Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
ART 290A
Course Title:
Sculpture: Plaster/Clay
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Introduces basic sculptural form, processes, techniques, and concepts while addressing historical and contemporary issues in sculpture. Develops an introductory level of creative problem solving through making sculpture using a variety of techniques for clay and plaster (including but not limited to: mold making, casting, and direct construction over armatures). Introduces critical skills necessary to evaluate sculpture through critiques, discussions, and sculpture presentations by exploring artistic intent, examining aesthetic and structural solutions, and expanding perceptual awareness of sculpture. This is the first of a three-course sequence. Recommended: ART 117. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

There are no course prerequisites although Basic Design 117 is helpful. Emphasis will be on using clay and plaster in various ways to create sculpture. A sense of curiosity and a willingness to experiment are helpful. A cognitive comprehension of college level English is required.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Students will endeavor to do the following:* Find creative ways to solve problems using a variety of basic strategies for making sculpture with plaster and clay.* Create personal works of sculpture, which demonstrate an introductory level of understanding of sculptural ideas, and the processes, materials, and techniques associated with clay and plaster (including but not limited to: mold making, casting, and direct construction over armatures).* Ask meaningful questions, identify ideas and issues, and develop a basic vocabulary to be able to actively participate in a critical dialogue about sculpture with others.* Understand, interpret, and enjoy sculpture of the past and the present from different cultures toinitiate a lifelong process of expanding knowledge on the diversity of perspectives of the humanexperience.* Develop a heightened awareness of the physical world, the nature of the relationship of humanbeings to it, and our impact on it via the experience of making sculpture with plaster and clay.* Use self-critiquing skills to begin developing autonomous expression through sculpture inplaster and clay while recognizing the standards and definitions already established by bothcontemporary and historical works of art from different cultures.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Students will do the following in order to be assessed:•Make creative, appropriately crafted, challenging sculptural solutions to given provocations using various clay and plaster working techniques.•Comprehend and apply analysis of sculptural ideas, techniques, terminology, and issues through participation in formal critiques and discussions.•Develop conceptual ideas through the practice of creative research and preparatory studies (e.g. sketchbooks, journals, maquettes, models, writing assignments, presentations, technical practice tests, etc.).

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts, Issues Concepts, Ideas, and Issues Pertaining to the Creative Process•Strategies for developing ideas (i.e. experiencing and playing with materials, imagining, dreaming, visualizing, symbolizing, writing, reading, researching, studying historical and cultural examples, sketching, collaborating, discussing)•Strategies for problem solving towards concretion of ideas in sculptural form (i.e. sketches, plans, maquettes, test pieces, models)•Perception and Art•Form and Content•Interpreting artHistorical and Cultural Contexts•Concepts, theories, and issues addressed by various cultures and historical periods•Concepts, theories, and issues addressed by contemporary sculptors from•different cultures•Relationships between form and content in works of art from different cultures and historical periods•The roles of art and artists in different cultures•Intercultural and interhistorical influences (e.g. the influence of cycladic and African art on western, modern sculpture)Sculptural Forms and Perceptual Impact•Visual/physical elements used to create sculptural form: point, line, plane, shape, form, marks, texture, shadow, light, value, color, space, sound, smell, weight, volume, mass, text, etc.•Relationships of characteristics of visual/ physical elements to be considered (e.g. proportion, length, thickness, position, orientation, scale, weight, interrelationship of shapes, relative value and color, movement and stillness, quality of texture etc.)•Strategies for manipulating visual/physical elements that is ways of thinking of composing with visual/physical elements (e.g. arrange, juxtapose, relate, contrast, group, balance, unify, repeat, edit, elaborate, classify, divide, increase, decrease, maximize, minimize, dissect, separate, align, vary, diversify, alternate, reduce, connect, etc.)•The relationship between materials and their visual/ physical impact(i.e. a stick or string acts as a line, an indentation in a form is simultaneously perceived as a mark, a material is chosen for its shape and color etc, an element is chosen for its weighty quality, an object or material is used for its olfactory impact, an object is chosen for its associative qualities etc.)Materials and Techniques•Gravity and the basic forces of tension and compression.•Materials, their handling, and meaning•Physical activities used to alter and form clay (e.g. slice, bend, carve, compress, stretch, twist, etch, impress, etc)•Physical ways of forming plaster while working it in different states o liquid state: (e.g. pouring,painting, saturating other materials with it, etching into it while wet, etc.) o gel state: (e.g. compress, model, accumulate, mold, build up, applying templates, carve back, etc) o solid state: (e.g. carve, add on more liquid or gel state plaster, gluing and repairing, ways of combining solid elements:butt, prop, lean, bind, stack, wrap, peg, slot, screw, tie, pin, cantilever, balance, etc.) o Using plaster with armatures (e.g. wire, wood, metal armatures) and flexible covering materials (e.g. jute, fiberglass cloth, burlap, twine, wire, chickenwire, etc)•Working with clay and plaster indirectly to make basic molds and cast sculptures (e.g. waste molds, two piece molds, relief mold, basic flexible molds, etc.)•Safety and Environmental concerns of materials and techniques associated with clay and plaster in particular as well as other materials: proper disposal of waste, places where recycled material can be found, proper safety attire to be used when working with specific materials, health related concerns, sources of information on these subjectsCritical Analysis•Purposes of criticism and analysis of artworks: deepen understanding, reflect on level of quality and possible improvements, heighten creative decision making by observing decisions made by others and oneself, establish and maintain high standards of achievement, ask questions, find new connections, create autonomy and creative confidence, create new problems to solve, discuss art with others to expose oneself to multiple perspectives etc.•Vocabulary relevant to ideas, materials, and techniques pertaining to sculpture made with clay and plaster•Application, interpretation, and redefinition of sculptural ideas, connection of historical and cultural contexts, personal expression and creative freedom•Aspects of criticism: formal, conceptual, historical, cultural, experiential etc.Competencies and Skills The successful student should be able to do the following:•Find resources for materials and tools used in making sculpture with clay and plaster•Conduct research to develop ideas, perspectives, and influences from a variety of sources•Employ a variety of strategies to solve problems encountered in the process of realizing an idea for a sculpture in physical form. Students will be able to make models, sketches, maquettes, material tests etc.•Use a variety of conceptual strategies to create sculpture with clay and plaster•Understand and use a variety of materials, tools, and techniques associated with making sculpture using clay and plaster•Use the proper safety/health equipment and procedures in working with clay and plaster and associated materials•Make interesting, challenging, appropriately crafted sculptures that are personally meaningful•Understand and apply basic vocabulary necessary to discuss the formal, conceptual, and technical aspects of sculpture•Analyze and enjoy the formal and perceptual concerns of sculpture•Communicate with others on a variety of levels (i.e. formal, conceptual etc.) on the subject of sculpture•Assess the ways in which art objects are affected by personal perspectives and experiences•Make historical and cultural connections in determining meaning and understanding of art•Enables student to begin preparing a portfolio of sculptural work.