Pictorial Art Program

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About the Pictorial Art Program

Students who receive a BA degree in the Pictorial Art will acquire a basic understanding of formal concepts, technical skills and issues of content. They will be prepared to work independently in drawing, painting, papermaking, or printmaking and produce works of art that have both formal integrity and personal content. Students in the BFA program will have accomplished these objectives and will have produced a portfolio of work that will enable them to apply to graduate schools. The required BFA Seminar gives students an opportunity to consider contemporary and historical issues and allows them to evaluate their work and the work of others within a broader context. BFA students are required to complete a senior project that reflects a personal direction. They exhibit the resulting body of work that is then reviewed by a committee of faculty members.

The overall objectives of the Pictorial Art Area are as follows: Visual sensitivity in the pictorial art is developed in a number of ways. In Beginning Drawing students learn to translate the perceived world into two-dimensional constructs such as line and tone. While formal elements of composition are specifically addressed in 2-D Concepts, they remain an integral part of all pictorial courses. As students progress through more advanced courses, they engage in more sophisticated levels of visual thinking. This will be reflected in their work in the utilization of more complex formal means, both representational and abstract, and to express content. In critique sessions, students are encouraged to articulate visual ideas.

In Pictorial Art, students learn to conceptualize their ideas and execute them. This is true on every level from introductory courses to the most advanced. In some courses, such as Expressive Drawing, the emphasis is on the discovery of personal content through abstraction of the observed world or through the development of non-representational vocabulary. In other courses, such as Representational Drawing and Life Drawing, the emphasis is on perception and learning more traditional methods of rendering and depiction. In more advanced courses students are given the opportunity to choose the stylistic means of expression which best gives form to their visual ideas.

Students in Pictorial Art area are exposed to a wide variety of techniques and technical processes. This ranges from the simple and straight-forward use of pencil and charcoal in drawing through the slightly more complex techniques of watercolor, acrylic and oil painting to the more involved processes of hand-drawn and photo-generated serigraphy, as well as the chemical processes of lithography and intaglio printing. By the time they graduate students will be proficient in several of these areas. The Art History requirements for the major give the students a broad understanding of the major movements of the past and present in both the Western and non-Western worlds. In addition, slide lectures and books presented in the classroom put course work into a historical and cultural context.

The Pictorial Art faculty is comprised of professional exhibiting artists representing an extensive range of modes of expression. Students have the opportunity to work with a large number of different faculty either in regular classes or in independent study. The printmaking facilities host Washington Square Editions, an invitational print studio that has hosted artists such as Lynda Benglis, Robert Brady, Jun Kaneko, and Roy DeForest in developing limited editions of prints. Along with the opportunity to work with the artists, Washington Square Editions also provides students the opportunity to participate in the production of a limited edition of artwork.


  • BFA Art Concentration in Pictorial Art
  • Minor Pictorial Art