Faculty-Visual Arts

Visual Arts

Patricia A. Johnston, Ph.D., Rev. J. Gerard Mears, S.J. Chair in Fine Arts, Professor and Chair

Virginia C. Raguin, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Humanities

Cristi Rinklin, M.F.A., Professor

Michael L. Beatty, M.F.A., Associate Professor

David E. Karmon, Ph.D., Associate Professor

John P. Reboli, S.J., Ph.D., Associate Professor Emeritus

Susan P. Schmidt, M.F.A., Associate Professor

Matthew Gamber, M.F.A., Assistant Professor

Rachelle Beaudoin, M.F.A., Lecturer

Amanda Luyster, Ph.D., Lecturer

Amy Remby, M.F.A., Lecturer

Leslie A. Schomp, M.F.A., Lecturer

Amy Finstein, Ph.D., Visiting Lecturer

Victor Pacheco, M.F.A., Visiting Lecturer

James Welu, Ph.D., Visiting Lecturer

Marguerite White, M.F.A., Visiting Lecturer

The study of visual arts is designed to be an integral part of the liberal arts curriculum at Holy Cross. Its aim is to increase student sensitivity to the visual arts, to refine the powers of critical analysis, and to provide the student with the means of creative expression. The rich resources of the surrounding area, especially the museums and architecture of Worcester and Boston, form an integral part of the curriculum and the department provides students with opportunities for internships in these cities. Tutorials are available with individual faculty to allow students to design courses suited to individual needs. The department sponsors numerous programs for gaining a broad understanding of the practice and study of the arts today: lectures and demonstrations by visiting artists and critics, student presentations of seminar research in open forums, and regular trips to Boston and New York galleries and museums. There are two divisions in the Department of Visual Arts, art history and studio art. Students may major or minor in either art history or studio art. Students may also combine a major in one area with a minor in the other.

Art history reveals the past not simply through a review of data, but through a search for transcendent values that inform creative expression. The field is unusually open to interdisciplinary cooperation, relating in special ways to studies in history, literature, religion, and philosophy. The practice of art history provides both cognitive and discursive skills to probe past developments and confront those of the present. It empowers students to see differences yet discern common links that in a global, complex, culture, becomes a means of welcoming the diversity of the present.

The art history major requires a minimum of 10, a maximum of 14 courses. This includes: Introduction to the Visual Arts or Survey of Art, one studio course, and four courses distributed among the following five areas of the discipline (Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance/Baroque, Modern, Architectural History), and three electives in Art History. The Concentration Seminar is for fourth-year students (mandatory for majors). Montserrat courses in Art History are accepted as the equivalent of an introductory course. Exceptions will be granted on an individual basis for students to substitute pertinent courses in other disciplines. Students may develop such sequences in consultation with their advisor after a written proposal has been reviewed and accepted by the Chair. Many art history majors choose Study Abroad as an integral part of their major, a decision enthusiastically supported and guided by the department.

The art history minor is available to students in any major, including the studio art major. The art history minor provides students with the opportunity to explore the history of visual images. The minor consists of six courses: The Introduction to the Visual Arts or Survey of Art History (required); three courses distributed among five areas of the discipline (Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance/Baroque, Modern, and Architectural Studies), and two additional electives chosen with the advice of the art history faculty. The Concentration Seminar is also available as an elective.

Studio art engages the student in the discipline of visual thinking, encouraging precise observation and creative invention, inspiring discussion and the development of flexible, innovative problem solving skills. The interested student and the aspiring artist study with practicing professionals to gain insight into the creative process and complex paths to creating art in a contemporary context. Studio classes demand commitment on the part of participating students to broaden their vision and draw connections between the classroom and the outside world. From the introductory to the advanced level, classes are “hands on” emphasizing an experimental attitude towards materials and the acquisition of both technical and conceptual skills. The department encourages the active exhibition of student work. There are ongoing shows in The Ramp and Fenwick Hall galleries. The student-run arts organization Student Art Society (SAS) sponsors exhibits in the Hogan Campus Center. Students with extensive previous experience may be allowed to bypass either Fundamentals of Drawing or 3D Fundamentals with a portfolio review by a studio faculty member. In such cases, students may move directly into intermediate level courses.

