We asked the Art & Art History Faculty what they did this summer and everyone has been quite busy! Between teaching preparation, creative research, exhibitions and publications, here are a few accomplishments of note:
Photography & Digital Imaging Professor Edward Bateman finished work on the new 4th edition of the digital photography textbook Light and Lens: Thinking About Photography in the Digital Age. He had five works shown at the Academy Art Museum in Maryland as part of their juried exhibition New Photography III, the selection presented "some of the most compelling voices in photography today". The State of Utah purchased two larger works from his At Home in the West series for their collection, and a few his pieces were acquired by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt as part of their collection. He was the featured guest on the Everyday Photography: Every Day podcast, as well as the featured visual art with the cover, an essay and gallery of additional works published in the latest issue of University of Utah's literary journal, Western Humanities Review. Bateman created the cover for musician Hal Cannon’s latest release Nothin’ Lastin’. The song Silver Dove and Bateman’s animation premiered on U.K. based Folk Radio, an independent music journal that “covers folk music (in all its eclectic flavours), global music, and enjoys mining the corners of more experimental and alternative offerings that tend to slip under the radar.” Finally, Bateman was invited to the Royal Geographical Society in London to celebrate present and past winners of Earth Photo. The previous in-person receptions had been canceled due to Covid. Bateman has been a two-time winner (2018 and 2021). As a bonus, the RGS prepared an exhibition for guests featuring work from their collection of Bateman’s photo hero Carleton Watkins. Bateman now has work in their collection and has been nominated as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
Printmaking Professor Justin Diggle attended an art residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts at Mt. San Angelo, overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains in Amherst, Virginia. During his three weeks there, he worked with cut-out collage, material and textures as reference for drawings that will work their way into future etchings and screenprints.
MFA alumnus and previous adjunct professor Joshua Graham is joining the Department of Art & Art History as Assistant Professor of Art Teaching this fall. Graham is a Salt Lake City based artist and educator. He is best known for his site-specific work and community-based artistic interventions using found objects and other natural detritus. Artist-in-Residence programs are central to Joshua’s practice and reflect his commitment to an ongoing investigation into the transformative power of art – a collaborative process that illuminates and strengthens our connection with the people and environments we interact with.
Joshua’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, including solo shows at contemporary art museums and permanent installations. He received his formal art training from the Arts Students League of New York, Brigham Young University, and the University of Utah, earning a master’s degree in fine art and community-based art education in 2019.
Graham was recently awarded the Dr. Melanie Buffington START (Social Theory in Art Research and Teaching) Grant by the Caucus of Social Theory in Art Education. The grant supports the activation of social theory in art education teaching and research, aligning with Buffington's work to expand the access to art education through culturally responsive teaching and democratic engagement. Graham's project explores the possibilities of a university - public school collaboration that engages with the entangled socio-ecological complexities of land use in the West. He will conclude his three-year long project this spring, when his students will conduct on-site research through artmaking on the shore of the Great Salt Lake.
Art Teaching Professor Beth Krensky traveled to Connecticut to install her upcoming exhibition Between Spirit and Matter at Yale University's Institute of Sacred Music. An installation of performance pieces and ritual artifacts, the show is on view September 21 through December 10.
"As an acclaimed art educator and maker, Krensky considers herself to be “a gatherer of things—objects, words, spirit—and a connector of fragments, to make us whole.” In videography of her performance works, relics both real and imagined, and tenderly crafted textiles, the artist embraces liminality in an effort to sanctify bodies, spaces, and objects. This exhibition invites viewers to inhabit the space Krensky does herself: the in-between of matter and spirit, the profane and the sacred.
Glowing alabaster edifices, tinkling prayer shawls, and fluttering wings transform this historic building into hallowed ground. Rooted in the centuries-old Jewish traditions and influenced by more recent familial memory, Krensky’s materially compelling works are rich with meaning, welcoming participation and creating sanctuary." -Maddie Blonquist Shrum, co-curator and ISM alumna 2022
Winston Kyan, Associate Professor of Art History, published a new essay in August 2022. "The Queer Art of Yan Xing: Towards a Global Visual Language of Sex, Desire, and Diaspora” discusses the work of Yan Xing, who has established an international career as a Chinese diaspora artist. This transnational identity, however, raises certain questions, including how Yan Xing’s work changed from when he lived in China to when he became a US resident in 2015, and how these changes differ from the globalized art of earlier diasporic Chinese artists. The Article appears in Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art 9:1 and 2, pp. 157-175.
