Professor of Studio Art
Jim Butler teaches foundation studio art courses as well as two and three-dimensional approaches to making images in more advanced classes. He has taught at Middlebury since 1981 and is Co-Chair Of the Program In Studio Art.
Primarily known as a painter he also images through photographs, printmaking, drawing, as well as sculpture using experimental methods of glass fabrication. He has shown his work nationally and internationally for over two decades. In 2001 he was awarded a Mellon Foundation Grant for new work in glass. Committed to working collaboratively, Butler is one-half of the artist team The Civil Hand, whose large-scale glass/image piece "Hieroglyph" will be permanently installed in UrbanGlass's renovated Brooklyn facility. Though nominally representational, his work is committed to finding conceptual diffraction between what is known and what is seen. His work and more information about him can be found on his website jimbutlerfineart.com.
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
ART 0157 - Foundation Drawing
Foundation Drawing: Making Drawings to Explain the World Around Us
In this course we will learn to make drawings and graphic images to reveal the world we inhabit. Skills learned will include how to make perspective, architecture, value, and contour line systems. We will draw from observation of the natural world including, the human figure, exploring structure, expression, and psychology. We will also make and use photographic images. No previous studio experience is required or expected. 6 hrs. lect./lab
Spring 2012, Spring 2013
ART 0159 - Studio Art I
Studio Art I: Drawing
This course is a complete and thorough basic drawing course. Mediums used will be pencil, charcoal, and ink, among others. Work will be done from observation and invention. Line, perspective, value, composition, and introduction to color will be discussed. Assignments will involve students with the formal and technical aspects of drawing and with the idea of drawing as an individual means of expression. No prior drawing experience is assumed or expected. This course is required of all art majors and minors. 6 hrs. lect./lab
ART 0165 - Two & Three-Dimensional Design
Fundamentals of Two and Three-Dimensional Design in Visual Image-Making
In this class we will explore basic methods of sculptural and graphic processes used to make visual images. The first part of this course will address three-dimensional fabricating principles: reductive (carving); constructive (architecture); and perceptual (working from the live model). The second part will use our three-dimensional creations to invent imaginative image-worlds using ink, marker, paint, and digital photography. 6 hrs lect./lab.
ART 0180 - Sculptural Architecture ▲
Architecture is a projection of our dreams as well as a practical necessity. In this course we will explore making architecture as imaginative sculpture. Working on a table-top scale, we will draw, build, and digitally photograph structures confronting challenges of site, population, and aesthetics. Specific and useful skills, such as hand and power tool operation, will be taught. Students will learn how to make sophisticated three-dimensional forms using foam-core, balsa, mahogany, and other woods. In addition, unusual processes of flame-worked and fused glass will be introduced. Weekly image-lectures on the history of sculpture, design, and architecture will be included. This class is recommended for those interested in bridging architectural practice with studio art freedom. No experience is required or expected. 6 hrs. lect./lab
Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013
ART 0309 - The Landscape Re-Imagined ▲
The Landscape Re-Imagined: Painting, Drawing, Photography, and Glass
In this course we will explore various art-making methods to depict our campus landscape and architecture. We will use oil paint on canvas, color drawing media, photography, and kiln-fused glass in a multi-disciplinary approach to two-dimensional picture-making. We will then explore how to integrate these technical processes with a goal of creating new and contemporary painted images. In addition to weekly image-based lectures on the history of landscape painting, the class will involve a collaborative studio workshop atmosphere, close individual instruction, and personal artistic development. (ART 0157, 0158, ART 0159 or by approval) 6 hrs. lect./lab
Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013
ART 0370 - Oil Paint & Ceramic Portraits
Portraiture In Oil Painting and Sculpture
In this class we will make images and objects of the human figure. Our approach will be two-fold: We will make glazed-ceramic portrait sculptures, which will be used as the basis for large-scale oil paintings. In doing so, we will learn how artists throughout history made oil paintings by creating and using visual source material. Our paintings will, as the need arises, integrate three-dimensional additions made from fired-ceramic, enameled copper, and/or fused glass. In these ways we will explore concepts of decoration, jewelry, and clothing. We will use digital photography throughout to record, analyze, and invent. In addition to weekly image-based lectures on the history of portraiture and design, the class will be include close, individual instruction within a collaborative workshop atmosphere. (ART 0157, ART 0158, ART 0159 or by approval) 6 hrs. lect./lab
Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013
ART 0500 - Special Project
Supervised independent work with a special project proposed by a student or a collaboration between a student and a faculty member on a special project. Admission by permission of a faculty member. 3 hrs. lect.
Winter 2010, Winter 2011, Winter 2012, Winter 2013
ART 0520 - Advanced Study: Studio
Advanced Studies in Studio
Supervised independent work in studio. Studio independents are required to attend regular group critiques with the studio art faculty and the other senior studio independents. Recommendation of resident faculty member is required; admission is determined by portfolio review by all Studio Art faculty members. Students are encouraged to submit proposals the week prior to registration, but proposals will be accepted up until 5:00 p.m. the first Wednesday of the term. Contact the department coordinator to arrange for submission of portfolio. 3 hrs. lect.
Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2012
ART 0720 - Sr. Independent Study:Studio
Senior Independent Study in Studio
Three terms of supervised independent work. Culmination of independent work will be an exhibition. All senior studio art independents will meet for regular group critiques with the studio art faculty and other senior studio independents. (Admission by portfolio review and recommendation of resident faculty member is required.) 3 hrs. lect.
Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2012
ART 1024 - Living World in Ceramics
Representations of the Living World: The Figural In Clay
In this class we will explore making representations of the living world using clay to make kiln-fired ceramic sculptures. These sculptural creations will be oriented toward (but not limited to) the human and animal kingdoms. Emphasis will focus on making these representations contemporary in style and content. Technical methods will center on coil-building and solid sculpting of low-fire clay to make large-scale pieces. Methods of glazing complex surfaces and color effects will be taught. Strategies of assembling fired-ceramic pieces using wood, metal and epoxies will be investigated to create large-scale accretions. There will be a $100 materials fee for this class. These supplies will be purchased by the instructor.