The studio art major requires a minimum of 10, a maximum of 14 courses, beginning with Fundamentals of Drawing and 3D Fundamentals. One additional drawing course is required. Majors are required to take at least two sequential courses in a particular media, such as Sculpture 1 and 2. A combination of a level 1 course plus a Topics course in the same media may satisfy this requirement, such as Painting 1 and Topics: Visual Concepts of Painting. Studio majors are required to take two art history courses which should include Contemporary Art, VAHI 210, along with a second course selected in consultation with his or her advisor. The remaining courses are selected from the areas of Drawing, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, and Digital Imaging, plus Special Topics courses. Studio art majors and minors are required to participate in the Majors and Minors Review.

During the senior year studio majors are required to take the Studio Concentration Seminar which focuses on the development of an individual body of work. Students are provided with a workspace in Millard Art Center. Studio Art Majors are required to take the fall semester (VAST 300) and are eligible for the spring semester (VAST 301). While both semesters are strongly recommended for the major, students will be admitted to the spring semester based on an evaluation of their work by studio art faculty. Only students taking the spring semester, Studio Concentration Seminar 2, will participate in the senior exhibition in Cantor Art Gallery. Students are expected to declare the Studio Art major no later than the fall semester of their junior year in order to ensure placement in the Studio Concentration Seminar. Students who declare later than this deadline may be required to consult the department chair to seek an alternative course to complete the major.

The studio art minor requires a total of six courses including Fundamentals of Drawing and 3D Fundamentals plus one art history course. The remaining three elective courses may be chosen from Drawing, Painting, Photography, Sculpture, Printmaking and Digital Imaging, plus Special Topics Courses. Studio minors participate in the studio reviews in their senior year, and exhibit their work in the Spring Senior Minor’s exhibition in the SAS gallery in Hogan Campus Center.

A combined major and minor in either of the department’s two divisions (Art History major/Studio Art minor or Studio Art major/Art History minor) requires the completion of 16 courses: ten in the major and six in the minor, following the individual requirements listed for the selected major and selected minor. Courses may not be double counted across the two divisions; 16 courses are required for a combined major and minor.

Advanced Placement Credit: Students with AP credit in Art History, Studio, and Drawing are awarded placement in the studio art curriculum. AP credit does not count toward the minimum number of courses required for the majors or minors.

Courses

Visual Arts History

Visual Arts History
Introductory Courses
Visual Arts History
101
Introduction to The Visual Arts
Fall, spring

Fundamental, introductory course in art history and visual culture. Emphasis is on the acquisition of basic visual skills and an understanding of the major periods in the history of art. Exposure to works of art through the collections of The Worcester Art Museum is an integral part of the course. One unit.

 

Visual Arts History
Introductory Courses
Visual Arts History
102
Survey of Art: Renaissance to Modern Art
Fall, spring

A cultural history of the major periods of western art since 1300: Renaissance, Baroque, Modern Art. Emphasis is on developments in painting, sculpture and architecture during these periods. Social and historical factors that influenced the art are also given attention. One unit.

Visual Arts History
Introductory Courses
Visual Arts History
104
Introduction to Islamic Art
Alternate years

An introductory course exploring the art and architecture dating from the inception of Islam in seventh-century Arabia through the 16th and 17th centuries in Safavid Iran, Mughal India, and the territories ruled by the Ottoman Turks. The religious, and social, cultural, and political significance of Islamic art is analyzed. One unit.

Visual Arts History
Introductory Courses
Visual Arts History
105
Art of Africa and Americas
Alternate years

An introductory course exploring the art of Africa and the Americas. Art is considered within its cultural context (e.g., Benin, Yoruba, Maya, Aztec, Hopi) and within the larger contexts of imperialism, western and non-western ideologies, and practices of collection and exhibition. Deeper questions about the nature and function of art across cultures provide the focus for discussion. One unit.

