Experimental Directions in Painting - Course Syllabus Fall 2012

Experimental Directions in Painting - STDO 3680 T04         
3 Credit Hours

Contact Information: Derek.Brueckner@umanitoba.ca   
Office for Derek Brueckner: 337 ART LAB     204 474-9549       (no voicemail)

Office hours and times available for student consultation: Tuesdays after class

Course schedule: 4:00 pm - 6:50 pm               Tuesday          Art Lab 464 
    Tuesday Sep 11, 2012  to Tuesday Dec 4, 2012

Minimum of hours of out-of-class work expected:  6 hours per week

Course Description
Courses will provide opportunities for skill building, conceptual development and depth on topics of interest in relation to experimental directions in painting.

Specifically students are introduced to and encouraged to explore both traditional methods and contemporary approaches and ideas to painting. Media such as oil, acrylic, wax or water-based paint as well as digital and other electronic media may be incorporated into assignments and projects. As well, assemblage and installation projects may incorporate wood, metal, resins, and other materials.

 Aesthetic theory and criticism form a basis for creative thinking and problem-solving, as personal, expressive, and conceptual concerns are related to historical and contemporary perspectives. Formal language, degrees of abstraction, colour theory, and professional practice are among the special knowledge and skills taught.

Course Objectives/Outcomes
The purpose of this course is to investigate a broad range of materials and painting methods (both historical and contemporary) in terms of current ideas, experimentation and metaphors.
In addition to the daily process of painting as a flexible studio practice, this course’s structure allows for individual and class discussions (individual and group critiques) that assist in forming the direction of the studio work. As well the ongoing dialogue between the instructor, the individual student, and the class is developed to create a sense of community. This course will facilitate students to develop independent projects in preparation for future honours work as fourth year students and or as independent artists involved with contemporary ideas and painting. Through discussions, research and practice it is hoped that students will expand their skills to address problems of interpretation, methods of representation, materials, scale, historical and contemporary aesthetic issues, etc., and will provide the opportunity for dialogue concerning the conceptual basis of the work (metaphorical content). Ultimately this course will strive to expand and synthesize the knowledge of materials with metaphorical ideas.

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Experimental Directions in Painting - STDO 3680          
Instructor: Derek Brueckner

Course Structure and Instructional Methods
Teaching methods involve classroom and tutorial approaches with considerable one-on-one interaction, as well there will be group critiques (see section on group critiques) and potential field trips to galleries. Data projector presentations, software demonstrations and field trips may be scheduled periodically to enhance the above concerns. Note taking will be required during presentations, group critiques and discussions with instructor.

In addition to the daily process of painting as a flexible studio practice, this course’s structure allows for individual and class discussions (individual and group critiques) that assist in forming the direction of the studio work. As well the ongoing dialogue between the instructor, the individual student, and the class is developed to create a sense of community.

This course will be split into 2 half sections during the term. Each half section will require: project proposals from each individual student, attendance of all classes and group critiques. At the end of each half section a submission of all work from each quarter is required for videotaping documentation and evaluation. Often this course starts with an input at the beginning of class, students are required to be in class on time and attendance is compulsory (see more details regarding ATTENDANCE policy in this syllabus p.10) All absences during class, late arrivals and early departures are recorded daily.

For the submission of project proposal a consultation with instructor will be required. It is anticipated that any original proposals for projects will evolve (change) and will require modifications during the course. The student is required to have continuous consultation with instructor as work develops. This means it will be essential that the instructor and peers view work during various stages of development during scheduled class times. As well it is important that peers witness each other’s work in progress and in particular are able to view unexpected directions that any given project may take. The consultations with instructor and class attendance will be linked to your participation grade.

Students are expected to integrate the potential breadth of new knowledge received in the course with their personal ideas and interpretations. Individual critical discussions of works in progress with the instructor occur continuously throughout the term. Utilizing criticism and dialogue with instructor and peers, and researching verbal terminologies are essential for developing the studio work, verbal terminology and formal vocabulary in relation to concepts (ideas). Through out the course students will focus on pursuing various options of personalized innovative drawing (and or art making) processes. These processes will explore late 20th Century and current ideas (contemporary art) that may include a variety of materials with realistic/natural, abstract, thematic/metaphorical, and technological applications. Regardless of the options chosen in terms of applications and media, the synthesis of advanced conceptual ideas with formal processes will always be emphasized and required throughout the course.

