2016 Fall Undergraduate Symposium

Art and Art History Undergraduate Symposium Presentations

Congratulations to graduating students who presented their research on December 6, 2016.

BFA (ceramics) Candidate Max Saunders: Artifacts and Entropy

      Objects follow a trajectory through time from creation to obsoleteness. This is seen in both the loss of ideas and functions attached to an object and the erosion and decay of the original object. How can an understanding of the gradual loss of information over time be used to encourage the viewer to create their own stories and emotional attachments from pieces of art? (Sponsor: Megan Wolfe)

BA Art History Candidate Chava Krivchenia. Constructing Community: the Performance Art of Laurie Anderson

      The contemporary artist Laurie Anderson is a Renaissance woman who has taught, written monologues, recorded albums, produced movies, and travelled around the world playing electronic concerts as well as self-produced narrative performance art and orchestral pieces. Anderson has been active since the 1960s, drawing inspiration from sources as varied as Moby Dick, John Cage, her Christian upbringing, and her current Buddhist practice. This paper will discuss the evolution of Laurie Anderson’s work, influences, collaborators, predecessors, and will explain the significance of the interconnected web of human relation that her creations inhabit and permeate. Her performances such as United States, Letters to Jack, Home of the Brave, and Duets on Ice focus on personal stories that illuminate binaries of the shared and internal human experience. Bridging the gap between mainstream and avant-garde Anderson is able to address and reinforce the significance of community and human relation. Community is defined as two or more people who feel a sense of fellowship with one another, not necessarily caused by geographical, ethical, or political affiliation. Laurie Anderson’s ability to concisely express complex emotions that make-up the chemistry of community and relationship is a result of balancing and fluidly integrating all of the forces in her performances during the editing process, and prioritizing the power and spirituality of fellowship. The paper analyzes the purpose of her work through scholarly sources, first-hand live and recorded observations of performances, and archival documentation. Anderson focuses on communication, multi-sensory stimulation and education in order to connect with people from all backgrounds in a genuine manner. (Sponsors Dr. Eva Bares and Leisa Rundquist.)

BA Art History Candidate Dorothe Santistevan.  Kardashian and the Interruption of the Male Gaze in the Historic Female Self-Portraits of the Countess de Castiglione 

       Due to technical restrictions in the developing years of the camera and other photographic equipment, landscapes and still-lives were the preferred style. It was easier to take a long exposure and still get a crisp image of a still landscape than of a person, as people tend to move. Advancements, such as the invention of the first portrait lens in 1840, made portraiture the style to envy. Having a photographic portrait taken was not only a cheaper alternative to sitting for a painted portrait and took significantly less time, it eventually became reproducible. When photographic technology became widely accessible as a result of the unpatented wet-collodion process, self portraits became a way for people to visualize their own impressions of themselves, and immortalize those impressions. Self portraits by women are particularly intriguing because of the way they are able to interrupt the male gaze simply by acting as both viewer and viewed. By looking at disruptions of the male gaze in the self-directed portraits from the 19th century Countess of Castiglione and comparing them to the mirror selfies of 21st century Kim Kardashian, this paper will examine the way cultural continuity helps us understand so-called vanity as a means to the personal reclamation of the female body. (Sponsor: Dr. Eva Bares).

BA Art History Candidate Lowell Sopcissk. Environmental Landscapes: The Role of Birds in the Works of Charles Francois Daubigny.

      Barbizon School artist Charles-François Daubigny’s landscape compositions depict various species of living birds within their native habitats. While there is significant scholarship on the artist, the role of birds in his works has not been studied. This paper argues that Daubigny’s works represent bird species in a primary role in the landscape, while concurrently suggesting a new genre of ornithological art. The artist portrayed birds in an environmental and active manner, emphasizing the importance of the natural habitat to the avian species. In the larger context of Western art history, birds had been depicted in a mostly symbolic manner, which did not recognize them as individual animals apart from their relations to humans. With the rise of the Enlightenment, natural philosophers and ornithological artists began representing birds in a scientific, unbiased manner. However, as visual analyses elucidate, Daubigny’s style differs from theirs because he depicted the birds’ surrounding habitat to a larger degree, enabling the viewer to understand the crucial symbiotic relationship birds have with their environment. Paintings such as A River Landscape with Storks (1864) in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Moonrise (1877) in the Brooklyn Museum contain identifiable species of water birds performing their daily or nightly routines. By describing the birds as living organisms inhabiting an ecosystem, rather than as specimens or symbols, the artist stressed their ecological roles. While Daubigny’s landscapes still fulfill a primarily artistic rather than scientific role, they are based on observation, and are therefore truthful recordings of bird species and their environments. (Sponsors Dr. Eva Bares and Dr. Leisa Rundquist.)