Electrifying electives

Looking for some fascinating electives this year? Fine Arts and History in Art have got you covered with this outstanding selection of courses guaranteed to widen your knowledge of the world around you. From studying photography and different periods of visual art to architecture and the more hands-on working with button blankets, there’s a vast range of courses on offer.

Bruce Lee• Just announced for Winter 2014 is the new History in Art course, Traditions on the Move: Art, film, and popular culture in contemporary China. In the context of China’s meteoric rise on the global stage over the past 30 years, you will examine the changing visual representations of Chinese identity in popular culture, from mainstream cultural icons to banned underground films and experimental art movements. We will focus on the increasingly influential role of visual media in shaping public debates and perceptions around tradition, modernity, gender, and national identity in contemporary China. This course will be taught by April Liu, who also teaches at Vancouver’s Emily Carr University of Art and Design and is the cultural programmer for the Tibetan Cultural Society of BC.

Traditions on the Move: Art, film and popular culture in contemporary China runs Tuesdays 2:30-5:20pm in Cornett A225 (HA 337, CRN 23798).


• What happens when art and science intersect? Find out when History in Art instructor Susan Hawkins delves into the history of creative collaboration with The Weird and the Wonderful: The Intersection of Art & Science. Often thought of as incompatible disciplines, art and science are the twin engines of creativity in any vibrant culture. As she described in this recent interview on CFAX Radio’s Eye on the Arts show, curiosity, inquiry and knowledge have transcended specialized compartments in many creative and artistic ways throughout history, contributing to new categories of art, thought, research and theories of knowledge. This course will look at the intersections of art and science from both historical and contemporary perspectives, exploring a wide range of artistic practices (including installation, painting, sculpture, photography, digital media and biotechnology) that challenge the boundaries between art, science, and popular culture. Curiosity and sense of exploration are strongly encouraged!

The Weird and the Wonderful: The Intersection of Art & Science runs 4:30-5:30pm Mondays & Wednesdays. (FA 335 A01 CRN: 11660)

renaissance• As Giorgio Vasari said, “Inspiration demands the active cooperation of the intellect joined with enthusiasm, and it is under such conditions that marvelous conceptions, with all that is excellent and divine, come into being.” Hot off her recent TEDx talk, History in Art instructor Jamie Kemp tackles Encountering Renaissance Art. In this introduction to the cultural history of renaissance art, you will study the intellectual and spiritual world of artists, artisans and patrons in Europe between 1400-1550. Special attention will be devoted to issues of reception and response as you examine the ways in which viewers “consumed” culture in this period. How do the aesthetic priorities and theories of the past influence the way we encounter renaissance art today?

Encountering Renaissance Art runs 9:30-10:20am Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday. (HA 234 CRN: 11835)

Italy• Kemp is also offering Art & Material Culture of Italy. The Italian Baroque has long been associated with complexity, scandal and high drama—both in terms of the subject and appearance of its most famous works of art and the stories we tell about its artists and key political figures. Focusing on the city of Rome, this course will study the social and cultural processes underlying this emphasis on spectacle and sensation. Join this exploration of the world of artists such as Caravaggio, Bernini, Carracci, Tiepolo and Gentileschi.

Art & Material Culture of Italy runs 11:30am-12:20pm Tuesday, Wednesday & Fridays. (HA 342A CRN: 11840)

paintingladiesw450• Similarly, but from a totally different period of history, is Visual Culture in Jane Austen’s World, taught by Denine Dudley. Is it a question of sense or sensibility? What one saw, and how one reacted to it, was of critical importance in this pivotal era from 1760 to 1837. But more just an issue of “What Jane saw”, this course will explore the visual experiences of Austen, her characters, and her contemporary novel-reading public. You’ll look at painting, architecture, gardens, fashion and textile production, print culture and spectacle, plus professional and amateur arts. You will also assess a selection of modern film adaptations to explore current approaches to the past. (Sorry, no zombies.)

