30th Annual NCUR Conference

Eight UNC Asheville studio Art and four Art History students will be a part of approximately 3,700 student scholars participating in NCUR 30, April 7-9, 2016. The students hail from 900 colleges, universities and associations that are part of the Council on Undergraduate Research. This 30th renewal of NCUR will mark the fifth time UNC Asheville has hosted the national conference, which has grown tenfold in size since its founding. Read More

April 7–11, 2016, Loading, Firing, and Unloading the Anagama Kiln. In conjunction with NCUR, Hunter Stamps, Class of 2002 and currently associate professor at the University of Kentucky, will be on hand April 7–11 to discuss his undergraduate research (the anagama kiln), give demonstrations and workshops during the loading and firing of the kiln. He will give a presentation on April 7 at 3:00 p.m. Read More about Hunter Stamps.

Spring 2016 Art History Undergraduate Research

Hannah Wiepke
Curating Community

Society often regards those with disabilities to be less capable of having creative capacities and social relationships. Open Hearts Art Center (OHAC) a non-profit organization in Asheville, North Carolina seeks to change that perception and empower individuals with intellectual disabilities to create works of art. Established in 2005, OHAC serves forty-five artists in the Western North Carolina region. OHAC is a place where artistic expression blends with habilitative care. The artists of OHAC work primarily in a group setting, which not only aids in the development of social skills, but also helps to support an artistic community. Artists attend classes ranging from painting, music, dance, songwriting, and sculpture. They also have the option to sell their work in the community through a variety of venues and in turn receive a paycheck. Through analysis of internship experience, scholarly interviews, and interviews with OHAC artists, this inquiry discusses the challenges that come with creating an exhibition centered around the disabled community, which is typically marginalized by society. The exhibition is informed by scholarship in the areas of both art history and disability studies as well as other contemporary exhibitions of art created by intellectually disabled artists. By presenting the artists of OHAC as members of an artistic community rather than patients attending a daytime medical facility, the way in which the viewer interprets the exhibition is drastically different. At the core of the exhibition is the representation of these individuals as artists to engender a more inclusive notion of our contemporary definition of what it means to be an artist.
(Fri. 12:40 pm-1:00 pm OH 229)

Hannah Wiepke
A Fascination with the Unknown: The Work of Albert Eckhout and Frans Post in Dutch Colonial Brazil

Within the last forty years, a significant amount of research has been completed about the artistic works of Albert Eckhout (c. 1610-1665) and Frans Post (c. 1612-1680) and their connection to Dutch colonialism in Brazil. This presentation will explore the paintings created by Post and Eckhout during their seven-year stay in Brazil as well as the images based on their visit to Brazil and completed after their return to the Netherlands. To European eyes, the landscape of Northeast Brazil would be described as beyond comparison. With its natural waterfalls, forests, and winding rivers, Brazil was like an exotic paradise to its colonial settlers. The native peoples that inhabited the Brazilian coast had utterly different languages, cultural values, clothing styles, and familial systems, and governing structures than the Dutch. The native population was completely unfamiliar and foreign. Fortunately, these Dutch artists choose to create images of costumes and customs they observed, and thus today, we have access to some of the first formally painted images of the Viceroyalty of Brazil and its inhabitants. During their stay in the port of Recife, Golden Age landscape artist, Post, and portrait artist, Eckhout, created images of the New World. The work of Post and Eckhout contributes to the larger understanding of Dutch colonialism and the value of intercontinental travel and representation of the exotic in Baroque-era Europe. Using early modern taxonomic frameworks and practices along with visual analysis and historical studies of indigenous peoples, this investigation goes beyond previous scholarly interpretations referencing images of inhabitants along the northeast Brazilian coastline during the Baroque era.
(Fri 9:30-950  OH 229)

Dorothe Santistevan
The Socio-Political Climate and the Evolution of Techniques in War Photography: Are Photographic Reproductions Reliable Historic Documents?

