Department of Art and Art History News

Ryan Hawk and Gracelee Lawrence selected for UMLAUF Prize

Thu. July 30, 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.

See how (and where) faculty spend their summer (part 2)

Thu. July 30, 2015


man seated at table being filmed by crew
Image courtesy of John Clarke.

Last month, Dr. John Clarke closed a successful four-week season of the Oplontis Project, repacked his bags, and returned to the U.S. as a lecturer for the 2015 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He engaged the Institute theme, Advanced Challenges in Theory and Practice in 3D Modeling of Cultural Heritage Sites, by presenting the interactive 3D model of the Roman Villa of Poppaea, a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site. The 25 participants, chosen from university and college teachers worldwide, took part in daylong activities under Clarke’s guidance, including hands-on sessions at UMass Amherst’s new Integrative Learning Center. Clarke returned to Italy to continue work on Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis near Pompeii. This exhibition showcases eleven years of research at Oplontis and includes newly-rediscovered and restored wall paintings, monumental sculpture, jewelry, and coins. The exhibition will open at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology at the University of Michigan in February 2016 before traveling to Montana State University and Smith College.

red chair with white table in library
Image courtesy of Carma Gorman.

This July, Dr. Carma Gorman served as project faculty for a four-week National Endowment for the Humanities summer institute titled Teaching the History of Modern Design: The Canon and Beyond held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Gorman presented her recent research on the impact of U.S. intellectual property law on mid-century modern design; led each Monday morning's opening discussions on the institute's themes of taste, gender, and globalism; advised participants on their group projects; accompanied the group on field trips to regional museums and archives; slept on a bracingly firm vinyl-encased dormitory mattress; and spent weekends in the "silent room" of Drexel's Hagerty Library (pictured) working on her book about the legal constraints that have shaped modern American industrial design.

detail of hand carving wood block
Image courtesy of Tim High.

Tim High continues working on a new hand-reduction screen print for an invitational exhibition entitled Anachronistic to open next Fall in Boulder, Colorado that will travel to New Zealand. He will resume working on a 22 x 30 inches Tin Toy Series color edition screen-print begun last year. High continues work on a woodcut print that will be included in a publication (Square Halo Publishers, Inc.). In August, High will be preparing for a solo show in late September at Southside Gallery in Oxford, Massachusetts. In correlation with the opening in late September, High will also conduct a workshop in silkscreen mono-printing at the University of Mississippi.

two women sitting at table with artefacts
Image courtesy of Astrid Runggaldier.

Astrid Runggaldier travels to Belize this summer. Runggaldier works on a Maya project where she has served as lab director for the past 4 years and is now also excavations director. She oversees lab operations recording objects from Preclassic (400 BC) to Colonial (1860s) that include Maya, Spanish, British, and American Confederate artifacts. While in Belize, Runggaldier will complete field reconnaissance trips to locate a lost confederate site.

office filled with books and library cart of books
Image courtesy of Nassos Papalexandrou.

Nassos Papalexandrou participated in a conference organized by the Swedish Archaeological Institute in Athens, Greece entitled Stuff of the Gods: The Material Aspects of Religion in Ancient Greece in early July. In the fall, he will travel to the National Gallery in Washington DC as a Paul Mellon Visiting Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts. In Washington DC, Papalexandrou will compose the last chapter of his book, Monsters, Fear, and the Uncanny in the Preclassical Mediterranean. In the upcoming book, Papalexandrou draws from theories of response to new media, e.g. what Tim Gunning has called the "aesthetic of attraction" in film of the late 19th century, to illuminate the physical, psychological, and aesthetic dimensions of the monstrous during the 7th century BCE.