Visual Culture in Jane Austen’s World runs 9:30-10:20am Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Fridays. (HA346C CRN: 11841)

Revolution• But if you’ve got more of a revolutionary mindset when it comes to art, however, check out Allan Antliffs course on Art & Revolution. Antliff will examine the history of radical art from the French Revolution of 1789 to the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. Remember, “The final end of any revolution is the restoration of power” (Joseph Goebbels).

Art & Revolution runs Mondays & Thursdays 1-2:20pm (FIA 103 CRN: 11846)

• Artistic revolution of a different sort is tackled by Denine Dudley in her course, Digital Art Histories. No question, digital images are taking over as a primary way in which we experience our world. This has implications for our understanding of, and participation with, nearly everything we see. This course will look at the (art) history of digital imagery, the impact of digitization on visuality and digital humanities tools for art history research. Half your time will be spent in the lab exploring and developing skills in various applications that can enrich and reshape your research and creative work in art history and beyond.

Digital Art Histories runs 11:30am-12:50pm Mondays & Thursdays. (HA 392 CRN: 11849)

Photography• The more traditional history of photography will be explored by instructor Susan Hawkins in The History of Photography. This course will explore the beginnings of photography, tracing its aesthetic and technical history as an art form from the early days of the daguerreotype to present day digital. You will uncover how photography’s essence changed with each technological advancement and review the photograph’s aesthetic trajectory, tracking its formal movements and setting them against other major artistic movements of the period. You’ll also examine developments in photojournalism, documentary and social documentary and landscape photography, as well as an array of artistic movements (eg: pictorialism, naturalism, modernism, street photography, First Nations artists, women photographers, photoconceptualists, etc.). This course is designed for students interested in the history and production of visual culture and passionate about photography.

The History of Photography runs 1:30-2:20pm Tuesday, Wednesdays & Fridays (HA 369: A01 CRN: 11846)

Buttons• Truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is represented by the Special Topics in History in Art course, The Big Button Blanket Project. Guided by History in Art professor Carolyn Butler Palmer, in collaboration with artist research consultant Peter Morin (Tahltan), students will not only have the opportunity to study the history of buttons, blankets, and button blankets, but will also sew a monumental blanket—the world’s biggest!—for display at the Legacy Gallery. Better still, this blanket will be danced in spring 2014 by performance artists Morin and recent Governor General’s Award for Visual Arts winner Rebecca Belmore, also a former visiting Audain Professor in the Visual Arts department. Throughout the semester, elder button blanket makers in Victoria will join the class to share their knowledge and stories of button blankets.

The Big Button Blanket Project runs 8:30-9:50am Mondays and Thursdays in the Ceremonial Hall of First Peoples House (HA 392 CRN: 11850)

Nicholas Galanin's "Things Are Looking Native, Natives Looking Whiter"

Nicholas Galanin

• Also on the aboriginal front is the special topics course, Issues in Contemporary Indigenous Art, which will focus on developing awareness of the importance of indigenous art history in our daily lives. Throughout the semester, instructor Peter Morin and students will investigate the role of art and artists to the development of the nation. You will also be looking at the creative strategies used by indigenous artists in the making of their work, and developing an understanding of these strategies in relation to our own learning journeys.

Issues in Contemporary Indigenous Art runs 11:30am-12:50pm Mondays & Thursdays. (HA 392 A03 CRN: 13790)

Venice• Over on the architectural side of things, instructor Lesley Jessop offers Gothic Art & Architecture. This course examines the art and architecture of Western Europe circa1150-1400, and will discuss monuments such as the merchant palaces of Venice, the paintings of Giotto, and the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.

Gothic Art & Architecture runs 10:30-11:20am Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Fridays (HA 328 CRN: 11838)

Looking to the east, History in Art professor Anthony Welch offers a trio of courses, each looking at separate periods and eras in the Muslim middle east.

