Department of Art and Art History Graduate Students

Q+A with Eugenie Scrase, Royal College of Art exchange student in Sculpture

Tue. November 24, 2015

screen shot of video of dog
Image still from Powdercoat Footprint/Kevin and Dylan, 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.

What has been the most surprising experience of your time in Austin so far?

Eugenie Scrase: I was surprised to see so many people riding bikes around Austin. As an ardent cyclist back in London I was so happy to see such a strong love for it here in Austin too. I had never seen bike racks on the front of buses either (not even in Copenhagen!); I’ll be pushing that idea onto the mayor of London when I get back to the UK!

In your work, which media do you find yourself working with most? Why do these fit your practices best?

ES: I mostly work in sculpture and film. The metal workshop in the Department of Art and Art History is brilliant—as are the technicians there. I’ve just come back from a week long road trip across Texas over to White Sands National Preserve in New Mexico. Along the way I chose particular locations to shoot some film footage that I’m now editing.

Writing plays a huge role in my practice. Along with drawing, it enables me to percolate thoughts and ideas.

screen shot of video of person's foot with yellow painted footprints
Image still from Powdercoat Footprint/Kevin and Dylan, 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.

Would you describe the themes that you work with? What drives your interest in them?

ES: I often use the term ‘Haptic Visuality’ or ‘Hapicity’ to describe my practice. It is sensuous imagery that evokes memory of the senses (i.e. water, nature); depicting acute states of sensory activity (smelling, sniffing, tasting, etc.). The haptic
image is in a sense, ‘less complete’, requiring the viewer to contemplate the image as a material presence rather than an easily identifiable representational cog in a narrative wheel.

This has stemmed from my previous research into the Phenomenology of Landscape—our perceptions of landscape and our movement within it.

As part of the UT < > RCA exchange program, you will present an exhibition. When and where will your exhibition be on view?

ES: It’s going to be in one of the Long Horn Stadium Squash Courts. I’m immensely excited to have to opportunity to be showing work in a space so heavily associated with the human body. There are some stunning marks on the court’s walls made by the contact of ricocheting squash balls. The date hasn’t been set yet. I’m anticipating it opening in the first week of December.

Q+A with Meghan Rubenstein (Ph.D in Art History, expected December 2015)

Thu. October 29, 2015

woman in glasses with hair up poses for photo

Meghan Rubenstein is a Ph.D. candidate in Art History, expected graduation in December 2015. She answered questions over email.

Posts you wrote while doing research in Mexico are being published on a new website organized by the Program for the Art of the Ancient Americas at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). How did you get involved in this initiative?

Meghan Rubenstein: Last year a curator at LACMA contacted Julia Guernsey, my dissertation co-advisor, looking for individuals willing to share their research in Latin America with a broader audience. The concept behind the new Ancient Americas blog was to expose readers to the research process rather than just the results. Since I had recently returned from a year of fieldwork in Mexico, Julia suggested I contribute to this project. I contacted LACMA with a summary of my research and potential blog topics, and when the website launched earlier this year I was invited to write a series of posts on my work.

These particular posts document your initial fieldwork in 2012. How did your research evolve to your final thesis topic?

MR: Living in Mexico gave me access to an entirely different set of resources than I had in Texas. Not only was I able to meet with and work alongside a number of scholars in my field, I read archaeological reports and theses housed within the local archives and libraries. The combination of conversations and exposure to new data ultimately helped refine my project and more fully engage with the material. I originally intended to produce in-depth studies on several buildings at Kabah. Yet when I realized how much data was being unearthed at the Codz Pop, I made this structure my primary case study. While focusing on a single building seems narrow, it allowed me to explore the structure and its socio-political function in greater depth. Considering how it related to other examples nearby and afar also forced me to think more broadly about the cultural meaning of architecture throughout the world.

What attracted you to your current position at Colorado College? What does your average workday look like?