Monsters, Fear, and the Uncanny in the Preclassical Mediterranean:
Scholars understand the Orientalizing as the systematic adoption of new types of Near Eastern objects, styles, and iconographies by the status-seeking elites of Greece, Italy, and the Western Mediterranean. The problem of the perceptual software (physical and mental ways of engagement between viewing subjects with material and visual culture) introduced and mediated by orientalizing objects, styles, and iconographies cries for systematic analysis. To this end, my study case is the orientalizing cauldrons, large bronze vessels with exquisitely wrought attachments of sirens, lions, and unprecedentedly lifelike protomes of griffins rendered in aggressive postures. Today these technically intricate vessels remain outside the stereotypical categories of art historical analysis. Their figurative apparatus, however, imbued them with the attraction and affect usually acknowledged for great artworks of later eras. I explore the mutual entanglement of these objects with their viewers within a framework of a newly established aesthetic of rare and wondrous experiences.

aerial image of vatican library
Image courtesy of Glenn Peers.

Glenn Peers begins a research trip to investigate medieval Greek and Georgian manuscripts at the Vatican Library, the Holy Monastery of Vatopaidi on Mount Athos, and at Mestia in northwestern Georgia. At the Vatican Library, Peers will research an eleventh century Psalter on which he has worked with an Italian colleague (their co-edited volume will be out later this year). At the Holy Monastery of Vatopaidi, the manuscript is a mid-fourteenth century Typikon (monastic order of services) made in Trebizond on the Black Sea and with illustrations of saints and labors and zodiacs for the year.

At Mestia, Peers will work on an initiative with Georgian colleagues for study, conservation, and publishing the first illustrated Georgian manuscript, late ninth century, in Mestia, Svaneti, a region in the mountainous northwestern corner of the country that is inaccessible for large parts of the year. The travel is funded by the Center for European Studies and Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies.

two women posing for photo
Image courtesy of Heidi Powell.

Heidi Powell heads to Ireland where she will remain through August 12, 2015. With Erica Wright, an Art Educator from Nevada, Powell will research community artists and art participation. They will also explore evidence of Ireland's core values in public engagement in the arts. Documentation of their journey will exist on their blog.

three people in forest filming
Image courtesy of Elizabeth Chiles.

Elizabeth Chiles completes a year and a half long project with her colleagues in the collective Lakes Were Rivers (LWR). LWR shot a film at The Contemporary Austin’s Laguna Gloria site, completed a book, and will build an installation for the exhibition Strange Pilgrims. Alumni members of LWR includes Anna Krachey (MFA in Studio Art 2008), Mike Osborne (MFA in Studio Art, 2006), Adam Schreiber (MFA in Studio Art, 2007), and Barry Stone (MFA in Studio Art, 2001). In addition, Chiles will be traveling in Maine and Vermont, engage in the natural environments of each, and respond in her studio, working toward two exhibitions: a solo show in Austin in the spring and a three-person exhibition in Atlanta in 2016.

Read part one of our series.

Michael Smith presents Excuse me!?!...I’m looking for the “Fountain of Youth,” a solo exhibition at Greene Naftali Gallery

Wed. July 29, 2015

man sits in front of monument alone while sun sets
Michael Smith, Fountain of Youth State Park, Journey No. 1 (Obelisk), 2015. Photo by: Michael Kirby Smith.

Michael Smith presents Excuse me!?!...I’m looking for the “Fountain of Youth,” a solo exhibition at Greene Naftali Gallery in New York. In a new project centered on a timeworn theme, Smith’s iconic performance personae Mike and Baby Ikki embark together on the quest for youth, chronicled in a hand-woven tapestry, six-channel video installation, sculpture, photo series, drawings, and a ballet choreographed by Stephen Mills of Ballet Austin with music by Mayo Thompson. The exhibition will be on view June 25 – August 14, 2015.

The exhibition was listed as one of "The best art exhibitions to see this summer" by Time Out New York and featured in Art in America.

Excuse me!?!...I’m looking for the “Fountain of Youth" was recently featured in The Paris Review and The New York Times.

David Stuart decifers newly discovered stela at La Corona, Guatemala

Wed. July 29, 2015

white overlapping hexagon and cube forms on green background

David Stuart was called to decipher a newly discovered stela, reported in National Geographic. Stuart describes the inscriptions on his blog.

Eddie Chambers in conversation with Morgan Quaintance at Ikon Gallery

Wed. July 29, 2015

white overlapping hexagon and cube forms on green background

Eddie Chambers and Morgan Quaintance will be in conversation at Ikon Gallery (Birmingham, United Kingdom) on July 30, 2015.