In Class Consultation with Instructor While Work is in Progress:
At the beginning for each half term section of the course, students will be required to submit a project proposal and consult with instructor. It is anticipated that any original proposals for projects will evolve (change) and will require modifications during the course. The student is required to have continuous consultation with instructor as work develops. This means it will be essential that the instructor and peers view work during various stages of development during scheduled class times. As well it is important that peers witness each other’s work in progress and in particular are able to view unexpected directions that any given project may take. The consultations with instructor and class attendance will be linked to your participation grade.
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Experimental Directions in Painting - STDO 3680          
Instructor: Derek Brueckner

Transportation and Storage of Work:
It is also expected that students learn to consider practical issues in relation to the work that should include developing the work into modules for easy installation, de-installation, transportation and storage. All of these issues are concerns for anyone involved with a professional art practice.

Required and Recommended Readings
Additional recommended bibliography. (A separate bibliography may be handed out later).

Estimated Costs of Materials, Supplies, or Other Financial Impact:
Course supply list is open and costs will vary depending on what students choose to purchase in terms of the optional materials and the direction in which students choose to take certain projects. Overall there is an estimate of $300.00 for costs of art supplies and materials for the entire course. Other additional costs may include Winnipeg Art Gallery yearly passes or museum entry fees, travel cost and/or parking costs during gallery tours/field trips, and printing costs for resource imagery or presentation materials.

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Experimental Directions in Painting - STDO 3680          
Instructor: Derek Brueckner

Class Attendance Policy
Regular attendance is expected of all students in all courses. The Office of the School of Art will issue a letter of warning when a student has had three unexcused absences for any course in a given term. The instructor may initiate procedures to debar a student from attending classes and from final examinations and/or from receiving credit where unexcused absences exceed those permitted.

If a person is in violation of this attendance policy the Student Advisor will arrange to have a letter sent to the student. Attendance will be taken for this course.

Return of Student Work
The recommended retention period for unclaimed student work is no less than 2 weeks. After two weeks unclaimed assignments will become property of the School of Art and will be disposed of at its discretion.

Statement on Student Participation in the Presentation or Discussion of Art
At the School of Art, numerous required and elective courses contain content that includes working from the nude model and some language, imagery, or dialogue that may offend students. In particular, the School of Art provides comprehensive art training that requires use of the nude model in some courses. In viewing and discussing works of art, the School of Art encourages the broadest possible tolerance consistent with Canadian law

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Experimental Directions in Painting - STDO 3680          
Instructor: Derek Brueckner

Group or Individual Critiques will become a very important component in the student’s learning process for this course. The group critique is loosely structured in a way that allows the class as a group to discuss and build a consensus as to what each artist or art student's work is conveying to the viewer (classroom audience). Not attending a group critique is equivalent to missing a test – grades will be deducted. The individual critique will involve an intensive one on one consultation.

During a group critique usually the audience will view and be required to speak first about the presented work. The artist who is presenting work then responds to remarks made by classmates and may also discuss ideas that were missed by their classroom peers. Usually group critiques will last 10-20 minutes per student. Each critique will offer advice and constructive criticism regarding such ideas as intent, level of formal and conceptual content, context and overall professionalism. Critiques of work (Group and Individual) will offer as many options as possible to strengthen the artist’s/art student's work. There are many variables and possible solutions, a person will be required to research, explore and investigate many options to discover the applicable solution(s).

Due to the instructor having more experience than the students within the visual arts at times during group and individual critiques the instructor will strongly challenge a student’s or a student group’s value systems, preconceived ideas and interpretations of various course issues.

Ultimately the purpose of group critiques and individual critiques can be pared down into these following points: generating ideas and new ways of thinking, creating a class culture that has a positive and productive dialogue, and assisting the person to grow, expand and improve their work. As well the group critiques and discussions are also about developing a person’s attention span and their ability to focus on discussions.

Note that the work presented during group critiques will not be given a final evaluation (grade) until the work is videotaped at the end of each quarter.  However it is still extremely important and compulsory to have the work completed for group critiques.  If the work is deemed too incomplete the work will not receive a group critique and the student’s grade will be penalized. Students are strongly encouraged to continue to utilize comments from the group critiques and individual critiques with the instructor. Following any critique, students will always be required to rework and quite often significantly modify assignments outside of class until it is time to videotape work. (See course syllabus for videotaping dates)

During the group critique students will be evaluated on your class participation, this evaluation will be part of your overall class participation grade. This class participation includes complete attention to all discussions during crits, general professional and respectful behavior, actively viewing work at a very close range and offering comments. Due to the nature of most assignments, group crits will be emphasized more for the latter part of the course.

Please keep in mind the instructor’s criticisms during individual and group critiques is always intended to assist the artist/student in improving their work. The ability to apply these criticisms is also firmly connected to a student’s evaluation (grade) in the course.

