Fine Art Practice

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Fine Art Practice

The Fine Art Practice course is a practical art-making course offered by the Department of Fine Art. Students enrolled for Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) and Diploma in Fine Art (DFA) take Fine Art Practice as a major, for four years. Bachelor of Arts (BA) students may take Fine Art Practice as a major, but could also elect to take it as a minor credit (for one or two years). Similarly, students in other Faculties are welcome to take Fine Art Practice as a minor credit (for one or two years), if their Faculty regulations allow for this. (Please see Programmes for details about the structure of degrees.)

The Fine Art Practice courses introduce students to a diverse range of media and processes, both traditional and contemporary, enabling students to define and develop an approach to art making suited to their individual strengths and objectives. While emphasis is placed on the students’ acquisition of sound technical skills in the broadly-defined areas of drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, print media and digital arts, the course also aims to enhance students’ understanding of the conceptual concerns that underpin contemporary art-making practices.

At all levels, teaching is conducted through group and individual consultations, briefings, discussion sessions, and group critiques. Studios are spacious and well-equipped with up-to-date equipment. Students receive focussed, individual attention, in the context of a nurturing and supportive

Fine Art Practice 1 

The Fine Art Practice 1 Course is divided into two separate but related courses: Creative Practice 1 (FAP1A) and Professional Practice 1 (FAP1B). Students may take Creative Practice 1 as a stand-alone credit.

Creative Practice 1 (FAP1A): Students are introduced to an exciting variety of different media and processes. Through the course of the year, students have the opportunity to work in dedicated studios with lecturers that have specialised knowledge in the areas of printmaking, photography, sculpture, painting and digital media. Students are encouraged to experiment, and to approach art making in new and exciting ways.

Professional Practice 1 (FAP1B): Students are exposed to a broad understanding of the professional practice skills required for an emerging artist. The four main areas covered are 1.) Collaboration with other students and professionals; 2.) Presentation - exploration of the different options for the presentation of an artwork and an understanding how this is integral to its meaning; 3.) Research and Documentation of process; and 4.) How to write a convincing Proposal.

Guest Lecture Programme: The course includes a guest lectures program where artists and other creatives are invited to present material followed by class discussions relating to the relevant themes discussed. The lecture programme encourages dialogue and awareness of the historical and social contexts which influence Fine Art professional practice today. The course aims to engage issues relating directly to the exhibition of artworks in a range of public contexts.

The course coordinator for Fine Art Practice 1 is Christine Dixie

Fine Art Practice 2 

The Fine Art Practice 2 Course is builds on the foundation laid by Fine Art Practice 1, and is also divided into two separate but related courses:Creative Practice 2 (FAP2A) and Professional Practice 1 (FAP2B). Students may take Creative Practice 1 as a stand-alone credit.

Creative Practice 2 (FAP2A): Students begin this year with a five week ‘drawing’ intensive which explores elements of mark making across the five different media areas: painting, sculpture, print media, photography and digital arts. The remainder of the year is divided into five themed elective projects where two projects in different media run concurrently. Students are able to choose the project that they prefer. These broad themes are designed to encourage conceptual skill and individual research, whilst the projects advance technical expertise in the differing media areas. This elective-based structure enables students to implement and test their preferences for certain types of art making, whilst still exploring possibilities across a range of media. It is possible to complete one project in each media area, or for students to begin aligning themselves with their favoured media.

Professional Practice 1 (FAP1B): Following on Professional Practice (FAP1B), students continue to engage with pertinent issues of professional practice in relation to their Creative Practice projects. These briefs are specific to the project and media area they have selected to work in for elective projects. FAP2B projects will include explorations of elements of display, research, documentation, archiving a processed based work and proposal writing.

The course coordinator for Fine Art Practice 2 is Rat Western

Fine Art Practice 3 and 4         

Having completed Fine Art Practice 1 and Fine art Practice 2, Fine Art students then define a major in the area of painting, print media, sculpture, photography or digital art for their Third and Fourth years of Fine Art Practice; or elect to combine majors and work across media areas. This means that each Fine Art Practice 3 and Fine Art Practice 4 student has a dedicated studio space in one of the five sections, but is also able to move between sections as is appropriate to their work.

At a Third Year level, students spend the first semester developing the necessary technical and conceptual skills to complete a series of projects. Thereafter students begin to define a self-directed area of exploration within their chosen discipline. At a Fourth Year level, students are guided by their supervisors towards a final exhibition which consolidates and concludes their four years of Fine Art Practice study.

