Professor Jay Sullivan, Division Chair
Professors: Barnaby Fitzgerald, Bill Komodore, Laurence Scholder, Mary Vernon. Associate Professors: Peter Beasecker, Debora Hunter, Philip Van Keuren (director, Pollock Gallery). Assistant Professors: Rebecca Carter, Noah Simblist. Senior Lecturer: Charles DeBus.
The Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) is the terminal degree in studio art. Students who earn the M.F.A. will be able to show a substantial body of work of uniformly high quality and of distinct originality. The student will also have an intellectual grasp of the broad context, historical and current, within which the artist functions. The degree program is designed to comprise a two-year focused period of study, terminating with the M.F.A qualifying exhibition and oral exam.
Graduate-level study is offered in painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics and photography. These are not so narrowly defined as to preclude development between media or diverse experimentation within disciplines. A goal of the graduate program of the Division of Art is to encourage a wide range of thought in its students, primarily through open, studio-based investigation.
It is expected that the student will clearly state the course of study he or she intends to pursue. Admission is based on the selection committee’s estimation of the applicant’s ability to succeed in the stated field of specialty. This plan may be altered should the work evolve in a manner that necessitates a change.
A minimum of 60 term-credit hours of coursework is required. All courses taken in the division must be numbered 5000 or above. A student may be directed by the faculty to take more than this minimum number of credit hours. Thirty-six to 42 credit hours are to be clearly related to the major field of study. Twelve credit hours of graduate-level art history or study in other academic departments are required. Approval for courses outside of art history must be obtained from the graduate adviser. All students participate in the Studio Graduate Seminar (ASAG 6300) each fall term.
Only grades of B– and above may apply toward the degree. Meadows School of the Arts ordinarily will approve no more than six term hours of transferred credit. Petitions for exceptions may be filed with the dean after the student is enrolled at SMU.
Upon entering the graduate program, candidates will be given, by the graduate adviser, a thorough outline of the expectations a graduate student will meet.
Graduate Studio Course (ASAG)* – 36
Graduate Seminar (each fall term) ASAG 6300 – 6
Art History** – 12
M.F.A. Qualifying Exhibition and Exam (ASAG 6301) – 3
Elective (or additional ASAG course) – 3
Total Hours – 60
*Courses at or above the 5000 level in individual disciplines may count towards this requirement.
**Study in other academic departments may be substituted. Approval for courses outside of art history must be obtained from the graduate advisor.
With the exception of the Graduate Seminar and the required coursework in art history, graduate study proceeds primarily through individual tutorials with members of the faculty, guided by a three-person graduate committee. Upon entering the program, a student will be assigned a major professor by the graduate adviser to serve as the chair of the student’s committee. The student will also select, in consultation with the major professor, two additional faculty members to serve with the major professor on his or her graduate committee. Graduate committees can change beginning with a student’s second or third term. Membership on the graduate committee becomes permanent at the beginning of the student’s second year except for substitutions for faculty who are on leave. Upon the return of a committee member who has been on leave, he or she will resume his or her place on the student’s committee. The faculty reserves the right to appoint at anytime one faculty member to serve on a student’s committee.
This committee will critique the student at least once every month during each term in which he or she is registered for studio credit. These critiques are normally held the first week of each month, and it is the student’s responsibility to arrange these critiques. Students will be expected to submit to the committee a brief written statement outlining their intentions and progress at each critique.
At the end of each term, a selection of completed work and ongoing work and a written statement discussing the term’s progress will be presented for review to the entire faculty of the division. Continuation in the graduate program is on a term-to-term basis and is determined by the graduate committee with the advice of the faculty at the critique at the end of the term.
Facilities for the study of art include well-lighted studios, excellent supporting equipment for all media, including digital and video applications, and individual studios for graduate students. The Division of Art will provide every graduate student with dedicated individual or group workspace for his or her studies. Art students work broadly and as experimentally as they wish, surrounded by artists in dance, music, theatre, film and communications.
The Division of Art will provide every graduate student with individual workspace. It is the responsibility of each student to make full and proper use of the space provided or lose the privilege. The division has no obligation to provide studio space for longer than two years.
Additional facilities include the Pollock Gallery, the art exhibition space of the Division of Art, located in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. Exhibitions organized by the Pollock Gallery provide students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community with opportunities to experience a wide and thought-provoking array of exhibitions representing diverse artists, time periods and cultures.
