2012 Professional-Development Fellows and Honorable Mentions
CAA has awarded seven 2012 Professional-Development Fellowships, five in the visual arts and two in art history, to graduate students in MFA and PhD programs across the United States and in England. In addition, CAA has named four honorable mentions in art history and three in the visual arts. Each fellow receives a one-time grant of $5,000. The fellows and honorable mentions also receive complimentary one-year CAA memberships and free registration for the 2012 Annual Conference in Los Angeles.
Barbara Nesin, president of the CAA Board of Directors, formally recognized the fellows and honorable mentions at the conference during the presentation of the 2012 Awards for Distinction on Thursday February 23, 12:30–2:00 PM in West Hall Meeting Room 502 AB, Level 2, Los Angeles Convention Center.
Initiated in 1993, CAA’s fellowship program supports promising artists and art historians who are enrolled in MFA and PhD programs nationwide. Awards are intended to help them with various aspects of their work, whether for job-search expenses or purchasing materials for the studio. CAA believes a grant of this kind, without contingencies, can best facilitate the transition between graduate studies and professional careers. The program is open to all eligible graduate students in the visual arts and art history. Applications for the 2013 fellowships will open in late May 2012.
Selin Balci, an installation and bioartist based in Washington, DC, received a bachelor of science degree from Istanbul University in Turkey and a BFA from West Virginia University in Morgantown. She is in her final semester at the University of Maryland in College Park, where she is pursuing an MFA degree in studio arts.
Balci applies her knowledge of scientific laboratory practices to create her process-based work. Focused on interactions and transformations, she is constantly discovering and combining nontraditional art media and materials, such as living organisms, in her work. She has received multiple awards, including the Anne Truitt MFA Scholarship, a Vermont Studio Residency Artist Award, and a Jacob K. Goldhaber Travel Grant from the University of Maryland Graduate School. Most recently she was awarded a fellowship from the Hamiltonian Gallery in Washington, DC. Balci’s work has been exhibited at national and international venues, such as the Scope Art Fair in Miami, Florida,in 2010 and in the “Mind the Gap” project in Istanbul during ISEA 2011 Istanbul.
Susanna Berger’s research explores the functions of art in the transmission and organization of knowledge in early modern Europe. In her dissertation, “The Art of Philosophy: Early-Modern Illustrated Thesis Prints, Broadsides, and Student Notebooks,” which she is completing at the University of Cambridge in England, she studies the uses of art in philosophy education and academic ceremony in seventeenth-century Paris, Rome, and Leuven. In particular, Berger focuses on engraved broadsides that represent logic and natural philosophy through the synthesis of text and image. By examining class notebooks in which images illustrating philosophical concepts are interpolated with handwritten lecture notes, she considers how students created and employed drawings and prints.
Berger is a 2011–13 Samuel H. Kress Fellow via the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, as well as Kathleen Bourne Junior Research Fellow at St Anne’s College, University of Oxford. She has published and forthcoming articles in the Gutenberg-Jahrbuch and the British Art Journal. Berger has held a Frances A. Yates Research Fellowship at the Warburg Institute of the University of London; an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California; and research grants from the Burlington Magazine Foundation and the Renaissance Society of America.
Julie Casper Roth
Julie Casper Roth is a video artist and filmmaker at the University at Albany, State University of New York. Her work focuses primarily on issues of identity and perception. Currently the artist is working on a video installation about the effects of Mormonism on gender and sexuality, inspired by her personal experience as a lesbian and former Mormon. The installation, which will both reflect and critique Mormon beliefs and practices, has received a research grant from the University at Albany’s Graduate Student Organization to support its development. Additionally, Casper Roth is developing a feature-length film about autism and identity, which will present autism spectrum disorders as the next stage in human evolution and grapple with issues of normalcy in human society. Her prior work has also focused on identity in relation to mental health, sexuality, and perception.
Casper Roth received her BA in American studies from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. After working as a video artist and as a professional broadcast producer, she enrolled in the graduate art program at Albany, where she is completing her MFA. Casper Roth received a fellowship in video from the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2008 and has won festival and grant awards for her work in experimental video.
James Coquia createssculptural work in ceramic with an emphasis on the figure and the ritualized vessel. He received a dual degree in these disciplines from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, where he concentrated on learning the intricacies of the ceramic wood-firing process and foundry. He is currently enrolled in the MFA program at California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco.
