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Newcomb Art Department

MISSION

The Newcomb Art Department is devoted to the study and production of visual art within the context of Tulane University's strong tradition in the liberal arts. It fosters an environment of independent and collective exploration that promotes original thought, creative inquiry, and visual literacy. 

The studio art program develops students’ skills of rendering and fabrication as well as perception, composition and execution. Exposure to historical and contemporary art, vigorous analysis and comparative examination provide substantial grounding of practice in theory.

The art history program educates students in the visual and historical analysis of art from antiquity to the present. Its faculty exposes students to an array of methodological approaches to interpret art across different regions and periods, fostering rigorous thinking and effective verbal expression.

The department enriches the university and community, serving as an advocate for the visual arts by presenting exhibitions, lectures, and other programs. The department contributes to the creation and analysis of visual art by supporting original scholarship and creativity among its faculty on regional, national, and international levels.

Newcomb Art News
Thursday, October 11, 2018 - 13:21
by Emily Wilkerson

New Orleans-based artist Sally Heller worked with Newcomb Art Department students for the last two weeks of September to develop the installation Mind Over Mayhem. In October, School of Liberal Arts Writer and Editor Emily Wilkerson sat down with Heller to speak about her artistic practice, her new installation in Tulane’s Carroll Gallery, and experiential learning.

Emily: Tell me a little about Mind Over Mayhem, the installation you developed in the Carroll Gallery with Tulane students.

Sally: All of my installations have titles that are a play on words, for example Bloom and Doom and Terrain Wreck, and they are usually about my general impression of the world as a chaotic place. So the idea of Mind Over Mayhem addresses what’s going on politically, and how we can bring to order these matters that are out of our control.

Emily: And how did the installation unfold?

Sally: I began the installation by accumulating low-end consumer goods, often materials or things that get used and thrown away. Then the students and I transformed these objects by bundling, cutting, and knotting them to remove them from their intended context. During the first day of installation, the students and I also applied rigging to the grid on the gallery’s ceiling, which consisted of clothesline tied in a crisscross fashion across the length of the space. At the same time, we mounted a twenty-foot photographic print onto the back wall. From there we could suspend forms, the items we collected and transformed, from the rigging and against the backdrop of the wall print. This created a three-dimensional effect—it was as though the students and I constructed a three-dimensional, abstract painting with the gallery space as our canvas.

Emily: What do you hope students gain from their experience working with you?

Sally: In constructing the installation, we made decisions about how to access the piece, where to place boundaries, and how much tension should be applied to the rigging, so the students were examining materials, planes, and space carefully. The process takes into account everything they are learning in their individual classes, such as painting and sculpture, and combines all of that into this one process.

What’s interesting to me about making this work is the potential I see in the materials themselves. And that is something I hope to impart to the students—the excitement of building with these non-traditional art materials.

Emily: Can you talk about what inspires your work?

Sally: There’s a raw energy that comes from making something with your hands, especially on a really large scale. I’m also using objects that we generally don’t pay attention to, and am turning these objects into art. By turning disposable items into something significant, you can begin to see the power in very nominal things.

Everybody’s aesthetic sensibility is really about who they are. It comes from a deep place inside you. My work and process are impacted by not wanting to stay within the boundaries of painting, a cannon that was mostly dominated by white, male artists. When I became a feminist, I realized I didn’t have to subscribe to the boundaries of painting. My process is really about me as a person.

Emily: How do you think visual art, and the liberal arts, influence the way we see and move in the world around us?

Sally: It seems that right now the political climate is all about tightening rules. And I think the liberal arts allow you to expand your thinking. I also think a liberal arts background, and exposure to the arts, allow you to have more sympathy, and not be too reactive in situations.

I believe the more knowledge you have, the better decisions you’ll make in your relationships, in your workspace, and really in every aspect of life.


Mind Over Mayhem is on view at Tulane's Carroll Gallery through October 24.

Sally Heller is a multi-material based artist who creates recognizable yet improbable landscapes constructed from cultural detritus. She has been awarded residencies at Headlands Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Civitella Ranieri, Umbertide, Italy; the Vermont Studio School, Johnson, Vermont; and Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, New York. Her work has been exhibited at the Lawndale Art Center, Houston; the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans; DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana; Whitespace Gallery, Atlanta; Kemper Fine Art, New York City; and Scope, Miami, among many other sites. She holds a B.S. from University of Wisconsin and an M.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - 13:14
Fragments of Reality

Faculty Spotlight - Aaron Collier

Written by Emily Wilkerson

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Assistant Professor of Art Aaron Collier is inspired by questions and possibilities. His new paintings and works on paper, which will be on view in his upcoming exhibition, Of Rocks and Ruins at New Orleans’ Octavia Gallery, respond to the illusiveness of our inability to see or understand something fully.

