Department of Art and Art History News

Michael Smith presents exhibition at Lora Reynolds Gallery

Wed. September 9, 2015

painting of figures around water fountain and one separated by wall
Michael Smith, More than enough water for everyone!!!, 2015, ink and watercolor on paper, 13-3/4 x 17-3/4 inches

Michael Smith presents Excuse me!?!...I'm looking for the "Fountain of Youth" at the Lora Reynolds Gallery project room. The exhibition includes video and related drawings by Smith. Opening September 12 (6–8 p.m.), the exhibition runs through November 7, 2015.

Gloria Lee retires, leaves lasting legacy in Design

Tue. September 1, 2015


woman with shoulder length black hair and black sweater poses for photo

Gloria Lee joined The University of Texas at Austin in 1992 as an assistant professor and became an associate professor in 1997. Lee retired from the university in August having guided over 20 years of students with her wisdom.

"Gloria was one of the architects of our graduate program’s distinctive curriculum, and she served longer than anyone else as graduate adviser,” remarked Carma Gorman, assistant chair for Design. “She has carefully curated each incoming class and has always been an incredibly dedicated steward of the program and advocate for the students enrolled in it.”

Lee had a knack for figuring out whether a prospective student was a good candidate for graduate school, or if she or he just needed to change jobs instead. Gorman observed, “Gloria had a gift for selecting students who were truly motivated to do graduate level work, and as a result, the students who entered the program went on to do amazing things.”

Lee’s commitment to Design extended to the undergraduate curriculum as well.

“In recent years, Gloria taught an undergraduate signature course on sustainability for non-majors, as a means of speaking to a wider audience than only the students enrolled in our B.F.A. program,” said Gorman. “Also, in fall 2014, Gloria humored me by agreeing to teach the first course in the sophomore sequence; I knew she would do a great job of introducing students to the field, and I was really impressed with the work that students did in that course.”

“Gloria was a rock: I am just incredibly grateful to have had her as a colleague during my first two years at UT Austin,” stated Gorman. “I really relied on her experience and insight, and I am going to miss her more than I can say."

Lee received a S.B. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.F.A. in graphic design from the Yale University School of Art. In 1991 she founded the design studio, Buds Design Kitchen, which works in software prototyping and media design. Lee was a founding board member for the Austin chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design, and serves as a board member emeritus.

Lee’s legacy shines through in the words of the students and colleagues who agreed to share memories of the guidance that Lee provided them.


“I was in the very first Design Division class at UT Austin, in 1992. My professors were Randy Swearer, Ed Triggs, Diane Gromala, Dan Olsen and the luminous Gloria Lee. When I think of 'Glee,' as we called her, I always think of her laughing. She was a wonderful teacher, always upbeat. She was an excellent foil for the intensity of some of the other faculty. Her willingness to share her knowledge, her excitement, and her enthusiasm were what kept many of us motivated. Though I have moved away from design professionally, I still use many of the tools I learned from my time in the Design program. And I still remember being part of that close group. Glee, I wish you much joy in your retirement!” —Jennifer Danvers, B.F.A. in Design,1996

“When I first met Gloria she scared me. A lot. It was May before our first semester. She told me 'You need to focus!' I spent the summer running around trying to figure out how to focus. It did not work.

"I showed up in August scattered, wondering how I'd ever land on any sort of center in my work or my interests. I couldn't imagine what a thesis could possibly look like. Then, in our second year, we finally had a Gloria-led class. We experienced her specific grade of intellectual bricolage. She took our ideas and questions and poked here, dabbed there, had us put them away for a while, then bring them back, dust them off, and see them with new eyes. This process was much gentler than I'd expected. And it worked.

