The MFA program in Painting emphasizes critical and artistic growth through the evolution of a rigorous studio practice. While a shared passion for the history and craft of painting binds the department together, professors are committed to assisting each student in developing his or her own vision, supporting an enormous diversity of formal and conceptual approaches, painting styles and interests.
Graduates are prepared to:
• display an understanding of contemporary visual art
• demonstrate the intention, motivation and tools required
to pursue a career as an artist and sustain a rigorous fine arts practice
• demonstrate the strong visual, verbal and technical skills
needed to engage with cutting-edge discourse in contemporary art
• produce artwork that makes use of the interdependence
between content, form, process and context
• appreciate the material qualities and physical aspects of
works not intended exclusively for reproduction
• display an intimate familiarity with historical and
contemporary approaches to visual art and their interrelationships
• demonstrate enhanced critical reasoning with broad
historical overviews and social insight
• support intellectual and academic freedom
• deliver discerning critiques of their own work and that of
others at a level appropriate to faculty in most collegiate visual arts
• individuate their approaches to visual artmaking and
address self-defined research projects with distinct and challenging parameters
MFA candidates work in dedicated Painting studios in close proximity to grad students in other fine arts majors. This fosters informal support and a virtually nonstop exchange of ideas among peers – an ongoing dialogue informed by critical feedback from professors, visiting artists, critics and curators via individual and group critiques.
Graduate students in Painting are given 24-hour access to private and semi-private studios in RISD’s Fletcher Building, a facility designed to promote interdisciplinary discourse with peers in other fine arts graduate programs. This building also offers critique spaces, a woodshop and a computer area for shared use. Regularly scheduled trips to museums and galleries in New York City give students a taste of the professional art world, and visits to artists’ studios provide insight into what it’s like to be a practicing artist.
Each graduate student in Painting is granted a Teaching Assistantship and has the opportunity to teach a course on his or her own during Wintersession of the second year. Other opportunities for teaching are available off campus and through programs such as Project Open Door, run by the department of Teaching + Learning in Art + Design.
Lauren Comito MFA 2013
Jonathan Frioux MFA 2013
Joe Bochynski MFA 2013
Rob Macinnis MFA 2013
Walter Dion MFA 2013
“We keep the graduate program in Painting open-ended as a reflection the department’s philosophy as a whole. The idea is to help students work better and develop practices that will serve them well for life—beyond their studio explorations here at RISD.”
During two years in residence at RISD, graduate students undertake a serious investigation of the broad range of possibilities and realities presented by contemporary painting.
In the final semester, degree candidates focus on creating a comprehensive body of work under the guidance of a thesis committee. All MFA candidates produce a written thesis and participate in the RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition, a large-scale public show held annually.
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