Thu. October 29, 2015
Undergraduate in Art Education Jacky Cardenas was recognized the TAEA Student Teacher of the Year.
The award is given to one TAEA member from each division who is nominated and has significantly contributed to the association and to art education on the state, local and/or national levels.
In her nomination, Christina Bain wrote:
As a co-director/president of UT Austin’s Artists in Action Group (UTAIA), Jacky has demonstrated outstanding leadership abilities. Jacky’s efforts greatly contributed to UTAIA receiving one of the UT Tower Awards in 2014, recognizing the organization’s work for service learning/community outreach.
Jacky believes that art can be used as a tool to improve our quality of life and brighten our communities. She is one of the most reliable and personable student leaders that I have worked with at UT Austin. Her leadership style is inclusive—always seeking to work collaboratively toward common goals. Jacky’s involvement in student leadership extends far beyond her dedication to UTAIA and the undergraduate Art Education program. Some of the groups Jacky volunteers with include: The Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Via Colori, The Memory Project, Austin Animal Shelter, Clean Up Austin, and Celebracion. Recently, she was featured in an Ethics Unwrapped video.
Jacky is a student leader who “walks the walk” and demonstrates by example. She is committed to her studies as well as serving those around her. UT Austin’s motto “What Starts Here Changes the World” is one that Jacky exemplifies through her actions as an inspirational student leader.
Excerpt / Julia Guernsey and Michael Long, “Middle Preclassic figurines and ancient antecedents for themes of embodiment, fragmentation, and social order"
Thu. October 29, 2015
The following excerpt is from a paper by Dr. Julia Guernsey and Ph.D. candidate in Art History, Michael Long entitled, “Middle Preclassic figurines and ancient antecedents for themes of embodiment, fragmentation, and social order." The paper will be published in an upcoming volume on witchcraft in Mesoamerica, forthcoming in 2016 from University Press of Colorado.
Even at La Blanca, where figurine fragments associated with Mound 1 were obviously not cached with care, but instead deposited along with domestic refuse, it is interesting that the structure itself — a massive symbol of the body politic — was constructed of fill that included body fragments that were linked to other disembodied parts scattered throughout the domestic space of the site. We think it possible that such practices linked the community together, not only by means of the broken fragments, but through the memory of their once complete wholes, which symbolized the communal labor necessary to construct the massive structure….
Fragmentation was also envisioned and shared by all levels of Mesoamerican society already by the Preclassic period, and enacted in both the public and private sectors. We believe that the domestic evidence of figurine fragmentation is particularly important to emphasize, because it underscores the “folk” or community-based ritual practices that served to sustain issues of personhood, embodiment, and the disassembly/fragmentation of the self. Many of the ideas documented ethnohistorically or ethnographically in later years engage with strikingly similar notions of bodily fragmentation and social integration/disintegration that are presaged by the patterns of Preclassic figurines but that, nevertheless, must be problematized within a conceptual matrix that was influenced by a European fascination with similar concerns.
Julia Guernsey received her Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin in 1997, and has taught ancient Mesoamerican art and culture history in the Department of Art and Art History at the UT Austin since 2001. Her research and publications continue to focus on the Middle and Late Preclassic periods in ancient Mesoamerica, in particular on sculptural expressions of rulership during this time. She also continues to participate on the La Blanca Archaeological Project, which is exploring this large site that dominated the Pacific coastal and piedmont region of Guatemala during the Middle Preclassic period.
Michael Long is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Art and Art History. His dissertation research focuses on the development and role of stairway monuments in Classic Maya art and politics. In particular, he investigates how the writing and imagery included with these monuments create theatrical contexts for elite interaction. In addition to his interests in Classic Maya architectural spaces, Michael also maintains research interests in the phenomenological analysis of Mesoamerican sculpture and the interaction between memory and artefact in prehistoric art.
Thu. October 29, 2015
Describe your background. Why the graduate program in Design at UT Austin best fit your goals?
Alexis Kraus: I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and my experiences there continue to influence my values and goals as a designer. Although I still live and work in Austin, I maintain creative ties to Memphis and have a couple of projects in mind that I would like to live in that city.
My creative background is in both fine arts and graphic design. My undergraduate concentration was in printmaking. After college, I worked for a non-profit organization with an emphasis on public art and education. I chose UT Austin’s Design program for graduate school because I was attracted to the notion of a more holistic learning experience that aims to get designers, makers, engineers and artists out of our silos. The program encourages the creation of a theoretical framework to help position our work.
How has your work shifted (or not) from what you focused on during your graduate studies?
AK: I graduated last year (2014). So, that work is still fresh in my mind. I still consider the values that were established during my M.F.A. in all aspects of my creative work. I’ve shifted back towards agency work and art-making for the time being, but I’m also constantly revisiting a lot of the writing that I did while in the graduate program. I think these shifts have been natural so far.
