The MFA program in Painting emphasizes critical and artistic growth through the evolution of a rigorous studio practice. While a shared passion for the history and craft of painting binds the department together, professors are committed to assisting each student in developing his or her own vision, supporting an enormous diversity of formal and conceptual approaches, painting styles and interests.
MFA candidates work in dedicated Painting studios in close proximity to grad students in other fine arts majors. This fosters informal support and a virtually nonstop exchange of ideas among peers – an ongoing dialogue informed by critical feedback from professors, visiting artists, critics and curators via individual and group critiques.
Graduate students in Painting are given 24-hour access to private and semi-private studios in RISD’s Fletcher Building, a facility designed to promote interdisciplinary discourse with peers in other fine arts graduate programs. This building also offers critique spaces, a woodshop and a computer area for shared use. Regularly scheduled trips to museums and galleries in New York City give students a taste of the professional art world, and visits to artists’ studios provide insight into what it’s like to be a practicing artist.
Each graduate student in Painting is granted a Teaching Assistantship and has the opportunity to teach a course on his or her own during Wintersession of the second year. Other opportunities for teaching are available off campus and through programs such as Project Open Door, run by the department of Teaching + Learning in Art + Design.
Lauren Comito MFA 2013
Jonathan Frioux MFA 2013
Joe Bochynski MFA 2013
Rob Macinnis MFA 2013
Walter Dion MFA 2013
“We keep the graduate program in Painting open-ended as a reflection the department’s philosophy as a whole. The idea is to help students work better and develop practices that will serve them well for life—beyond their studio explorations here at RISD.”
During two years in residence at RISD, graduate students undertake a serious investigation of the broad range of possibilities and realities presented by contemporary painting.
In the final semester, degree candidates focus on a creating a comprehensive body of work under the guidance of a thesis committee. All MFA candidates produce a written thesis and participate in the RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition, a large-scale public show held in the Rhode Island Convention Center.
In determining admission to the MFA program, the faculty selection committee in Painting looks for evidence of an applicant’s commitment, drive, technical competence and openness to experimentation. Portfolios should be professionally presented using the highest quality representation of work showing the breadth and depth of art, design and creative thinking capabilities. Phone interviews are followed by invitations for finalists to visit campus for in-person meetings.
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