Topics in Sculpture


FALL 2018

Figure Modeling
Instructor: Chris White
CRN 26629 SCPT 321 001
F, 9:00 am – 11:50 am
(full semester)
3 credits

This course provides instruction in fundamental figure modeling skills working with clay and from live models.

Flexible Molds
Instructor: Steve Jones
CRN 26630 SCPT 322 001
F 11:00 am – 1:50 am, 3 credits
(full semester)

This course will teach students how to build three types of molds with can be used to cast almost any type of form in a variety of materials. We will begin with plaster molds to gain a basic understanding of the molding process. We then proceed to use urethane rubber to create two types of flexible molds that will have rigid outer cases to support the rubber “blankets”. Students will be required to produce two cast objects during the course that will be installed and evaluated in a group critique setting. This course requires students to purchase some of the molding materials including the rubber to be used. This course is a prerequisite for the Foundry class.

Instructor: Steve Jones
CRN 26638 SCPT 323 001
F 2:00 pm – 5:50 pm
(full semester)
4 credits

This course focuses on casting both bronze and aluminum in VCU’s foundry within the Sculpture Department. Students need to have taken the Flexible Molds course in the Sculpture Department as a prerequisite for this course. We will be using the “lost wax” casting process to transform a sculpture made out of wax into a metal object. Therefore wax working and casting techniques will be an integral part of the course. Our foundry utilizes ceramic shell investment to create the molds into which the metal is poured. You will also learn a wide variety of metal working and finishing techniques using various hand and power tools. In addition we will cover TIG welding for non-ferrous metals and patination of bronze. There will be two critiques during the course for critical evaluation in terms of sculptural concept, craftsmanship and installation. This course requires students to purchase casting metal and ceramic shell through the Sculpture Department.

This class can fulfill the “Directed Upper-Level Sculpture Course” requirement.

Oxy-Acetylene Welding
Instructor: Bec Conrad
CRN 15666 SCPT 491 002
M 12:00 pm – 1:50 pm
(1/22/18 – 2/19/18)
1 credit

This is a basic five-week lab course in oxy/acetylene gas welding and cutting.

Documenting Your Work
Instructor: Terry Brown
CRN 23863 SCPT 491 004
F 12:00 pm – 1:50 pm
(2/16/18 – 4/27/18)
2 credits

Everyone who makes work needs to know how to document it– well. This class is a must for anyone planning a career as a working artist, moving on to graduate school, applying for grants, or simply having a digital record of work. This class covers camera usage, basic lighting and computer skills to get good images of your work without having to pay someone else to do it.

Surface Finishing
Instructor: Chris Mahonski
CRN 36364 SCPT 491 005
T 12:00 pm – 1:50 pm
(1/30/18 – 2/27/18)
1 credit

This is an introduction to both conventional and experimental methods of surface finish on wood, metal, plastics, and found objects. Some areas of exploration will include surface prep, pneumatic paint spraying, abrasive blasting, high polishing, veneer application, and electroplating. Through class demos students will get hands-on experience with these techniques, while conducting their own research and experimenting on sample pieces outside of class. We will also look at wide array of contemporary artists who are using innovative surface finishing and talk about how those finishes transform and shape the content of their work.  Our physical world is covered with veneers and misleading finishes, as sculptors we should develop a mastery and appreciation of this spectrum of surfaces.

Sustainable Materials
Instructor: Anthony Brozna
CRN 32022 SCPT 491 006
F 12:00 pm – 1:50 pm
(1/26/18 – 2/23/18)
1 credit

This five-week course presents a value system for selecting environmentally preferable materials and serves as an introduction to green building. Students will learn where to source sustainable building materials and how to ensure the most non-toxic application. The course will cover topics such as life-cycle analysis, cost, sourcing, energy efficiency, off-gassing, green specifications, value engineering, and third-party certifications. It will include a mix of demonstrations, lectures and hands on training. This class is open to undergraduates and graduates alike.

