Fall 2019, Advanced Practice: Painting and Speculative Fiction – Peter Rostovsky

Painting and Speculative Fiction

PGFA 5304 (CRN: 4292)

Fridays 9:00am – 11:40am


Image credits from left to right: Glenn Brown. Wangechi Mutu, Diann Bauer.

Painting and speculative fiction are unlikely but kindred spirits. Both routinely explore alternative temporalities and potential futures, peering into the unknown, the alien and the monstrous while reflecting the pressures of developing technologies and anticipating new ones. This class attempts to forge a further dialogue between these two creative pursuits, using passages and ideas culled from speculative fiction, horror and weird fiction as prompts for discrete painting projects. What can the writings of JG Ballard, Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang, Phillip K. Dick, William Gibson, Ursula K. Le Guin, N.K. Jemisin, China Miéville, Cixin Liu, H.P. Lovecraft and other notable speculative fiction writers offer the contemporary painter? This class will explore how literary and speculative conceptions can be expressed visually while developing the student’s knowledge of the materials and techniques of painting. Throughout, it will consider the history of painting and its current debates, highlighting the key differences and bridges between art, illustration, and other fields exploring speculative motifs. A course for painters and interdisciplinary artists, this class will ask students to imagine painting as something that can model alternative histories and societies while keenly critiquing our own.