Painting Department

Willie Wayne Smith, 2010

Willie Wayne Smith, 2010

Painting Department Philosophy

Contemporary painting is a rich and complex activity. While existing in a continuum with centuries of painting, craft, styles, and issues, contemporary painting may encompass media that go far beyond the brush. Elements of sculpture, photography, printmaking, collage, or writing may well be part of the painter’s craft. Yet, paradoxically, some provocative current painting makes use only of traditional materials and approaches. The contemporary painter must engage in a quest to locate herself or himself in today’s multi-faceted context. The painting program at Cranbrook stresses self-exploration and independent work in an atmosphere of ongoing critical discussion involving social, political, and artistic concerns. It is grounded in the assumption that each student arrives exceptionally motivated and committed to creating art. The students themselves give form and vitality to the working environment through their energy, diversity, and interaction.

Kristin Cammermeyer Cornerpiece, July 2011, 2011, Mixed media, 120" x 156" x 65"

Kristin Cammermeyer
Cornerpiece, 2011, Mixed media, 120″ x 156″ x 65″

Kristin Cammermeyer
 Interior Intersections, 2011, 6 Digital Photographs, 6" x 4" each

Kristin Cammermeyer

Interior Intersections, 2011, 6 Digital Photographs, 6″ x 4″ each

Program

Frequent individual and group critiques allow students to engage in dialogue with peers and various members of the Academy faculty. These encounters challenge students to question their intentions, encourage students to experiment, and to press their work further. The department is devoted to individual work, and this results in a fourth semester thesis exhibition, artist’s statement, and lecture. A prominent critic is brought in to critique each student’s thesis show. Visiting artists, critics, and theorists offer lectures, critiques, and seminars that add breadth to the curriculum. In weekly gatherings, students and the Artist-in-Residence discuss issues relevant to the work produced in the department. As a group, the department selects readings that focus on art areas such as history, politics, and sociology. Every year, the department travels to New York City to visit museums, galleries, and artists’ studios, further developing the dialogue with recent visiting artists and critics.

Facilities

The studio building was designed by Eliel Saarinen specifically to accommodate painters. The studios have high ceilings, solid walls, good light, and privacy. A large meeting room used for seminars, conferences, and critiques is located on the first floor. A private departmental computer lab is furnished with two Macintosh computers, current and updated software, scanner, and printer. Studios are accessible seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and are close to the library, Academy Central Media Lab, Art Museum and deSalle Auditorium. Students have quick access to these facilities to view art, conduct research, or attend events. The department maintains a wide range of basic hand tools, photo documentation equipment, and an opaque projector. The studios are near the woodshop, where students can build stretcher bars, constructions, and shaped canvases. A skilled technician supervises the woodshop, and instruction is available. The department also houses a “toxic room” with a fully operational ventilation system where airborne and liquid mediums can be employed.

Graeme Skelton Trap (Aggregate), 2012, 108"x72", Oil on Canvas.

Graeme Skelton
Trap (Aggregate), 2012, 108″x72″, Oil on Canvas.

Graeme Skelton Interim, 2011, Oil and Emulsion on Canvas, 90" x 66"

Graeme Skelton
Interim, 2011, Oil and Emulsion on Canvas, 90″ x 66″

Amy Smith Garofano Ratio Room, 2011, tape on walls, museum board, acrylic, 8' x 9' x 10'

Amy Smith Garofano
Ratio Room, 2011, tape on walls, museum board, acrylic, 8′ x 9′ x 10′

Amy Smith Garofano Striped Room, 2011, fabric, wood, silver mylar, 5' x 8' x 8'

Amy Smith Garofano
Striped Room, 2011, fabric, wood, silver mylar, 5′ x 8′ x 8′

Max Springer Rainbow Two, 2010, JPG, 600 X 601px

Max Springer
Rainbow Two, 2010, JPG, 600 X 601px

Anne Vieux
 Untitled, 2011, projection, sytrofoam, acrylic paint, blacklight, wood, mylar, instant snow, synthetic fur, acrylic, fluorescent minerals, variable dimensions

Anne Vieux

Untitled, 2011, projection, sytrofoam, acrylic paint, blacklight, wood, mylar, instant snow, synthetic fur, acrylic, fluorescent minerals, variable dimensions

Anne Vieux
 Untitled, 2011, vhs tape, acrylic paint on paper, variable dimensions

Anne Vieux

Untitled, 2011, vhs tape, acrylic paint on paper, variable dimensions

Joshua Abelow  Mystic Truths 2007, Oil on linen, 72 paintings, each: 16 × 12 inches

Joshua Abelow
Mystic Truths 2007, Oil on linen, 72 paintings, each: 16 × 12 inches