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.
Contemporary sculpture in practice and research, now more than ever before, embraces a full range of exploration from the historic traditions of figuration to innovative content in the areas of functional and non-functional object-making, installation, performance, site-specific work, and digital forms.
Introductory-level courses such as What is Sculpture?, Skin, Form to Function, and Spatial Thinking offer students opportunities to explore aesthetic positions through narrative content embedded in projects that establish a solid base of constructive and technical skills. Students work with a range of materials and processes, including wood, clay, metal welding fabrication, carving, construction, mold-making, found-object assemblage, laser-cutting, 3D printing, rapid-prototyping, and CNC milling.
As students progress to advanced classes such as Close Encounters, Making It Personal, and Art in the Public Realm, students are challenged to use their skills to make work that is more self-directed and research-driven to contribute to the ever-extending visual dialogue that interprets our personal and public lives.
Sculpture students and faculty are supported by two technologists to work in several professional-level computer labs and workshops equipped with the latest design and fabrication software. The ever-growing digital fabrication resources at Bennington include a laser cutter, a portable 3D scanner, a 3-axis CNC-router, a digitally controlled plasma cutter, and a variety of 3D printers. These are complemented by a fully equipped metal shop that includes TIG, MIG, and gas welding equipment, break presses, metal forming equipment, forge, drill press, and band saws. There is also a fully equipped wood shop with chop saw, table saw panel saw, lathe, drill press, and CNC router.
All students at Bennington have access to a number of technique-intensive courses such as Digital Morphology, an introductory class on Rhino 3D modeling, and comprehensive courses in woodworking and metalworking. These classes complement the studio-based, fine-art education and guide students through the technologies and processes needed to realize their creative visions. Through this blend of technical and conceptual coursework, students learn to engage critically and confidently with analog and digital tools that are transforming the practices of artists and designers in the 21st century.
Learn more about studying sculpture at Bennington by contacting our admissions office
Jon Isherwood, a faculty member in the Center for the Advancement of Public Action, is a sculptor who has pioneered high-tech CNC technologies, led international projects, and designed opportunities to investigate the sites where the intellectual and physical become visually entangled.
Visiting Faculty & Technicians
John Umphlett MFA '99 is open to experimentation through the love of material handling and repetitive practice. His work can be a representation of an action or a snapshot of a moment that takes hours to fully view. The focus of life and death are recognized within his work as vibrating bookends.