Bio

Instructor, Art History, Theory, and Criticism (2012).  BA, History, 1999, Villanova University, PA; MA, 2007 and PhD, Art History, 2013, University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Dissertation: "Exhibiting Ireland: Irish Villages, Pavilions, Cottages, and Castles at International Exhibitions, 1853-1939." Awards: Research support grants from American Historical Association, Scottish Society for Art History, Huntington Library, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.


Personal Statement

I am inspired by the connections we make between the past and the present through our own visual and material encounters in the world, from walking on the same steps on which Julius Caesar placed his feet over 2000 years ago to viewing a painting in the Art Institute that once hung in a Paris Salon and realizing the shared experiences of our lives.

I hope that my students find something in each class that filters through and impacts their daily life in the most unexpected of ways, that they discover compelling and fascinating relationships between our course topics and their everyday life. Histories, especially the visual and material kinds, are best learned, understood, and remembered outside of the classroom.


Current Interests

I am interested in the creation of and experimentation with national identity through world's fairs and international exhibitions. My recent work focuses on the different manifestations of Ireland at exhibitions on multiple continents and investigates how various symbols are repurposed and redefined in these various locations and by multiple audiences ranging from immigrant groups in New York and Chicago to local Irish in Dublin and Belfast to the imperial middle classes in London and Glasgow.

Coordinately, I am intrigued by the self-identification of Irish international communities through the appropriation of the physical land of Ireland, from massive three-dimensional maps to actual pieces of Irish turf. The rhetorical connections between the Irish and home/land have a real, physical component that transcend mere literary turns-of-phrase.

My present fascination regards the representation of "Irish light" by Irish artists. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there was a consistent dialogue amongst writers, artists, and even tourists in Ireland over the special nature of Irish light. From stained glass windows to oil paintings, artists engaged with light as a national phenomenon - a particularly special form of heritage. I am not only working on how and why such perspective on light emerged, but also seeking to understand exactly what "Irish light" meant and continues to mean, and the continuities and contradictions embodied in its representation from one artist to the next.

These projects all draw from my interest in asserting the importance of an Irish visual history that compliments, challenges, and enriches the country's proud literary heritage. My work investigates Ireland, both North and South, as emerging national entities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the complex imperial networks in which each pcountry is both enmeshed and implicated.

 

Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.