Visual Arts History
111
History of Global Architecture 1
Annually, fall

This course is the first part of a year-long survey of the history of architecture from pre-history to post-modernism, examining significant global monuments and their social, cultural, political, environmental and historical contexts. The fall semester focuses on building and cities from pre-history to the European Renaissance and Ming Dynasty. This is an introductory course and stresses the development of basic skills in the formal, spatial, and historical analysis of architecture. Required for the major/minor in architectural studies. One unit. 
 

Visual Arts History
112
History of Global Architecture II
Annually, spring

This course is the second half of a year-long introduction to the fundamental elements of architecture within a global and historical framework. Lectures and discussions are organized around different monuments from the Ming Dynasty and early modern Europe to the present, and they attempt to balance regional and chronological approaches to the study of architecture and the built environment. 

Criticism and Themes
Visual Arts History
136
Narrative in Art and Film
Alternate years

Introductory course to narrative structures in both film and the visual arts. Students view a wide variety of films: comedy, silent and drama, from foreign as well as American directors. Film theory is included. One unit.

Visual Arts History
137
Destruction and Renewal
Alternate years

Years after the collapse of the World Trade Center, we are profoundly aware of the powerful forces of destruction in our society. Yet these are also countered by stories of survival, preservation, and renewal. This course investigates how cities and landscapes absorb and accommodate radical change over time, with Rome as a fundamental point of reference. The Eternal City has earned its name by being continuously inhabited throughout its millennial history, even as its archeological sites continue to be destroyed, transformed, and reused. In the second half of the course, we will expand our investigation outward to consider how other people around the globe—from the United States to Afghanistan—continue to grapple with these complex problems in the present. One unit.

Visual Arts History
150
Museum Studies
Alternate years, fall

What is the role of the museum in today's hi-tech and multicultural society?  How has that role changed since the rise of the museum among the educated elite in the early modern period?  This course addresses such central questions in the history, mission, and structure of museums.  We also explore the ways in which visual display conveys knowledge and builds broader arguments about cultures and society.  We engage with the ethics embedded in acquiring and displaying irreplaceable and ritual objects from other cultures.  In addition, this course also treats practical issues like funding, organization, and public outreach in museums.  Students participate in field trips to different types of museums and learn about careers as directors, curators, collections managers, and educators in museums and historic houses. One unit.

Visual Arts History
199
Introductory Topics in Art History
Annually

Topics courses explore various topics In the discipline and the subject and format vary from year to year. Taught by all professors. One unit.

Intermediate Courses
Visual Arts History
203
Mediterranean Art
Annually, spring

The art and architecture of the medieval Mediterranean region bore vibrant witness to the conflict and cooperation between Christian, Jewish, and Muslim cultures. This course explores how icons, illuminated manuscripts, palaces, mosques, reliquaries, and other objects and sites can reveal the ways in which medieval individuals viewed "others" and themselves. Students with an interest in art history, religion, history, politics, architecture, languages or literature are welcome; we will look at the "long medieval" period from the late classical through the Renaissance.

Intermediate Courses
Historical Periods
Visual Arts History
204
Arts of Religion
Fall

Deals with art from the fourth century and the era of Constantine, to the age of the great cathedrals in the 13th century. Architecture, manuscript illumination, stained glass, and sculpture are included. Receives both Arts and Religion Distribution requirements. One unit.

Visual Arts History
205
Global Commerce in 15th-Century Italy
Annually

Early modern Italy was a commercial hub for the western world, with trade networks radiating across the Mediterranean into Europe, Africa, and Asia. We will consider how conditions in this flourishing economic crossroads favored the development of the unprecedented artistic culture of the early Renaissance. (Formerly Early Renaissance Art.) One unit.