"Gloria helped us see what we couldn't see on our own, or even together as a group. She uses writing, analysis and conversation like a series of tiny mirrors, all catching little scraps and pieces and bits of light and gently constructing the whole. She changed the way I think. And now she only scares me sometimes.” —Brent Dixon, M.F.A. in Design, 2015

“All of my memories revolve around a woman who was passionate about what we were doing, and nurturing of that impulse. For a project, we had to design an anthology from 4 selected texts concerning technology. This was a typesetting, cover design and book design project. I struggled with the cover image and title. I brought in a photo that I had taken within the limited confines of my dorm room. It was a photo of the power button on a remote. The image was a bit grainy and of poor quality, but it spoke to me. I was so nervous and intimidated by everything. Gloria looked at it and said it was good, great, even (if my memory serves me right!). She encouraged me to keep thinking along those critical lines and to understand the power of an evocative image versus a didactic one. This was such an important moment in my design education.” Quyen Ma Hasenmyer, B.F.A. in Design, 2001

"Gloria was the no-nonsense voice of reason in every critique, from the very first to the very last. She let us navigate on our own but was quick to ensure we never strayed too far off in the wrong direction. A solid, justified, clear direction for the course of our projects — This was her goal for every student in the program." —Alexis Kraus, M.F.A. in Design, 2014

“When I entered the design program in 2008, I remember being intimidated by Gloria. She laid down a hard critique on our first set of projects. This woman was stern, serious, and very intelligent — it was the greatest wake-up call a young student could receive upon entering the program. It didn’t take long for me to realize that all these qualities existed for our benefit. She simply knew of our potential before any one of us could fathom it. For three years, Gloria’s office door was always open and she sat inside, waiting to dish out whatever advice was necessary and do so with a keenly critical mind. When it came time to transfer education into the working world, she was my guide and provided the positive insight I needed to go after my first great job. Years after graduating, she continued to lend me her thoughts and care when I reached out. There is no question she believed in every student who walked through those doors at UT Austin.” —Corey Leamon, B.F.A. in Design, 2011

“Gloria was my advisor, teacher and friend. Her guidance helped me embrace my identity and find my role in a struggle much larger than myself. Gloria’s support gave me courage to finally use my voice. For these things, and many more, I am forever grateful.”  —Robin McDowell, M.F.A. in Design, 2015

“When I applied to grad school at UT Austin in 2013, I had interviewed with Gloria via Skype. I remember talking about bell hooks, feminism, and how they relate to design. I'm pretty sure I said something embarrassing, but I'm positive that I flopped on the couch afterward saying, 'I really hope she liked me... I want to work with her.' I had the great pleasure of doing just that for the next two years, and I'll never forget that she always went to bat for me, wholeheartedly encouraged my engagement in other disciplines, and continually assured me I would find what 'making' meant to me in my own time. Thank you, Gloria.” —Becky Nasadowski, M.F.A. in Design, 2015

“Graduate school can be an overwhelming flow of information and ideas. It was Gloria's teaching methods that helped me organize, prioritize, and explore the concepts that were most relevant to me, and it was her guidance that led me to an efficient path toward my final thesis. I'm confident her influence will contribute to my success beyond the classroom. Thank you.” —Jose Perez, M.F.A. in Design, 2015

"Early in my my time at UT Austin, Gloria gave me advise that on the face of it is fairly simple but its compelling directness has stayed with me to this day. She told me that the primary requirement of being a good teacher is that you must continually be an optimist. It reframed my understanding of both teaching and being a designer. Be an optimist means working for — and believing in — tomorrow. It is the fundamental nature of what we do as teachers working with students or designers grappling with problems: believe in tomorrow.

"Gloria, as I am sure any the alumni would say — or any of her colleagues — that she worked tirelessly for the students and the program. Modeling this clear unwavering dedication for students and peers alike." —David Shields, former UT Austin professor of Design, 2004–2012

"During my time in the Design program, we had a project where a fellow student was documenting his perception of strong women. Naturally, he chose Gloria as a subject. I can't remember the adjective he chose to display with her photo, so I will add my own: FERVENT. Intensely passionate about learning and knowledge. Intensely passionate about her students. Intensely passionate about her family and friends...and cats...and thrifting...and cooking. Fervent about life.

