Art History Scholars Forum: Museums as sites of civil society

Museums as sites of civil society: Conversations with audience in the 21st century Chiara O’Reilly, Anna Lawrenson, Lee-Anne Hall Public Museums are sites of civil society that operate in a unique compact with the state on behalf of citizens to collect, hold, exhibit and narrate human endeavour and history. In serving ‘society’ however, they both …

Art History Scholars Forum: At Home in the World

At Home in the World Chair Kathleen Davidson. Contributions by: Donna Brett, Kathleen Davidson, Mark De Vitis, Mary Roberts This scholars’ forum brings together a number of researchers in the Department to explore representations of home in visual or material culture and engage with the concept of being at home in the world. Themes to …

Art History Research Seminar

The world is our friend for such a short time: the significance of the dead in representations of The Triumph of Death in Trecento Italy Presenter: Stephanie Swanson My PhD investigates the Triumph of Death, a popular theme in fourteenth century Italian art. This macabre iconography always depicts a slaughter committed by a personified figure …

Art History: Fish-Eye Points of View and Modern Culture

Presenter: Ann Elias The paper explores early 20th century aquatic science, the optics of underwater space, popular culture, and surrealism. Discussed are links between exquisite corpse and underwater refraction and between surreality and underwater distortions that happen at the interface of water and air. The paper addresses scientific interest in the puzzle of whether humans …

Art History: Space, time, and the limits of painting in the early work of Vija Celmins

  Presenter: Andrew Ward Best-known for her meticulous depictions of barren desert surfaces, ridging ocean swells, and inestimable night skies, Vija Celmins (born 1938) commenced her career in the artistic context of 1960s Los Angeles. Turning inward to the space of her Venice Beach studio during the early 1960s, Celmins’ early paintings constitute careful studies …

Art History: Friendship as a Way of Filmmaking Revisiting ‘Blue’

  Presenter: Susan Potter The blunt, single word title Blue belies its aesthetic hybridity and multiple material forms, just as the authorial attribution “Derek Jarman” fails to make legible its collaborative modes of creative development and production. This paper traces the genesis of Blue, including its prehistory as performance and audio recording (when it almost …

Art History: From action-image to image-action: telepresence and the cinema of global telecommunications.

From action-image to image-action: telepresence and the cinema of global telecommunications. Presenter: Richard Smith The action film, especially sci-fi-action thrillers, such as Source Code and espionage action thrillers such as the Bourne films, utilizes digital technology in a specific way. Telepresence is a term Lev Manovich uses to define ‘action at a distance’—from one location …

Art History: Montage as Art Historical Method: Resnais, Malraux, and the Animation of Culture in Post-war France

Montage as Art Historical Method: Resnais, Malraux, and the Animation of Culture in Post-war France Presenter: Ivan Cerecina In 1948, the French filmmaker Alain Resnais completes work on Van Gogh, a curious film-painting hybrid in which the Dutch painter’s life is narrated through re-cut details from his canvases. A year prior, the first volume of …

Art History: The Pure Switch: Video Abstraction in the 1970s

The Pure Switch: Video Abstraction in the 1970s Presenter: Nicholas Croggon Early video was more colourful than we may recall.  The 1970s is known in post-war US art history as the birth of “video art”, a periodization often indexed by grainy, grey documentary tapes.  Yet much early video was abstract, populated by pulsing geometric forms …

Art History Research Seminar: Kathleen Davidson

‘Their Colours are Brilliant, but Fugitive’: Coral Concerns from Imperial Expeditions to the British Museum and Royal Academy Kathleen Davidson During the nineteenth century descriptions of corals and coral environments proliferated in scientific and popular publications, and in the press – propelled by contemporary theories about the geological and biological processes involved in coral reef formation and reports …