Body: Policies & Info

This introduction to studio sculpture focuses on how bodies make meaning in art; in particular, we will consider mimetic and connotative sculptural representations of the body and such topics as: realism and figure modeling; modernism and abstracted depictions of the body; the “body” as a collection of objects that construct the idea of identity; diverse approaches to representing the human form; and the relationship of the viewer’s physical body to the work of art.  Through the use of varying media, students will explore issues in modern and contemporary sculpture and begin to develop their own sculptural vocabularies.

Several projects that combine various aspects of sculpture will provide students with experience in working with different materials and with different conceptual approaches to incorporating the “body” into a sculptural work.  Upon completion of each project, there will be a group critique—the equivalent of a test—to discuss the issues and methods involved in the project.  These should not be missed, and active participation is expected.  There will also be one paper on contemporary sculptural representations of the body.

This sculpture course counts as Quantitative Reasoning in the Discipline in the General Education program (QRCO).  Mathematics finds application in all fields of scholarship. All disciplines make use of quantitative reasoning in some way and to some extent.  This course teaches quantitative techniques that are used as secondary tools within the discipline of art, and helps art students come to deepen their appreciation of the relevance of quantitative reasoning.   Artists are always faced with time and money constraints in realizing their conceptual goals.  Using mathematical skills to predict the structural forces within a sculpture and using geometry to calculate the shape and quantity of a material are just two significant ways that quantitative reasoning skills eliminate the trial and error process which is both costly and time consuming.  This sculpture class covers mathematical and physics-related topics such as shear force, bending moment, compression, and wind resistance. Calculations such as dead load, live load and wind loading are discussed.   A substantial amount of geometry is used in every project to lay out and predict material and fabrication needs for complex three dimensional forms, and we will spend time working with scale and proportion as major sculptural elements.

The Art Education program endorses the Plymouth State University conceptual framework for teacher education:  CHECK. The experiences required for this program are Commitment and  Holism and are based on Experience, Collaboration and Knowledge of the disciplines of the Fine Arts. The course objectives and assignments in this course reflect and reinforce the conceptual framework of teacher education at Plymouth State University. Throughout this learning experience, students will have the opportunities to:

  • C COLLABORATE with other students and professionals and develop partnerships which are essential to the teaching/learning process.
  • H Develop a HOLISTIC perspective on teaching and learning by considering the needs and interests of the whole learner, as an individual and as a member of the learning community.
  • E Experience the connections between subject, events, and life.
  • C Develop a sense of COMMITMENT to personal growth and development as artists and professionals and understand how the teaching/learning process plays a role in the formation of personal and social values throughout our lives.
  • K Enhance and share their KNOWLEDGE through the cultivation of mastery, self-reflection, critical discussion, and inquiry.

NH State Certification Standards addressed in this course:

ED 612 Standards:A1-b-c, 2, 4, 5, 6; C 1, 2, 3, 4 and D1

ED 610 Standards: B1, 2 Diversity A


Prerequisites:   AR1050: Form in 3D;


  • to use quantitative techniques as tools to work through sculptural ideas and to enhance the creative process;
  • to become familiar with tools and techniques relating to metalworking, including welding, cutting, shrinking, and stretching;
  • to become familiar with tools and techniques related to clay modeling;
  • to gain knowledge of both the technical and theoretical developments in sculpture, especially in the periods of realism, modernism, and postmodernism;
  • to develop skill with spatial relationships through work on the figure;
  • to explore the “connotative” as it functions in sculpture;
  • to build a vocabulary for discussing both the qualities of specific traditional and contemporary sculptural works and broader current issues in contemporary sculpture;
  • to be able to clearly articulate—verbally and visually—the intention behind each of the student’s sculptures, and to understand the complex interplay between a work, an artist, and a viewer;
  • to gain an understanding of the multiple ways that the body functions in modern and contemporary sculpture;
  • to begin to use the sketch book and maquette as a means for developing and working through ideas;
  • to learn to manage time appropriately in order to complete projects efficiently.


55%     Projects: overall quality; complexity of idea; craft of execution; late assignments will be penalized one full letter grade for every day they are late. Missing a critique will lower your project grade by 10%. You will be required to keep a sketch book which will be a significant portion of each project grade.  All projects will be due on the critique day (see above for grading) and the following components will be due on your ePort by the next class.  These are the components you should have for each project on your ePort. Each project will have ONE POST, which should contain all of the following elements:

Project Description/assignment:  You can summarize the project description or cut and paste.  Describe the “intent” (what the viewer will get) and what you think are the interesting parts that you were excited to do.   Also describe the challenges you see for yourself.  Perhaps it was a material you had never used or a concept you had not thought about before. With all your comments try to list at least one or two specifics.