Where are you now? What about your work excites you and keeps you engaged?
AK: I am currently balancing a full-time job at a digital agency here in Austin (Monkee-Boy Web) with a steady stream of freelance design work and more personally fulfilling art-making. If that sounds like a lot, it is!
At the agency, I work directly with our content strategist, conducting a lot of research into our client stakeholders and their numerous audiences. We take that research and use it to make the best creative decisions we can, based on both quantitative and qualitative analysis. That research is what I love and what I hope will continue to excite me.
Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?
AK: I have been experimenting with laser-cut posters and books over the last couple of months. I have titled this series Tactile and will be showcasing these works at a house show during the East Austin Studio Tour. This is a singular event, one day only, to take place from 7–10 p.m. on Friday, November 14.
Thu. October 29, 2015
Emily Mae Smith received a B.F.A. in Studio Art from The University of Texas at Austin in 2002. She received an M.F.A. in Visual Art from Columbia University in 2006 and is represented by Laurel Gitlen She answered questions from undergrauduate student, Kayla Jones, via email.
Kaya Jones: Describe your background.
Emily Mae Smith: I grew up in the Texas Hill Country near Fredericksburg. I moved to Austin in 1997 for college and received my B.F.A. in Studio Art from UT Austin in 2002. I moved to New York in 2004 to attend graduate school at Columbia University where I earned my M.F.A. in 2006. I have lived and worked in New York since then. My second solo exhibition in New York held at Laurel Gitlen gallery just closed on October 25. In 2016 my work will be exhibited internationally at galleries in Berlin (Germany), Glasgow (Scotland UK), and Brussels (Belgium). I'm primarily a painter.
KJ: Congratulations on your solo show Medusa at Laurel Gitlen in New York. In Medusa you show several paintings that reference the early 1900s art publication The Studio. How did you come across this magazine? What about it grabbed your attention and made you want to incorporate it into your work?
EMS: Many of the paintings I made between 2014 and 2015 contained references to Art Nouveau style (popular during 1890-1910). The publication The Studio was a trade magazine for illustrators working at that time. I discovered it through research, and found digitized copies from an online library. I'm fascinated by that time period because a lot of the methods used today in popular visual culture and advertising were invented then. Art Nouveau used images of the female body to sell products, just like today. I have used Art Nouveau and The Studio in my work as a parody of the difficulties and conditions I have faced as an artist. I don't only paint what I like—I paint satire, ideas I want to change, or expose.
KJ: Your work is beautifully rendered and can sometimes be hard to distinguish from a digitally produced rendering over the internet. Is this effect important to you or connected to the theme of looking that is prevalent in your work?
EMS: Though my paintings are very hand-made, I do not show a lot of brush strokes. My paintings incorporates a lot of smooth gradients of color and isolated images. Like the pop-artists of the 20th century, my painting sensibility is definitely informed by the seductive and manipulative visual cues presented in today's technology and advertising.
KJ: What sort of work or projects are you involved in outside of your studio practice?
EMS: Right now I'm really focused on a full-time studio practice which is totally exhilarating. It took a long time to get to that point. For many years I worked several freelance jobs to make ends meet and support my art making. I worked for artists as an assistant, did art-handling, worked at galleries, and did scenic painting. I taught painting and drawing courses at Columbia University for several years and Vanderbilt University for one semester. I enjoyed teaching and I hope to do more in the future. I attend a lot of New York arts events, gallery openings, and lectures. I support feminist causes and outreach programs for girls and underprivileged youth.
KJ: What made you decide to continue on to get your M.F.A.? What advice would you give others who might be considering graduate programs?
EMS: In undergrad I was very serious about my artwork and knew I wanted to be a working contemporary artist. I was not exactly sure how to achieve that, but I saw some steps to take. I also had good advice from my teachers. I knew that I wanted to live in New York, so attending a graduate program in the city made sense. I also wanted to know a lot more about subjects like feminism, post-modernism, and cultural theory because these would inform my artwork.
My advice is that an M.F.A. is still no guarantee to a path of professionalism because things happen to well-laid plans. For example the great recession struck right after I finished my M.F.A. and I really struggled for a long time through it. Have a passion you would like to mercilessly pursue, and if getting an M.F.A. will aid you in that quest then it makes sense to do.
Kayla Jones lives in Austin, Texas where she is pursuing a B.F.A. in Studio Art and B.A. in English at The University of Texas at Austin.
Wed. October 28, 2015
Tommy Fitzgerald's (B.A. in Studio Art, 1991) presents a solo exhibition entitled Cat's Cradle at Inman Gallery in Houston, Texas. Cat's Cradle opens on Friday, October 28, and will be on view through January 2, 2016.