The division also runs two special programs of importance to graduate students: the New York Colloquium (a winter interterm program that fulfills a three hour art history requirement) and a summer program at SMU’s campus near Taos, New Mexico, for which a student can receive up to six hours of graduate studio credit. During the New York Colloquium, students visit a range of New York museums, galleries, artists’ studios and other venues appropriate to the development of their critical and professional studies in art. The program at Fort Burgwin, Taos, offers several approaches to independent and directed study each summer, including plein-air painting, an interdisciplinary studio workshop, sculpture, photography and printmaking.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area is one of the nation’s richest cultural centers and comprises a large artistic community with rich and varied resources. These include six internationally significant museums (The Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Meadows Museum in Dallas and the Kimbell Art Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth), a number of contemporary exhibition spaces (the McKinney Avenue Contemporary or The MAC, the Dallas Contemporary and the Arlington Museum of Art) and a strong commercial gallery system.
The deadline for graduate admission is February 15 for fall admission. This is the only time graduate students are admitted. To receive a graduate application for admission and/or information concerning assistantships and fellowships, scholarships and degree programs, write to the Office of Graduate Admissions and Records, Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University, P.O. Box 750356, Dallas, TX 75275-0356, or visit the Web site smu.edu/meadows/art. Students are encouraged, but not required, to seek an interview with the division’s graduate adviser prior to application.
Admission to the graduate program is selective. Only those individuals will be admitted in whom the admissions committee recognizes clear prospects for attaining the objectives of the program during the two-year period of graduate study. Admission also is based on the objectives and limitations of the department.
The applicant is required to have a B.F.A. degree equivalent to that offered at SMU (i.e., 60 studio hours and 12 art history hours). In exceptional cases, unusually qualified applicants not holding this degree may be considered for admission. The ranked admission criteria are portfolio, statement of intent, transcript and recommendations.
In general, not more than six term hours of transfer credit apply to the M.F.A. in Art. However, if the applicant has an M.A. in Studio Art, up to 30 term credit hours may be transferred to the SMU program with the approval of the faculty and the head of the graduate program. In any case, a minimum of 36 hours must be taken at SMU.
Meadows Scholarships and Assistantships: Each year up to five Meadows Scholarships are reserved for incoming graduate students, awarded based upon artistic merit. These awards are for up to full tuition and fees remission and include teaching assistant stipends of up to $4,000 per nine-month academic year. A number of other scholarship programs, including the Jones scholarship fund and the Rigsby Graduate Scholarship, offer significant funding for projects, materials and travel in support of creative research.
With the approval of the graduate committee, each student will participate in the M.F.A. Qualifying Exhibition. The M.F.A. Qualifying Exhibition is a group show of all graduate student candidates wishing to receive their M.F.A. degree. Approval to exhibit must be obtained in the term prior to the exhibition. This approval usually is given at the critique at the end of the prior fall term.
The quality of this exhibition will be the primary determinant of whether the M.F.A. degree will be granted. Once approved for the M.F.A. exhibition, the student must enroll for ASAG 6301 M.F.A. Qualifying Exhibition and Exam course in the spring term with the chair of his or her graduate committee.
During the period of the graduate exhibition, the entire faculty will interview each student. This examination is to establish that the student’s creative work is of sufficient maturity and that his or her general knowledge of critical and historical issues is at the level expected of a M.F.A. candidate. At this time, the student will be expected to present an oral defense or explanation of his or her work, a slide presentation explaining the nature of the creative process involved in the creation of his or her work, as well as the following: a written statement related to the issues represented in the work, a photographic record (20 slides) of the student’s work, a résumé and a list of work in the graduate exhibition. This information should be presented in a bound folder. Students may not graduate unless this information is accepted and on file.
If the faculty finds the oral and written review to be unsatisfactory, the student will have the option for a single retake within 10 days of the first review. The student will not be eligible to receive his or her degree after a second failure. This oral review (ASAG 6301) may be repeated the following spring term. Once the exhibition and the faculty examination are accepted and the required materials are turned in, the student will receive his or her degree at the graduation ceremony at the end of the term.
Meadows School of the Arts is entitled to retain as many as two pieces of work by each student. The intention is to honor the successful candidate and to provide evidence of student success in lieu of the usual formal thesis. These works enter the University Art Collection.
The division also requires submission of a Web page permission sheet allowing the division to display student artwork on the division Web site.
In registering for courses in art, the course number must be preceded by the appropriate subject code prefix for credit to be properly recorded.
The ASAG sequence of seminars and independent study comprises the core of the graduate curriculum. Courses in individual disciplines, at or above the 5300 level, also are available for graduate credit.
5310. Studio Workshop. An intensive investigation in art by students engaged in independent work, group collaboration and analytical study. Prerequisite: Advanced work in an area of concentration or graduate standing.
