BFA directed by Oscar Rene Cornejo

BFA directed by Oscar Rene Cornejo

Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP)

October 23, 2023
BFA directed by Oscar Rene Cornejo
Virtual information session: October 25, 7pm
Application deadline: January 2
Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning
129 Sibley Dome
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
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The Department of Art at Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (Cornell AAP) invites applications to the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), due January 2. The program allows students who demonstrate remarkable imagination to develop their work within the intensive studio culture of the art department while also enjoying access to electives in nearly all areas of the university. Candidates interested in learning more may attend a virtual open house on Wednesday, October 25, 2023, at 7pm ET.

In advance of this year’s application deadline, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Art Assistant Professor Oscar Rene Cornejo offers insights into his creative practice, approach to pedagogy, and the BFA program he helps to shape and lead. 

Oscar, can you share what drives you creatively at the moment and how this manifests in your practice?
Practices that have an intimate relationship to the earth resonate with me, such as fresco, clay, Indigo, Japanese joinery, and Mokuhanga (Japanese woodcut). Most of these techniques require a sensitive understanding of materials that reveal poetic relationships between humans and their connection to nature. It has me inquiring how I can further comprehend my relationship to land, leading me to holistic practices in my studio that invest in sustainable modes of being and creating. Comprehending nature’s potential demystifies traditional techniques within a contemporary setting, which has been a driving force of my artworks.

This process of inquiry through making is part of a movement that reveals one’s voice while cultivating one’s individual agency. Sand, soil, trees, plants, and stone are my ingredients. I am fascinated by a material’s journey of transformation and use it as a methodological metaphor to human experience and history. For example, as earth pigment is heated, it transforms chemically, crossing thresholds as it either biodegrades or petrifies. This practice has led me to relink to ancient techniques that I see as technology. This journey of having the environment and ecosystem reveal their diversity and resilience has deep roots in the enigmatic stories of human history. These are creative expressions that have withstood the test of time.

What does the relationship between creative work and pedagogy look like for you? 
Creative work and pedagogy intertwine. They culminate in awareness of a movement of experience where one’s “practice” is more of a lifelong pursuit of perceiving through making. Living, creating, and self-awareness grounds how we carry ourselves. All are awoken by inquiry and observation.

How is art defined at AAP? How do faculty and students explore that through the BFA curriculum?
We think expansively about what art is and we each define art for ourselves, as it is a dynamic and evolving practice of self-discovery through lived experience that propels the drive of a self-initiated, proactive practice. Our BFA program draws out our overlapping histories as they relate to our lived experiences. We integrate pedagogy, poetry, and politics concerning visual art, as we connect them to civic life and perceive the “inner” meaning of the stories we share. How does this inner meaning line up with how we grow and learn to make the world a better place? It is up to us to find out!

How would you describe the ideal applicant to the BFA program? How do you identify those qualities in candidates?
Curious. Inquisitive. Open. Observant. Passionate. Empathetic. Someone who wants to learn and grow while in a community of committed artists who are passionate about research and have a strong sense of form that animates their content. This content reveals passion and contextualizes their empathetic connection to their subject matter. Their commitment reveals rigor. We reference these core values in reviewing candidates. 

Information session and application process
Students interested in the BFA program are invited to attend a virtual open house on Wednesday, October 25, 2023, at 7pm ET. The application deadline for this program is January 2. Learn more and apply.

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Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP)
October 23, 2023

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