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Sculpture & Drawing

Tim Segar

The study of sculpture at Marlboro proceeds out of the basic assumption that students need to learn in three intertwined areas: the language of three-dimensional form, the character and possibility of invention and the development of technique. Students learn this in introductory courses through solving problems (both representational and nonrepresentational) given by the teacher. The history of sculpture is approached both through lectures and by in-class presentations of student research. As students develop in their understanding and ability, they increasingly follow their own choices of material, subject matter and means. Working mostly with hand tools, beginning students execute projects in such easily manipulated materials as clay, plaster, wood and cardboard. As they progress students are taught to use our wood shop, welding facility and other power tools. There is considerable emphasis placed on the relationship between sculpture and drawing along with various other two-dimensional media.

Students of art need enough technique and process to act on their ideas. They also need to be inspired by the example of other artists—both historical and contemporary. They equally need permission to follow their own impulses and designs in order to test their work against the range of work they come to know. In the end, the balance of technique, inspiration and permission is a matter of paying attention to individuals and helping them find their own way.

In my own studio I continue to work on the interaction of work in two and three dimensions. My drawings and paintings feed directly off of my sculpture and vice versa. Materials that interest me currently include steel, wood, wire mesh and waxed cloth. A recent series of sculpture was inspired by the workings and appearance of machines.

Areas of Interest for Plan-level Work:

  • Traditional sculpture
  • Kinetic sculpture
  • Woodworking
  • Digital 3-D imaging
  • Installation art
  • Set design in theater
  • Architectural design
  • Landscape design

Starting Points (Basic and Introductory Courses)

A beginning course designed to develop skills and knowledge in seeing. A variety of tools and materials will be explored while working from the still life, landscape and the figure. Fundamental issues of line, shape, tonal value, composition and design elements will be our basis of investigation. Prerequisite: None Introductory | Credits: 4

An introduction to the language of three dimensions. Through a series of both representational and non-representational problems students will investigate the principles and techniques of sculpture—construction, carving and modeling. Drawing and its relationship to three dimensional art will be emphasized. Students will make presentations to the class of research done on contemporary and traditional sculptors. Prerequisite: None     Introductory | Credits: 4

This course explores the language of objects. We are surrounded by things and take them for granted, but each item was made by a process of design. In a series of problems, students will be asked to design and build a chair, a package and a game. Problems will focus on structure, presentation and invention. The development of design styles will be studied as well. While Sculpture I explores the language of three dimension from a representational and expressive point of view, this course approaches the same language from the point of view of a problem solver. The inventive artistic result of this problem solving is often remarkable. Prerequisite: None     Introductory | Credits: 4

With an emphasis on process, students will be encouraged to explore collage, mixed media, three dimensional relief and mono-printing as a way of generating opportunities for the unexpected. The class will investigate subject matter, process and rethinking the definitions of working with and on paper. Prerequisite: Drawing I or permission of instructor     Intermediate | Credits: 4

Pursuing Interests (Intermediate and Thematic Courses)

This is a course in the identification of, and action on, sculptural ideas. Projects in conceptual development, figure modeling and the interaction of drawing and sculpture will be given. Technical areas such as waste-mold making will be introduced. Prerequisite: Sculpture I or permission of instructor     Intermediate | Credits: 4

As sculpture moved off the pedestal in the first half of this century it found new relationships to its place in the world. The development of earth art, installation art and site specific sculpture have created a realm of activity for sculptors that has been varied and rich. Through a series of projects and investigations of places and objects, including light and sound, mapping, indoor and outdoor installations and model making, students will create a series of works. Prerequisite: Sculpture I and at least one other art course or permission of instructor     Intermediate | Credits: 4

Sculptors and architects share a language of three dimensions that leads to diverse points of contact between their art forms. This course will be an artist’s look at buildings and sculpture from various cultures and periods of history. Responses will be in three forms: written research projects, sculptures and building designs.     Intermediate| Credits 4

Working in spaces scattered over the campus, students will create sculptural work that inhabits the site and surrounds the viewer. Prerequisite: Sculpture I or II and permission of the instructor     Intermediate | Credits: 2

The objective of this course is to give its participants an understanding of the conventions of comic book and comic strip art as well as the tools to move beyond those conventions. We will try to achieve this through a combination of critical viewing of comics throughout history, discussion and plenty of drawing. This course would be ideal for students with a comic-oriented project of their own that they would like to enrich and develop; that being said, a newcomer to the world of comics could certainly flourish in this class if they are willing to take the medium seriously. This class should be capped at 10 students. Drawing experience would be good but is not necessary if student is committed. Materials fee: TBA. Prerequisite: None     Introductory | Credits: 2

Artists who create forms that move have been active since antiquity. Using simple techniques students will make kinetic sculpture that are powered by hand as well as by simple motors. Prerequisite: A college level sculpture course     Intermediate | Credits: 4

Sculpture has always been concerned at many levels with the human form but in recent decades the term “the body” has indicated another aspect of this concern. Artists such as Kiki Smith, Robert Gober, Matthew Barney, Antony Gormley, Louise Bourgeois, Marina Abramovic and many others have created sculpture, installation, performance and diverse other pieces that deal with issues of the political, sexual, medical and theatrical uses of the body. This course will ask students to make work that responds to a new understanding of the human corpus. Materials and techniques will be diverse and intertwined with the intention of each participant. Research into artists working in this realm will be included. Prerequisite: A college course in sculpture     Intermediate | Credits: 4

Many artsis in the contemporary art world, like Bill Viola, Shirin Neshat, Anne Hamilton, Nam June Paik, Tony Oursler, Vito Acconci and Bruce Nauman, among others, are combining the arts of sculpture with video. Working collaboratively and independently, students in this course will make objects, situations, environments and videos for both large and small spaces. Both production and research skills will be engaged. Experiments in pure visual language, narrative and public art projects will be included. Prerequisite: A course in film/video or sculpture     Intermediate | Credits: Variable

Two semesters required. Art Seminar Critique is a two-credit course required of juniors and seniors on Plan in the visual arts. It meets weekly and provides an opportunity for students to share the work they are doing on Plan and a forum for discussion of pertinent issues.     Advanced | Credits: 2

Good Foundation for Plan

A student wishing to do a Plan in sculpture should consult the general degree requirements in the visual arts to see what kind of background is required. Several courses involving three-dimensional work are expected as preparation for Plan. These along with a demonstrated interest in drawing are ideal. We welcome both students who wish to do the majority of their Plan work in sculpture, and those for whom it is a support for other work. All students on Plan in sculpture are required to take two semesters of Art Seminar Critique.

Sample Tutorial Topics

  • Projects in Installation Sculpture
  • Relief Sculpture: Natural and Artificial
  • Scene Design and Construction
  • Sculptural Elements of Architecture
  • Welding Tutorial
  • Constructing an Alien Experience
  • Installation Techniques and Production
  • Joinery and Drafting
  • Kinetic Constructions
  • Machine as Medium: An Exploration of Mechanics and Interactivity in Art
  • Prosthesis and Process
  • Sculpture and Sound
  • The Deconstructed Projector: Generating Images with Sculpture
  • Woodcarving in Sculpture