Art and Design Building L005
Instructor: Brian Davis
Office Hours: TBA
Sculpture I is a survey course that will introduce the
student to a range of contemporary sculptural techniques, materials and
conceptual issues. The class will consist of a series of assignments/problems
designed to address specific aspects of sculptural practice. Class time will
include technical demos, lectures, discussions and time to work on projects.
To learn to create meaning and function using space,
structure, material, surface and context.
To gain hands-on experience with sculptural techniques and
brains-on experience with three-dimensional problem-solving skills.
To develop an understanding of the relevance and relationship
of sculpture to all the areas of art study.
Projects in this class will include both additive and
subtractive processes. We will use materials such as wood, plaster, cement and
found objects. Projects can range in size from handheld to large outdoor
installation. In our classroom, storage space is at a minimum, so projects will
need to be removed promptly after grading.
This class fulfills a Mason Core requirement for Arts. Mason courses in the film making, visual and performing arts stress generative, inquiry based learning through direct aesthetic and creative experience in the studio environment. Art history courses address the intrinsic relationship of personal and cultural creativity, and the manifestation of aesthetics, visual culture and visual narrative within historical contexts.
Arts goal: Courses aim to achieve a majority of the following learning outcomes: students will be able to identify and analyze the formal elements of a particular art form using vocabulary appropriate to that form; demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between artistic technique and the expression of a work’s underlying concept; analyze cultural productions using standards appropriate to the form and cultural context; analyze and interpret material or performance culture in its social, historical, and personal contexts; and engage in the artistic process, including conception, creation, and ongoing critical analysis.
Experimentation is encouraged! Making good art takes time, thought, planning
and the allowance of some extra time for mistakes. Though we will be working on
projects in class, it is expected that you will spend some time outside of
class to complete projects.
Critiques: Class critiques are very important and will be held at the
beginning of class on the due date of each project. Be prepared to talk about
your work during the critique. If your work is not complete for the critique
your grade on that assignment will be lowered by one full letter grade for each
day it is late. You are still required to participate in the class critique,
even if your work is not being critiqued.
Projects and grading:
There will be several projects, technical exercises, field
trips, writings and various activities throughout the semester. In addition, there will be short writings and
postings on the class blog. Each
assignment is worth a certain number of points. At the end of the semester,
your points are added up and your grade is averaged. Some projects are worth
more points than others. Grades always includes preliminary sketches and
models. Each assignment will be
evaluated on the basis of the following criteria.
1. Fulfillment of
the project objectives
3. Conceptual and
investment: the sweat factor
5. Overall aesthetic
and conceptual quality of the work
A Work is characterized by outstanding
achievement and understanding of critical analysis as reflected in solutions to
assignments, technical competence and the critique process. Student must display preparedness and
efficient dedication to scheduled studio time.
Adherence to attendance policy.
B Work is characterized by excellent
competence and understanding of critical analysis as reflected in solutions to
assignments, technical competence and the critique process. Student must display preparedness and dedication
to scheduled studio time. Adherence to
C Work is characterized by basic competence
and understanding of critical analysis as reflected in solutions to
assignments, technical competence and the critique process. Student must display adequate preparedness and dedication to
scheduled studio time. Adherence to
D Work is characterized by minimal effort and
success. Lowest passing grade.
Attendance is mandatory.
3 unexcused absences = final grade reduced by 1 letter (A
becomes a B),
4 unexcused absences = 2 letters
6 unexcused absences = failure no matter your grade
8 absences (excused or unexcused) will result in failure EVEN
IF YOU HAVE A VALID REASON FOR YOUR ABSENCE.
If a student is more than 10 minutes late to class, this will
count as a ½ absence (unexcused).
If a student is more than 25 minutes late to a class, they
will not be permitted in the classroom, which will result in a full unexcused
absence—unless they have given prior and timely notice and justification to the
If a student leaves class 10 minutes or more early, this will
result in a ½ absence (excused or unexcused).
Safety: be aware that there are potential hazards
regarding the work in this course. While
I conduct thorough demonstrations, it is ultimately up to each student to be
prudent and diligent.
You will be required to get a few basic items at the
beginning of class as well as some items needed for any specific project you
are working on. Places you can buy ART MATERIALS: Johnson Center Bookstore (on
campus)/ Plaza, 3045 Nutley St, Fairfax: 703 280-4500/ Utrecht, 1250 I (eye)
St, NW DC, 202-230-9097 www.dickblick.com
Text: No book is required. Readings will be handed out on a
You should have these supplies available for every class.