Focusing on the American Civil War (1861-1865), World War II (1939-1945), and the Vietnam War (1955-1975), this paper will investigate the ways in which war photography has evolved not only in regards to technical advances, but also in response to the ever changing socio-political climate of the country. Since, in many cases, specific resources about selected photographs are sparse, any conclusions drawn heavily depend on analysis of the images within the context of the socio-political situation. By using primary source material (including access to quality photographic reproductions and historical documents and film) as well as scholarly research into the history of photography as it is situated in times of war, this study will draw conclusions through analysis of iconic photographs from each time period. The inherent reliability of photographs in conjunction with their function in times of war is a connection that is rarely drawn in scholarly research, although the two ideas are drawn separately. This paper joins the two ideas, pulling together the relationship between war, each artist’s truth, the public’s perception of their truth, and how that collective cultural interpretation can move people. Through staging of dead soldiers to create an emotionally heightened image, manipulating the German people into supporting a despotic leader, or negating support of the Vietnam War within the United States, these photographs of conflict have had the power to sway the public into believing and supporting a cause, thereby making photographic reproduction the most influential form of accessible visual culture. 
(Thur. 4:40-5:00 OH 229)

Hannah Criswell
Artemisia Gentileschi: Judith Reimagined

Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1653) was a prominent female painter in the Italian Baroque era and has been the subject of many scholarly texts throughout the years. This paper analyzes Gentileschi’s Judith paintings through a social psychology lens rather than using feminist theories and psychological models of rape as has been done previously. Analysis is accomplished by looking at the paintings in a linear manner addressing the connections between Gentileschi’s life and paintings, her relationships within her life, and the differences between the male and female viewpoints of the same subject. Initial research was based on the book, Artemisia Gentileschi: The Image of the Female Hero in Italian Baroque Art, written by Mary Garrard. Further research was expanded by reading primary sources, such as the story of Judith in the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books of the Christian Old Testament, and scholarly journal articles within the fields of the biblical Judith and Gentileschi’s life. After reading more on Gentileschi’s life and studying psychological models that are used to explain human behavior, the direction of this research changed to focus directly on the concepts of social psychology. Through detailed visual and psychological analysis, this study provides a new interpretation of the connection of the four Judith paintings to Gentileschi’s life. Context Warning: this presentation will have context that may be sensitive to some individuals, including paintings depicting violent acts and discussion of sexual assault.
(Thur 2:00-2:20 PM OH 229)

Erin Dalton and Cynthia Canejo (co-author and mentor)
Islam and Christian Spheres: Interaction and Exchange of Religious Orders

As a Western society, we have the tendency to reflect and study our own struggles, victories, changes, and innovations--leaving our academic realms of Western and Eastern cultures polarized and the lenses of history biased. Nonetheless, architecture of the Medieval Ages presents actual evidence and traces of cross-interaction between the two spheres of Europe. The Crusades are frequently highlighted as a point of overlap as well as conflict between Islam and Christianity. Thus there is a habit to categorize history, meaning the timelines and their respective cultures are divided into their own “realms” of time. As a result, they seemingly cannot touch or interact except in forms of violence. This is simply not true, for in the case of Islam and Christianity the cultures were interacting and exchanging ideas. Despite their immediate differences, both Christianity and Islam stem from classical roots in architecture, and often utilize trends from each other. Their architecture provides visual dialog and societal markers of wealth and community. Available on hand are various documentations debating and commenting on these discords between Christianity and Islam. This study will also utilize documents written by the chroniclers from the time period, such as the Chronicles of Fredgar. Furthermore, the architecture speaks to shared purposes and techniques; for example, the Islamic Dome of the Rock and Christian Church of the Holy Sepulchre are siblings in the Holy Land of Jerusalem. In previous studies Islam and Christianity have been analyzed together, yet from different perspectives and predispositions. This paper actively demonstrates the interchanging relation and gives equal status to Islam and Christianity.
(Sat 10:40-11:00 OH 229)

 

Spring 2016 Studio Art Undergraduate Research

Shanna G. Blake, Shape of the Heart and the Mystery of Meaning

The human heart is far more than a blood pumping organ. It is the source of life’s vitality, and the institute of feeling, thought, and even memory. The heart shape is necessary to generate reason in an observer. Heart ideograms are especially vital to religions such as ancient Egyptians, Aztecs, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and more. Many religions use both the imagery and the existence of the physical heart to represent emotional and spiritual qualities. The iconological symbol of the heart that we have today originated and developed in the late Middle Ages. Renaissance artists established the now widely used “heart shape” while the intertwining of religious virtuosities and romantic love developed “heart metaphors”. The significant connotation of the heart is to serve as an empty vessel to be filled with love; romantic and spiritual. Through the symbolic nature of the heart, the audience becomes fascinated with a feeling that transcends life and when depicted properly can leave an impression of vicarious grandeur. Through my art and research I explore these spiritual and metaphorical qualities by manipulating wood and various other materials to make unique sculptural pieces that can profoundly portray the assorted conditions of the human heart. Allegories such as the romantic, wounded, broken, inflamed, and winged hearts are just a few ideas I reference in my own body of work through carving, casting, and employing a variety of mediums.
Fri 1:00pm-1:20pm Owen 101

