arts and Humanities)
Designed for the student with little or no prior oil painting experience. This introduction includes development of a basic understanding of oil painting, color principles, line, form and composition. Principles are taught in conjunction with slide presentations and discussions of the painting ideology of past as well as contemporary masters. Generally it is recommended that students take Drawing I before Painting I. 

ARTS 160 Introduction to Digital Art. (1 course , Arts and Humanities)
This course investigates software as artistic material and cultural form. Using different platforms and technologies students will gain a tool set of different approaches to begin an art practice in new media/digital art. Students will learn to conceptualize and design their own projects, as well as learn to utilize a variety of software-based art-making strategies in order to resolve these ideas as artworks.

ARTS 163 Introduction to Photography . (1 course , Arts and Humanities)
An introduction to the art of black-and-white photography, this course provides opportunities for learning personal expression, critical thinking, and the aesthetics of photography through darkroom experiences and camera assignments. A 35-millimeter camera with a manual control is required. Some cameras are available for student checkout. Please see the instructor. 

ARTS 170 Introduction to Sculpture. (1 course, Arts and Humanities)
An introduction to the concepts and technical skills associated with three dimensional media. The class explores the principles of 3D design, such as structure, organic/inorganic forms and spatial relationships. The curriculum introduces these concepts through a series of projects which develop basic technical skills with a through a variety of materials including clay, plaster, steel, paper and wood. Not offered Pass/Fail.

Courses in Art History

ARTH 132 Introduction to Art History Renaissance to Modern. (1 course, Arts and Humanities)
A survey of Western Art from the early Italian Renaissance to modern and contemporary art. We will view and discuss the major works of art from this period in chronological sequence, discussing their place in the larger historical developments of the west, including the political, social, economic, philosophical and theological. We will also discuss and practice some basic modes of art historical analysis. May be counted toward the European Studies interdisciplinary minor. Not open to students with credit in ARTH 142.

ARTH 142 Visual Encounters: Critical Approaches to Representation. (1 course, Arts and Humanities)
What is art? Why is it important? How and what do works of art mean? How does art help us both shape and make sense of our world? These are the overarching questions that the course will address as we thread our way through the examination of various genres of art--from traditional (landscape, portraiture) to contemporary (video, performance art); as we explore art in its economic, social and political dimensions (looking, for example, at public art and identity politics or at controversial art and the First Amendment); and as we examine the role art can play in our public and private consciousness. We will be mindful throughout of how the production of meaning in art involves a complex collaboration of artist, viewers and artwork. In this discussion-based course, we will be active viewers and analytical thinkers--reading, writing and looking, in a critical way, at images in slides, at actual works of art, and at films and videos. Not open to students with credit in ARTH 132.