The University of Tennessee, Knoxville


Artist-in-Residence, Aliza Nisenbaum

Hybridizing a tradition of French fin-de-siecle and post-war American intimism with a decidedly personal, non-traditional subject matter and galvanic palette, Nisenbaum makes portraits of undocumented “illegal” Latin American immigrants, hand-written letters, books, and bouquets of flowers. Her ornate works, which are also known to feature patterned textiles and lush surfaces, are richly and compactly crafted in bright, dense hues. They are as much about painting as what they depict...

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Welcome to Painting + Drawing

Painting and Drawing are primary study areas within the 2D concentration, which also includes Printmaking and Photography, offering advanced courses culminating in either a B.F.A. in Studio Art or a B.A. in Art.


The painting curriculum is fundamentally responsive to the plurality of ideas and possibilities evident in the (art) world today. The painting area offers strong core knowledge in the traditional tools and media of painting, while encouraging connections to technology, photography, installation, and other generative practices. We emphasize the training of students whose ambitions are to become practicing artists. We routinely send our undergraduate painting students to the best graduate programs in the country.


Drawing offers a challenging program that is responsive to and reflects a changing contemporary world. Drawing is fundamental to all experiences in art making today and is at the heart of visual expression. The major in drawing embraces a wide range of concepts, materials, and approaches including narrative, figure, abstraction, installation, digital, and interdisciplinary work. Students who major in drawing are challenged to create strong portfolios that prepare them for a successful future in art.


In addition to our core faculty, our nationally recognized Artist-in-Residence program brings a different visiting professional artist to the UT campus each semester. This artist-in-residence (AIR) teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in both areas. The AIR, who typically works and resides in New York or other urban centers, acts as an additional bridge between the university and life beyond it. The AIR brings with them differing experiences, views, aesthetics, and backgrounds.

This mix of core faculty and AIR allows students to experience a wide array of perspectives as they work to find their own voice. Special topics courses are also offered in the faculty's particular areas of interest and expertise. Ample studio space is provided for advanced students.


The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Big Orange. Big Ideas.

Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 | 865-974-1000
The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System