“I find there to be an extreme amount of verisimilitude in abstract painting. Abstraction can feel more like an experience with the world than viewing something chronicled in its totality,” Collier explains. While his paintings are mostly composed of varying expanses of color and little recognizable imagery, Collier doesn’t claim to be a purely abstract artist; in other words, he doesn’t wish for there to be a complete divorce between his imagery and the world.

Of Rocks and Ruins will be comprised of Collier’s newest body of work that is inspired by traditional paintings, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s “Virgin of the Rocks,” 1483-1486, as well as his experience visiting Palatine Hill in Rome. In a recent conversation, he explained that while some architectural elements are more intact at Palatine Hill’s ancient site, visitors essentially examine shards and fragments in order to create a vision of what once was.

“The questions that drive my practice are several: how can we enjoy, how can we take pleasure in, how can we exist within finite knowledge? How can we savor and appreciate these beautiful, astounding fragments?”

Collier began teaching in Tulane’s School of Liberal Arts in 2006 as a professor of practice in painting and drawing, focusing on fundamentals in foundations courses such as line, shape, and color. During those first few years, he began reconsidering these same fundamentals in his own work.

“The daily opportunity to observe and participate in the creative processes of Tulane's driven students is incredibly inspiring, challenging, and humbling. Students have no idea how thankful I am for such a gift.”
Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - 15:15
The Newcomb Art Department presents the 2018 Sandra Garrard Memorial Lecture, Machine Visions, an artist's talk by Trevor Paglen, on Wednesday, October 17 at 6:30 pm in Freeman Auditorium, 205 Woldenberg Art Center.

Trevor Paglen is an artist whose work spans image-making, sculpture, investigative journalism, writing, engineering, and numerous other disciplines. Among his chief concerns are learning how to see the historical moment we live in and developing the means to imagine alternative futures. Trevor Paglen’s work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Smithsonian American Art Museum; the Whitney Museum of American Art; Berkeley Art Museum; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Nevada Museum of Art. He has launched an artwork into distant orbit around Earth in collaboration with Creative Time and MIT, contributed research and cinematography to the Academy Award-winning film Citizenfour, and created a radioactive public sculpture for the exclusion zone in Fukushima, Japan.

He is the author of five books and numerous articles on subjects including experimental geography, state secrecy, military symbology, photography, and visuality. Paglen’s work has been profiled in the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Economist, and Artforum. He is a 2017 recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Award. Paglen holds a B.A. from U.C. Berkeley, an M.F.A. from the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Geography from U.C. Berkeley.
Thursday, October 4, 2018 - 14:11
Work from 2012-2018  by Kevin H. Jones, Associate Professor and Chair of the Newcomb Art Department, will be on view at the Anderson, Virginia Commonwealth University's art gallery, from October 9 through November 3, 2018.

Over the past six years within Jones’ work, one can see transitions in and synthesis of media including painting, video, physical computing, and more recently, 2-dimensional digital prints. Through this synthesis of media, the conceptual investigation of the natural world through charts, diagrams and systems is a constant theme. His early work used solar energy to power a fictional television station, while more recent work uses sensors to create an interactive video installation that questions entropy. 

This exhibition is presented as part of the Anderson’s 2018–2019 Alumni Open Call. 
 
Wednesday, October 3, 2018 - 14:28
The Carroll Gallery is pleased to announce the opening reception of Sally Heller: Mind Over Mayhem, an installation created collaboratively with Tulane University studio art students, on Thursday, October 4, 5:30 – 7:30 pm. A short walkthrough with the artist will take place at 6:00 pm. In addition the Newcomb Art Department will host an artist’s talk with Sally Heller on Thursday, October 18, at 6:00 pm in Stone Auditorium. The exhibition is on view through October 24, 2018. This exhibition is supported by the Dorothy Beckemeyer Skau Art and Music Fund at the Newcomb College Institute.
Tuesday, October 2, 2018 - 12:39


Aaron Collier: Of Rocks and Ruins October 6 – October 27, 2018
Octavia Art Gallery, 454 Julia Street, New Orleans
Opening reception: October 6, 6 – 8 pm *In conjunction with Art for Art Sake

Abstraction, marked as it is by the ability to be both suggestive and silent, proves to be a fitting vehicle for exploring the possibility of paint to simultaneously reveal and conceal. This dichotomy parallels a shifting, evolving world where what we know consistently shares an edge with what we do not. Paintings in Of Rocks and Ruins layer observed positive shapes and negative spaces from historical works such as Leonardo’s Virgin of the Rocks and Hendrick Goltzius’ Pieta to the degree that the individual and original referent becomes difficult to delineate. Piecing together a knowledge or experience of something through remaining or available fragments mimics our daily interactions with the world. Rather than suggest that these interactions foreground a certain lack or shortcoming, I wonder if incomprehensibility can ever be a source of joy? 
 