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Experimental Directions in Painting - STDO 3680          
Instructor: Derek Brueckner

Plagiarism and Cheating Policy
To plagiarize is to take ideas or words of another person and pass them off as one’s own. In short, it is stealing something intangible rather than an object. Obviously, it is not necessary to state the source of well known or easily verifiable facts, but students are expected to acknowledge the sources of ideas and expressions they use in their written work, whether quoted directly or paraphrased. This applies to diagrams, statistical tables and the like, as well as to written material, and materials or information from Internet sources. To provide adequate and correct documentation is not only an indication of academic honesty but is also a courtesy which enables the reader to consult these sources with ease. Failure to do so constitutes plagiarism. It will also be considered plagiarism and/or cheating if a student submits a term paper written in whole or in part by someone other than him/herself, or copies the answer or answers of another student in any test, examination, or take-home assignment. Plagiarism or any other form of cheating in examinations, or term tests (e.g., crib notes) is subject to serious academic penalty (e.g. suspension or expulsion from the faculty or university). A student found guilty of contributing to cheating in examinations or term assignments is also subject to serious academic penalty.

Similarly, to copy, parts, or to reproduce everything from an artist’s individual artwork and pass them off as one’s own is also considered a form of plagiarism. When completing assignments or presenting work done in self-directed studio art projects, students should be avoiding this practice, since what is expected is that you will originate the ‘look or ‘style’ of the work from your own responses to the subject or ideas in question. To do otherwise, through the knowing use of printed or internet reproductions of published artists work would be academically dishonest, except in cases where to make direct copy was a requirements of the assignment by an instructor, or that your idea required such a response. In those cases it is clear as to the intent to copy and is a pubic aspect of the meaning of the work.

Letter Grade System
The grade of ‘D’ is regarded as marginal in most courses by all faculties and schools. It contributes to decreasing a sessional or cumulative Grade Point Average to less than 2.0. The course in which ‘D’ standing is obtained need not be repeated except by probationary students in certain faculties or where a grade of ‘C’ or better is required in a prerequisite subject. It may be repeated for the purpose of improving a grade point average. Students in doubt as to the status of their record should consult an advisor in their faculty or school.

Letter Grade                Grade Point Value       Percentage
A+                               4.5                               93-100%                     Exceptional
A                                 4.0 - 4.4                       88-92.9%                    Excellent
B+                                3.5 - 3.9                       80-87.9%                    Very Good
B                                  3.0 - 3.4                       75-79.9%                    Good
C+                                2.5 - 2.9                       68-74.9%                    Satisfactory
C                                  2.0 - 2.4                       60-67.9%                    Adequate
D                                  1.0 - 1.9                       50-59.9%                    Marginal
F                                  0 – 0.9                         Below 50%                 Failure
P                                                                                                          Pass
S                                                                                                          Standing

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Experimental Directions in Painting - STDO 3680          
Instructor: Derek Brueckner

Additional Information Regarding Grades:
Students may want to assess their assignments with the following guidelines before submitting them to ensure you have done an excellent job of responding to the specific criteria for the course. If an assignment is lacking in something, the information below will assist in the revisions of the studio work prior to presenting the work to your instructor for videotaping and final evaluation. (See course outline for videotaping dates)

Grade of A or A+ (GPA of 4.0 to 4.5) Excellent to Exceptional: A thorough and thoughtful treatment of the assignment presented consistently in an original, logical and convincing manner. The “A” assignment has clearly articulated formal (visual literacy) and conceptual ideas (philosophical/thematic content), which are innovative, complex, and thoroughly researched. Generally the ”A” assignment demonstrates an excellent level of research, versatility, criticality and a breadth of formal and conceptual skill sets. All of the assignment’s objectives in terms of quality and quantity are achieved in an excellent or exceptional manner. In addition to demonstrating the assignment objectives often an ”A” work offers supplementary strengths as an excellent example of a contemporary art practitioner and/or takes the work beyond the assignment’s objectives.

Grade of B or B+ (GPA of 3.0 to 3.9) Good to Very Good: This is a good or very good assignment in most ways, but it is generally less thoughtful than an “A” work. Often “B” assignments are those that mostly repeat what the instructor and the readings have taught, and do so in a way that makes it apparent that the student understands the concepts and objectives, but does not add much to them. The B assignment may be less sophisticated than an “A” assignment, but the “B” is still reasonably competent and conveys ideas and concepts to the viewer. At times the B assignment may offer some innovation but simultaneously may be missing some of the assignment’s objectives. Generally in the B assignment, the assignment objectives are achieved in a less sophisticated and innovative manner than the A assignment which often in has a combination of complex yet clear formal (visual literate) ideas and thorough conceptual ideas (philosophical/thematic content).