Jesse Hinson, Grieving in Art

Dealing with the unexpected death of a close family member is, in many ways, incredibly traumatic. While experiences vary from person to person it is not uncommon for many to feel immense and overwhelming feelings of guilt, fear, anger, and anxiety; as well as, resentment towards other family members and questioning one’s personal faith or spirituality. With this body of work I hope to portray those same feelings of grief experienced by families that lose others unexpectedly, specifically those that lose children. By creating bold and photo realistic prints of baby dolls, and other child-like imagery, I hope that the viewer will in some ways be able to walk away feeling some of those same emotions. However, to counter act that, these images will be printed onto hand dyed fabrics or incorporated into fabric crafts so that something loving, caring, and warm can balance out the more negative emotions. With this research I hope to better understand how these emotions manifest in others and how people learn and grow to deal with them. By producing works that directly correlate with these experiences and combining them with things that feel more like labors of love, this research will help provide a more thoughtful process and portfolio.
Fri 2:40pm-3:00pm Owen 102

Max Killion, Reverse Tarot: A Representation of Extreme Negative Thinking

Individuals with self-loathing mentalities trap themselves in a vicious cycle of self-fulfilled prophecies that inhibit their ability to see their world rationally. Because someone with distorted logic will only see what they want; if what they want to see is their own devastation, then they will find a way to confirm it for themselves. This series of graphite drawings visually explores the extent to which these people forcibly infer negative connotations to support a belief of their own self-deprecation. Using tarot cards as a vehicle for this idea, the artist takes the original cards' meanings and distorts the information to an extreme caricature skewed towards the macabre. Research on the topic presented in this paper explores why this phenomenon occurs, and by extension what allows it to cycle into itself. The resulting artwork presents this pitfall of pessimism by being intentionally ignorant of each individual piece of the tarot cards' favorable outlooks. Throughout the series, a transition is communicated of this phenomenon, growing more extreme and twisted as a portrayal of this diseased thinking swallows the individual's sense of logic and reality, and shows the cynic's twisted interpretation of what fate they pull toward themselves. Influences are taken from contemporary Polish painter Zdziszlaw Beksinski for his surrealist representations of figures and their environment and Austrian painter Gustav Klimt for his use of patterning and metal leaf. 
Friday 1:40-2:00 pm OH 101

Marisa Mahathey, Experiencing the Connection: A Ceramic Exploration of One

The word “one” is representative of wholeness and unity. One is the source of all numbers and an image for divine unity. Through transitioning of beliefs from childhood to adulthood, growing up in a Christian household and searching beyond those teachings, Experiencing the Connection discovers the importance of unity by exploring religion and personal truth. The sense of oneness and interconnection has become a personal truth, the essential belief, and symbolizes the series. An inherent intimacy is formed when creating with clay; a potter creates simply with their hands, using no other tool. Working on the potter’s wheel is a conversation, one must not only speak to the clay by guiding it into the shape desired, but one must also listen; being aware of and open to what the clay is saying and then reacting to that is the most important aspect of throwing. The metaphorical conversation that a potter has with clay during the creation process can then be “heard” when viewing a handmade pot. The pot will reveal qualities about the potter: preferences, care, and even imperfections. The immediate intimacy and connection between the clay and the potter provide the foundation for the conversation that produced this series. Through the crafting of jars, unity is created. The jar form has the added component of the lid, creating an essential need for two pieces to fit together. To add further communication between the lid and jar, complementary designs, are carved to be aesthetically pleasing on their own, yet are more powerful when stacked upon or placed with other jars. The unity is then multiplied from one jar and lid to an entire stack or family of jars, making the visual experience, or conversation, more meaningful.
Fri 3:00pm-3:20pm Owen 102