One bag of at least
20 glue sticks.
knife. This should be a large (6” x 1”), standard breakaway utility knife.
replacement blades for your knife.
X-Acto Knife and
assortment of blades.
Drawing tools: #2
pencil and eraser
Sketch book or
notebook: 8 1/2 x 11 (for this class only)
(1) roll masking tape (3/4” width or wider)
(1) Sharpie or felt
*Plastic bucket and
* You will need
these when we are doing the casting projects
Tool box to carry it all.
You can rent a locker in the hall from the photo printing lab
You can claim a small locker under work tables by bringing a lock and claiming it
Bigger projects are to be stored on our marked shelf and must be removed after grading.
If you don’t know, ask.
Wear proper safety gear.
No food or drink on machinery.
No cell phones, headphones in wood or metal studio.
PLEASE! Report broken machinery to faculty or technician
Never use a tool before receiving proper instruction.
Clean and return studio tools to proper storage area after
Put your work in storage areas and clearly label at end of
ID required for all non-class time tool use.
Clean up after yourself.
Treat people with respect.
The gathering of materials will be done outside of scheduled
studio time. There is no substitute for
time spent in the studio with peers and the instructor.
Do not remove any tools
or other materials belonging to the studio.
General cleanups require all students to participate. Failure to do so will negatively affect the
Wear casual clothing and closed-toed shoes. Bring an old long sleeved shirt for
Do not spray paint in the studio.
What to expect this semester:
Expect to spend a minimum
of 6 hours of work outside of class per week
Expect to get dirty: Wear
old clothing and closed toed shoes to class
Expect to vocalize:
Critique requires you to speak about your work
Expect to sketch your
Visual Voices Lecture Series
Visual Voices is a year-long series of lectures by artists, art historians and others
about contemporary art and art practice. Visual Voices lectures are held on
four Thursday evenings from 7:20 – 9:00 p.m.
September 9: Eddie Opara (Pentagram)
September 23: Dario Robleto
October 7: Leslie Hewitt
October 21: Amanda Ross-Ho
For Fall 2021, this lecture series will be held online.
Writing Center and Library Resources
Students who are in need of intensive help with grammar, structure or mechanics in their
writing should make use of the services of Writing Center. For Spring 2021, the
Writing Center is holding all sessions online, with writers choosing between
meeting their tutor in real time on Zoom or uploading a draft for their tutor’s
written feedback. Please send your questions to email@example.com
Provisions Research Center for Art & Social Change is located in Room L001 of the Art
& Design Building. This student resource assists students in exploring and
engaging new models for artmaking that lead to a more inclusive, equitable, and
connected society. Provisions is also a hub for developing art projects through
Mason Exhibitions, the Mural Brigade, and art partners throughout the
metropolitan area, and beyond. Contact Don Russell for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Art and Art History Librarian, Stephanie Grimm, will offer appointments and office hours
(in-person and virtual) for the Fall 2021 semester:https://go.gmu.edu/sgrimm4
Official Communications via Mason E-Mail
Students are responsible for the content of university communications sent to their George
Mason University e-mail account and are required to activate their account and
check it regularly. All communication from the university, college, school, and
program will be sent to students solely through their Mason e-mail account.
Students with Disabilities and Learning Differences
disabilities who seek accommodations in a course must be registered with the
George Mason University Office of Disability Services (ODS) and inform their
instructor, in writing, at the beginning of the semester http://ods.gmu.edu
Students are expected to attend the class periods of the courses for which they
register. In-class (including sections that meet online) participation is
important not only to the individual student, but also to the class as a whole.
Because class participation may be a factor in grading, instructors may use
absence, tardiness, or early departure as de facto evidence of
nonparticipation. Students who miss an exam with an acceptable excuse may be
penalized according to the individual instructor’s grading policy, as stated in
the course syllabus.
To promote a stronger sense of mutual responsibility, respect, trust, and fairness
among all members of the George Mason University Community and with the desire
for greater academic and personal achievement, we, the student members of the
university community, have set forth this Honor Code: Student Members of the
George Mason University community pledge not to cheat, plagiarize, steal, or
lie in matters related to academic work. https://oai.gmu.edu/mason-honor-code/
As a faculty member, I am designated as a “Responsible Employee,” and must report
all disclosures of sexual assault, interpersonal violence, and stalking to
Mason’s Title IX Coordinator per University Policy 1202. If you wish to speak
with someone confidentially, please contact one of Mason’s confidential
resources, such as Student Support and Advocacy Center (SSAC) at 703-380-1434
or Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 703-993-2380. You may also
seek assistance from Mason’s Title IX Coordinator by calling 703-993-8730, or
This class will be conducted as an intentionally inclusive community that celebrates
diversity and welcomes the participation in the life of the university of
faculty, staff and students who reflect the diversity of our plural society.
