This October, three undergraduate seniors from UTC’s Department of Art – Arden Craft, Alyson McGowan, and Hannah Wimberly Lowe – will present their original research at the SECAC 2019 Conference. SECAC is the country’s second largest national non-profit organization devoted to education and research in the visual arts, with individual and institutional membership of a global scope. Hosted by the UTC Department of Art, the 2019 Conference in Chattanooga (October 16–19, 2019) will be the largest in the organization’s history, with 140+ sessions and 650+ chairs and presenters exploring a multitude of topics.

Craft, McGowan, and Wimberly Lowe will share work they developed as part of special projects and seminars at UTC. Both Craft and McGowan’s presentations tie into the work they are conducting towards their Honors theses. Craft is a double major in Studio Art and Art History. Her paper, Constructions of Personhood: An Exploration into Artist James Luna’s Work, The Artifact Piece (1986), engages in a postcolonial critique of the popular exploitation of Native American imagery. Focusing on one performance from Luna, Craft uncovers the entangled nature of identity, consumerism, and difference embedded in American culture from the 1980s to today. McGowan’s paper, A Psychoanalysis of Caravaggio, reflects her academic interest in the Italian Baroque period, while delving into historiography, Lacanian theory, and her own visual analysis of the acclaimed artist’s self-portraiture. She conducted on-site archival research in Italy to develop this project, and currently works with the Hunter Museum of American Art as a Gallery Assistant. McGowan was the recipient of the Gavin Townsend Memorial Award for Art History majors last year, and presented preliminary research towards this project at URACE Research Dialogues in April 2019. Wimberly Lowe is also an Art History major, and her paper, National Parks 2050: Reinventing American Landscape to Communicate Environmental Urgency, draws from research conducted during her curatorial internship at the Hunter Museum and an upper level Art History seminar. She examines the intersection of landscape imagery and ecocritical theory to explore how the arts have advocated for environmental action from the 1840s through today.

Presenting at SECAC will provide these students with valuable professional experience and feedback on their original research from a broad community of artists and experts in and beyond Chattanooga. Their participation will also grant them exposure and networking opportunities as they explore future graduate study. Craft, McGowan, and Wimberly Lowe’s commitment to the research panel highlights their leadership as part of a growing community of students rigorously engaged  in Art and Art History at UTC. Their presentations at SECAC are generously sponsored by UTC’s Department of Art and URACE program. In addition to SECAC, these students have also committed to share their work and experiences at the upcoming URACE Research Dialogues in April 2020.

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