UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
The Art department provides students with many opportunities to explore and develop their artistic abilities through a variety of media. Students may choose to study many areas of art or specify in the medium of their choice.
The Art Education program (Education Broad Area Art Major) is a comprehensive 54-credit broad area major preparing students in visual art and design for a K-12 license to teach art in public schools. The major includes broad introduction in studio arts, art history, art foundations, art education methodology and the opportunity to go into depth in an area to develop advanced art making or art history research skills. By developing expertise with excellent studio and art history instructors in the various tools and techniques of inquiry and production in art, students learn to be confident artists in the classroom.
The art education methods classes teach students how to translate their content understanding into effective education for others. Art education students learn about creative process and behaviors, build a strong background in art history, understand aesthetic development, examine approaches to teaching about western and non-western cultural forms and study the purposes and models for art education historically and today. All students spend time in the field observing and teaching art in the schools before their student teaching experience.
The Art Education program reflects a community–based philosophy that explores personal and social content and advocates focusing the power of art to unite, inspire, inform and heal back into our own culture. UWRF art students have many opportunities to participate in art service-learning projects to build their professional experience.
The Art Education Lab in South Hall is a spacious light-filled room that is modeled on a general art classroom in the schools and has technology and resources for students to develop examples, art curriculum and instructional materials.
The art history area provides students with critical introductions to the artistic traditions of both Western and non-Western regions, along with opportunities to pursue advanced studies in specific areas of art. Upper-division courses in Asian, pre-Columbian, and contemporary art history furnish students with opportunities to learn about artists, subjects, styles, and aesthetic philosophies within their relevant cultural contexts. With rich art collections in nearby Minneapolis and Saint Paul, art history courses at UWRF allow students to explore and undertake original research of world-renowned artworks.
The ceramics studio area provides opportunities for students to become a part of one of the best undergraduate programs in the United States. The integration of process, materials, and meaning are the goals of this studio experience. There are several levels of study in the ceramic arts.
In our well-equipped studio, high fire gas reduction, soda, wood firing, low fire electric, and primitive processes are studied. Vessels and sculptural concepts are options that students are exposed to in both introductory and studio classes.
An approach to making pottery within traditional techniques and concepts covering the use of the wheel and constructing forms by altering thrown pieces and by using slabs, pinching, extrusion, and patterns is part of the foundation provided to ceramic students.
Conceptual perspectives associated with ceramics as well as idea, symbol, metaphor, and meaning of process are begun in the first classes and carried through to advanced studies.
Advanced students are encouraged to explore their own directions and to experiment with the possibilities of clay, glazes, and various techniques and ideas that are presented in the classroom.
There is a strong goal in this program to develop an active dialog between students and the professors, and to build a foundation and expand their working knowledge of contemporary and historical ceramics relative to the context of our modern lives. Students will engage in professional artist practices and develop a positive appreciation of the visual arts. more
The drawing classes provide students with the fundamental knowledge, skill set, and understanding of techniques in drawing media, which is basic to all visual art disciplines. Course content covers the spectrum of drawing techniques, materials, approaches, and concept development. Through the use and understanding of this medium students develop a critical eye for detail and visualization of ideas. Students will keep sketchbooks as a visual journal and problem solving tool. They will acquire a comprehensive range of drawing skills, abilities, and knowledge to facilitate further studies in various areas of art and design. Courses include Drawing 1, Drawing 2, and Studio Figure Drawing.
Fibers focuses on surface design, weaving, and handmade felt, but also includes sculptural forms, off-loom techniques, and garment design. Students explore screen-printing and resist dye techniques utilizing reactive, acid and vat dyes (indigo) in order to create contemporary fabric designs and applications. Printers each have their own 4’ x 8’ adjustable height worktable for the entire semester. The studios provide industrial strength stoves, a large steam cabinet for setting dyes, a washout area for screens, a dye exhaust booth and a washer and dryer. Weaving instruction includes tapestry, rug techniques, brocade, ikat, pile, and experimental approaches, for example, combining screen-printing with weaving. Students may access floor looms, table looms and tapestry looms. Weavers have a private or semi-private studio space to work in for the semester.
The glass area offers students a comprehensive experience with the medium combined with creative development. Students are able to work with glass in a 2-D manner by learning stained glass and sandblasting techniques in addition to 3-D approaches such as glass blowing, casting or slumping. The combination of these methods as well as the addition of other media is encouraged. Appropriate techniques are fused with aesthetic and conceptual concerns so that the students are able to develop their creative voice.
Graphic design is a type of visual communication used to impart information and messages to an audience. Design is the depiction of carefully thought out ideas through the selection, creation, manipulation, and organization of visual elements such as type and image. These are utilized to communicate a distinct message to a specific audience. The persuasive nature of effective design solutions hold the power to influence behavior and oftentimes convince the recipient of a message to act. Graphic design presents opportunities for ethical thought processes, cultural investigation, and visual expression. The profession permits designers to investigate and solve a variety of communication problems for a diverse clientele and audiences. Students will investigate these methods of communication, working toward an understanding of the strength well utilized imagery possesses.
The painting studio, with both natural and artificial lighting, provides ample working space for different levels students to pursue their learning of the painting discipline. The painting studio is open year round and students can gain access to their workplace practically seven days a week. A wood shop is provided for the building of canvas stretchers. Audio and video (projection) equipment is installed to facilitate presentations and discussions. Individual studio spaces are allocated to more advanced students to facilitate exploration of their own chosen themes and painting approaches. Beginning and intermediate students, with guidance from the painter instructor, follow a more targeted and structured program of study and work together as a group in painting projects, presentations and critiques. The painting courses cover an array of painting medium (acrylic, oil, watercolor) and approaches, stress the importance of a solid foundation while also encourage individual expression and creative pursuits.
The photography area provides opportunities to work with analog (conventional and alternative processes) and digital materials. Traditional black and white film and wet lab processes in a darkroom setting provide a core foundation for all photography students. Students have access to a Macintosh lab, scanning, and printing facilities for digital work. Craftsmanship and creativity are fostered.
Printmaking emphasizes traditional processes, as well as techniques that are non-toxic when possible. Students are encouraged to develop individual directions while learning technical skills in the mediums of intaglio, relief, lithography, monotype, and alternative methods. Computer imaging related to personal ideas and medium development is also used in printmaking. The three studios are equipped with 3 presses: American French Tool Etching Press, Conrad Combination Press, Takach Lithography Press, and a Nuarc Vacuum Exposure Unit, as well as professional hand rollers and plate support.
Sculpture courses range from introductory to studio practice in materials, methods, mediums, concepts, and history. An emphasis on the correlations between concept and material will be explored. Students will incorporate metal (steel, bronze clay, centrifuge casting), wood, found objects, readymade materials, and plaster into their coursework. Students develop their own unique visual language in sculptural form. They explore fundamental techniques, engage in critique, and understand safety/etiquette issues in the studio.