Spring 2019, Advanced Practice: Painting: High and Low – Peter Rostovsky

Advanced Practice: Painting: High and Low

PGFA 5302 (CRN 6309)

Wednesdays 9:00am – 11:40am

As new technologies and new social configurations erode long-established hierarchies, artists increasingly navigate a space between traditional categories of high and low culture, public broadcast and private vision, fine and popular art. But how do we define these distinctions and their residual effects, and more importantly, what opportunities does this new cross-stitched terrain offer the contemporary artist engaging painting? A class for experienced painters and interdisciplinary artists interested in the discourse, materials and techniques of painting, this course challenges students to chart a path through the many debates ensnaring painting and contemporary art. What effect has photography, the Internet, social media, and alternate forms of distribution had on painting? How have artists in the past grappled with the seismic technological and social shifts that define Spectacle and mass society? What kinds of models for painting-centered practice can emerge from the new visual and conceptual spaces created today, and how can painting operate within new image economies as well as traditional exhibition structures? Through a series of discrete projects, theoretical and art historical readings, field trips, critiques and discussions, this class will offer students rigorous material instruction while situating their projects within a context as riven with high-low polarities as opportunities to dismantle them.

MFA Fine Arts Majors only. Non majors MUST apply via folio submission to MFA Fine Arts program director.


Nina Chanel Abney, “To Be Titled,” 2016, acrylic and spray paint on canvas.
Jean Dubuffet, Dhôtel nuancé d’abricot,” 1947, oil on canvas.
Gina Beavers, “Cake,” 2015, acrylic on canvas panel.
Aleksandr Rodchenko, “Lengiz. Books on all the branches of knowledge,” advertising poster for the Leningrad Department of Gosizdat (State Publishing House), 1924, gouaches and cut paper on photographic paper, mounted on cardboard.
Kerry James Marshall, “School of Beauty, School of Culture,” 2012, acrylic and glitter on unstretched canvas.