Department of Art and Art History News

Dr. David Stuart co-authors article in Antiquity

Mon. March 2, 2015

white overlapping hexagonal and cube shapes on green background

Dr. David Stuart co-authored an article entitled To set before the king: residential mural painting at Xultun, Guatemala, published in the February issue of Antiquity.

Alumna Kelly O'Connor presents work in group exhibition

Mon. March 2, 2015

white overlapping hexagonal and cube shapes on green background

Kelly O'Connor (BFA in Studio Art, 2005) presents work in group exhibition Confections and Fictions at The Southwest School of Art. The exhibition will be on display February 12 – April 26, 2015.

Alumni and MFA candidate in Studio Art present exhibition at Lawndale Art Center

Sun. March 1, 2015

James Scheuren, Unreality of a Return

Adam Crosson (MFA candidate in Studio Art), Jonas Hart (MFA in Studio Art, 2014), and James Scheuren (MFA in Studio Art, 2014) present On Plasticity: Poetics of the Built at Lawndale Art Center in Houston, Texas. The exhibition will be on display March 13 – April 18, 2015.

Student collective opens house gallery

Thu. February 26, 2015

four women dressed in black standing in gallery in front of artwork
From left to right: Erin Miller, Juliana Ramirez, Madison Ann Brill, Sarah Ott

FIC (fíc) n.

FIC is an expletive. No, it is meant to sound like an expletive but is actually an artist collective comprised of Madison Ann Brill, Erin Miller, Sarah Ott, and Juliana Ramirez.

“Our name relates to our mission,” said Brill. “It addresses the innate desire we have to derive meaning from the surface of things rather than looking deeper.”

The collective was founded by Brill, Miller, and Ott, all Studio Art students at UT Austin, who shortly thereafter invited Ramirez, a photography student at St. Edward’s University, to join.

“Lots of art students become consumed by assignments related to school and forget the importance of artistic discussion and work beyond our classes,” observed Ramirez. “We live in an age when a lot of artists have to make opportunities for themselves.”

“FIC is a way for us to create those opportunities and hold each other accountable,” said Sarah Ott. “We encourage each other to progress as artists and are cultivating a community of socially conscious female artists.”

Once the four formally established FIC, they began thinking about showing their work as a collective.

drawings and paintings hanging salon style on walls in house
Image courtesy of FIC.

Mom Gallery was soon born and utilizes the living room of their house for exhibition space. The moniker comes from a nickname the four jokingly use for each other.

“There is some truth to it though. In a way, we are all moms. We take care of one another,” explained Brill.

Working at museums and galleries like Co-Lab Projects, Mexic-Arte Museum, The Contemporary Austin, and Women and Their Work also contributed to their sense of community and furthered their ambitions for collaboration.

FIC will soon organize a group exhibition with Eyesplice collective, one of whose members, Megan Hilderbrandt, teaches Studio Art courses in the department.

“The professors I’ve had in the program have been very helpful and encouraging, and my group of friends is very ambitious and inspiring,” said Miller. “Austin is especially influential because of its unique art scene. There is so much support and a real sense of community. We gain really great experience in Austin at the undergraduate level.”

Find out more about FIC.

Dr. Julia Guernsey awarded President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award

Thu. February 26, 2015

woman with dark curly hair wearing black blouse poses for portrait

The College of Fine Arts and Department of Art and Art History proudly congratulates Dr. Julia Guernsey on receiving The University of Texas at Austin President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award. This award recognizes excellence in undergraduate education in the core curriculum.

Dr. Guernsey has served as associate chair for the department since 2012. In this role, Guernsey has been heavily involved in and spearheaded curriculum innovation and initiatives.

“Professor Guernsey is a model for her ability to create discipline-changing research as an art historian while engaging undergraduate and graduate students at the highest level,” said Department of Art and Art History Chair, Jack Risley. “What’s more, the department and university have benefited enormously from Dr. Guernsey’s curricular activism.”

Her efforts have included showcasing the work of department students in UT Austin’s annual Undergraduate Research Week and ensuring that over 40 department courses can be used by students from across campus to fulfill Core Curriculum requirements in the arts. Guernsey also implemented an array of new courses that satisfy UT Austin’s Core Curriculum requirement to give students the opportunity to pursue a variety of skills and experience “flag” courses both within and outside their majors.

In 2012, Guernsey organized the first group of Department of Art and Art History students to present work at the annual Longhorn Research Bazaar, which presents undergraduate projects during Research Week.

“We hoped to demonstrate that research could take a variety of forms,” said Guernsey, “from painting Italian landscapes and architecture viewed while studying abroad with the Learning Tuscany program, to articulating one’s progress as an art educator, to designing a vision for urban planning and transportation solutions in Austin.”

Due to Guernsey’s efforts, the department has expanded its events during Research Week outside of the Longhorn Bazaar. The annual Undergraduate Art History Research Symposium allows undergraduate art history majors to present their senior honors theses to a public audience. It also affords students to the opportunity for one-on-one mentorship with Art History faculty on their public speaking skills. During Research Week, freshmen Foundations students from all four divisions — Art History, Design, Studio Art, and Visual Art Studies — display work throughout the fourth floor, exhibiting the range of technique and strength of training they receive in their first year in the department.

Guernsey’s curricular innovations have centered on VAPA (the Visual and Performing Arts requirement in UT Austin’s Core Curriculum) and flag requirements, which are designed to provide students – both majors and non-majors – with access to courses that carry “flags” in Writing, Ethics and Leadership, Global Cultures, Independent Inquiry, and Cultural Diversity in the United States. Her work redefining courses, opening up more of the curriculum to non-majors, shepherding innovative degree changes in all four divisions, and navigating the proper channels of approval all demonstrate her foresight – and courage.

“We now have a more robust curriculum that serves both majors and non-majors,” described Guernsey. “This enables the Department of Art and Art History to play a more vital role in the education of undergraduates from all areas of campus.”

Her efforts in expanding courses in the College of Fine Arts (COFA) that carry the Ethics and Leadership flag resulted in a collaboration with colleagues from a number of colleges and departments around campus. Guernsey applied for and received funding from the School of Undergraduate Studies that supported a team of COFA faculty engaged in developing courses to carry this flag; their efforts were expanded when Guernsey learned that she had been awarded a Provost’s Curriculum Innovation Grant to facilitate this collaborative initiative, Ethics Unwrapped, with faculty from the McCombs School of Business, the School of Undergraduate Studies, and the College of Liberal Arts. This multidisciplinary team’s initiatives in developing courses that explore a broad range of issues concerning ethical engagement in the arts received additional external funding from the Teagle Foundation.

Most recently, Guernsey became chair of a COFA Writing Flag Task Force that aims to craft online modules to develop the writing and professional development skills necessary for pursuing professional practice in all areas of the arts. Eventually, she hopes these courses could be used not only by students in the Butler School of Music, the Department of Art and Art History, and the Department of Theater and Dance, but also by students beyond UT Austin, who will benefit from the opportunity to pair their studio and practice-based courses with writing exercises that will prepare them for a variety of careers in the arts.

Dr. Guernsey remarked, “It is my sincere belief and hope that these initiatives will have a very significant impact on the quality and effectiveness of undergraduate education in our college, university, and beyond.”