MR: When I started looking for jobs, I didn’t have an ideal position in mind. I was hoping to land in a place that would allow me to be creative, productive and continue my own research. When I saw the job description for the position at Colorado College, I felt like it was written for me. Colorado College is a small school with a combined Studio and Art History program, and they were looking for someone who could work closely with students and faculty to support their research and teaching needs. In addition to my background in art history, I have a love for technology, an undergraduate degree in studio art, and several years experience working in the field of Visual Resources. It was a good fit. Also, Colorado is beautiful.

There is no average work day for me. That is one of the reasons I was attracted to this position. Colorado College is on the block plan, so students take—and instructors teach—one class at a time. What that means for me is that every four weeks is like the start of a new semester. In addition to maintaining and growing the department’s image collection, I brainstorm ways students and faculty can effectively incorporate visual resources into their classrooms and scholarship, which involves researching new instructional technologies and providing training to our department.

Do you have upcoming projects or research travel you're particularly excited about?

MR: Like most research projects, I started with a single idea and ended up with a hundred new ones that will keep me busy for a while. I have plans to return to Yucatán next summer to continue my research in the Puuc region, as well as potentially join another project that is in the works. I haven’t been back to Mexico in almost two years—and I can’t wait!

Jessamine Batario receives $20,000 dissertation fellowship from Dedalus Foundation

Wed. September 30, 2015

woman in blue shirt and slacks poses for picture in front of tree

Jessamine Batario, a doctoral candidate in Art History, has been awarded a $20,000 Dedalus Foundation Dissertation Fellowship for 2015–2016. Batario’s dissertation, “The Art and Intellectual History of Byzantine Modernism,” seeks to establish the significance of a “Byzantine Modern” art history alongside other narratives of modernism and to contribute to the discipline’s recent evaluation of institutional periodization.

Batario received a B.A. in art history from the University of California, Berkeley and a M.A. in Art History from the Department of Art and Art History at The University of Texas at Austin. Her interests lie in 19th century European painting, history of art history, phenomenology and hermeneutics.

Batario’s work focuses on Modern art and critical theory. Her research interests include European and American modernism, Byzantine art, mid-20th century art criticism and history of art history. For two years, she worked as the graduate research assistant for Dr. Richard Shiff in the Center for the Study of Modernism. She has also served the Department of Art and Art History as the Ph.D. co-chair of the Graduate Student Art History Association and the co-chair of the Research Roundtable. Batario also holds a Named/Endowed Continuing Fellowship from the Graduate School at UT Austin.

Founded in 1981 by the artist Robert Motherwell (1915–1991), the Dedalus Foundation fosters public understanding of modern art and modernism through its programs in arts education, research and publications, archives and conservation, and exhibitions, as well as in the guardianship and study of Robert Motherwell’s art.

The Dedalus Foundation Dissertation Fellowship is awarded annually to a Ph.D. candidate at a university in the United States who is working on a dissertation related to painting, sculpture and allied arts from 1940-1970, with a preference shown to Abstract Expressionism.

Ryan Hawk and Gracelee Lawrence selected for UMLAUF Prize

Tue. September 15, 2015

photo of sky in circular shape of hand
Image courtesy of Gracelee Lawrence

The UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum (UMLAUF) is proud to announce the 2015 UMLAUF Prize winners, multi-media artists Ryan Hawk and Gracelee Lawrence. The UMLAUF Prize honors an outstanding MFA candidate in Studio Art at The University of Texas at Austin with an exhibition, lecture and cash award. Although the Prize traditionally has been offered to a single student, after touring graduate studios in April 2015, Juror Suzanne Deal Booth selected two young artists.

