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Marva and John Warnock Artist in Residence


The Residency

The Marva and John Warnock biennial residency program has quickly become an important catalyst for dialogue encompassing contemporary issues of art-making, pedagogy, interdisciplinary and collaborative work, art in the community, and art as activism. The program aims to expose students to new, innovative, and diverse contemporary art practices while providing an opportunity for trilateral exchange amongst students, faculty, and the public at large. The artist-in-residence will lead a Master Class that takes the form of intensive workshops throughout the semester.

We are deeply grateful to the Warnock family for their generous support, allowing the department to have ongoing opportunities to engage with artists of this stature. We would also like to thank Dean Scheib, the Marriott Library, and the UMFA through their new ArtLandish series for continued support.

Warnock Residency Master Class:

Spiritual Geographies

Graduate Special Topics: ART 6900-001
Undergraduate Special Topics: ART 4900-001
Spring Semester 2022
4 credit hours
Fridays 9:40 – 3:40

Course description:

In the essay Spiritual Geographies, Amalia Mesa-Bains discusses the use of the concept of “Aztlán” in Chicano art as a mythical point of origin for Chicanos featured in the exhibition The Road to Aztlán: Art from a Mythic Homeland held at LACMA in 2001. This was the first major exhibition to trace the art of Mexico and the U.S. Southwest over the course of the pre-Columbian, colonial, and contemporary eras, Chicano art included. Mesa-Bains’s essay is noteworthy in that it stresses the importance not only of a native identity within the Chicano Movement’s cultural and political agency, but also its spiritual dimensions as articulated by Chicano artists in their incorporation of pre-Columbian iconography and re-interpretation of Catholic imagery and syncretic (Indian and European) religious practices.

Students will depart from materials presented in class about this exhibition and essay to develop video works that comment on specific aspects of Utah’s land history, from indigenous approaches to the land (Shoshone, Paiute, Goshute, and Ute Tribes) to 1960s Land Art and beyond. Students will be encouraged to work in groups and engage with strategies coming from performance art practices, documentary filmmaking, video-essay narratives, speculative thinking, and radical imagination.

Clarissa Tossin is the Department of Art and Art History’s Marva and John Warnock Endowed Visiting Artist in Residence spring semester 2022. She is known for her work in installation, video, photography, sculpture and performance to negotiate hybridization of cultures and the persistence of difference. By embracing semantic displacements in given material cultural ecosystems, Tossin's work reflects on circulation from the level of the body to the global industry.

Spiritual Geographies is a special topics course that fully engages all disciplines through a mode of doing-making-researching-thinking. We will use the essay Spiritual Geographies as a way to dive deeper into the landscape of Utah where much land and history is intertwined in our culture.

Previous Residencies

Kei Ito, 2020

Kei Ito is a conceptual photographer working primarily with camera-less image making and installation art. He earned his MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2016, following his BFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2014. Ito’s work addresses issues of deep loss and intergenerational connection as he explores the materiality and experimental processes of photography. His work deals with the trauma and legacy passed down from his late grandfather, a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and a later anti-nuclear activist, in relation to current threats of nuclear disaster. Ito’s artworks lead the audience on a journey from grief and remembrance to hope. Through his ritualistic image-making, the audience sees how he grapples with his family’s historical connection to nuclear weapons and power.

Clarissa Tossin is the Department of Art and Art History’s Marva and John Warnock Endowed Visiting Artist in Residence spring semester 2022. She is known for her work in installation, video, photography, sculpture and performance to negotiate hybridization of cultures and the persistence of difference. By embracing semantic displacements in given material cultural ecosystems, Tossin's work reflects on circulation from the level of the body to the global industry.

Spiritual Geographies is a special topics course that fully engages all disciplines through a mode of doing-making-researching-thinking. We will use the essay Spiritual Geographies as a way to dive deeper into the landscape of Utah where much land and history is intertwined in our culture.


Franco & Eva Mattes, 2018

Eva and Franco Mattes (1976) are an artist duo originally from Italy, working in New York, and the 5th artists selected for the residency. Their medium is a combination of internet, video and installation. Their work explores the ethical and moral issues arising when people interact remotely, especially through social media, creating situations where it is difficult to distinguish reality from a simulation. Their master class seminar focused on the troubled relation between contemporary art and the Internet. The class analyzed dozens of artworks from the mid nineties to present day to stimulate group discussion around the latest critical issues in contemporary art and media theory.


Mark Brest Van Kempen, 2016

A former Utahn and graduate of the University of Utah (BFA ‘85, MFA San Francisco Art Institute ‘91), Brest van Kempen was the fourth artist to be chosen for this elite residency. He led a master class in the form of intensive workshops where he collaborated with students on several large–scale projects which worked directly with Utah’s beautifully rich and diverse environment as their material. Brest Van Kempen has created a variety of artworks using the landscape itself as sculptural material. From his Free Speech Monument on the UC Berkeley campus to Land Exchange at the National Academy of Art in China, his work explores the range of emotions and issues that are embodied in our complex relationship to the environment, land, and place.


J. Morgan Puett, 2014

Puett’s art, unlike other methods, is less about creating something tangible or audible, and more about the experience of being and coexisting. She specializes in creating spaces where people thoughtfully engage, together, in the daily practices of life: workstyles, she calls them. Her art form is based in a practice called relational aesthetics where the art is the doing of activities—often domestic activities like dining—with others. Puett held a special topics course entitled 'The Emergent Event' that engaged all disciplines through a mode of doing-making-researching-thinking. It covered a broad range of topics and conceptual issues of 21st century socially engaged life, work, comportment, environmental practice—happiness. The studio project functioned as a Mildred’s Lane storefront think-tank around concerns in art and education. Participating students became part of an emergent collective, collaborative and celebrated team that featured in, work on part of a larger-scale project that continued at Mildred’s Lane and exhibited in Chicago in fall 2014.


Andrea Bowers, 2012

With activism as her primary medium, Andrea Bowers employs social justice as a means to explore important causes by engaging with various demographics and institutions. In 2012 Bowers was selected for the Warnock Artist Residency at the University of Utah where she taught an interdisciplinary special topics course during spring semester. Bowers turned her studio space at ArtSpace Commons over to her students, which they named Ground Floor. “They’re turning that into an exhibition space and it’s being offered up free to any social or political organization that needs a place to meet. And any artwork that is exhibited in it has to be socially or politically engaged.”


Ernesto Pujol, 2010

Awaiting website
Internationally known performance artist Ernesto Pujol was the first Warnock Residency Visiting Artist. Pujol taught a unique workshop leading to a large-scale group performance along the south steps of the Utah State Capitol. His durational piece lasted 12 hours, from sunset to sunrise. Pujol created it in collaboration with University visual arts and modern dance students, and Utah artist Rosi Hayes, who designed a soundtrack for his meditative piece. Ernesto Pujol’s interdisciplinary performance practice is influenced by German choreographer Pina Bausch’s exploration of cities, American writer Rebecca Solnit’s reflections on walking, Zen Buddhist notions of consciousness, and contemporary conceptual art’s site-specific exploration of landscape and architecture. The artist chose the Utah State Capitol because of its monochromatic beauty, emblematic quality, and vertical monumentality. The 12-hour meditative piece promises to slowly draw a space-within-the-space, temporarily.