When Coquia began the program at CCA, he set several parameters to help foster creative growth. His goal was to step away from the established rules and materials of art making, using only materials that were readily available, and thus expanding his conception of and perspective on what defines art. Coquia perpetually explores how every aspect of a life lived creatively can be considered and incorporated into an artistic practice. He looks for beauty where there typically is none, mining it in refuse, residues, and the useless. He is drawn to the anomalous and the uncanny, ugly things and the timeworn. The objects he generates are sympathetically linked to temporality and flux, and his work speaks to process and offers an alternate window into what it means to inhabit this body, this time, and this place.
Claudia Mastrobuono’s involvement with three-dimensional form began when she was young. Growing up in Providence, Rhode Island, her father owned a jewelry factory, and she and her sister began working with him at an early age, mastering the stamping, soldering, and polishing processes used in the design and creation of jewelry. Mastrobuono’s interest in metal work took her to the industrial-design program at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, where she studied form, function, ergonomics, materials, and processes, and also the philosophy and ethics of design.
After leaving Syracuse, she moved to Boston and began working odd jobs, which led her to start a freelance upholstery design business called Jane of All Trades. During this time she accepted a teaching position in the fashion merchandising and marketing program at Mount Ida College in Newton, Massachusetts. Mastrobuono began teaching a class in home furnishings and was soon asked to lead an introductory class on textiles and a handwork studio, which included knitting and embroidery. This experience encouraged her to apply to graduate school and pursue a profession as a fine artist and teacher.
Mastrobuono will receive her MFA in ceramics from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, in May 2012. Using the dynamics of emotional relationships as the basis for her work, she illustrates the coping mechanisms that humans use to deal with their insecurities. Her pairing of anthropomorphic clay forms with mixed-media support systems speaks to the vulnerability and desperation that can occur within the self.
Ander Mikalson is an artist working in performance, sound, sculpture, and drawing at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Her work transforms abstract concepts such as the Big Bang, or those found in quantum physics, into visceral experiences and familiar objects. She converts the digital into the analogue and back again, translating data through the human body and voice.
In her latest performance, Score for a Cyclone, the audience creates live Foley sounds to the twister scene from The Wizard of Oz. For her upcoming thesis exhibition, thirty-eight vocalists will sing the sound of the Big Bang in a cathedral in Richmond. In 2011 Mikalson was a sponsored fellow at Mildred’s Lane in Beach Lake, Pennsylvania, and this year received a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Graduate Fellowship. She has shown her work in Ecuador and Austria and throughout the United States.
Jennifer Reut recently completed her PhD in architectural history at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, under Sheila Crane. Her dissertation, “‘3000 Years in 15 Minutes’: American Tourists and Historic Monuments in Post-War Europe,” examines the influence of architectural tourism on the reception of the historic architectural landscapes of Europe after World War II and the consequences of that dynamic for historic preservation in the United States. Prior to this undertaking, Reut completed her MA in architectural history at Virginia with a certificate in historic preservation. Her master’s thesis under Dell Upton looked at urban form and architecture in postwar Wildwood, New Jersey.
Although much of Reut’s work thus far has explored the consequences of tourism on American architecture and landscape, she is particularly interested in the postwar period and the spatial and narrative implications drawn from hidden landscapes, itineraries, and popular culture. Her graduate research has been supported by the Council for European Studies and the Hartman Center at Duke University, as well as by several grants and fellowships from the University of Virginia. Reut has presented aspects of her dissertation research at the 2011 Buell Dissertation Colloquium at Columbia University in New York and at the 2010 Council for European Studies Annual Conference in Montreal, Quebec. In 2012, she will begin an appointment as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, working on a project to map The Negro Motorist Green Book. She will be presenting initial research from this project at the 2012 CAA Annual Conference in Los Angeles.
2012 Honorable Mentions
Sarah Archino is a PhD candidate at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, specializing in early-twentieth-century art. Her dissertation, “Rewriting the Narrative of Dada in New York,” examines the avant-garde of the 1910s and the development of an American Dada aesthetic based on anarcho-individualism and the vernacular. Approaching Dada from the perspective of an Americanist, she conducts research that reconnects artists previously divided into separate stylistic camps and salons, dismissing Eurocentric definitions of Dada in favor of tracing a native, anti-institutional spirit that emerged in New York. Her next project will expand on these themes of anarchy and the vernacular in an examination of early-twentieth-century American modernism.