Visual Arts History
206
Art & Antiquity in 16th-Century Italy
Annually

From “the rediscovery of classical antiquity” in Rome and the outpouring of artistic energy known as the High Renaissance, we will move outward to investigate the role of art and architecture in shaping the political and cultural realignments that defined this critical turning point in European history. (Formerly High Renaissance Art.) One unit.   

Visual Arts History
207
Art, Science, & Power in the 17th-Century (formerly Baroque Art)
Annually

This course explores the explosive artistic creativity of 17th-century Europe as a process shaped by complex political and economic dynamics as well as by scientific discoveries. We will consider how the emergence of Baroque art was tied to the incipient scientific revolution, as well as the constant need to reinforce rulership, status, and authority. One unit.

Visual Arts History
209
Art in the Modern World, 1780 to 1940
Annually

Traces major European art movements from the late 18th to the mid-20th centuries (including Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, Expressionism, Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, and others) with a focus on the development of Modernism. One unit.

Visual Arts History
210
Contemporary Art, 1940 to the Present
Annually

Movements discussed include Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptual Art, performance and installation art, time-based and digital art, activist art, public art, and current art. One unit.

Visual Arts History
220
Arts of America
Annually, spring

A study of painting, sculpture, architecture, and the decorative arts from the colonial period to the present. Emphasis on such major themes and styles as portraiture, genre painting, American impressionism, and modernism, including Native American and African American traditions and Asian influences. Artworks will be studied in their cultural, social and political contexts. Course requirements include museum visits. One Unit.

Visual Arts History
240
Modern Architecture
Alternate years

Exploration of the major movements and architects of American modernism of the 20th century. Strong emphasis on critical reading, class discussion, and preparation of research projects and/or models. One unit.

Visual Arts History
250
Making the Modern City
Alternate years, spring

This course examines the emergence of the modern city in Europe and the Americas in relation to their natural environments in order to understand how “country” and “city” were (and are) mutually constitutive spaces and concepts. Focusing on the era of the Industrial Revolution and the rise of capitalism, the class studies how the planning, building and regulating of urban built environments were embedded in practices to control, manage, and consume natural resources, and ultimately define nature. An integral part of this subject also concerns the people who both affected and were affected by the decisions to construct and manipulate the terrain, as well as the institutions that were built to manage and define new social relations and public responsibilities of the modern city. One unit

Visual Arts History
299
Topics in Art History
Annually

Special topics in art history, architecture and criticism are offered regularly by all professors. Responds to special interests evidenced by students, outgrowths of topics addressed in an intermediate course, or research interests of the faculty. Often interdisciplinary in nature and sometimes offered without prerequisites. Examples of recent Special Topics are: “Catholic Collecting: Catholic Reflection Outreach,” “Art and Contemplative Practice,” “Life and Death in 14th-Century Art,” “The Power of Paint,” “Contemporary Art and Architecture,” “Building on Fragments,” “Architecture, Space, and Time,” “Designing the Built Environment.” One unit.

Advanced Courses
Visual Arts History
301
Concentration Seminar
Fall

Designed for majors, this course provides a critical examination of issues and methods in the literature of the history of art. Students also complete a capstone project, often concentrating on the collection of the Worcester Art Museum or other important local sites. Prerequisite: 4th-year majors. One unit

Visual Arts History
420
Tutorials
Annually

Tutorials relate to all areas covered by Visual Arts History 200 courses. One unit each semester.

Visual Arts Studio

Visual Arts Studio
Introductory Courses
Visual Arts Studio
101
Fundamentals of Drawing
Fall, spring

An exciting introduction to studio art through an exploration of drawing media. Class critiques and discussions, insure the beginning student of a solid introduction to the creative process. Students work with charcoal, ink, graphite, watercolor pencils and other drawing materials. The course includes intensive sketchbook work as well as larger drawings based on observation. In addition, students acquire skill in  figure drawing by working from the model. Taught by the studio staff and a prerequisite for many intermediate courses. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio
102
3-D Fundamentals
Fall, spring

For students who are interested in an introduction to the physical world of sculptural art. Students explore the basic tools, processes and approaches to 3-Dimensional art through wood, clay, wire, cloth and found objects. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio
105
Digital Art Studio 1
Fall, spring

A hands-on introduction to digital art making processes on Macintosh computers. Generate and manipulate images and files within an artistic context. Think creatively, work digitally and examine the potential of digital art making as a new form of art. In addition to class projects and critiques in the media lab, students discuss contemporary artists who use the computer in their work. One unit.

