The Department of Art and Art History comprised of six areas of studio concentrations: ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture and offers three degrees: the BFA, the BA, and the BA with teacher licensure. A BA degree in Art History is also offered.
The Art History program has been growing rapidly since 2002 and in Fall 2013, a BA degree was offered in Art History (replacing the BA in Art with a concentration in Art History that had been offered). Course offerings have been expanded to include: Ancient Ceramics, Arts of the African Diaspora, Art of Latin America, Egyptian Art, History of Architecture, Islamic Art, Modern Art of Brazil and Mexico, and Museum Studies. Numerous Art History courses address issues of diversity (including questions of identity, race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and disability).
A high percentage of non-art majors take Art History courses (around 50% in the survey courses). Art History complements not only studio art majors but also many majors across the campus. A minor in Art History for the Studio Art major is now an option. Present internship opportunities allow students to explore career options and acquire professional experience. Internships have been recently implemented at Highsmith Union Gallery, UNC Asheville; Asheville Art Museum; Flood Gallery and Fine Art Center, Asheville; Biltmore House, Asheville; Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Winston-Salem; Special Collections, Ramsey Library; and Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center.
Our emphasis on Senior Undergraduate Research allows students to prepare for graduate school or museum/gallery positions and parallels the Undergraduate Research Program goals. Students are encouraged to apply for research grants and to publish their work.
The UNC Asheville Ceramic concentration offers a diverse and comprehensive curriculum. The philosophy and intent of program is to provide a broad base of knowledge as it relates to the ceramic arts. Students are exposed to ceramic materials and firing processes (electric, gas, wood, raku, and vapor). This concentration offers and supports both vessel aesthetics along with ceramic sculpture. Traditional techniques of hand-building, wheel-throwing and mold making are taught in addition to conceptual development and innovative contemporary forming processes.
There is one full time faculty and a part time technician/faculty. The studio is equipped with fourteen potter’s wheels and a variety of electric, gas, raku, wood/salt, and Anagama kilns.
All studio art majors begin their practice with drawing, the heart of the visual arts, in which the strength of our foundations program is emphasized through traditional observational studies that explore materials, mark making, sighting techniques and formal concepts – all vital for mastery in the medium. Upper levels of drawing emphasize development of conceptual ideas through extensive research, exploration and alternative processes that are focused towards the understanding of drawing as it relates to contemporary practice and its expanding boundaries. Students within the drawing concentration graduate with sophistication towards the medium and the ability to professionally articulate concept through writing, public speaking and imagery.
Traditional canvas painting, installation, and cross-disciplinary projects are united by the principle of learning through the process of inquiry. We are proud that our students often use painting as a central focus in combination with other media—such as drawing, printmaking, sculpture, photography, ceramics or new media (performance, animation, installation).
Instruction in the materials and processes of acrylic, oil, and mixed media build upon student performance of strong drawing, color and design skills. Upper divisions courses focus on independent learning within the context of contemporary art and artists. Senior capstone courses prepare each student for the production of a cohesive body of work for solo exhibition accompanied by an undergraduate research paper.
Recent student exhibitions in painting have included large scale cut paper pieces, drawing and ink wash paintings on folded and gather bolts of cloth, narrative figure paintings on canvas, animated drawings based on the cinematic work of Alfred Hitchcock and the absurdist machines of Rube Goldberg, relief/shaped canvas paintings, and abstractionist encaustic paintings on wood panel.
The Department of Art offers both black-and-white film and color digital photography. Students are introduced to photography in their first-year Applied Media program. The first course in the photography sequence is Introduction to Photography where the learns black-and-white photography through the exploration early photographic techniques, camera use, and basic darkroom techniques. The Intermediate level is a continuation of the introuctory class with shared emphasis on 20th-century photographic trends and mastering advanced black-and-white darkroom techniques and alternative processes. Upper level courses, utilizing both black-and-white and color digital photography, allow students to explore the nature of photography as a social and cultural recording as well as a means of self- expression and exploration, culminating in the development of personal style and idea in a cohesive body of work.
The printmaking department supports students who want to use intaglio, stone lithography, photo lithography, relief and/or monotypes as the vehicle for their creative expression. Exposure to traditional techniques is given while freedom of contemporary exploration is fostered. The combination of the concentrations two full-time faculty and visiting artists provide students critical individual and group critiques to aid in the development of mature and sophisticated bodies of work.
Over the past century the tools and materials of Sculpture have vastly extended due to the infusion of available technologies and ever-changing environments. Today Sculpture encompasses every material, media and context for the expression of ideas and forms in space and time, from more traditional processes such as forging, casting, ceramics and metal/wood fabrication, to more ephemeral materials and mediums such as sound, light, video, performance art, social engagement, intervention, installation and new genres. The result is the opening up of all spaces and materials as legitimate grounds and materials for an extended vision of a sculptural practice. We in the Sculpture area stress traditional ideals of craft and design while encouraging the exploration of non-traditional techniques and materials towards the development of our student’s individualistic artistic goals. The area’s two full-time faculty and part time faculty member/technician, along with an active visiting artists program, informs and enlightens students of both past and present techniques and trends in Sculpture.
It is our hope and goal that our students will grow into self-actualized and engaged citizens that have practical physical skills combined with critical thinking, which lead to their expanded vision of artistic and sculptural practices.