Lateral thinking:  Explain what you are trying to do at this stage and then show examples.  These are your “lists” (or other brainstorming strategies) that you made when generating ideas.  You might take a digital image and then mark it up digitally with notes and arrows or use sticky notes before taking an image.  It could also be a written statement.  It is up to you.   However you decide to do this, it should explain your thoughts and give insight to the decisions you made about your ideas and which ones to move forward.

Sketchbook/Drawings:  Take pictures of your sketch book drawings with your phone or SLR camera  and add comments about what you were thinking.

Maquettes:  Photograph your maquettes and include them. Explain why you did these and how they were helpful.  How could you have done things differently to improve the finished work?  Could you have made them differently or used a different material?  Bigger? Smaller? Etc.

Material Studies: Photograph your material studies. Explain what you thought you might learn from doing this and then what you actually learned.  This might be trying out a new material on a small scale to see what it does, it might be doing a full scale drawing to get a sense of scale or it might be trying out a painting style on a scrap before you commit to the actual piece.  The material study gives you a way to test out an aspect of the piece without committing to it only to find out it did not work.  Although this may take time it ultimately saves you time and gives the ability to find the element that works best with the overall intent.

Finished Piece:  This is where you have a few pictures (probably at the top of your post) and write a longer formal “artist” statement that talks about the intent or idea you started out with and how the piece changed over the process.  Then evaluate the finished piece using the project description and the elements of design.  Also talk about the things you learned that you will take forward into other art making.  It is valid to have a piece fail or come out in unexpected ways but still have learned a great deal!  As artists we are constantly venturing into unknown territories (ideas/materials/styles/etc) and should be comfortable with a process that is rich in experimenting and play the pushes the limits (maybe even to failure). It is fine to put this at the top of your post even though it is the final step.

20%     Participation and Attitude : attend all classes; active in class discussions and critiques; open-mindedness;willingness to push past your own personal limits;(Attendance=75%; Attitude=25%)

10%   Paper: organization, effort, and research.

5%    Quizzes and smaller assignments: performance on quizzes and small assignments.

10%    ePort

Required Materials:

  • Clay modeling tools
  • Sketch pad
  • Additional Materials TBA ($60-$80)
  • There are no textbooks for this course, but there is a lab fee of $60 which covers such items as steel, aluminum, clay, etc.


Other Policies


  • ADA Policy: Plymouth State University is committed to providing students with documented disabilities equal access to all university programs and facilities. If you think you have a disability requiring accommodations, you should immediately contact the PASS Office in Lamson Library (535-2270) to determine whether you are eligible for such accommodations. Academic accommodations will only be considered for students who have registered with the PASS Office. If you have a Letter of Accommodation for this course from the PASS Office, please provide the instructor with that information privately so that you and the instructor can review those accommodations.


  • Academic Integrity Policy: see PSU catalog. 


  • Art Department Policy on Use of Visual Recording Devices in all Classes ,  Workshops, or Open Studio Sessions using live models:


It is our mutual responsibility, as faculty and students, to ensure the privacy and safety of our models at all times.  In order to uphold our commitment to privacy and safety, no visual recording devices will be allowed to be used in Figure classes, workshops, open studio sessions, or any class with a live model posing. If any individual is seen holding or using a visual recording device, they will be asked to leave the class and an unexcused absence will be credited for that day.  In the case of cell phones, cell phones must be turned to vibrate mode before entering class. Emergency and/or special calls will be answered outside of the classroom.  Any use of visual recording devices for class purposes must be pre-approved by the instructor and can only be used when the model is not posing.


  • Art Department Policy on Unclaimed Artwork


Any student participating in a studio course in the Art Department at PSU is responsible for removing from the premises the artwork he/she creates in that class at the end of the course. Any artwork left behind by a student from a course at the end of the semester will be saved or disposed of at the discretion of the instructor or Program Coordinator. The  Art Department cannot ensure safety, conservation, or appropriate storage of work. If the artwork is saved, it will be used as a teaching resource for future classes.

Any artwork that is in a departmentally endorsed or sponsored exhibit and which is unclaimed by the artist at the end of that exhibit will be retained by the department for a period of 6 months. However, during this time, the Art Department cannot ensure safety, conservation, or appropriate storage of work. At the end of  30 days, the work will be reviewed by a departmental vetting committee to determine if the artwork will be retained or discarded. If the artwork is retained, it will be used as a teaching resource and Images of that artwork will be used for any public relations purposes as the Department and University see fit.


  • Absences: At the end of the semester you will be awarded full Attendance points if you have 3 or fewer absences.  If you have from 4-6 absences, you will be awarded 1/2 credit for Attendance.  If you have more than 6 absences, you will receive no credit for Attendance.  There is no need to inform me about the reason for your absences since you receive those 3 free absences to use for reasons such as illness, death in the family, school travel, sports, and other serious matters.  If you have a devastating emergency which will cause you to miss two weeks or more of school, you should contact Undergraduate Studies so that they may advise you on the best course of action.