Program Emphasis

Michael Magrath

Michael Magrath

The Magrath Sculpture Atelier is designed to help you develop a dispassionate and yet highly engaged observational practice. Beginning with observational accuracy and working toward personal expressiveness, you progress from drawing and sculpting organic objects, and then move toward the live model.

From that you build an understanding of structure and relationships in the round that make up the larger form. From these benchmarks you graduate to more complex subjects such as the portrait, the life-sized torso, expressive hands and feet and finally, armed with historical and contemporary understanding, your own compositions.

Along the way we learn the methods of transition into more permanent media, from plaster and stone to bronze and beyond. You emerge with a solid artistic practice that allows you to deeply explore the world and create whatever you can imagine.

The Atelier is designed with a three full years of study with a fourth year of independent, mentored work. Recognizing that students enter into the program with various skills and experiences, achievement may be assessed either cumulatively or sequentially. Students are expected to meet specific program benchmarks before progressing to more advanced topics. Students may “test out” of specific benchmarks with portfolio review or assent of instructor. All benchmarks must be met to be considered for a certificate.

Advanced students enjoy have the opportunity to collaborate with Pratt Art Center for studio access in wood, stone, metal and glass. Classes and studio access at Pratt may involve additional expense, but will be offset with discounts or credit wherever possible.

The long term goal of the Atelier is to confer upon the student who completes the program a well recognized certificate of mastery in fine art figure sculpture, and the confidence and skill needed to make sculpture at the highest level.

Levels and Benchmarks

Michael Magrath

Michael Magrath

Rather than years, we may think of progress terms of Levels. Students should generally consider that all benchmarks on any level should be met before proceeding with confidence to the next level.

Benchmarks may be cumulative as well as sequential; i.e., prior experience with various exercises may be substituted at instructors discretion. As the Atelier is still in development the below is an incomplete, but suggestive list.

Level 1

  • Competence in drawing and sculpting from objects and master copies
  • Bargue Drawings
  • Clay objects, plaster waste mold
  • Building directly in plaster
  • Michelangelo and Master Cast copies
  • Ceramic hand building, firing
  • Basic life drawing, gesture, etc.
  • Gesture sculpture in line and mass
  • Structural modeling and accurate proportion from the live model at 1/3 scale

Level 2

  • Advanced Drawing from Life
  • Sight Size Drawing
  • Accurate blocking and proportional drawing
  • Long composition
  • Anatomy and constructive anatomy
  • Écorché (outside of program)
  • Moldmaking for figurative sculpture in rubber and casting in plaster, wax, composites
  • Gestural and expressive modeling in the standing figure

Level 3

Michael Magrath

  • Composition in the round and in relief
  • Casting in Bronze overview
  • Casting in a variety of media, including glass (elective)
  • Wood and Metal Fabrication basics
  • Reclining and compressed figures
  • Multi figure compositions
  • Fine surface modeling
  • Finishing and Patination

Level 4

  • Independent study and Final Project
  • 1 to 3 quarters
  • May involve access to other studios such as Pratt in completion of final project
  • Final show at Best of Gage or in Conjunction with other Ateliers.

Materials Expertise

  • Water based clay, Plastiline, Plaster, Wax

Working Familiarity

  • Metals, Wood, Stone, Plastics, Epoxy, Resin, Silicone and Urethane Mold Materials, cold casting, Digital media

Schedule a tour with Michael Magrath

Magrath Atelier Student Gallery