– Aaron Collier 

Aaron Collier is a visual artist living in New Orleans. He teaches drawing and painting at Tulane University as an Assistant Professor. This is Aaron’s first solo exhibition at Octavia Art Gallery. Previous solo exhibitions of his work have occurred at Cole Pratt Gallery and Staple Goods, an artist-run gallery in the St. Claude Avenue Arts District of New Orleans. He has participated in recent group exhibitions at The Clemente in New York and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans. Additionally, his work has been featured in New American Paintings and is represented in such collections as the New Orleans Museum of Art, Iberia Bank, and the Boston Medical Center. Collier has been awarded artist residencies by the Ragdale Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Joan Mitchell Center (New Orleans), ISCP (Brooklyn), and Open Ateliers Zuidoost (Amsterdam). 


Tuesday, September 11, 2018 - 14:23
Anne C. Nelson, Professor of Practice in Painting and Drawing, is the recipient of a 2018-19 Lavin Bernick Research Support Grant. 

During the summer of 2018 she traveled extensively, visiting locations in Minnesota, the East Coast, and Northern Europe where she has ancestral roots. 

Nelson's resulting art work reflects a desire to examine the negative consequences of European immigration in the 19th century and to consider the bearing that history has on present narratives. 

An exhibition of new paintings is on view at Staple Goods Gallery in New Orleans from September 8 - October 7, 2018.
Tuesday, September 4, 2018 - 14:39
Kevin H. Jones had a solo show, Stellar Rays, at Art Lab Akiba in Tokyo Japan during the month of August 2018. The exhibition presented new work examining the fleeting and unattainable by investigating astronomy, high speed photography, and chemistry. By moving from the micro with chemistry to the macro with astronomy, ephemeral moments are captured in various forms. The work Self-Reflexive (shown left) is a high-speed camera that has been altered to give the illusion that it is melting. By representing the apparatus’ state of being as what can only be seen in slow motion, the sculpture captures what is elusive and unattainable.  Two works in the exhibition use star maps to elicit this mysterious nature. Within the work, Gravitational Field, a star chart is recreated on a tire innertube evoking a blackhole and astrophysics. While the sculpture, Hyperhat, presents the viewer with a silver-plated top hat that has been severed by an intersection of the vast universe as an LCD screen that shows a star map in motion. Both of these works bring the night sky to a more human level, manifested in a more tangible format. Other works examine graphics related to chemistry and popular culture by bringing clusters of images together that elude meaning.
Tuesday, September 4, 2018 - 13:11
The Newcomb Art Department welcomes Sean Fader to the faculty as Professor of Practice in Photography.

Fader’s practice looks at the photographic event as the site of performance.  He is interested in how these images are created, disseminated, and digested in digital public spaces. 

Fader earned his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and previously taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), New York University Tisch School of the Arts (NYU), Hunter College, Hampshire College, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET).
Monday, August 20, 2018 - 14:57
To develop a course on the art of pilgrimage, Prof. Holly Flora and Prof. Leslie Geddes traveled in June to Israel and Jordan to meet scholars of medieval art and to view sites long venerated in the Holy Land. As an invited speaker, Prof. Flora presented “Materiality and the Senses in Cimabue’s Assisi Murals (c. 1200)” to faculty and graduate students participating in a seminar on medieval art and the senses at Tel Aviv University. Their host, Dr. Renana Bartal, escorted Professors Flora and Geddes to sites near the Sea of Galilee, including Capernaum, the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish, and Magdala. Medievalist doctoral students of Tel Aviv University took them to see the 12th-century Crusader church, now a Benedictine monastery, at Abu Ghosh. In Jerusalem they were fortunate to participate in a private tour of the Western Wall and the Via Dolorosa, facilitated by TAU’s Prof. Assaf Pinkus. Prof. Galit Noga-Banai of Hebrew University showed them the archaeological site of the first Marian church, located halfway between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. One their own, Professors Flora and Geddes traveled to Masada, the fortified palace built by Herod the Great and site of an infamous siege during the First Jewish-Roman War, and Petra, where they saw the famous rock-cut architecture of the Nabataeans.