Kaila Ramos with her installation, Lotus, at the Installing Sculpture Island Project at UNH. Kaila used the cardboard in its natural state to emphasize the meaning of the lotus being untouched, pure, and alluring.
Based on a curriculum that is grounded in technical, theoretical, and aesthetic research, the program establishes the ground to foster the development of an independent practice emphasizing critical thinking and creative problem solving through artistic purposes and their means of realization, whether it’s painting, sculpture, drawing, or printmaking.
The program is structured around individual students, exploring their particular strengths, background and interests, with thoughtful supervision at every stage of the development of their creative process. Studio instructors maintain an atmosphere of constant dialogue and critique, offering exposure to the creative process of a diversity of contemporary artists.
The objective is to encourage students’ development of their own methodology of creative research that is sustained in their personal practice beyond graduation.
During comprehensive foundation courses such as “Visual Thinking,” students are introduced to principles and elements of design, composition, color theory, and drawing. Visiting artists offer a diversity of experiences and media to introduce students to the multiplicity of practices in the contemporary art world. The class “Introduction to Art” introduces 2D and 3D elements of design, giving students the opportunity to develop a hands-on and research-based approach to drawing, painting, and sculpture. Drawing skills from observation are developed further in “Basic Drawing I,”; three-dimensional techniques are developed further in “Basic Design II.”
Skills acquisition continues in “Painting I” and “Painting II,” emphasizing connections with concepts acquired in “Visual Thinking” the previous year. “Digital Photography & Imaging I” expands the approach to composition through a different medium and way of looking. With simultaneous emphases on painting, photography, and art history, by the end of the sophomore year, students will be able to explore diverse means of visual communication with the necessary historical and conceptual frameworks to do so.
In the process to find their distinct voices in a visual language, students are offered “Sculpture I” and “Printmaking,” in which they can explore both 3D and print-based media projects. In addition, “Figure Drawing” expands observational skills that transfer to specific creative projects in all medias. During junior year, students select an additional art history class that best serves their focus.
The personal findings along the junior year — supported by the communication and technical skills achieved throughout three years of a liberal arts education — provide students a mature and comprehensive approach towards their art practice. Students’ individual research and creative interests are nurtured throughout “Studio Seminar I” and “Studio Seminar II.” Independent Studies and elective courses allow the exposure to a dialogue from a diversity of instructors as well as to different working methods that would complement each student’s practice-based research approach and open up a path to their professional practice.