Brandeis springs into the new semester with spectacular arts classes


January 22, 2016

As we get back into the flow of the school semester, students are still making use of their two-week shopping period, seeking the most interesting classes, the most enthusiastic professors and those select courses needed to fulfill major, minor or university requirements. But for those with an intended major or minor in art, or even if you’re just looking for an intriguing class for exploration purposes, here is an overview of some of the most promising art classes of the 2016 Spring semester.

First up, we have the one-time offer classes, and with the brief nature of these opportunities to investigate a highly specific area of the fine arts, one would be wise to give them a closer look. One especially promising course is “Digital Documentary Photography” with Prof. Pablo Delano. Surely, you can spend four hours of your week learning the ins and outs of personal expression with documentation and visual storytelling projects. This class also features the formulation of images alongside digital prints for those with a more digitally-inclined art interest.

Up next is a course on the naturalistic side of Latin American culture, called “Second Nature: On the Nature of Landscape in Latin America.” This class with Prof. Jose Falconi will visit Latin American culture in order to explore some of the region’s most important landscape art pieces. For those with interest in Latin American political and social aspects, the course also provides a focus on how these artistic works influence these domains of life, and how they were received locally.

Another highly anticipated, one-time offering class is “Arts of South Asia,” which fulfills not only the Creative Arts requirement, but also the university’s Non-Western requirement. Prof. Cecelia Levin’s class is swiftly filling up with students eager to learn all about art of the Indian subcontinent from ancient to contemporary times. Featured aspects of the course include the influence of artwork on religious ideals and rituals, royalty and social roles. Visual arts and other creative art forms of India will be touched upon, and the effects of their “synchronicity” will be explored. If any of these details fascinate you, be sure to enroll and check it out. These select one-time courses are only the tip of the iceberg; the arts department has plenty more courses along with their classic art classes.

Even with the excitement of one-time-offer classes, we must not forget about old favorites that remain popular classes year after year. If you are a first-year looking for a class to explore majors or a science major with room to spare for a creative class, consider the course “Introduction to Drawing II” taught by Profs Sean Downey, Susan Lichtman and Alfredo Gisholt. The class has no prerequisites nor does it require any previous experience with drawing. Also, another perk to this course is that you can choose the topic or art theme you wish to learn about by joining a specific section. There are three sections, each focusing on either figure drawing, watercolor or printmaking. First year Maia Reyes ’19 is excited to be a part of the figure drawing section. “I really like it so far!” Reyes said. ”I didn’t get to take a lot of art classes in high school so as a first-year here, it’s really nice to get back in the artistic groove. It’s a lot of hard work but it’s worth it to see your finished pieces!” Their first assignment was a challenging but rewarding task. The students had to make three copies of a gridded printout of a sculpture using three different styles: a line drawing with pencil, a line drawing with pen and tonal drawing with pencil. When asked about what she is most excited for in the class, Reyes responded, “I’m really looking forward to drawing a model! I’ve never done it before, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Another favorite, which was a big hit last semester, is “Pop Art and Sculpture” taught by Prof. Todd Pavlisko. You may have seen the class’ stunning exhibit in the Pollack Fine Arts building next to the Rose Art Museum, though part of the exhibit is now on display on the wall outside of Academic Services. This course also has no prerequisites, and its primary focus is to investigate multiple materials, the history and the installation of pop art. However, what makes this course a hidden gem among the vast selection of fine art classes is the professor. Pavlisko has been regarded as an incredibly enthusiastic and encouraging instructor, inspiring his students to really take charge of their ideas and perfect their vision of their piece of pop art.

Lastly, if you are already deep into the art major or minor, or perhaps already a skilled artist seeking to perfect your skills, the class “Advanced Drawing II” taught by Prof. Soyeun Lucia Kim may just be the place for you. “Advanced Drawing II” has the prerequisites FA13a and FA13b, or permission of the professor. For studio art major Cesar Pineda ’16, this course is highly individualized yet provides a structured environment to perfect one’s drawing technique. You are allowed a great deal of creativity both with your ideas and your media, being able to use anything from charcoal, pastel, paint or even just pencil. Their first assignment was to create a free drawing of their choice, and now they are in the process of creating a collage of their interest.

No matter your year or area of study, a course in the fine arts is sure to expand your way of thinking, improve your creativity and perhaps even provide a little stress relief or a creative outlet.

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