Painting & Drawing
At Bennington, students work closely with faculty to design the content, structure, and sequence of their study and practice—their Plan—taking advantage of resources inside and outside the classroom to pursue their work.
The faculty in painting and drawing offer a broad range of courses, from introductory level studios, to thematic seminars, to workshops in which students conduct self-directed projects. Our approach to teaching painting and drawing is one that allows students to understand these fields as discrete disciplines, each complete with its own rich history.
At the same time, students have the chance to develop approaches to their work that are not defined by traditional parameters of painting or drawing. Students in many of our classes incorporate new technologies, moving image, photography, installation, language, literature, and architecture in their explorations of problems presented.
In all painting and drawing courses, we aim to create an atmosphere in the classroom which prioritizes inquiry into the nature of representation itself, and the questions inherent in the relationship between empirical experience/observation and image making/understanding. Emphasis is placed on the exploration of assignments that provide parameters and questions for students that will lead them into legitimately formidable inquiry—rather than determining the approach that they might take formally. In this way, acquisition of technical skills is never separated from questions of the creation of meaning and the significance of images, especially in the world of today.
J Blackwell’s recent works are called Neveruses (never•uses). Neveruses are lumpish, androgynous painting-objects comprised of scavenged plastic bags and colored fibers such as wool yarn and silk thread. These hybrid devices are neither useful nor redundant, although both are implied.
Mary Lum’s paintings, collages, and wall works, which have been praised by critics and exhibited widely, draw attention to the overlooked but subliminally powerful architecture of modern life.
Ann Pibal’s widely recognized and highly acclaimed paintings have been exhibited extensively, in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Visiting Faculty & Technicians
Colin Brant’s luxurious, color-drenched, paintings and drawings present an inquiry that is both reverent and skeptical, offering examinations of landscape as personal, politicized, and perpetually evolving historical space.
Camille Hoffman's current work is a mixed-media meditation on Manifest Destiny and its representation in the romantic American landscape. Reflecting on the embedded and latent meanings around light, nature, the frontier, borders, race, gender and power in influential American landscape paintings of the 19th century, she uses materials collected from her everyday life, including holiday-themed tablecloths, discarded medical records, nature calendars, plastic bags and paint, to craft imaginary landscapes that are grounded in accumulation, personal narrative and historical critique.