Instructor: Brian Barr
CRN 33506 SCPT 491 007
F 12:00pm – 1:50pm
(2/21618 – 4/27/18)
2 credits

This course will cover a basic set of practical skills related to the home building, and examine its implications and uses in artistic contexts. Skills covered will include building walls from studs, hanging and taping drywall, basic electrical for wiring a light and switch, basic plumbing with pvc pipe, how to cut and install ceramic tile, as well as proper technique for painting walls.

Instructor: Abigail Lucien
37443 SCPT 491 008
W 12:00 pm – 1:50 pm
(1/17/18 – 3/28/18)
2 credits

This 10-week class will be an introduction of how to use sewing in a sculptural context. Students will learn how to operate and maintain a sewing machine and serger. Topics covered will include working with a variety of traditional fabrics; how to sew non-traditional materials; pattern making; designing 3D forms; inflatables; piecing; seams, and beyond. This class will explore how sewing is used in the contemporary sculptural sphere, as well as investigate a historical perspective on the medium.

Wood Construction Techniques
Instructor: Katie Kehoe
CRN 35449 SCPT 491 010
W 12:00 pm – 1:50 pm
(1/17/18 – 3/28/18)
2 credits

Wood Construction Techniques will introduce sculpture students to the practical uses of the wood shop in a sculptural context. Using materials ranging from standard 2x4s to fine hardwoods, this class will familiarize students with all of the power tools in the shop, as well as a number of hand tools. We will cover the basics of joinery, dressing wood, surface finishing, cutting shapes (irregular and geometric), bending techniques, armature construction, proper gluing and clamping, jig making, and much more.

Kinetic Mechanisms
Instructor: Bec Conrad
CRN 35450 SCPT 491 011
M 12:00 pm – 1:50 pm
(2/19/18 – 4/30/18)
2 credits

In this 10-week intensive class we will explore mechanical linkages, gears and pulleys, cranks and cams, and simple DC motor control. We will build and assemble these mechanisms in the metal shop using off-the-shelf components as well as fabricate our own parts. The goal of the class is to understand and explore simple mechanisms and how to apply them to sculptural practice, while contextualizing these processes within the realm of contemporary sculpture.

Instructor: John Careatti
CRN 35807 SCPT 491 012
W 12:00 pm – 1:50 pm
(1/17/18 – 3/28/18)
2 credits

Students learn forging safety and technique by working on projects employing the basic forging operations. Topics covered include: use of hammer and tongs, heating, bending, drawing, control of cross section, twisting, punching and use of chisel.

Video Installation
Instructor: Jordan Marty
CRN 15676 SCPT 491 905
T, TH 5:00 pm – 6:50 pm
(2/20/18 – 3/29/18)
2 credits

This course gives the student the ability to extend and expand their personal knowledge in video creation using advanced camera techniques, digital video programs, current file formats and industry terminology. Programs include Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects and more. Previous video experience is suggested.

MIG/TIG/Stick Welding
Instructor: Jon Woodrum
CRN 15677 SCPT 491 907
W 5:00 pm – 6:50 pm
(1/17/18 – 3/28/18)
2 credits

This course covers advanced welding techniques such as MIG welding, TIG welding, arc welding, and plasma cutting.

Sculpture Internship
Instructor: Corin Hewitt
SCPT 493 C01/C02/C03/C04

Sculpture’s only internship class is a special opportunity for students to work in New York doing either a singular internship with one artist or a shared internship between artists. For this first trial year, students will be required to be either second-semester juniors or first semester seniors in terms of sculpture credits when they take the class. Applications were due on October 15, 2017 and the application process is now closed.