6100-6120, 6204-6220, 6303-6320. Graduate Studio. Independent study with individual faculty members. Teaching is essentially through private critiques. Classroom work can be arranged in instances in which regular work from models or specific technical information or equipment is needed. Scheduling of critique of classroom work is the responsibility of the student.
6300. Graduate Seminar. A forum for discussion of current issues in the theory and practice of art. As opportunity presents, students will meet with artists, dealers, curators, critics and collectors.
6301. M.F.A. Qualifying Exhibition and Exam. Preparation for the qualifying exhibition for candidates for the degree of Master of Fine Arts in Art and oral presentation/exam.
6321. Studio Workshop. An intensive investigation in art by students engaged in independent work, group collaboration and analytical study. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
5100, 5101, 5200, 5201, 5302, 5303. Directed Studies in Ceramics.
5300, 5301. Ceramics, Advanced. Problems in glaze and clay composition, equipment design and theory of operation. Students are expected to define and solve their own creative and technical problems.
5306. Ceramics in Taos. Advanced problems in ceramics studied in the physical and cultural environment of the Fort Burgwin Research Center. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
5310. Special Topics in Ceramics. To be announced by the Division of Art. Prerequisites: ASCE 2312 or 2313, 3312 or 3313 or permission of the instructor.
5312, 5313, 5314, 5315. Ceramics, Advanced. Advanced problems in sculptural and wheel-thrown forms. Emphasis on developing a personal point of view regarding material, process and idea. Prerequisites: ASCE 4312, 4313 or permission of the instructor.
5100, 5101, 5200, 5201, 5302, 5303. Directed Studies in Drawing.
5300, 5301. Drawing, Advanced.
5100, 5101, 5102, 5200, 5201, 5202, 5302, 5303, 5304. Directed Studies in Painting.
5300, 5301. Painting. Advanced problems for the senior student. Prerequisite: ASPT 4300 or 4301.
5107, 5207, 5307, 5308. Studio Workshop in Taos. Advanced problems in painting studied in the physical and cultural environment of the Fort Burgwin Research Center. One, two or three term-credit hours.
5305. Studio Workshop. An intensive investigation in painting by students engaged in independent work, group collaboration and analytical study. Prerequisite: Advanced work in an area of concentration or graduate standing.
5306. Painting in Taos. Advanced problems in painting studied in the physical and cultural environment of the Fort Burgwin Research Center.
5100, 5101, 5200, 5201, 5302, 5303, 5304. Directed Studies in Photography.
5300, 5301. Special Topics in Photography. To be announced by the Division of Art.
5306. Photography in Taos. Advanced problems in photography studied in the physical and cultural environment of the Fort Burgwin Research Center.
5100, 5101, 5200, 5201, 5302, 5303. Directed Studies in Printmaking. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
5300, 5301. Printmaking Workshop. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
5100, 5101, 5200, 5201, 5302, 5303. Directed Studies in Sculpture.
5300, 5301. Advanced Sculpture. Advanced techniques in wood fabrication, plastic fabrication, wood carving, stone carving, metal casting and metal fabrication.
5310. Material and Form. An intensive investigation of material
processes (specifically construction, metal casting and subtractive techniques)
and the ramifications of material choice and method in the formal and stylistic
development of sculptural work. Both the traditional development and contemporary
practice of each process will be explored.
Prerequisites: ASDS 1301, ASSC 2300 or graduate standing.
5320. Body and Object. The body has been the pre-eminent subject in the history of sculpture, represented in all traditions as a locus of belief and identity. Recent sculpture has seen a resurgence of interest in work both of and about the body, asserting its centrality while at the same time attacking many of the social and psychological assumptions attendant to its history. This course will take a dual approach to the sculptural study of the body and figure: In class, work will focus on careful observation and direct study of the model, working up to life-sized study in clay and plaster. Out of class, students will consider, through independent projects, the question of the body as a metaphoric subject, creating work “about” the figure without literal reference to it. The aim is to address the body both through its objective structure and its social and psychological meanings and to discover how these issues are conveyed through sculpture. This is an intensive class, with a requirement of six hours of studio work outside scheduled meeting times. Prerequisites: ASDS 1301, ASSC 2300 or graduate standing.
5340. Shelter and Place. An intensive investigation into architectural forms and natural environments in order to question what it is to dwell, how we achieve a sense of place and how natural forms and events can influence and be influenced by structures. Collaborative work, drawing, analytical study of sites and environments and construction. Paradigm examples are drawn from historical and contemporary building and sculpture. This is an intensive class, with a requirement of six hours studio work outside scheduled meeting times. Prerequisite: ASSC 2300.