Visual Arts DepartmentWestern Arts and Humanities

Undergraduate Courses


Timetable: please click here

Course descriptions: please click here

Note: Course outlines for 2017-2018 will be available in August-September.

VAH 1042A Art, Science and Technology
Plus Tutorial Sections 002, 003, 004, 005, 006, or 007
J. James
VAH 1045B Collecting Art and Culture
Plus Tutorial Sections 002, 003, 004, 005, 006, or 007
K. Robertson
VAH 2241G Theories and Practices of Art History and Visual Culture J. James
VAH 2266F Pre-Contact American Art and Architecture C. Barteet
VAH 2272G Canadian Art S. Bassnett
VAH 2281F Modern Art After 1945 J. Hatch
VAH 2291F Special Topics: Introduction to Design J. Hatch
VAH 3379G Art History and Studio in Dialogue C. Migone
VAH 3383A Introduction to Exhibition Design & Museum Management K. Robertson
VAH 3390G Special Topics - Lessons by Design J. Hatch
VAH 3392G Special Topics in Art History -- Artists' Publishing & Experimental Book Forms R. Skinner
VAH 3393F Special Topics - The Artist and the Archive J. James
VAH 3394G Special Topics - Making Art with Environmental Awareness K. Wood
VAH 4451F Seminar in Medieval Art: Medieval Art in North American Contexts K. Brush
VAH 4482F Seminar in Photography: Photography and Social Transformation S. Bassnett
VAH 4485E Museum & Curatorial Practicum K. Robertson

Course descriptions: please click here

Note: Course outlines for 2017-2018 will be available in August-September.

Course Number Course Title Instructor
VAS 1020 Foundations of Visual Arts
Plus Studio Lab 002, 003, 004, 005, 006, 007, 008 or 009
T. Johnson
VAS 1025 001 Advanced Visual Arts Foundation Studio A. Madelska
VAS 1025 002 Advanced Visual Arts Foundation Studio D. Merritt
VAS 2204A Inroduction to Drawing A. Madelska
VAS 2210 Drawing/Painting S. Glabush / A. Madelska
VAS 2216B Introduction to Painting G. Shepherd
VAS 2222B Sculpture, Installation and Performance I TBD
VAS 2236A Introduction to Print Media T. Johnson
VAS 2246A Digital Photography C. Carney
VAS 2246B Digital Photography C. Carney
VAS 2252A Introduction to Contemporary Media Art I C. Migone
VAS 2254B Introduction to Contemporary Media Art II D. Sneppova
VAS 2274A Art Now! I P. Mahon
VAS 2275B Art Now! II S. Edelstein
VAS 2282A Honours Studio Seminar I TBD
VAS 2294A Special Topics in Visual Arts: Introduction to Design J. Hatch
VAS 3300 Advanced Drawing D. Merritt
VAS 3310 Advanced Painting S. Glabush
VAS 3322A Advanced Sculpture and Installation I K. Jazvac
VAS 3330 Advanced Print Media T. Johnson / TBD
VAS 3379G Art History and Studio in Dialogue C. Migone
VAS 3382B Honors Studio Seminar II TBD
VAS 3394B Special Topics - Making Art with Environmental Awareness K. Wood
VAS 4430 Practicum K. Moodie / K. Wood
VAS 4485E Museum Studies and Curatorial Practicum K. Robertson

VAH 2291F / VAS 2294A – Special Topics in Art History: An Introduction to Design
Professor John Hatch
Monday 8:30-11:30am

This course examines the history and practice of modern design from the end of the 19th century to the present day, as well as touching on its sociocultural impact. Using a wide range of historical and contemporary examples the course will provide students with the basic principles of design, laying the foundation toward an understanding of what design involves in all of its myriad aspects, and how it affects our everyday lives. In other words, this course will appeal to both historians and practitioners of art. The course will also host a number of guest speakers who work in the field.

VAH / VAS 3379G – Art History & Studio in Dialogue: Sound and Image
Professor Christof Migone
Wednesday 2:30-5:30pm

This course will combine practice and theory in order to examine the tactics and strategies utilized by artists to intertwine sound and image in various presentation contexts such as installation, performance, dance, video, film, internet, public art. We will focus primarily on the moving image and on the various ways sound interrupts, infects, and interpenetrates the visual field. The myriad methods of diffusion and the connected issues of intention and reception will be considered alongside issues of technique and technology. Of particular interest will be considerations of the following questions: What stakes are implicit when a viewer is asked to listen? How do gallery and museum spaces sound? How do recorded sounds and images affect the notion of presence? What are the spatial, temporal, sensorial and social dimensions of a sound work? We will survey key texts and recent literature by both artists and theorists as well as listen to and view key and recent audio-visual works.

VAH 3390G – Special Topics in Art History: Lessons by Design
Professor John Hatch
Monday 8:30-11:30am

Design guides us through our life effortlessly when it is done well, or aggravates us to no end when poorly wrought (unless the goal of a particular design is to frustrate -- such as the square toilet paper roll). Design is invisible for the most part, seamless, when crafted for use; seductive when done for effect, when it wants to draw our attention. It helps us to think and function, taking over some of our tasks and concerns so that we can focus our thoughts and actions elsewhere. Using a wide range of examples such as maps, the periodic table, chairs, flags, invented languages like Esperanto, the mechanical sounds on digital devices, door handles, public spaces, currencies, cities, movie credits, search engines, etc., this course will help outline some of the key aspects and qualities of design that make it so essential to modern life. We’ll also discuss the critical social and cultural implications of design, as any good design is essentially a tool for manipulating our everyday lives, for controlling our activities and sometimes how we think.