All may feel free to speak and to be heard without fear that the content of the
opinions they express will bias the evaluation of their academic performance or
hinder their opportunities for participation in class activities. In turn, all
are expected to be respectful of each other without regard to race, class,
linguistic background, religion, political beliefs, gender identity, sex,
sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, veteran’s status, or physical ability.
I explicitly reject white supremacy and racism and am committed to equity,
justice, and democracy in society, on campus, and within my classrooms. No
matter the name or label, anti-Black and anti-Semitic, and racist thought and
action are antithetical to my mission and values as an educator. I condemn the
divisive and intimidating tactics of white supremacist views.
I recognize that systemic racism is pervasive within our society and institutions, and
pledge to combat it through receiving critical feedback on how I can be more
inclusive and being more self-aware of my privileged identities. Including the
use of collective teaching, programming, scholarship, and service. I want you,
Mason’s students, to know that I am committed to fostering a classroom where
everyone can learn without the chilling effects of bigoted views.
I am determined to uphold the University’s mission, which states that, “We hold
ourselves to the highest ethical standards as educators, scholars, and
professionals,” and thus am committed to creating a culture of excellence,
inclusion, and accessibility.
I welcome all members of our extended community regardless of their race,
ethnicity, immigration status, religion, sexual identity, gender identity,
socioeconomic status, political or institutional affiliation, and ability, and
am fully dedicated to promoting a diversity of voices and views as an academic
I recognize that there is still much self- and systemic-work to be done to make
the spaces of the University safe and hospitable to all and am committed to
continuing to do that work. My door is open to any students seeking support or guidance.
We acknowledge the Monacan Nation, including the Manahoac people, the traditional
owners of the land and waters upon which our University stands.
on Ethics in Teaching and Practicing Art and Design
As professionals responsible for the education of undergraduate and graduate art
and design students, the faculty of the School of Art adheres to the ethical
standards and practices incorporated in the professional Code of Ethics of our
national accreditation organization, The National Association of Schools of Art
and Design (NASAD).
First Day of Fall Classes: Mon. Aug 23
Last Day to Submit Domicile Reclassification Application Mon. Aug 23
Last Day to Add: All Individual Sections Forms Due Mon. Aug 30
Labor Day : University Closed Mon. Sept 6
Last Day to Drop: With 100% Tuition Refund Tues. Sept 7
Last Day to Drop: With 50% Tuition Refund Tue. Sept 14
Unrestricted Withdrawal Period: 100% Tuition Liability Wed. Sept 15 – Mon. Sept 27
Fall Break (Classes Do Not Meet) Mon. Oct 11
Monday Classes/Labs Meet
(Tuesday Classes Do Not Meet This Week) Tue. Oct 12
Mid-term Evaluation Period:
100-200 level classes – Grades Available via PatriotWeb Mon. Sept 20 – Fri. Oct 15
Selective Withdrawal Period
Undergraduate Students Only (100% Tuition Liability) Tue. Sept 28 – Wed. Oct 27
Incomplete Work from Spring/Summer 2021 Due to
Instructor Friday, October 22
Incomplete Grade Changes from Spring/Summer 2021
Due to Registrar Friday, October 29
No Classes (University Closed Nov. 24-28) Wed. Nov 24 – Sun. Nov 28
Dissertation/Thesis Deadline Fri. Dec 3
Last Day of Class Sat. Dec 4
Reading Day(s): Reading days provide students
with additional study time for final examinations.
Faculty may schedule optional study sessions,
but regular classes or exams may not be held. Mon. Dec 6 -Tue. Dec 7
Once the add and drop deadlines have passed, instructors do not have the authority to approve
requests from students to add or drop/withdraw late. Requests for late adds (up
until the last day of classes) must be made by the student in the School of Art
office (or the office of the department offering the course), and generally are
only approved in the case of a documented university error (such as a problem
with financial aid being processed), LATE ADD fee will apply. Requests for
non-selective withdrawals and retroactive adds (adds after the last day of
classes) must be approved by the academic dean of the college in which the
student’s major is located. For AVT majors, that is the CVPA Office of Academic
Affairs in College Hall.
School of Art
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