Areas of Specialisation


Having been established at the tail end of the student movements, this painting section operates on an intuitive level, constantly seeking student feedback in order to thrive. The ample studio space allows for painters to make the space their own with special allowance for postgrad students or those with site specific work. The special chill room, which also serves as an exhibition space for past work inspires collegiality, reflection and is perfect for all nighters. The first two years are an introduction to the process of contemporary art making, while the last two years are largely self directed. With transformation as its foundation, this section looks at what’s next in painting, without letting go of basic training such as mixing oils, canvas stretching, figure and free drawing.

The painting section is headed by: 


Fine Art Practice 1 and 2 students are introduced during studio electives to primary printmaking mediums that may include relief, intaglio, lithography and screenprinting. While students are initially grounded in traditional techniques they are also progressively introduced to innovative and experimental processes and encouraged to explore hybrid approaches. Students in their 3 rd and 4 th year of more self-directed study can base themselves in the Printmedia section while also working within other media areas if appropriate. The acquisition of technical skills and critical and conceptual development are viewed as interdependent, recognising that familiarity with process allows an uninhibited commitment to image making.

The Printmedia section has excellent facilities and is located with Digital Arts in an annexe on the historic St Peters campus. Dedicated studios are spacious and open plan with good lighting, safety and ventilation. They are exceptionally well equipped to international standards, enabling the making and editioning of prints at advanced levels in virtually any medium and format. Comprehensive equipment includes three etching presses, two direct transfer lithographic presses, flatbed offset lithographic press, an extra-large format Dickerson combination press, a stop-cylinder relief block press, and a large vacuum screen printing table. Access to departmental digital and workshop facilities, including laser cutting, are available.

The printmedia section is headed by: Dominic Thorburn.


In Fine Art Practice 1 and 2, sculpture projects enable students to gain competence and confidence exploring a wide range of traditional and contemporary media and techniques including clay modelling, mould making, casting and construction. Second Years strengthen these skills as they contemplate solutions to theoretical problems. In their Third and Fourth years of study, Sculpture students journey toward formulating their own philosophy and approach to art making. New processes and materials are continuously being tested and integrated into the curriculum, allowing students to pursue technical solutions suited to their aims and individual preferences.

The sculpture facility is a contemporary multi-storied building sited in a scenic area of Rhodes upper campus. Students have spacious communal studios as well as dedicated workshops set up for carving, resin casting and ceramics. Students have access to an assortment of high-quality sculpting tools, two large kilns, a laser machine, and a fully-equipped workshop for welding and wood- working.

The sculpture section is headed by: Maureen de Jager.


In their Fine Art Practice 1 and 2 photography projects, students are introduced to various aspects of photographic practice, creatively, conceptually and technically. This provides students with a strong basis from which to engage critically and technically with the possibilities and problematics of contemporary image-making. In Third and Fourth Year, photography students are encouraged to explore the wide spectrum of photographic practice, from analogue to digital, video, computer generated imagery, installation and performance, as well as to extend their creative practice towards a cohesive body of work.

The Photographic Section is located on the beautiful lawns of the historic St. Peters Campus. It is a dedicated building, housing various facilities, including a well-equipped daylight and black-out professional photographic studio; a traditional darkroom with numerous enlargers and a communal printing studio, for hand-printing and film developing; and digital facilities in the form of Apple Mac computers running industry standard software programmes, and high quality professional scanner and photographic printer. Students have access to these facilities as well as a wide range of cameras and equipment, from large-format analogue view cameras, to up-to-date digital mirrorless cameras, video, sound, and lighting equipment.

The photographic section is headed by: Sikhumbuzo Makandula.

Digital Arts

Digital Arts (DA) is a broad term that encompasses video, digital imaging and print, interactive installation, and online internet based art. The common denominator for this extensive medium would seem to be the use of technology but is more commonly the aspect of time, as perspective or two dimensional surface is to painting, or three dimensions is to sculpture.

In the first two years of study, students are exposed to several projects that familiarise them with both computer based software and with techniques of working with images in sequence. In the third and fourth year of a BFA students are introduced to more complex ways of working with technology and are thereafter encouraged to pursue their own preferred approach within the discipline. Students are also encouraged to work in conjunction with media from the other disciplines within Fine Arts. DA at Rhodes has a fine art focus and is not a course in applied arts or graphic design. The DA computer lab is housed on the historic St Peters campus sharing a building with the printmaking section. The lab boasts up-to-date Apple Mac computers which run industry standard software programmes including the most recent Adobe Creative Cloud Suite.

The DA section is headed by: Rat Western.

Last Modified: Sun, 07 Mar 2021 18:33:03 SAST