"I am lucky to have been one of Gloria's students. I am doubly blessed to count her as a friend. Gloria Lee is not only an innovative educator, she is also an extraordinary human being. Through the years, Gloria has always been ready to lend support and counsel. She dedicated herself to her students and freely gave them the tools to learn and grow. I admire her greatly. — Gloria, enjoy your retirement and time with your boys. Continued blessings to you always and much love." —Nicole Truelock, B.F.A. in Design, 1996

“I know it's cliché to say ‘end of an era,’ but Gloria's retirement must constitute one nonetheless! Gloria is so fearlessly smart, and, as a graduate student, I could always count on her feedback and guidance to lead me to some unforeseen conclusion or epiphany. Gloria, thank you, and best wishes to you on your next adventures!” —Rachel Simone Weil, M.F.A. in Design, 2014

New faculty appointments in Design and Studio Art

Mon. August 31, 2015

headshots of two women pasted side by side
Left: Nicole Awai. Right: Jiwon Park. Courtesy of the faculty.

The Department of Art and Art History is pleased to announce the appointments of Nicole Awai and Jiwon Park.

"We are thrilled to welcome Nicole and Jiwon to the department. Together, they bring incredible depth of experience and extend the vision of our faculty," said Jack Risley, Meredith and Cornelia Long Chair of the Department of Art and Art History.

Nicole Awai joins the department as an Assistant Professor in Painting and Drawing. Her work has been included in the inaugural Greater New York: New Art in New York Now at MoMA PS1 in 2000; the Biennale of Ceramics in Contemporary Art in 2003; the 2008 Busan Biennale in Korea; Infinite Island: Contemporary Caribbean Art at the Brooklyn Museum in 2007; and Open House: Working in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Museum in 2004. Awai was a featured artist in the 2005 Initial Public Offerings series at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and she received a Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant in 2011 and an Art Matters Grant in 2013. She received a B.A. in 1991 and an M.F.A. in Multimedia Art in 1996 from the University of South Florida.

Jiwon Park joins the department as an Assistant Professor in Design. Park has worked as a visual designer at Samsung Electronics and as a graphic designer at Brand Environment Ltd. She co-founded 1/2 Project and DAREZ Inc. and founded Design Can Do. Park's works have been selected for 17 international design awards, including: iF, Red Dot, IDEA, Type Directors Club, Art Directors Club, Communication Arts, and the Adobe Design Achievement Award, among others. She was named a Next Generation Design Leader and awarded a 100,000 USD research grant by the Korean Ministry of Knowledge Economy in both 2011 and 2012. Park received a B.F.A. from the Ewha Womans University in 2009 and an M.F.A. in Graphic Design in 2013 from the Rhode Island School of Design as a Fulbright scholar.

New York, Tuscany, Zurich: undergraduate students travel across the globe this summer

Mon. August 31, 2015

Chelsea Chang, undergraduate in Art Education

woman in yellow shirt posing for photo
Image courtesy of Chelsea Chang.

How did you find your summer internship? What kind of experience were you seeking?
I knew about Southern Methodist University's Summer Youth Program because I had taken one of their classes in middle school. I've been learning about theoretical classroom management and teaching strategies, so I sought experience in those areas.

What was the best or funniest experience you had?
Children just say the most precious things. One week, my coworker and I had the children introduce their partners to the class as an icebreaker. One of the questions was "what is your favorite color?". One boy couldn't decide and ended up saying "All colors are equal, just like people!"

How will this internship impact your future goals?
My future goal is to become a high school art teacher that specializes in the combination of art and technology. SMU offered many classes that involved this subject so I got experience on how to teach video game creation, stop motion animation, digital comic book creation, etc. I worked with about eight teachers, so I also got to see the effect of many teaching/classroom management strategies and build up my own way of doing things.

Anyssa Flores, undergraduate in Art Education

children sitting in chairs facing Guggenheim Museum
Image courtesy of Anyssa Flores.

What kind of work you did this summer at the Guggenheim Museum?
I was a Family Programs intern in the Education Department of the Guggenheim. During my internship I would facilitate activities at exhibition openings, events and museum hours. I also helped the educators lead summer camps and tours, did research on various artists and helped create activities based on the artwork on view. Additionally, the Guggenheim had a Museum Culture Seminar Program where I got to visit other arts institutions and learn about their history, exhibitions and programming.