3D Modeling/Scanning/Printing
Instructor: Chris Mahonski
CRN 36365 SCPT 591 001
M, W 2:00 pm – 3:50 pm
(full semester)
3 credits
Open to all studio arts majors, graduate or undergraduate

This class is an introduction to computer modeling, 3D data acquisition, and various forms 3D Printing and CNC processes. Specifically, students will use Rhinoceros 3D to digitally model virtual forms. Various methods will be used to digitally capture 3D data including stationary laser scanning, handheld structured light scanning, and photogrammetry. The Sculpture Department’s Fortus 250, along with Makerbot, FormLabs, and Lulzbot printers in the Library’s Workshop will be used to physically realize models and designs. The second half of the class will focus on cutting a wide variety of materials with the Shopbot 3-Axis CNC milling machine and the TorchMate CNC plasma cutter. Assignments will be hands-on in nature, with students modeling and/or capturing data to use in fabrication. Personal research, lectures, media, readings and discussions will supplement hands-on demonstrations during the course.


Additional special courses:

Intermediate/Advanced Sculpture: Public Art
Instructor: Michael Jones McKean
15653 SCPT 312 002 Intermediate Sculpture: Public Art
15659 SCPT 412 002 Advanced Sculpture: Public Art
F 9:00 am – 11:50 am & 2:00 pm – 4:50 pm
(full semester)
4 credits

In this studio class, we will explore making and considering artworks that exist within the commons – the public. We will gain skills to think and act through the potentialities of site- the urban, suburban and rural landscapes, as well as the environmental, societal, cultural backdrops which inform our work and existence as humans, citizens and artists. Using case studies, students will be introduced to an emergent canon of urgent and controversial works operating within the field of public art. This backdrop will inform the development of two large-scale, self-directed projects existing responsively to site and the ‘public.’ In addition to studio work, students and visiting mentors will workshop professional strategies in which to encourage successful navigation within public art realms – including: collaboration with peers/institutions/communities/local agencies, organizing, funding, proposal making, timeline development, permitting processes, fundraising, publicity and outreach, preparation and installation.

* override only: email Mary Eisendrath at with your V# and the CRN# of the class for overrides

Critical Issues
Instructor: Gregory Volk
CRN 26631 SCPT 480 001
M 9:00 am – 11:50 am & 2:00 pm – 4:50 pm
(full semester)
4 credits
*fulfills the “Directed Upper-Level Sculpture Course” requirement

This seminar, taught by a New York-based art critic and curator, will examine diverse critical and aesthetic issues as they pertain to a select group of highly innovative international artists. While familiarizing themselves with a broad range of works by these artists, students will read and discuss contemporary art criticism, canonical critical and historical texts, writings by artists, and a selection of more eclectic texts (including some literary ones). Students will also watch (on the internet) talks given by artists, and interviews with artists. It is possible that a Skype visit with an acclaimed artist will occur, giving students the opportunity to question and interact with the artist. The instructor will also be attentive to real time events in the art world, both nationally and internationally, bringing information on artists and exhibitions to the seminar. The instructor will draw on his experience as an art critic writing for Art in America, Hyperallergic, and other publications, along with his experience as a curator, to “open up” important parts of contemporary art for students.

The seminar will meet every other Monday morning for three hours. It is intended for highly motivated students/artists who want to be challenged in terms of their ideas and assumptions about contemporary art, and who also want to significantly increase their familiarity with contemporary art, especially international art. Students who may be considering graduate school at some point, as well as those who are thinking about their careers as artists post-VCU, will especially benefit from this intensive seminar.

Preparation for class, attendance, and participation are essential and will be the primary grading criteria. Additionally, students will “curate” (this will involve consultation with the instructor) a group exhibition of their choice, based on artists represented by a broad range of both national and international art galleries (the instructor will provide a list). As part of this “curated” show, which will involve a presentation, with images, in class, students will write a roughly 1000-word catalogue essay, which will receive copious comments and suggestions from the instructor, designed to improve the student’s writing going forward. Individual studio visits with the students, occurring outside of normal class time, will also be an important part of the seminar.