Slade School of Fine Art



The history of abstraction and its relationship to figuration is long and varied, and continues to be a springboard for new ideas and ways of working within contemporary art.  For many artists, visual choices are driven by a curiosity about material, and the ways in which material can be used to manipulate and create new ideas. Through experimentation with painting and mixed media techniques, you will develop the abstract qualities within your creative practice.

In the first week, you will explore traditional and modern painting materials with an array of exploratory methods. Through a series of guided studio activities and studies, you will explore how abstraction is defined and different ways of making pictorial space.

Each day’s session will include a workshop or demonstration around a material topic, with examples taken from the Material Research Project at the Slade.  Historical art movements and concepts will also be examined through slide talks, gallery visits, and group discussion.  These activities will be complemented by individual studio time where you can develop techniques and test ideas with support from the tutor.  The week will culminate in reflection and brainstorming on how these new approaches can be used to create a personal project.

In the second week, with your ideas and experiences, you will focus on developing a personal project, with guidance from your tutor and visiting artists.  Individual studio time will continue to be punctuated by opportunities for artist talks, gallery visits, and group discussion; where the role of abstraction in contemporary practice will be examined further.  The course will end with an opportunity to share your work with fellow students and receive peer feedback.