Did you accomplish or complete any work you found particularly interesting or are especially proud of?
Besides doing research and creating activities I was proud of, I really enjoyed getting to educate people and doing activities right in front of the artwork in the museum. Because of the complex subject matter, I think that contemporary art can be one of the most interesting and difficult subjects to educate people on, especially younger audiences. Learning how to lead those discussions and understand how people experience artwork was really beneficial to both my practice as an educator and an artist.

While in NYC, did you take some time for fun or sightseeing?
I did so much sightseeing on my days off and ate all kinds of great food — it was like being a three-month-long tourist! The subway system is so convenient, and you could get anywhere in NYC in a short amount of time. I would spend the day seeing art at the museums or Chelsea galleries and then end up in Chinatown for dinner, or I would take a short trip to Coney Island for the beach or a baseball game. On days I had nature withdrawals, I could hang out in Central or Prospect Park. Even walking around the city was always a fun adventure in itself.

Read more via the College of Fine Arts

Erica Halpern, undergraduate in Design

women standing with arms spead in front of Google wall

Image courtesy of Erica Halpern.

You traveled to Zurich for your second summer internship with Google. What kinds of projects did you work on as part of the internship?
I worked on Inbox, Gmail's new email client, specifically on the smart grouping of emails team that is responsible for bundles like trips and promos. As an Associate Product Manager Intern, I worked with the engineering and user experience teams to design and build a new feature. My exact project has to remain a secret until it launches though! 

What was the best or funniest experience you had?
Some interns and I rented a car to visit the Swiss alps and there was a traffic light to regulate the amount of cars that entered the tunnel. This created a giant traffic jam and left all the cars at a standstill. Since everyone was stuck, we all got out of cars ate cheese and baguette in the middle of a highway with a bunch of strangers for about 30 minutes!

How did the internship impact your future goals?
I'm double majoring in Design and Computer Science and in the classroom these fields often don't directly intersect. This internship has been a great way to see how both my interests can come together to create something exciting! My experiences this summer have helped me to figure out what career I would like to pursue. Working on a large product with many people in different roles and teams has taught me many valuable skills that I will use in the future.

Kayla Jones, undergraduate in Studio Art

black and white photo of white blanket in landscaping
Image courtesy of Kayla Jones

This summer you completed a residency at Oxbow and Co-Lab Projects' SUMMERSCOOL program. What did you hope to gain from these experiences?
I hoped to achieve, overall, similar things from both of these opportunities — to find a way to stay engaged with my practice and in conversation about art through the summer break. At OxBow I most looked forward to participating in OxBow’s immersive artist community, through conversations with everyone there: peers, professors and visiting artists. From SUMMERSCOOL, I was extremely excited to experience what it takes to produce a professional show, from start to finish. I definitely feel that through both of these programs I’ve gained experience that you can’t learn in a classroom, and I feel a little more prepared to enter the real world after graduation.

What was the best or funniest experience you had?
This is so difficult to answer; it’s hard to convey how memorable every single minute at OxBow ends up being. I would say that my most exciting experience was the studio visits I got to have with professors and visiting artists at OxBow. It was extremely helpful and eye-opening to hear from artists whose work I’d studied before, and also inspiring to hear them talk about their own passions and beliefs and where they intersected with my work. Having those meetings made me even more excited to come back and experiment in the studio with what I’d learned.

How did Oxbow and SUMMERSCOOL impact your future goals?
Both of these programs exposed me to a wide range of professions that someone with an arts background can pursue while maintaining an art practice. I feel more confident and optimistic about finding a path for myself that I enjoy that also supports my art after I graduate (but ask me again in May).

Nick Purgett, undergraduate in Art History

man standing in front of building posing for photo

Image courtesy of Nick Purgett.

Why did you decide to attend Learning Tuscany?
Ever since I took art history in high school, I wanted to find some way to get out of the classroom and experience all that I had learned about firsthand. I especially enjoy Renaissance art so Italy always seemed like an obvious choice. So when I found out about Learning Tuscany it felt like a no-brainer. After all, who wouldn't want to spend six weeks in Tuscany learning about a fascinating subject?

