Magrath Sculpture Atelier at Gage Academy of Art

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Magrath Sculpture Atelier at Gage Academy of Art



1501 10th Ave E, Seattle, United States

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The Magrath Sculpture Atelier at Gage Academy of Art is a multi-year, part-time Atelier designed to confer the core disciplines needed to become a practicing figurative sculptor at a high level of excellence. Led by celebrated sculptor Michael Magrath, students learn to become adept in both traditional approaches as well as contemporary concerns in a variety of media.

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

From that students build an understanding of structure and relationships in the round that make up the larger form. From these benchmarks students 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, their own compositions.

Along the way students learn the methods of transition into more permanent media, from plaster and stone to bronze and beyond. Students emerge with a solid artistic practice that allows them to deeply explore the world and create whatever they 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

Rather than years, think of progress in 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 the 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

  • 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

About Michael Magrath

Michael Magrath received his MFA in Sculpture and Public Art from the University of Washington. He has studied in Rome and at the Florence Academy of Art. He has taught at the Art Academy of London, Gage Academy of Art and the University of Washington. Recent notable public and private commissions include UW Medal of Honor Memorial; 2009, Microsoft; 2010, Dwayne Clarke Residence; 2012. Awards include IFRAA Best Sculpture Award, Gap Grant, 4Culture and the Art Renewal Center Best Sculpture 2009.

To view additional work by this artist, please visit

Founded 1990
Course languages (Check multiple if applicable) English
Students 115
Accommodation No

Part time: USD 4000 / year

Full time: USD 8355 / year

Magrath Sculpture Atelier at Gage Academy of Art

1501 10th Ave E

Seattle, WA, 98102, United States

Helias by Mark Magrath

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Natakli by Mark Magrath

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Cannonball! - detail by Mark Magrath

Cannonball! by Mark Magrath

Potnia Theron by Mark Magrath

Paradigm Shift by Mark Magrath

Magrath Sculpture Atelier