Booth notes, “Being a juror for the UMLAUF Prize is daunting because it requires distinguishing something in the work of a group of peers that is noteworthy, unique, fresh — and yet has the potential to stand the test of time. The graduate students of UT Austin do not make this choice easy. This year both Ryan Hawk and Gracelee Lawrence were awarded the Prize because their work exhibits a passion that is deeply personal and intellectually universal.”

image of person hold black plastic floppy forms
Ryan Hawk, Untitled, drip performance for the camera 2014

“Ryan’s visceral courage and his deep commitment to how art is experienced by the viewer as well as his connection to history and identity issues is both immensely appealing and challenging. Gracelee tackles her subject matter with a richness and yes, grace, that underscores the complexity of the societal pressures of gender and sexuality, nourishment and ritual. Their work is inspiring, and though completely different is connected by the exploration of `identity issues’. As such it made complete sense to award the UMLAUF Prize to both of them.” Both students are working with UMLAUF Curator Katie Robinson Edwards this summer to develop new work for their exhibitions. The UMLAUF Prize opening, Thursday, September 10, 6-8 p.m., will be free and open to the public.

Charles Umlauf (1910-1994) taught at UT Austin for forty years, retiring as Professor Emeritus in 1981. The UMLAUF opened in 1991 with the mission of exhibiting work by Umlauf and other contemporary sculptors in a natural setting and providing educational experiences that encourage the understanding and appreciation of sculpture. In 2005, UT Austin alumnus and UMLAUF Board Member Damian Priour (1949–2011) and his wife Paula founded the UMLAUF Prize to support emerging artists from UT Austin. Umlauf’s own work acknowledged his artistic forbears while presenting new approaches that looked toward the future. Previous Prize winners are: Adam Crosson (2014), Stephanie Wagner (2007), Katalin Hausel (2006), Mark Schatz (2005) and Holly Fischer (2004).

About the UMLAUF:
The UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded around a vast collection of work by American sculptor Charles Umlauf. The UMLAUF provides educational experiences that encourage the understanding and appreciation of sculpture, and exhibits the work of Charles Umlauf and other contemporary sculptors in a natural setting.

About Ryan Hawk:
Ryan Hawk holds a BFA in Studio Art from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in conjunction with Tufts University. In 2012 he attended the AICAD New York Studio Residency Program in New York, New York. Ryan Hawk is currently a MFA candidate in Studio Art at The University of Texas at Austin.

About Gracelee Lawrence:
Gracelee Lawrence received a BFA in Sculpture from Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. and is pursuing her MFA in Studio Art at UT Austin. She is a contributing writer for the International Sculpture Center Blog and Catapult Magazine. Lawrence has exhibited at grayDUCK Gallery in Austin, Texas; BLUEorange Contemporary in Houston, Texas; Saint Cloud University in Saint Cloud, Minnesota; Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, North Carolina; The Carrack Modern Art in Durham, North Carolina; Rancho Paradiso in Joshua Tree, California; and the Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh, North Carolina. She received the David Womack Memorial Fiber Arts Scholarship (2014), Eyes Got It! Grand Prize Winner (2013), and the Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artist Grant (2011–12). She has also held several national residencies.

About Suzanne Deal Booth:
Suzanne Deal Booth is an art and preservation advocate. She co-founded The Friends of Heritage Preservation, a non-profit organization dedicated to critical preservation causes worldwide. She currently serves as a Trustee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Centre Pompidou Foundation, the Menil Collection in Houston, the Contemporary Austin, the Blanton Museum of Art, and Marfa Ballroom. Suzanne Deal Booth also serves on the Art Committee of the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. She served as a gubernatorial appointee on the Board of the California Cultural and Historical Endowment for the State of California where she was responsible for the disbursement of $125 million. In 2001, she and her family established the Booth Family Rome Prize Fellowship for Historic Preservation and Conservation at the American Academy in Rome. She was the patron of the James Turrell Skyspace, Twilight Epiphany, on the Rice University Campus and in turn it was named the Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion. Suzanne is a noteworthy collector and supporter of contemporary art.

For more information, contact Noemi Szyller at the UMLAUF.

Hawk and Lawrence were featured in The Daily Texan.

Alumna Daphane Park performs in New Media Art and Sound Summit

Tue. June 2, 2015

Daphane Park (MFA in Studio Art, 1997) performs with Raquel Ball on June 12 during the 2015 New Media Art and Sound Summit, organized by Church of the Friendly Ghost. NMASS will occur June 11–13, 2015.

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