What was the best or funniest experience you had?
The best part of the program was interacting with all the non-major people who had no conception of what art history was and seeing them take interest in the subject. It can be hard to see why art history is so cool when learning off of slides every day. However, when you're standing in the Roman Forum or Loggia dei Lanzi, you understand why these fantastic places are so important and rightfully deserving of study. It sounds quite cliché but it was inspiring to connect with people through art history

How did Learning Tuscany impact your future goals?
It really reaffirmed that I want to be doing art history for the rest of my life. Showing people why art is so fascinating, in some way or another, seems the most fulfilling future I could have.

Read an excerpt from Ann Reynolds’ essay for the catalog Joan Jonas: They Come to Us without a Word

Sun. August 30, 2015

two women look up at painting
Ann Reynolds and Joan Jonas at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice, looking at Jacopo Tinotetto’s Massacre of the Innocents of 1582-87. Image courtesy of Ann Reynolds.

Professor Ann Reynolds wrote the main essay for the catalog accompanying Joan Jonas’ exhibition at the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. The essay commission comes after more than a decade of her work with Jonas and the following is an excerpt from her essay, How the Box Contains Us.


Brilliantly lit by a world located outside the primary interior space depicted in the painting, this rectangle competes for attention with other, equally well-lit portions of the foreground and middle ground and seems to suggest not only another space within the painting or alter¬nate interpretations of the internal logic of the painting’s space, but also, perhaps, opportunities to consider Tintoretto’s painting in space. One might imagine Tintoretto’s bright rectangle as a discrete picture of an alternate event, time, or place, hovering like an apparition in an ambiguous relation to the space occupied by the biblical story of the Massacre of the Innocents. Or it could be a mirror reflecting a space beyond the physical confines of the painting. In any sense, Tintoretto’s painting may be experienced as a more open, fluctuating palimpsest of spaces that don’t always coalesce even as they coexist within a shared set of physical limit terms: the length and width of the canvas and the three dimensions of the room in the Scuola Grande.

It is quite a simple gesture, one that Joan Jonas often makes in her performances. She stands in front of a large, prerecorded video pro¬jected onto a wall or screen and holds up a piece of white paper or cloth, sometimes shifting it from side to side, tipping it slightly left to right, then right to left, shaking it, or using it to track or momentarily frame the movements of something in the projection behind her. Some¬times she makes drawings on the paper or holds it close to her body and traces her body’s contours onto it with a marker or crayon. The visual effects are subtle. Just a slight change in the distance or angle between the projector and the surface of the projection brings the por¬tion of the video image Jonas is capturing a bit closer and isolates, frames, and magnifies it slightly, in or out of focus, transforming the rest of the projected image into background. If the paper she holds up is black, Jonas’s gesture produces the opposite effect; it almost obliter¬ates part of the projected image and substitutes a black void or a white-on-black drawing for this temporarily “lost” portion.

During these actions, Jonas wears simple white or light-colored clothing, across which the projected video image also visibly extends, simultaneously absorbing her into it as she extends parts of it, her drawings, and herself outward. Through her gestures and these visual transformations, she subtly disrupts the internal logic of the prerecorded, projected image’s space and its figure/ground relationships by weaving them into her space and into the present, a space and time she also shares with her audience. These spatial effects are quite fleeting, as eventually Jonas drops the paper or cloth to the floor and moves on to something else, but during those moments, she is self-consciously challenging the viewer’s reflexive relation to viewing images of space in a manner that is similar to the potential experiences that Tintoretto’s paintings allow.

A few days after visiting the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Jonas asks: “Why do we make these spaces?”


Ann Reynolds, “How the Box Contains Us,” Joan Jonas: They Come to Us Without a Word. United Sates Pavilion, 56th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia. Edited by Jane Farver. Cambridge: MIT List Visual Arts Center, New York: Gregory R. Miller & Co. and Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2015, 18-27.