Visual Studio Art
Introductory Course
Visual Arts Studio
130
Photography 1
Fall, spring

This course is an introduction to photography, with a particular emphasis on understanding images made through camera-based techniques. Students will learn the rudimentary aspects of the medium through regular assignments culminating in a final portfolio project. Topics include proper camera use (camera settings), exposure, editing, printing, and presentation. Class time will be devoted to lab demonstrations as well as critical discussions of student work. In addition, through lectures and discussion, students will become familiar with aesthetic trends and notable practitioners, both historical and contemporary. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio
199
Introductory Topics in Studio Art
Annually

Introductory Topics in Studio Art are offered by all professors. These courses explore special techniques or concepts outside the current course offerings. Recent courses have included “Painting and Photography: An Introduction,” and “Introduction to Sculpture Projects.” One unit.

Intermediate Courses
Visual Arts Studio
200
Painting 1
Fall, spring

An introduction to the principles, methods, and materials of oil painting in both historical and contemporary contexts. Emphasis placed on developing an understanding of form and space in pictorial compositions, strengthening perceptual abilities, and increasing knowledge of the use of color as it pertains to painting. Supplemental readings and field trips provide further connection and investigations of the history and process of Painting. Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Drawing or previous drawing course. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio
201
Painting 2
Alternate years

A continuation and expansion of the skills acquired in Painting 1. Students are introduced to a wider range of experimental painting methods using oil based media, and will be working in large as well as small scale formats. The context of painting in contemporary art will be heavily emphasized in this course. Prerequisite: Painting I. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio
203
Fundamentals of Color
Alternate years

Color is the most dynamic and complex of all the visual elements. In this course students explore color theory as it applies to a variety of media, including painting, collage, digital media and installation. Discussion of color and its relationships to composition through harmony and contrast is emphasized. In addition students explore applications of color that are symbolic as well as cultural. Students working in all media will benefit greatly from a solid understanding of color relationships, and will gain the skills to apply their knowledge to any chosen medium. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio
204
Digital Art Studio 2
Spring

An explanatory approach to the next level of using digital processes as a fine art medium. Building upon the skills learned in Digital Art Studio 1, students will examine the impact of digital processes on art and artists, research the work of artists who use digital process to produce art, and create computer-based artworks in formats ranging from large format digital prints to web-based art and digital objects. Prerequisite: Digital Art Studio 1 or permission. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio
205
New Media
Alternate years

New Media radically explores diverse and contemporary methods of digital production and output (including but not limited to computer graphics, computer animation, Internet art, and interactive technologies, on platforms ranging from computer monitors to projections, video game consoles to portable electronic devices), raising issues regarding the nature of the physical art object, the expanding role of emerging digital processes in artistic production, and the role new media art plays in the production and dissemination of contemporary artistic practice. Prerequisite: Digital Art Studio 1. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio
207
Life Drawing
Fall

Students work from the nude model each session. Emphasis is on a structural understanding of the figure and on expressive approach to drawing. Work in a range of media including charcoal, oil stick, acrylic paint and wash. In addition to class work, work on independent, personal projects in drawing. A prerequisite of Fundamentals of Drawing is required to register for this course. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio
Intermediate Courses
Visual Arts Studio
210
Printmaking 1
Alternate years