Grade of C or C+ (GPA of 2.0 to 2.9) Adequate to Satisfactory): An assignment that shows an understanding of most concepts and objectives involved in the assignment, but does not treat it thoroughly or does not synthesize the assignment into an entirely clear manner. In the C assignment the communication of ideas (s) are visually and or conceptually vague and may appear to be contradictory, or visually noisy or conceptually confused. Strong effort by a student may be given for a C assignment, but the work struggles to convey the assignment objectives in terms of demonstrating visual literacy and/or thorough conceptual ideas in the work.

Grade of D (GPA of 1.0 to 1.9) Marginal: Seriously flawed. The assignment neither demonstrates an understanding of the material nor articulates any coherent ideas or concepts. The assignment might wander among several ideas with out developing any single one. There is no focus in this kind of work. Often a D assignment will be presented as incomplete or unfinished. In a “D” assignment a student might rely on others’ work rather than developing her/his ideas. The instructor might wonder if the student tried at all.

Grade of F  (GPA of 0 to 0.9) Failure: Little redemptive value appears in “F” work. The assignment fails to address the assignment in fundamental ways. There is no real answer to any of the problems posed by the assignment, and there is no real engagement in the topic in any way. The work often fails to be coherent at all and demonstrates no effort or any of the objectives. Generally the student who receives an F on their assignment does very little of the required work, nor utilizes criticism, and often their classroom attendance is in violation of university policy.

If there are any questions or comments regarding the above grading criteria feel free to talk to the instructor during class, or schedule a meeting outside of class.

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The "What is Contemporary Art?" Assignment:

Select and PRINT out 3 images and your corresponding typed text for each image and bring to next class. 
(Printing on the least expensive printer paper from home is fine)

Assignment Details and Requirements:

Printed Image 1: an example of something cliché
Print a typed description of 50 to 100 words of the cliché image pertaining to why the selected image is cliché.

Printed Image 2: an example of a work of art (historical or contemporary) which has a substantial amount of a narrative and or metaphorical/symbolic content.
Print a typed description of 50 to 100 words for image 2 discussing the narrative and or metaphorical/symbolic characteristics.

Printed Image 3: an example of a work of art, which has contemporary ideas and will hopefully also present a substantial amount of metaphorical/symbolic content and/or demonstrates contemporary and innovative use of materials.
Print a typed description of 50 to 100 words for image 3 discussing the contemporary ideas and or innovations  the work offers as a contemporary work of art.

This assignment is weighted for one class and you will be allowed to revise this assignment before the documentation and evaluation of work occurs at the end of the first half of course.

Despite the potential for revisions it is still compulsory to have the 3 images along with the corresponding text for the 3 images all printed and ready in studio to pin up so the entire class can view and discuss everyone’s selections.

Please immediately email information of each image in terms of artist and title of work so I can post this information on the course website to avoid any duplication. Please check this course website at: http://derekbruecknerpaintingcoursesimages.blogspot.ca/2012/09/students-3-selection-for-what-is.html to ensure you are not duplicating anyone else’s selections. 

Well before the deadline if you only have some of your selections completed email that information for the instructor to post and once you have all 3 selections finalized then send the information again will all the selections in one email. Additionally to this requested information for posting on the course website if you have any links and or jpeg images to correspond with the requested info that would be greatly appreciated. (this request for links and or jpeg images correlating with your 3 selections is not compulsory)

For Clarification here are some Suggested Readings, Ideas and Topics Regarding Contemporary Art:

Sample of Contemporary Ideas and Terms used in current art practices:





Sexuality (marginalization of people of an alternative sexual orientation or a cultural repression or misrepresentation of sexuality)

Globalism (21st C)


Post-Medium Art (Rosalind Krauss)


Semiotics (signifier and signified)


Environmental Issues





Irony or satire (re-contextualizing something that is cliché, conventional or kitsch)

Books at Fine Arts Architecture Library such as:

Brandon Taylor, Contemporary Art since 1970

Michael Archer, Art Since 1960

Edward Lucie-Smith, Art Tomorrow

Artspeak, (dictionary) Robert Atkins

Survey Art History Books at Fine Arts Architecture Library such as:
Marilyn Stokstad, Art: A Brief History 3rd ed. 2007 pages 582-598

Hugh Honour & John Fleming 7th ed. 2005 Chapter 22

Vitamin P: New Perspectives in Painting”, Barry Schwabsky

“Vitamin D: New Perspectives in Drawing”, Emma Dexter

Journals at Fine Arts Architecture Library such as:

Art in America

Border Crossings

Art News


Art Forum

Art and Paper

Canadian Art

October (art theory and criticism)

Flash Art


Modern Painters

Art Journal

Yishu  (Journal of contemporary Chinese art )