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 + C | F.I.L.E

This research driven, thematic studio course will employ techniques, themes, and strategies from feminist and queer theory, and other methodologies connected to gender, sexuality, activism, and identity. The title of this section, F.I.L.E., is a response to FILE Megazine (1972-1989), a publication by artists’ collective General Idea that satirizes the society tabloid in order to fashion their own celebrity identities. Students will be responsible for self-directed research connected to their studio practices, and the completion of a series of studio directives linked to themes of correspondence and containment. These activities will engage with collection- based methodologies, as well as modes for archiving, and recording of daily life to support creative practices. Students will be encouraged to flex their individual practices to engage with both analog and digital media platforms to communicate with publics via their work. This course will crossover two sections of FINA 450: Critical Studio Studies team taught by Mark Clintberg and Sondra Meszaros, and students will be in dialogue with peers enrolled in both sections. Key references for this course include: the techniques of appropriation, collage, and printed matter evident in Dada and surrealist practices; mail art and correspondence practices associated with activism, Fluxus, and the neo avant garde; and artists’ uses of storage, archives, and conservation. The course will be taught in tandem with a series of readings and faculty-driven podcasts. This will manifest into various research activities which circumvent the institutional spaces through which art is usually distributed and consumed – such as museums, galleries, and publishing. Students can expect to study the elasticity of their developing practices within contexts that expand curiosities around the personal and political.

FINA 450 D | Making in the Time of Crisis, Pandemic and Resistance

In times of crisis and challenge, art, craft and design (from analog to emerging) step in to innovate and transform ways of approaching artistic development and to address cultural needs. This course will explore a breadth of practices and processes from protest knitting to DIY 3D printed safety gear. We will discuss the individuals and groups that are involved in these practices as well as the cultural necessity and impact.

Topics will be presented through a seminar structure. Students will be expected to participate by sharing their own visual examples, research and questions for discussion that are timely and topically relevant that will then be used to inform further studio exploration. Topics to be covered could include but are not limited to the environment, economy, disease, race, politics, culture, religion, violence, feminism, gender, equality and equity. Students will approach this time in history to create contemporary objects, prototypes and artworks that address the issues presented as both commentary, critique and possible resolutions.

FINA 450 E | Seeing Beyond the Known and Unknown: Interweaving Interdisciplinary Knowledge, Experience, Memory, and Aesthetic Discourse

The discovery and development of a more self-aware, investigative and radically imaginative studio arts-based practice – as a way of thinking and working within an ever-changing interdisciplinary field of inquiry – is the central focus of this class. Students will be challenged to expand the trajectory, search and scope of their creative studio research in various material and theoretical ways; by exploring, for instance, the interaction between sight and thought, thinking and representation, subject and object, mind and world, body and mind, and so on. Realms of perception and sensibility will be investigated and experienced through a variety of contemporary representational and presentational formats, including those derived from more radical /deconstructive and experimental forms of art production and display. Through collaborative engagement, material research and inquiry-based theory, students will expand and articulate their practice frameworks as part of an ongoing conversation with other fields of influence and persuasion. Experimental, process-driven and agile manifestations of physical research will be used to explore relations with different worlds or realms of experience: the personal, the historical, the cultural, the ideological, the imaginary and the every-day or quotidian

Course Credits:


Course Prerequisites

ACAD 310


A20051Lesick, Kurtis
8:30am - 12:50pm room: 524
B20054Meszaros, Sondra
2:00pm - 6:20pm room: 536
C20057Clintberg, Mark
2:00pm - 6:20pm room: 524
D20059Rice, Lyndsay
8:30am - 12:50pm room: 518
E20061Rusnak, Tanya
8:30am - 12:50pm room: 510