VAH 3393F – Special Topics in Art History: The Artist and the Archive
Professor Joy James
Monday 2:30-5:30pm

Recent study has theorized the role of the archive in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century as having prominent conceptual significance and identifying a move away from narrative explanation to a less linear and more inclusive method of understanding individual and collective life. In the context of a series of readings, presentations and projects the course looks at how we might understand what has been referred to as the “archival turn” and what this has to do with the proliferation of uses and contestations of the archival model in modern and contemporary art. We will begin with an overview of the significant impact of photography in histories of the archive, and move on to focus on works based on the model of the archive in contemporary art across all media. The continued importance of photography’s aesthetic legacies to ways of seeing, sensing and making meaning of and in the world will be a topic of investigation throughout the course.

VAH 3394G / VAS 3394B – Special Topics in Visual Arts: Making Art with Environmental Awareness
Professor Kelly Wood
Tuesday 11:30-2:30pm

As artists and researchers we often want to make material and social changes through our work. This course will examine and develop environmentally aware approaches to the production, exhibition and analysis of contemporary works of art. This course is open to artists, curators and historians. Students will use this course to think through, and produce, their own work with a stronger environmental awareness. This course will provide introductory lectures, readings and some case studies to explore. The remainder of the course will be based on students’ self-designed projects or thematic explorations. Come and sharpen your 'green thinking' for the next century!

VAH 4451F/9551A – Seminar in Medieval Art: Medieval Art in North American Contexts: Collecting, Display, Representation
Professor Kathryn Brush
Thursday 11:30-2:30pm

This seminar explores the collecting, display, and representation of medieval art in the USA and Canada during the past century. In 1914, less than a year after the Armory Show introduced North Americans to the art of the European avant-garde, Europe’s Middle Ages “arrived” in New York in a Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition that featured the collection of the banker-philanthropist J. Pierpont Morgan. In Manhattan that same year the sculptor George Gray Barnard opened his “Cloisters,” an evocatively staged collection of medieval architectural and sculptural fragments which the artist believed would demonstrate “the power of the medieval chisel” to Americans. These early public displays of medieval objects did much to promote the appreciation, collecting, and study of medieval art and visual culture on this side of the Atlantic.

The seminar analyzes a wide range of ideologies and tensions that have animated the display and representation of displaced objects from medieval Europe in North American contexts. In addition to evaluating the idiosyncracies of collecting at individual institutions, the seminar will focus on issues of cultural transfer, reappropriation, and reinterpretation. How, for example, has the public (visual) consumption of medieval art been valued and positioned in relation to objects and ideas from other historical eras and geographies, including those of non-Western cultures and the modern age? How and why have collections of medieval art been employed in the past and present to articulate distinctly American and/or Canadian concerns and identities, whether public, private, individual, or collective? Strategies of arrangement and display, both historical and contemporary, at selected institutions will be given critical consideration. In 2017 the Middle Ages continue to figure prominently in the North American popular imagination: in what ways might exhibitions of “authentic” medieval objects build on and complicate such popular culture projections? How can museums and educational institutions employ new technologies to help interpret medieval visual culture in more accessible and “experienceable” ways? A field trip to relevant collections in Toronto will offer seminar participants real-life insight into current debates about the collecting, display, and representation of medieval visual culture.

VAH 4482F – Seminar in Photography: Photography and Social Transformation
Professor Sarah Bassnett
Tuesday 11:30-2:30

Many of the social and political upheavals of the late 20th and early 21st centuries are familiar to us through photographs: the Vietnam War, the civil rights protests of the 1960s, 9/11 and the subsequent war in Iraq, the war on terror, and global migration. Focusing on modern conflict, social movements, and changes brought about by globalization, this seminar explores the diverse ways photography has been used to negotiate social transformation. In the process, we look at different practices of photography – from portraiture and photojournalism to contemporary art. We discuss recent scholarship on issues such as spectatorship and the ethics of witnessing, photography as a form of encounter, and the role of iconic images in public memory. Seminar participants will develop their own research on some aspect of photography and social transformation, the results of which will be presented in the form of a conference paper.

VAH 3392G - Special Topics in Art History: Artists' Publishing & Experimental Book Forms

Professor Ruth Skinner

Monday 11:30-2:30pm

Artists’ publishing encourages subversive manoeuvres, incorporates a wide range of media, and provokes future-gazing modes of thought. This course examines the rich history between artistic practice and print culture. We will look at significant moments in which publishing projects challenged or evaded expectations of authorship, ownership, access and identity, with examples including (but not limited to): the Voynich manuscript, documents of Dada and Surrealism, Japanese photobooks of the 1960s and ‘70s, General Idea’s FILE, Sophie Calle’s conceptual documentations, zine culture, interactive hypermedia formats, and recent curatorial interest in artist novels. We will discuss the politics of self/independent publishing, the reciprocal relationship between print and online platforms, and organizations that support artists’ publishing. Course assignments will encourage hands-on research and experimentation to explore how methods of publishing engage our contemporary and networked experience of the world.