FINA 450 - Critical Studio Studies

In this tutorial-based course, students will examine the critical issues related to their work in the context of a larger and culturally comparative visual arts base. This comparative critical dialogue and analysis will be fostered thorough a mixture of critical discussion, research, assigned reading, presentations and critiques of studio work. Any of these elements may be delivered on an individual or group basis at the discretion of the instructor.

FINA 450 A | Breaking Aesthetics

“Aesthetics” is one of the most prominent, and arguably overused terms in art. The word has become interchangeable with variety of concepts such as taste, beauty, style, fashion—the word is a floating signifier that has been quickly stripped of its meaning. In response to challenges issued by theoreticians and philosophers in Process Philosophy, Speculative Realism, New Materialism, and Post-Humanism, participants in this course will break traditional orthodoxies of aesthetics, exploring, experimenting, and deconstructing the concept through both research and their own practice. This process also opens up a personal inquiry that will more effectively link the student’s art practice to their publics through meaningful, affective experience. The course is designed to lay a strong theoretical foundation that students may apply to elevating their grad projects and papers later in their 4th year. “Breaking Aesthetics” focuses strongly on theoretical and philosophical discussion and its application to artistic practice.

FINA 450 B | Where Art Belongs

In this tutorial-based course, students will explore what kinds of communities they want to be a part of and how as creatives, they may play an integral role in the collective consciousness. By honouring the individual creative process and the collective desire for solidarity, students will determine the potential for maintaining a relationship to 'making' after graduation and participating within contexts that best support their goals moving forward. This course will provide students with various skill sets, motivations, and the agency to decide in what ways a creative practice can participate in the existing systems, or rebel and strategize new ways of thinking, of making, peer exchange, exhibition opportunities, and collaboration. Students will explore the practicalities of how creatives need to be aware of negotiating complex relationships to work ethic, being resilient while determining potential trajectories for community, resourcefully navigating the uncertainties of the creative fields, being strategic about career choices, and reimagining interpersonal/professional ways of communicating in the world. Students will be supported and encouraged to flex their individual emerging practices to engage critical readings, seminar style discussions, organize various activities to extend into the broader communities, and explore the dissemination of their research and studio practices.

FINA 450 C | Pedagogies of Inquiry

In any form of research, whether it be art, science, or literature, practitioners need to formulate questions and explore avenues of possibility through prototype and/or experimentation. Learning to examine one’s own studio work, as well as the work of others, comes through rigorous questioning, deep engagement with contemporary culture, and awareness of one’s fit and identity within that culture. As students engage with the 4th year of their BFA programs and prepare to embark on independent professional practice after graduation, consider the prospect of graduate school, and/or prepare applications for residencies, grants, and exhibitions, conscientious inquiry lies at the heart of it all. Experimental studio-based projects and contextual viewing of concurrent Open Studio projects in students’ respective disciplines are scrutinized through the formulation of questions and an interrogative approach.

FINA 450 D |

This course is concerned with intellectual/aesthetic problem solving and an analysis of sources and methods of individual expression. A variety of approaches, incorporating secondary sources as well as artist's manifestos and intellectual/aesthetic philosophies are explored. Students are expected to formulate specific problems in relation to their work as well as execute one major FINA 450 Special Project and accompanying research. Research will be formulated through a variety of presentation formats, including those derived from new exhibition strategies in museums and contemporary approaches to exhibition-research and display. Students will be challenged to search for relations with different worlds: the personal, the historical, the cultural, the quotidian, and the stimuli that allows them to imagine and envision corresponding or alternate aesthetic acts and realities. At the end of the term they will showcase their research in an accompanying special exhibition presentation whereby emphasis is placed on artistic research as art and research in potential.

FINA 450 E | Critical Race Studies in Art and Visual Culture

This section will address art and visual practices from a critical race perspective. We will explore the role of race and ethnicity in the shaping of discourses in aesthetics, scholarship, practices, collections and curation, knowledge construction, institutional access. We will draw from a range of interdisciplinary readings and methodologies from the social sciences and humanities (I.e. critical race theories, postcolonial studies, diaspora studies, indigenous studies) and how they address artistic practices and production. Attention will also be paid to the interrelationship with gender/sexuality, class/status and their cultural contexts – as well as the cosmopolitan and global dimensions of art scholarship and practices. This course will also discuss what a decolonized university and a fine arts curriculum might look like in a multicultural society with changing ethnic/racial demographics. Participants will be expected to work as individuals and also in groups on presentations, projects, studio critique. One of the assignments will be to produce a proposed course outline on any aspect of this course.

FINA 450 F | R/research in Studio-Based Inquiry

The focus of the course takes up the question of research in the context of studio-based inquiry in the visual arts and craft, in relation to a reflection on the knowledges they create, whether material, somatic, aesthetic, theoretical, critical and/or political. The course will create a framework for reflection on R/research in relation to practice through selected writings from discourse on art and research, as well as artists’ own writings from modern and contemporary art and craft. Examples include Anni Albers, Carl Andre, Jen Bervin, Ruth Cuthand, Agnes Martin, Yoko Ono, Anne Truitt, Yinka Shonibare, Joyce Wieland, Ai Weiwei, and/or others. Students will compose their own “R/research” statements based on questions they develop in relation to their current practice, pursuing these questions in the development a new body of work. We will workshop a page length statement on their practice that may be used in application to MFA programs, exhibitions and funding. Other assignments and assessment may include participation in critique, small group seminars, individual studio visits, and short reflective writing exercises.

Course Credits:


Course Prerequisites

ACAD 310


A21697Lesick, Kurtis
8:30am - 12:50pm room: 524
B21698Meszaros, Sondra
2:00pm - 6:20pm room: 536
C21699Burns, Kay
2:00pm - 6:20pm room: 524
D21700Rusnak, Tanya
8:30am - 12:50pm room: 518
E21701Wong, Yoke-Sum
8:30am - 12:50pm room: 510
F21708Nordean, Sarah
8:30am - 12:50pm room: 536