Printmaking is closely linked to drawing, but with a different range of marks, textures, and line quality. This course introduces the process of printmaking, including layering, improvisation and working with multiples. The class begins with monotype and then focuses on intaglio printing, or making images on copper plates. Students learn to use the materials and techniques of printmaking to communicate their individual ideas in a contemporary context.This course can be taken in addition to Print Projects. Prerequisite: Any drawing course or Fundamentals of Drawing. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio
213
Book Projects
Spring

Explores the tradition of handmade artists’ books and more recent experimental book forms. How do images work together in a sequence? What kind of narrative can be created by blinding images and text into a book form? What are the possible physical forms for the book? In addition to making conventional and experimental books in the print studio, students make a digital book in the Millard Media Lab. Through readings and discussions, this course examines the emergence of the “artists’ book” in the 1960s and the work of contemporary artists. Prerequisites: Fundamentals of Drawing or any drawing course. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio
220
Sculpture 1
Spring

Sculpture 1 explores the elements of 3-Dimensional expression in projects of varied media. Students are exposed to sculptural issues via slide presentations on past and present works in sculpture. Class critiques allow students to refine both concepts and expression to create a personal synthesis. Prerequisite: 3D Fundamentals or permission from instructor. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio
222
Intermediate Drawing
Spring

This course continues to build basic drawing skills and fosters the development of an individual drawing style. The content of Intermediate Drawing includes drawing from models, drawing in color, and other drawing forms such as collage and sequential drawing. Students are encouraged to explore new content in their work. Course includes readings, sketchbook work, and a visit to an exhibition. Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Drawing or Life Drawing, or by permission. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio
230
Photography 2
Spring

This is an advanced course on the fundamentals of creative photography. Class time will be devoted to lab demonstrations as well as critical discussions of student work. Through regular lectures and discussion, students will become familiar with aesthetic movements and notable practitioners, with a focus on contemporary trends in the medium. An emphasis will be placed on the development of the student’s own ideas about photography as demonstrated through a multi-week project culminating in a final printed portfolio.
Students will be expected to acquire an intermediate level of technical skill within a digital workflow by refining their image editing skills utilizing Adobe Creative Cloud applications to create inkjet prints. Additional topics will include darkroom processing and large format printing. Students are required to supply their own digital camera with manual controls (DSLR or equivalent), although specialty equipment (such as film-based cameras, tripods, and lighting equipment) will be available for student use. Prerequisite: Photography 1. One unit.

 

Visual Arts Studio
299
Special Topics in Studio Art
Annually

Special Topics in Studio Art are offered by all professors. These courses study special techniques or concepts outside the present course offerings, which respond to particular issues in current art. Recent Special Topics courses have included “Installation Art,” “Photo Projects,” “Digital Imaging in Studio Art” and “The Figure: Represented and Revealed.” Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Drawing or 3D Fundamentals. One unit.

Advanced Courses
Visual Arts Studio
300
Studio Concentration Seminar 1
Fall

Focuses on developing a “subject” or idea that can serve as the basis for a concise body of artwork reflecting the studio major’s individual viewpoint and distinct aesthetic voice. In creating this body of work, students are challenged to take risks and experience both the discovery and failure that is the basis of the creative process. Each student has an individual space in Millard Art Center for intensive work. Students may work in any combination of media that serves their ideas. Critiques, trips, readings and discussion address the process of developing a body of work as well as issues of professionalism as an artist. Student work is evaluated at the end of fall semester for admission into the Studio Concentration Seminar II. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio
301
Studio Concentration Seminar 2
Spring

The second semester of the Studio Concentration Seminar focuses on completing a cohesive body of work for the Senior Exhibition in the Cantor Art Gallery. In addition to producing and selecting work for the exhibition, students develop their artist’s statements. Involvement in all aspects of mounting a professional exhibition including presentation of work, publicity, installation of the show and presentation of work to the College community. Prerequisite: Studio Concentration Seminar I and 4th-year majors. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio
440
Tutorials
Annually

Tutorials relate to all areas covered by Visual Arts Studio 200 courses. One unit.