India• First off, the Seminar in the Arts of Mughal India examines how Muslim rulers from Central Asia invaded northern India in the early 16th century and established the Mughal dynasty, an empire that would endure for more than three centuries and eventually extend over nearly all the Indian subcontinent. Its six emperors from 1526-1858 were active and discerning patrons of architecture and the arts, so that painters, calligraphers, and architects from all over the Islamic world brought their talents and training to embellish Muslim courts in India. Sumptuous paintings, drawings, calligraphies and precious objects were produced by gifted artists, and towering monuments like the Taj Mahal or the Red Fort in Delhi emphasized the capacity of Mughal patrons and designers to produced architecture of power and beauty.

Seminar in the Arts of Mughal India runs 4:30-5:50 pm Mondays & Wednesdays (HA 451/552 CRN: 11852/11859)

Muslim Mediterranean• Welch will also be examining the Amirates & Sultanates of the Muslim Mediterranean. From the 8th to 19th century, rich and powerful Muslim states governed territories extending from Spain in the west to Egypt in the east. The Mediterranean Sea divided and unified this immense ancient area that inherited many of the traditions of Roman civilization. Within their borders were also important minority populations that sustained vibrant commerce as well as warfare with Christian states to the north and east and produced works of art and architecture of abiding beauty and importance.

Amirates & Sultanates of the Muslim Mediterranean runs 12:30-1:20 pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, & Fridays (HA 357 CRN: 11843)

Iran• Finally, Welch will offer an overview of Painting in Iran. The Iranian epic poem, the Shahnama, is one of the world’s great literary works, composed in the late 10th to early 11th centuries, by Firdausi. Its popularity in Iran was so great that it was often illustrated in sumptuous manuscript editions, notably from the 13th to 18th centuries. Other great works of Iranian literature were also illustrated, and by the beginning of the 14th century Iranian patrons, painters, and calligraphers had created one of the world’s most important traditions of the illuminated manuscript. Other literary works by great poets like Hafiz, Sa’di, and Nizami works were also illustrated, so that this course, a history of Iranian painting, is also a history of Iranian literature.

Painting in Iran runs 2:30-3:20 pm Mondays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays. (HA 351B CRN: 11842)

Summer art tours at UVic

It’s hard to think of a better way to spend a summer afternoon than taking a tour of UVic’s art collection. Whether exploring the vast amount of art on campus or checking out downtown’s Legacy Art Gallery, the general public is welcome to see what we’ve got on display—for free!

campus art 1To help you get a feel for which of the 27,000 objects in UVic’s art collections are currently on view, UVAC director Mary Jo Hughes and curator Caroline Riedel have created this new video tour as a sample of artworks available for viewing to all. The video provides a glimpse of what everyone can experience—including mosaics, landscapes, murals, serigraphs and legend poles—on our free, self-guided summertime art tours.

campus art 2“UVic is an inspirational and invigorating place to be and to visit,” says Hughes. “I invite everyone to discover these hundreds of works of art as well as outdoor sculptures such as the Charles Elliot and Hunt family totems, and more than 400 paintings and sculptures in the library representing a ‘who’s who’ of Pacific Northwest Coast art.”

LegacyThe Legacy gallery, located at the corner of Yates and Broad streets, was established as part of a bequest by patron of the arts and philanthropist Michael Williams, offers rotating exhibitions throughout the year. UVic also displays pieces in community locations including the Royal Jubilee Hospital and Swans Hotel at the bottom of Pandora. Learn more about the university’s art collections, by visiting their extensive website.

McPherson Library's print gallery

McPherson Library’s Maltwood Print Gallery

On campus, highlights include the Salish Reflections collection of Coast Salish Art in the Cornett Building, original art and archival material in the Maltwood Prints and Drawings Gallery at McPherson Library, as well as contemporary ceramics and student exhibits in the Faculty of Fine Arts buildings. (The Salish Reflections collection now includes QR codes that link the user to details on each piece; this smart-phone barcode technology will soon be extending to more art at UVic as well.) A downloadable PDF self-guided walking tour map of art on campus includes all locations and hours of accessibility.

