Department of Art and Art History News

Q+A with Rachel Stuckey, MFA candidate in Studio Art

Thu. May 28, 2015

screen shot of rooms in fake internet house
Image courtesy of Rachel Stuckey.

Describe your background.

Rachel Stuckey: I'm a third generation Austinite who grew up enthusiastically participating in my high school film literacy course, Center for Young Cinema classes, and youth events at SXSW and Austin Film Festival. I spent the first couple years of my undergraduate studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design's film program and finished at the University of Colorado at Boulder's Experimental Film program, which is where I received my BFA. While in Boulder, I worked for the International Film Series and First Person Cinema, an avant-garde film showcase that has run since 1955. I also taught an after school video art class hosted by Boulder LGBT Pride and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. I moved back to Austin to do freelance film and video work and establish Experimental Response Cinema, a volunteer-run micro cinema.

Why did the Studio Art program at UT Austin appeal to you?

RS: After several years of work and study in exclusively film and video environments, I wanted to expand beyond the relatively small community of experimental cinema for my graduate studies by working in a mixed-disciplinary program. Transmedia's video/digital media/performance hybrid approach, nestled within a larger studio art program, along with the department's awesome faculty, UT's research resources, and the media arts community in Austin — UT was a perfect fit. I also hope to teach, so having the opportunity to TA has been wonderful.

You're wrapping up your second year in the graduate program. You've been working on a new project, Welcome to my Homepage!. How does this work depart or act as a continuation of your previous video work?

RS: Welcome to my Homepage! is a net.art project that, unlike my single-channel video works, is changing all the time. It's an expanding cyber-dwelling that begins with the recognizable layout of a house and reaches further and further into the abstract ether of the web. It houses smaller video works and other digital art works as I make them and is also hyperlinked with projects I've made on New Hive and Tumblr, meaning unsuspecting users of those sites could encounter a doorway that routes them into the Homepage!.

It's part memory palace, part drafting board for new ideas, part net experiment. Homepage! also features a residency program, Welcome to my Guest Room!, where interested visitors can sign up to do whatever project they want in the attic space. Recently I've been using elements from Homepage! for a narrative video installation, T0WARD CY83RGN0S1S, that explores ways net-culture can manifest offline as technological occultism and internet-borne disorders.

small tv monitors in room with flowers and pink and purple light
Image courtesy of Rachel Stuckey and Hello Project. Photo by Jon Hopson.

You recently had an exhibition at Hello Project in Houston. What did you learn from the experience?

RS: Jon Hopson, Hello Project's director, approached me with the idea of building a show around a single-channel video work I had made. It was a nice push to start thinking more spatially about my video work in a very practical way, which has since influenced my practice in general. The installation included a single channel video, It Takes All Sorts, projected on an entire wall with surround sound audio that located the viewer in the middle of patronizing conversations, medical tests, and intercom announcements. Across the room were a collection of looping videos on monitors and arrangements of gaudy artificial flowers featured in the video, dimly lit in deep purple and hot pink.

Do you have any other shows coming up?

RS: I'll have a new projector performance in the New Media Art and Sound Summit in Austin on Thursday, June 11, and It Takes All Sorts will be screened in an experimental film event curated by Dani Leventhal at the Women's Studio Workshop in Rosendale, New York, this August.

Alumna Hayley Woodward heads to New Orleans for fully funded graduate program

Thu. May 28, 2015

woman wearing dress and red scarf poses for photo on bridge with river behind
 

“My options were to continue in the professional world or to take a risk to pursue what I love,” described Hayley Woodward (BA in Art History, 2013). “I decided to follow my passion and apply to graduate school.”

Woodward will be attending Tulane University to study Post-Conquest mapmaking in Central Mexico. She received a full tuition waiver and generous stipend.

“Dr. Guernsey was present through my entire graduate school application process,” said Woodward. “She was also my mentor as an undergraduate.”

As a junior, Woodward discovered her interest in art of the Ancient Americas while in a Mesoamerican art history course taught by Dr. Julia Guernsey. Woodward recalled that Guernsey “breathed life into the ancient wall murals, animal figurines, and monumental stone effigies of the Pre-Columbian world.”

“I was hooked,” said Woodward.

She presented her paper, The Hollow Baby Genre: Implements of Elite Domiciles and Evidence of a Pan-Mesoamerican Tradition, at the Department of Art and Art History’s inaugural Undergraduate Art History Research Symposium, as well as at the South-Central Conference on Mesoamerica. Immediately after graduating, she traveled to Belize to do fieldwork at the Late Classic Maya sites of La Milpa and Hun Tun.

“At UT Austin, I was able to fully explore Mesoamerican art, using numerous resources such as the Art and Art History Collection, Benson Latin American Collection, Fine Arts Library, and many helpful professors and graduate students,” described Woodward. “My professors always went above and beyond for their students.”

After graduation, Woodward returned to Dallas and eventually began working at Samuel Lynne Galleries. She gained experience in all aspects of the gallery, from writing press releases and researching artists to working with clients and creating promotional materials.

“As an Art History major, I learned how to research, write, and communicate information in a succinct manner,” remarked Woodward. “That is exactly what I did on a daily basis at Samuel Lynne Galleries, in a contemporary art setting.”

This fall, Woodward will move to New Orleans to continue her research under Dr. Elizabeth Hill Boone, the Martha and Donald Robertson Chair in Latin American Art at Tulane. Boone is a renowned expert on Mexica (Aztec) manuscripts and received her MA and Phd in Art History from the Department of Art and Art History in 1974 and 1977.

“An interest in the Ancient Americas must run in my blood,” laughed Woodward. “While a student in Latin American Studies at George Washington University, my father took a course with Dr. George Stuart, the renowned National Geographic Archaeology Editor. While at UT Austin, I studied with his son, Dr. David Stuart, professor in the Department of Art and Art History. It is a small world indeed!”
 

Eric Zimmerman presents solo exhibition art Art Palace

Wed. May 27, 2015

graphite drawing of crocodile in water
Albino Crocodile (Cave of Forgotten Dreams), ink on paper, 22 x 30 inches

New work by Eric Zimmerman (MFA in Studio Art, 2005) is featured in a solo exhibition, Elegy for Left Hand Alone, at Art Palace in Houston, Texas. The exhibition will be on view April 10 – May 23, 2015. From the press release:

Zimmerman’s new drawings, sculpture, zine, and sound piece contained in the exhibition are references to the human place within the world and our effect upon it. Present in this new work is an oblique questioning of the way in which we construct knowledge and a direct interrogation of our need for explanation, quantification, and understanding. A subversion of these needs is sought by placing a range of images and objects within context and proximity of one another in order to establish a series of open-ended and leading propositions.

Elegy for Left Hand Alone was reviewed in Glasstire and Zimmerman was interviewed in Conflict of Interest.

Margo Sawyer featured in Texas Society of Architects magazine

Wed. May 27, 2015

women sitting in chair surrounded by sculpture in front of painting poses
Image courtesy of Margo Sawyer

Professor Margo Sawyer is featured in the May/June 2015 issue of the Texas Society of Architects Magazine.

Dr. Stephennie Mulder provides expertise on threat to Middle East Antiquities

Wed. May 27, 2015

white overlapping hexagonal and cube shapes on green background
 

Dr. Stephennie Mulder has provided expertise on events surrounding the threat to Middle East Antiquities in the Los Angeles Times, BBC (20 minute mark), and RT America.