Archino has received research fellowships from the City University of New York and the Harry Ransom Center of the University of Texas at Austin, and participated in the Terra Foundation for American Art’s summer residency program in Giverny, France, in 2011. Among her research interests are collage, little magazines, and humor. She will cohost a conference, “Deadly Serious Art: Strategies of Humor as Critique,” in New York in March 2012. Archino has served as a writing fellow and has a special interest in teaching writing to undergraduates. In 2010 she edited the second volume of the instructor’s manual for the fourth edition of Marilyn Stokstad’s textbook, Art History. She is currently visiting assistant professor at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, and has previously taught at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and on the Hunter College and Queens College campuses of the City University of New York.
Shira Brisman is a PhD candidate in the Department of the History of Art at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. She is currently completing her dissertation, “Briefkultur: Art and the Epistolary Mode of Address in the Age of Albrecht Dürer,” which argues that the experience of writing, sending, and receiving letters shaped how artists in the age of print reflected on the unique message-bearing properties of the work of art. By the turn of the sixteenth century, the eruption of information coming from the printing press had defined a set of alternative capabilities for the handwritten letter: its secrecy, controlled audience, and even, with the establishment of regularized postal systems, its rapid delivery. Yet correspondences faced delay, interception by unintended recipients, and publication without consent—threats that deepened during the volatile years of the Reformation. Presenting prints, drawings, and paintings alongside maps, courier journals, and messenger brooches, Brisman’s project demonstrates how visual images began to mimic the letter’s ability to connect author and recipient, directing through dialectics of advertisement and concealment how individuals address one another and how communities construct their borders.
Brisman has received the Albrecht Dürer Fellowship from the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, Germany; a 2009–11 Samuel H. Kress Predoctoral Fellowship from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; and an Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. Her next book project, “Emblems of the Bright and Better Land,” will investigate how astrological thinking shaped the ways in which people recorded patterns and anomalies from the lived world in diaries, family chronicles, and sketches of “strange things” perceived as signs from above.
Brianne Cohen works on contemporary art and critical theory. She is in her last year at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, finishing her dissertation, “Contested Collectivities: Europe Reimagined by Contemporary Artists,” under the supervision of Terry Smith. Her study analyzes a particular current of contemporary art, exemplified by Harun Farocki, Thomas Hirschhorn, and the artist collective Henry VIII’s Wives, which is devoted to exploring positive models for an intercultural imaginary in Europe. Through these three cases, Cohen charts a changing narrative of “Europeanness” from hopes for a federation after the racial genocide of World War II through critiques of nationalism after decolonization, the “failure” of multiculturalism since the 1990s, and intensified Roma discrimination, Islamophobia, and right-wing extremism in the twenty-first century. An article recently published at Art & Education, “Raising the Stakes of the Game,” investigates Farocki’s twelve-screen video installation, Deep Play (2007), at Documenta 12. This work highlights the contentious cultural politics of the 2006 World Cup final between France and Italy while also critiquing a contemporary mass news media—with its numbingly repetitive, reductive visual “information” that ultimately says little about the complex problems affecting globalized society in Europe.
With a DAAD Research Scholarship in 2009–10, Cohen spent a year in Berlin, Germany, to conduct research for her dissertation. In 2005, she received a distinction for her MA thesis, “Thomas Hirschhorn: Making Art Politically,” at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, England.
Lucia Henderson graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with a BA in archaeology in 2001. She received her MA in art history from the University of California, San Diego, in 2005 and entered the University of Texas at Austin as a Harrington Doctoral Fellow in 2006. She is currently finishing her dissertation in the Department of Art and Art History there.
Henderson was trained in archaeological illustration through the Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions at the Harvard Peabody Museum, a skill she considers crucial to her research. Her dissertation, “Bodies Politic, Bodies in Stone: Imagery of the Human and the Divine in the Sculpture of Late Preclassic Kaminaljuyú, Guatemala,” focuses on the sculpture of Kaminaljuyú, a massive early Maya site that has been all but destroyed by the rampant expansion of Guatemala City. Henderson has worked to find and catalogue the site’s scattered sculptures and to create accurate illustrations of their bas-relief iconography. The resultant corpus of images has revealed much about the changing nature of kingship and divinity in the early Maya world.