Lyndsey Roberts, In Search of What Was

The psychology of art is contemplated and defined in many ways. Questioning what makes art the powerful thing it is can be tied to the psychological search for artistic meaning. Art becomes cathartic when the process reveals hidden feelings and emotions. The series In Search of What Was uses catharsis as a discovery of nostalgia for childhood and its wonders. Through the use of symbolism of spheres and spirals, as well as the inspiration of fractal patterning, the artist uses clay to throw orbs that differ in size, then clusters them together in staggering numbers to represent feelings of loss of imagination felt upon growing up. This collection is the artist’s catharsis for the nostalgia of childhood. Mysterious for its association with round objects such as the far off planets, secrets held by a crystal ball, and the protective shell of an egg, the orb is used in this series to rekindle lost feelings of imagination and a sense of protection felt as a child. Compulsive groupings are made, alluding to the need to answer the mysteries of life, while the repeated use of the globular forms shows importance and therefore a higher meaning or purpose. The use of repetition creates a sense of calmness and familiarity associated with the ease of childhood that is often lacking in the fast pace of an adult life. Together these elements recreate the artist’s lost feelings of intrigue, imagination, and playfulness felt as a child. 
Fri 1:20pm-1:40pm Owen Hall 101

Kristin Sorenson, The Past 5 Years: Using Art as Empathy Practice

The Past 5 Years addresses the ability of evoking an emotional response through drawings and the importance of regularly practicing empathy. This collection of drawings focus on what a person does when they experience loss: how they move their body, what they do with their hands, the words they say, and the objects they touch. The Past 5 Years investigates a family’s response to a sibling’s disappearance and subsequent return. Synthesis of representational figurative drawings and words recreates an intimate moment of candid emotion. The words throughout these pieces represent the conversations, journal entries, and prayers that coincide with these sensitive moments. The recognizable gestures, portrayed in this collection of charcoal drawings, give the viewer the ability to empathize with the drawings. Extensive research on the subject of empathy and its effects generated several different methods to practice empathy, and evoke this feeling. Some of which included, listening to another’s experience, sharing personal stories. This body of work questions how art can be used to help someone become more empathetic as well as the social and personal benefits of empathy.
Friday 2:20-1:40 pm 101

Christine Ashley Thomas, Reclamation of Self Through Form: Making the Internal, External

Making the internal, external—through art—is a path towards truth, acceptance, and enlightenment. In the series, Reclamation of Self through Form, figurative clay sculpture is the vehicle of this message. In the aftermath of being raped and the dissociation caused by it, sculpting forms with clay is a visceral manifestation of the healing process. The relationship and tension between the female form and nature-inspired abstractions expresses that which is experienced on an internal level. Creating ceramic sculptures is symbolic of reclaiming the physical body and exploring the internal: subconscious memories, thoughts, and emotions related to such a traumatic event. The abstractions of the sculpted female shell represent an interpretation of the soul or the mind, which tends to be more complex and mysterious. A psychological metamorphosis is shown in the destructive manipulation of the clay body, which leaves a space for new growth. The connection between the figure and these abstracted forms holds a deeper meaning related to the internal state of things. This is also seen in Ana Mendieta, Maria Martins, and Sophie Kahn’s use of the human figure in some aspect in their artwork, even though the mediums are different. Making the internal, external—through art—is a visual representation and form of communication to bring more understanding for the artist and the viewer.
Friday 12:20-12:40 pm OH 101

Kevin Watson, The Mad King's Caernival: World-Building as Artistic Practice

Often seen as fantasy, imaginary worlds have a profound connection to the real world. Indeed, it is in the imagination that we wrestle with the religious, moral, and ontological worlds that define subjective experiences. Imaginary worlds, therefore, are just as potent, and, arguably, just as “real” as the real world, and are created through a process known as world-building. Many creators use these worlds as socio-political, religious, and philosophical thought experiments to describe specific world-views, which in turn uphold or challenge standing perceptions of the “real” world. In order to understand these differing conceptions of world, this body of research explores the creative act of world-building by constructing an imaginary world, The Mad King’s Caernival, through an innovative combination of both traditional and digital media. Following Mikhail Bakhtin’s ideas of the carnivalesque, the world of the Caernival reveres the grotesque, and idealizes bodies that challenge hegemonic standards of “normal”. Thus, these Caernival bodies express and embody moral perspectives of right and wrong/good or bad that challenge normal, ontological conceptions of what a body is, does, and is supposed to be. In this way, the research project not only acts as a world-building exercise, it also critiques real world values and expectations about the human body.
Friday 12:40-1:00 pm Owen 101