Spring 2018 Topics 2D: The Painted Surface: Materials and Techniques in Contemporary Painting – Kamrooz Aram

The Painted Surface: Materials and Techniques in Contemporary Painting

Kamrooz Aram

Mondays 3:50 PM

PUFA  3220C

Ad Reinhardt painting in his studio

Many of the materials and techniques utilized by painters today have been used for hundreds of years, yet they are rarely used in the same manner that they were centuries ago. Contemporary painting has both embraced and rejected its own history and traditions. Some painters have attempted to radicalize and redefine the medium, bringing into question its status as luxury commodity, while others continue to work with such traditional materials as oil on linen. Most painters, however, find themselves navigating some space in between, using traditional materials such as brushes and paint, but often using them in ways that they were not initially intended.  This course will give students seriously interested in painting an opportunity to take on an in-depth study of the medium. We will focus on historical as well as new materials and techniques common in painting today. The craft of painting will be central; however our definition of craft will reach beyond the traditional notion of craftsmanship in painting. We will focus on seemingly insignificant basics, which can in fact be critical to making a compelling painting. For example, we will take a thorough look at the variety of approaches to stretching and priming canvas. We will investigate the unique qualities of oil, alkyd, acrylic and other paints, as well as a variety of solvents, mediums, brushes, etc.  Looking at a diverse range of painters including Agnes Martin, Ad Reinhardt, Chris Ofili, Charline von Heyl, Gerhard Richter, Nicole Eisenman, Rudolf Stingel, Joyce Pensato, Laura Owens, Barkley Hendricks, among many others, we will explore a wide range of approaches to painting, while students explore and employ painting materials and techniques in their own work.

Kamrooz Aram’s diverse practice engages the relationship between Modernism and ornament through a variety of media including painting, collage and sculpture. Aram’s paintings challenge the hierarchy set forth by Western art history which distinguishes ornament from abstract painting. In his sculptural works, Aram utilizes exhibition design as a medium, challenging the perceived neutrality of museum displays with deliberately designed contexts for the objects and images displayed in his works. These works raise questions about the ways we assign meaning and value to objects, including the paintings themselves, which are often used as backdrops to the displayed objects. Aram’s works have been the subject of solo exhibitions at Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium (2017); Green Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE (2016; 2014); Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York, New York (2011; 2009); and LAXART, Los Angeles, California (2010), and have been included in numerous group exhibitions internationally. Aram was one of the winners of the Abraaj Group Art Prize 2014; he has also been awarded grants from Art Matters, the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Program. His work has been widely featured and reviewed in publications such as The New York Times, Art in America, Artforum, ArtAsiaPacific, The New Yorker, The National and Bidoun, and can be found in public collections which include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH; and M+, Hong Kong.