Glenn Howarth's painting, "Gun Collector's Daughter"

Glenn Howarth’s painting, “Gun Collector’s Daughter”

And in other Legacy Gallery news, the Times Colonist‘s longstanding visual art columnist Robert Amos recently reviewed the current Legacy exhibit Core Samples. “The carefully chosen and installed exhibit brings a new elegance to the university’s downtown Legacy Gallery,” writes Amos in his July 12 article. “The forthcoming catalogue by curator Caroline Riedel reveals an inside view of this important component of Victoria’s art culture. Best of all, for art historians and art fans alike, this is a visually stimulating show.”

Core Samples offers a retrospective of the teaching faculty of the Department of Visual Arts, circa 1966-1986. Stay tuned for the next phase of this fascinating exhibit, titled Paradox, focusing on current Visual Arts faculty. Paradox runs October 30 to January 12, 2014, and presents the recent work of the department’s teaching artists: Daniel Laskarin, Sandra Meigs, Robert Youds, Vikky Alexander, Lynda Gammon, Jennifer Stillwell, and Paul Walde.

"In the Highest Room" by Sandra Meigs

“In the Highest Room” by Sandra Meigs

Each artist will present a selection of work, including pieces seen during the short Congress 2013 Now Art! exhibit this summer. All of the current Visual Arts faculty members are mid-career and senior artists with national and international careers. Each artist will be represented by works characteristic of his or her current practice. All relate to the theme of the paradox, which is implicit in our physical and psychic experience of art.

Finally, UVAC and the Legacy Gallery got a nice shout-out in the Spring 2013 issue of roundUp, the newsletter of the British Columbia Museums Assocation. LegacyClick on this link and scroll to page 19 to read Emerald Johnstone-Bedell‘s article, “Contemporary Art for All Time.” A curatorial assistant with UVAC, Johnstone-Bedell is a recent History in Art graduate with honours, and will soon be doing her MA at Queen’s University in the fall.


Curating achievement

Some students start in Fine Arts, while others find their way here. Slide History in Art Honours student Regan Shrumm into the latter category. After starting in the English department, Shrumm found her way to our side of the Ring Road when she signed up for Melissa Barry’s Impressionism in Art class as an elective. She liked it so much she took other History in Art electives with professors Marcus Milwright and Eva Baboula, and then simply decided to switch midway through her first year.

“I’ve always been interested in history, but I took a couple of history courses and found they were just numbers—they didn’t describe the society,” Shrumm explains. “But in History in Art, they tackle the whole society, the culture of it all—which I love. That’s what I’m interested in; not major events. I always got the best professors in this department.”

Regan Shrumm with her Victoria Medal and an exmpale of her QR code work in the Salish Reflections collection

Regan Shrumm with her Victoria Medal and an example of her QR code work in the Salish Reflections collection

Humanities loss was Fine Arts’ gain, however, as Shrumm flourished in her new faculty. Winner of the 2013 Victoria Medal—awarded annually to the student with the highest GPA in the Faculty of Fine Arts—Shrumm achieved an enviable graduating average of 8.48 and is described by History in Art chair Dr. Catherine Harding as “a remarkable student” who “brought a lively, vibrant spark” to her classes.

But far from simply earning good grades, Shrumm’s passion for the arts led her into various curatorial positions with the likes of the Legacy Art Gallery, the Quilt and Textile Museum in La Conner, Washington, and her current position at downtown’s Open Space Gallery. She also successfully completed a Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Award in 2011-12, where she researched a set of icons and other religious artifacts from pre-revolutionary Russia with the aim of bringing the objects out of storage and into the public eye. “She made these precious items come alive through her focus on their materiality and their special relationship to other artistic traditions, such as the close visual connections between Greek Byzantine and Russian religious culture,” notes Harding. Shrumm’s research was then published in the Arbutus Review and she will be curating an exhibition of these artifacts for the Legacy Gallery in the spring of 2014.

