Department of Art and Art History News + Announcements

Department welcomes new faculty appointments in Studio Art and Design

Mon. September 16, 2013

The Department of Art and Art History is pleased to announce the appointments of Anna Collette, Carma Gorman, and Kristin Lucas.

Anna Collette joins the department as an Assistant Professor in Photography. Her series "Invasive Species" and "Dark Landscapes" address conflicted notions of the contemporary landscape. Collette leverages her medium to register images narrowly perceptible to normal vision, and consequently, our conception of the natural world. Collette received her MFA from the Yale School of Art and her BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art.

Carma Gorman joins the faculty as an Associate Professor in Design. She edited The Industrial Design Reader, a seminal collection of primary texts, and co-edited Objects, Audiences, and Literatures: Alternative Narratives in the History of Design. Gorman has written extensively about American design, from Frank Lloyd Wright's dress designs of the 1890s to contemporary "faith-based" electronics. Her current research examines the complex entanglement of patent law and American design. Gorman received her PhD in art history from UC Berkeley and her BA from Carleton College.

Kristin Lucas joins the department as an Assistant Professor in Transmedia. A disciplinary polyglot, she makes work that has taken many forms over the last two decades, but which has consistently been centered in technology—from lo-fi strategies to complex video installations, web projects, and specialized, coded digital media. Lucas received her MFA from Stanford University and her BFA from The Cooper Union. Her work is distributed by Electronic Arts Intermix and is represented by Postmasters Gallery in New York.

Margo Sawyer Part of Winning Team Recognized with CoD+A Award

Thu. August 29, 2013

residence with art installation
Photo by Robert Reck, Courtesy of CoD+A Awards

The Torcasso Residence in New Mexico, which includes a site-specific installation by Professor Margo Sawyer (Sculpture), has received a 2013 CoD+A Award in the residential category. The house was designed by Lawrence Speck of the architecture firm Page Southerland Page. The CoD+A Awards are presented by The Art Commission and recognize collaborative projects by designers and artists in the public and private realms.

Landmarks, the public art program at UT Austin, also won a CoD+A award for their commission And That’s The Way It Is by artist Ben Rubin.

Congrats to Margo and Landmarks!

Alumna Janaye Brown Included in Show at The Studio Museum

Tue. June 25, 2013

video still of neon sign
Janaye Brown, EZ's, 2012, HD video projection, color, sound

Alumna Janaye Brown (MFA in Studio Art, 2013) will be exhibiting work this summer in a two-person show at The Studio Museum in Harlem. Entitled Video Studio: Long Takes, the exhibition also includes work by Simone Bailey and will be on view July 18 – October 27, 2013.

Undergraduates Begin Research on Ancient Italy

Thu. May 9, 2013

The Oplontis Project
The Oplontis Project

As summer fast approaches, Art History majors Hallie Brewer and Arjun Reddy are gearing up to spend the next few months conducting research amongst the ruins of the ancient Roman town of Oplontis. The newly inaugurated Center for the Study of Ancient Italy (CSAI), situated within the Department of Art and Art History, recently selected Brewer and Reddy from an impressive pool of applicants as the summer of 2013 Undergraduate Excavation Fellows. While in Italy, Brewer and Reddy will have the unique opportunity to conduct real research as part of the faculty directed Oplontis Project. Located only five kilometers west of Pompeii and buried beneath the modern city of Torre Annunziata, Oplontis provides art historians and archeologists with unprecedented insight into the lives of Roman elites and their slaves. CSAI initiated the Undergraduate Excavation Fellowship Program in an effort to foster undergraduate study on Ancient Italy. Auguri Hallie e Arjun! 

Alumna's Paintings on View at the Courtyard Gallery

Wed. April 24, 2013


The Courtyard Gallery features the artwork of faculty and alumni of the Department of Art and Art History in the College of Fine Arts. Alumna Thuy-Van Vu’s Works on Paper will be on exhibition from April 25-August 30.

While much of Thuy-Van Vu’s recent work depicts the kind of everyday urban detritus that is often overlooked or disregarded by portraying entropic views of abandoned architecture, her current endeavors consider things that are mindfully preserved. Probing into museum archives of personal items, as well as institutional storage spaces—a different, less public form of the archive—Vu renders objects that are separated from their original or intended context to create evocative portraits of a given perspective.

Thuy-Van Vu, Dresser, 2012

Vu’s subject matter takes inspiration from a variety of unlikely sources, from stacked school desks to closing sale spreads to preserved books on display in a museum. Like the content of these books, spread open to reveal just two immortalized pages under their vitrines, the personal histories of the objects are inaccessible beyond the mediated view provided by their place of display. Methodically arranged and sometimes deconstructed, the objects begin to read as a series of forms divorced from their intended place or function. Vu processes these formal elements, concentrating on a painted language of line, surface, and composition to accentuate the visceral experience of looking.

Objects potentially imbued with personal meaning or utility become shapes in space, a condensed narrative rendered in gently abstracted geometries. Whether depicting careful displays or collections of objects unceremoniously piled in storage, Vu translates these images into a painted archive that both documents and reinvents the existing tableaux. The works succeed in examining the objects themselves, but also in portraying the experience of viewing the objects through the lens of their conditional settings.

Thuy-Van Vu, Remnants of House on Meridian Avenue, 2012

Though preserved, the items of interest examined here resonate with the sense of abandonment and displacement found in Vu’s paintings of dilapidated buildings and construction sites. That these translated views are destined to be displayed in an artistic setting further complicates the ideas of place and looking inherent to Vu’s work. Through these painted documents, Vu prolongs and transforms the essence of her subjects, proving once more the point of their mutability.

-TJ Hunt

TJ Hunt is an artist and freelance writer based in Austin, Texas and Marfa, Texas. She earned a B.F.A. in Studio Art and a B.A. in Art History from The University of Texas at Austin in 2010. She is currently Editorial Assistant for the Austin-based arts magazine Pastelegram.