Henderson has published a volume on Maya sculpture from Tonina (Chiapas, Mexico), a book on Hopi Yellow Ware, a monograph on the Aztec earth deity, and articles on such diverse subjects as pulque, human sacrifice, and pilgrimage in the ancient Maya world. Her research has been supported by the Harrington Fellows Program, the P.E.O. Scholar Award, the Georgia B. Lucas Foundation Fellowship, the University of Texas Graduate Dean’s Prestigious Fellowship, and the Casa Herrera in Antigua, Guatemala. Henderson is also a master diver with an interest in subaquatic archaeology.
Cindy Mason is a visual artist who uses installation, painting, and sculpture to create coded systems of power and structure existing on the fringes of reality. Her interest lies in exploiting the contradiction between what we know to be there and what we actually see. Materials such as paint, hair, paper towels, pins, wood, hot glue, 24.75-karat gold leaf, aluminum foil, and porcelain become explorations of societal value systems. Mason uses painted surfaces to mask what is below, like faux façades hiding what is secret or hidden beneath. Her work addresses the hidden classifications of power and the ambiguous yet regulated framework of our visual environment.
Mason received her BFA in graphic and interactive communication from Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, and is currently an MFA candidate at the University of South Florida in Tampa. She is the recipient of a Florida Artist Enhancement Grant and has been selected for artist residencies at Jentel Artist Residency Program in Banner, Wyoming, and at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Mason currently lives and works in Saint Petersburg, Florida.
Ragen Moss forages diverse fields of inquiry—spatiality, law, and poetics—and reorients them toward a singularly cogent form that, while ripening to something fresh, simultaneously acknowledges the contributions of each discrete discourse. A principle behind the work is to compound the machinations and living procedures of these specific realms of knowledge, to exhale a breaking breath into them, and thereby to productively expand their horizons. The result is work that intends to reach across boundaries built around disciplines in order to kindle novel propositions and suggest that such propositions are necessary for our society.
The installation Pregnant Ceiling best exemplifies the themes in Moss’s work The piece consists of a sweeping gesture: the suspension of a transparent ceiling filled with water and aquatic plants stretched over the entirety of a large room, creating a hovering pond. The space of the room is simultaneously compressed by the sagging water above and expands through the limitlessness of volumetric water and the viewer’s ability to see completely above and through the pond-ceiling. A legal-poetic statement is scrawled across the clear boundary above the viewer: “treading on the brink of a precipice of absurdity.” The phrase set within the piece doubles back on itself, the water acting as a lens casting enlarged shadows on the floor and back onto the surface of the floating pond. The work encourages simultaneous pleasure, curiosity, and beauty in the system—a desire to approach and confront, mixed with a desire to resist the authority, to puncture the ceiling and break loose its water, to trespass the boundary even as it keeps us dry and safe.
Moss is currently an MFA candidate in interdisciplinary studio at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She has shown her work in exhibitions in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, most recently in Chiasmus: Zones of Political and Aesthetic Imagination of the University Art Gallery at the University of California, Irvine. She received a BA in art history from Columbia University in New York. She also holds a JD from UCLA and is an attorney.
Amy Santoferraro is currently an MFA candidate in the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in Alfred, New York. Born in Akron, Ohio, she earned a bachelor of art education and a bachelor of fine arts in ceramics from Ohio State University in Columbus in 2004. While at Ohio State, she was an apprentice and an undergraduate research scholar.
Santoferraro is currently an advisory board member at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, Maine, where she has also been a summer resident and studio manager. She spent a year at Louisiana State University as a postbaccalaureate student and as an employee of Southern Pottery Equipment and Supplies in Baton Rouge. A 2005–6 resident artist at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Santoferraro spent four years as a resident artist at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has taught hand building and mold making to children and adults in classroom and workshop settings, and her work is exhibited and housed in permanent and private collections nationally and internationally.
Santoferraro’s work questions our affection for objects and materials and evokes memories of the past through the use of recognizable found objects from contemporary pop culture.
Published on February 15, 2012; revised on March 7, 2012.