“People don’t come into this field unless they’re really interested, and have a passion for it—the same as all the arts,” Shrumm says. “I always hear Visual Arts students call us the artists who are academics—which is kind of funny, but I think I study art because I can’t do it very well myself. I like to look at the work of others.”

"Conversation" by Chris Paul (2004) is in UVic's Salish Reflections collection

“Conversation” by Chris Paul (2004) is in UVic’s Salish Reflections collection

Some of that work would include the Salish Reflections collection of Coast Salish art that is installed throughout the Cornett building. Part of a permanent and rotating series of exhibitions of contemporary art from the University of Victoria Art CollectionsSalish Reflections  features the generous gifts and loans of 20 pieces to the Faculty of Social Sciences by George and Christiane Smyth. Selected from the Smyth’s greater Salish Weave Collection, Salish Reflections includes outstanding work by Susan Point, Chris Paul, Maynard Johnny Jr. and lessLIE. The dedication of space in the Cornett building to artistic excellence recognizes the valuable intellectual and cultural contributions made by the arts to research and teaching in the Social Sciences.

As part of her undergraduate work, Shrumm co-designed the Salish Reflections website, updated the hallway displays with QR codes and wrote some publication materials about the collection. “There’s something special about Coast Salish art on Coast Salish land that hadn’t been showcased before, so I wanted to make something that would describe the Coast Salish people, and put a story to each piece of art,” she explains.

A QR code, in case you didn't know what one was

A QR code, just FYI

Better still, Shrumm’s efforts are just the tip of the proverbial curatorial iceberg: the QR codes she installed will eventually be spreading to the greater University of Victoria Art Collections. “This was just the beginning,” she says. “I think the Maltwood Gallery in the McPherson Library will always have QR codes now, and each piece of outdoor art will eventually get one.”

Shrumm called Mount Vernon, Washington, home before coming to UVic, and she hopes that will give her an edge down the road in her ambition to become a museum curator.  “I’m lucky in that I have dual citizenship, and there are a lot more jobs in the U.S. than in Canada—and a lot of those are in cities where people don’t necessarily want to live, like Alabama or South Dakota,” she chuckles. “I figure I’ll start someplace small, keep gaining experience and building on what I’ve already done; I seem to have more experience than a lot of other people my age, so hopefully I can go for a bit bigger city.”

Despite her JCURA research on Russian religious icons, Shrumm admits to being partial to pioneer villages. “I especially like historical homes, that’s what I’m aiming at. I’ve long had an interest in pioneer life of the 1880s or 1890s. It’s like living history . . . that kind of history is especially intriguing for me.”

Now graduated, Shrumm will return to the History in Art department in September 2013 to begin her Master’s degree, most likely working on First Nations issues in art. “I hope this award impacts my future,” she says. “It says I’m more than the average person, which will hopefully help with job placement. I was actually really surprised that I got it, as I had fellow students who seemed to always do better than me. It’s funny—when they read out my bio, I was, like, ‘Is that me?’” The vibrant Shrumm pauses and laughs. “When you condense it all down, it sounds so fantastic, but it didn’t seem like so much when I was just doing it. Even my parents said that they knew I was doing all these things, but to hear it condensed like that, they were so proud of me.”

As are we all, Regan.

Summer hours for Arts Place

A quick update on summer hours for Arts Place: there aren’t any.

Sorry, we're closed for the summer!

Sorry, we’re closed for the summer!

Yep, due to the slow traffic in Fine Arts this summer, Arts Place will not be open in July and August. It will reopen again for regular hours on Wednesday, September 4 . . . just in time to get us all caffeinated for the new academic year.

On the plus side, word is there will be a few new menu items come September. And Mac’s Bistro in the MacLaurin Building will be remaining open this summer, so fresh coffee awaits just across the Ring Road. Don’t forget your travel mug!