Associate Professor of Art History Meekyung MacMurdie published “Proven Recipes: the Art of Arabic Medicine,” in The Diagram as Paradigm: Cross Cultural Approaches, ed. J. Hamburger, D. Roxburgh, and L. Safran (Dumbarton Oaks, 2022), pp. 331–357. The Diagram as Paradigm is the first book that looks at medieval diagrams in a cross-cultural perspective, focusing on three regions—Byzantium, the Islamicate world, and the Latin West—each culturally diverse and each closely linked to the others through complex processes of intellectual, artistic, diplomatic, and mercantile exchange.
Two years later than originally planned, Painting & Drawing Professor Maureen O’Hara Ure set off on a University-funded research trip to Spain in early May. (COVID 19 had cancelled the original flights at the last minute.) Back in the studio, she has begun to use her museum sketches and hundreds of photographs as stimulus for two large projects, a series of paintings and an artist’s book.
In July, O’Hara Ure went to New York. Highlights of those five days included Robert Colescott’s retrospective at the New Museum, Duke Riley’s surprising experiments at the Brooklyn Art Museum, and the Surrealist show at MOMA. Much of this material will make its way into the image roster for her Visual Language lecture course this Fall.
O'Hara Ure and fellow Painting & Drawing Professor John Erickson were also part of a group show at Phillips July 15 - August 12. Our Diminishing Great Salt Lake explored the potential of art in the fight against climate change and offered an impetus to the public to exercise their own influence.
Sculpture Intermedia Associate Professor Wendy Wischer attended an artist residency at Baer Art Center, located on a 2000 acre horse farm on the east coast of Skagafjördur, Iceland this summer. While on the residency, she had the opportunity to experience the place and become familiar with this area, its landscape and geology which included the unique mountains and coastline made up of basalt rocks and columns. She spent her time during the 24 hour sun of the summer capturing hours of video footage, still images, and sound scapes to be used in future artworks. Writing and meditating on the spirituality of nature was a big part of her artistic process while there.
Wischer was drawn to the dramatic diversity and contrast of the Icelandic landscape, all the while contemplating the connections to the dramatic diversity of the Utah landscape; the juxtaposition of the of old geology of Utah with the young geology of Iceland. “I was struck by how young the land is in comparison with Utah and the extreme sudden moments of eruption and constant weather shifts”. The extremes of rain, fog, and wind dictated where and what she could film and these often shifted multiple times a day. After the residency ended, she spent a week traveling the Ring Road in a camper van visiting giant waterfalls, glacier lagoons and volcanoes. Wischer continued to capture footage from a variety of different sources including time-lapse photography, drone, and GoPro footage, still photography and sound recordings. The captured footage will become part of her extensive resource library and used in multiple artworks yet to be created.
Painting & Drawing Professor Xi Zhang was part of the group show Contaminated Landscape, curated by Aniko Erdosi and Florence Lynch at Marc Straus Gallery in New York City. "Historically, communities have looked after their ancestral lands and forests with acute care, developing immense amounts of knowledge on how to protect, nurture, and when necessary, rebuild these vital environments. As we take stock of what is effectively a millennia decline, we are witnessing vanishing forests, increased atmospheric carbon levels, but more acutely, disappearing, and contaminated landscapes. Toxic levels of contaminant inevitably effect all levels in society: childhood development, the prison population, mental health, natural disaster, glaciers, rising and disappearing shoreline and bayous. In response, the clearest voice is that of the creative community. A persuasive voice, using visual processes to inform."
We're also happy to share some student and alumni news!
-- Stephanie Hohlios, a graduate of the BA and MA programs in Art History at the University of Utah, finished her PhD from UC Berkeley in Asian Art History and will be teaching at Westminster College in Salt Lake City.
-- Mariko Azuma, a graduate of the BA and MA programs in Art History at the University of Utah finished her first year as a PhD student in Asian Art History at Duke University.
-- Mikey Baratta, BFA Photography Digital Imaging alumnus, was accepted into the University of Washington MFA program in Seattle and begins this fall.
-- Current Photography Digital Imaging BFA student Albert Abdul-Barr Wang showed work at “Echoes of the Ancient”, a group exhibition in Brooklyn, New York, and the online exhibition “Bark Like A Dog”, both organized by the artists of PARADICE PALASE.