Spring 2022 BFA Electives, X-Studio: Up Close and Impossible: Painting/Drawing from Observation – Shoshana Dentz


Catherine Murphy, Clasped, 2013 Oil on canvas, 46 x 50 inches

X-Studio: Up Close and Impossible: Painting/Drawing from Observation

PSAM 3705; CRN 3305

“Long ago I became convinced that the seeing see little.” — Helen Keller

This observational-based painting and drawing course engages the facts, fictions, contradictions, and impossibilities inherent in visual perception when focused intensely on a portion of the phenomenal world. Students will work directly from “life”, staring at subjects from extremely close-up, materially building their translations over multiple working sessions. Realism is not necessarily the goal, rather experimentation with hyper-attentiveness and specificity as means for insight and learning painting: how your touch is caught and held, how your thinking and intentions become forms connecting to the eyes and minds of others. Discussions will present artists like Catherine Murphy, Domenico Gnoli, Helene Appel, Peter Dreher and Sascha Braunig. Techniques will include slow-drying, indirect and layered painting, as well as direct wet-in-wet paint application. After guided assignments, students will develop self-directed projects, with source subjects as armatures to foster spaces of intimate inquiry.