Elena Peteva


Elena Peteva she/her

Associate Professor

Art & Design




College of Visual & Performing Arts 357A


2007Syracuse UniversityMFA in Painting
2004Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine ArtsCFA in Painting


  • Painting BFA
  • Drawing BFA
  • Painting MFA
  • Drawing BFA
  • Painting and Drawing PBC





The completion of the written thesis, a verbal explanation of the visual thesis which includes research of sources and a discussion of pertinent aesthetic issues, materials, and processes. Graded A-F.

The major studios involve intensive work and research in the student's area of concentration. Students investigate the aesthetic, conceptual, technical, and structural properties of chosen media through an individualized study program developed under the guidance of their major advisors. Through questioning and experimentation, students are expected to consolidate technique with the development of strong, expressive ideas. Informal critiques and individualized discussions are scheduled.

Final major studio/continuation elective studio.

Introduction to fundamental color principles, visual structure of color, color interaction, retinal painting, color and light, and the relationship between color and expression, psychology and meaning. Through a series of painting assignments, students develop essential understanding of color theory and practice. Students explore various concepts, methods and pictorial strategies, and develop the perceptual, technical, formal, analytical and critical skills necessary to competently work with color.

Investigation of concepts, themes, and methods in contemporary figuration. Emphasis is placed on the exploration of concept, representation, media, and process, as well as the development of an individual creative voice. Students continue to develop visual literacy and critical analysis skills as well as explore various modes of perception, representation, and expression in the context of figuration.

Exploration of contemporary drawing concepts, practices and media. Students investigate time, space and meaning and the relationship of concept, content and form through drawing in 2-d, 3-d and time-based media, interdisciplinary work with guest faculty and a collaborative installation project.

Advanced drawing exploration and correlation of previous drawing experiences that manifest in a 2d or 3d approach. Emphasis is placed on conceptual investigation, expression, and interpretation. Students develop their personal vision, creative process, and independent, cross-disciplinary studio practice within the context of art history and contemporary art.

Study under the supervision of a faculty member in an area not otherwise part of the discipline's course offerings. Conditions and hours to be arranged.

Introduction to the comprehensive visual language of drawing. Various projects and presentations expose students to numerous drawing approaches, including working with line, sighting, positive and negative shapes, value and composition. Students will apply these skills to idea generation, form and space development, experimental variations on design, and creative problem solving. Students are also introduced to the processes involved in planning, researching, and actualizing a major drawing project Critiques and lectures will help students develop an understanding of the critical issues of drawing and of its context within the history of art and design.


Elena Peteva works in painting, drawing and installation. She exhibits in the US and internationally, including: European Museum of Modern Art (Barcelona, Spain), Butler Institute of American Art (Ohio), Arnot Art Museum (New York), Fort Wayne Museum of Art (Indiana), Museum of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (Pennsylvania), and numerous contemporary art galleries. Her work is in public and private art collections, including Princeton University and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including three Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grants.

“My work is an allegorical representation of our individual, social and global states.
The image functions as a subtle but charged signifier that creates a net of meaning. I seek a distilled representation, an impossible stillness that captures the ephemeral essence of “now”, the memory of the past and the sense of what is to come and creates a deeper reality. What I try to do in my work is define, present and illuminate things which are, perhaps, unrepresentable.”

Light, detail
Silence II
Silence II, detail
Mom in Transition III
Breath II
Passage I
Passage III

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