Studio Arts, Painting & Drawing (MFA)
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)Offered by:
Department of Studio Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts
Why pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Arts, Painting and Drawing?
The MFA in Studio Arts is a professional, terminal degree. The MFA program appeals to practicing artists who wish to refine personal content and forms through critical inquiry. Alumni are recognized as multidisciplinary artist-researchers working at the vanguard of their respective practices.
The three-year, full-time Painting and Drawing concentration champions an intensive, studio-based approach to learning and research.
The concentration supports student work through a broad range of material and conceptual approaches to studio practices in both painting and drawing. In the past, students have experimented and extended traditional pictorial research through process-oriented installations that include time-based approaches, new media and digital technologies.
The MFA Program values the importance of critical inquiry and relies heavily on intellectual exchange. Traditional and innovative approaches are discussed through lively debate surrounding art and culture. Theory and studio seminars provide an important forum for students to investigate other issues and concerns.
At the end of each term, students formally present their studio work to a review committees composed of faculty, studio arts graduates and invited artist-critics. Committee members provide a focused response to this work and prepare students for their concluding exhibition and defense.
Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts has an longstanding international reputation for excellence. Its vibrant creative and intellectual culture fosters cutting-edge practice, research and scholarship and a distinguished history of developing talent.
The MFA in Studio Arts is a disciplinary program positioned within a pluralist theoretical framework. During the first two years of the program, students combine seminar courses with independent, supervised studio practice. Seminars focus on thematic and special topics. Theoretical concepts are introduced to provide a philosophical context to the historical, social and cultural ramifications of painting and drawing and the position they occupy within contemporary art practices. Students integrate this knowledge as they explore the intersections of interdisciplinary work and pursue their artistic development. Studio practice emphasizes technical investigation and experimentation.
The third and fourth years of the MFA program are devoted to studio practice and production. Students prepare an advanced body of work and present a concluding solo exhibition and defence.
The MFA program offers alternative learning approaches to standard studio classes and academic offerings to exceptional students. Opportunities include:
Faculty members and graduate students have pioneered new processes, creative communities and diverse prototypes. Innovation and interdisciplinarity in artistic practice and presentation lie at the heart of its teaching and research programs. Like other Fine Arts departments, Studio Arts offers a rigorous, stimulating and supportive learning environment.
Studio arts programs emphasize experimentation, collaboration and diversity. They value critical inquiry and the investigation of social, cultural and intellectual issues. Students interact regularly with faculty in their area of concentration and also with faculty in film production and other fine arts disciplines whose expertise and research interests may be of particular benefit to them.
The department has two research chairs:
- Concordia University Research Chair in Interactive Design and Games Innovation
- Concordia University Research Chair in Relational Art and Philosophy
The department’s Faculty’s art, design and performance laboratories are modern, well-equipped facilities run by experienced technical staff. Depending on their research, graduate students also have access to four research centres.
The MFA program has two sites within the VA Building for the exhibition and dissemination of graduate work. On the main floor, the MFA Gallery hosts thesis and other exhibitions presented by the students of the program in all media. The downstairs gallery allows for experimentation and making public research or works in progress. In addition, the Faculty of Fine Arts Gallery (FOFA Gallery) in the EV Building and the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery in the Library Building regularly exhibit the work of MFA students.
At the end of each term, students formally present their studio work to a review committees composed of faculty, studio arts graduates and invited artist-critics. Committee members provide a focused response to this work and prepare students for their concluding exhibition and defence. Jocelyne Aumont, René Blouin, France Choinière, Pierre Dorion, Ann Thomas, Gaétane Verna and Jin Me Yoon have served as guest critics.
Members of Montreal’s artistic community who contribute to the MFA program include Louise Bourque, Donigan Cumming, Angela Grauerholz, Sylvie Readman, Chuck Samuels and André Turpin.
MFA graduates work as professional painters and commercial artists or assume roles associated with contemporary art practice and scholarship: teachers at the post-secondary level, curators and researchers in print, electronic and digital media.
Concordia is located in the heart of Montreal and MFA students benefit from easy access to museums, galleries and the city’s vibrant artistic community.
Admission Requirements. A Bachelor of Fine Arts or a Bachelor of Arts with a Fine Arts or Fine Arts and Art History major, or an approved equivalent, from a recognized institution and with at least a B average in the major area is required. Applicants to the Film Production concentration are expected to have a Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Arts degree in cinema or an approved equivalent with at least a B average in the major area. In all cases the students’ undergraduate experience and proficiency must be relevant to the area in which they plan to specialize at the graduate level.
Note: Students with a BFA from Concordia University must wait two (2) years before being considered for admission into the MFA program.
Proficiency in English. Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate that their knowledge of English is sufficient to pursue graduate studies in their chosen field. Please refer to the Graduate Admission page for further information on the Language Proficiency requirements and exemptions.
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A limited number of Teaching Assistantships are automatically assigned to registered students in the 1st and 2nd year of study.
A limited number of undergraduate courses are taught by graduate students in their third year of study. These positions are awarded on a competitive basis.
Employment opportunities also exist as Research Assistants in the Faculty’s research centres.