Last year, math major Christopher Fogler ’13 signed up for Creating Bodies, an art course team-taught by Williams art professor Mike Glier and Carol Ockman. The course looks at the human body from many perspectives, including that of the visual artist, the art historian, the performer, and the creative writer. Once a week, Fogler and his fellow classmates met for lecture and discussion, and twice a week they attended a figure-drawing class, learning basic drawing skills of line, proportion, composition, light, and space.
It was an eye-opening experience for Fogler, as he explains:
“Math classes all teach me how to think but this class taught me a lot about what to think about. I learned that art history is learning what the great thinkers of a certain time period were thinking about, their ideas and the themes of the period, and how that is reflected in art.
“Everything we learned in this class was also very pertinent to life. All of the themes revolved around identity: who each of us is as a person and how we accept others for who they are. We explored one theme each week. Then, in the studio part of the class, we learned how to create art and express these ideas in our art. After taking this class, we could go to a museum and feel very capable of discussing every aspect of a piece of art. We didn’t discuss simply the subject matter of the painting but also how the subject matter was aided by the formal aspects of the art, which made the art able to express the artist’s idea so powerfully.
“We had over 40 people in the class, and the range of athletes, artists, musicians, and academics all brought their own special little pieces to the table. We had to discuss with each other in class and then chat during the studio session. This created a great class bond that allowed everyone to open up for the final presentation and really give everything that they had without being scared of rejection.
“The final presentations were incredibly powerful. Some of the time I wanted to cry, at other times laugh, and all of it was because we had become so comfortable with each other. Everyone was brave enough to really put themselves out there and show each other what was truly important to them. This class was one of the greatest class experiences I’ve had at Williams.”