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Faculty Promotions Inspire Lecture Series

Story by
Nancy Joseph
September 2013Perspectives Newsletter

It’s rare that half a dozen faculty in the School of Art (SoA) are up for a promotion in the same year. It’s even more rare for those faculty to include all three divisions of the School—Division of Art, Division of Art History, and Division of Design. Making the most of this unusual opportunity, the School of Art has designed a fall lecture series featuring all six faculty up for promotion in 2013, with their work exhibited concurrently at the SoA’s Jacob Lawrence Gallery. The lectures are free; reservations are recommended.

“The faculty will have an opportunity to talk about their work in detail, including how their teaching influences their work,” explains Christopher Ozubko, director of the School of Art. “The audience will be encouraged to ask questions. Our hope is that it becomes a conversation. It’s an opportunity for the public to get to know faculty who will likely be influencing the future direction of the School of Art curriculum.”

Lectures by artists Mark Zirpel, Amie McNeel, Helen O’Toole, and Rebecca Cummins will touch on the ideas behind their work and the process of translating those ideas into art. Design professor Kristine Matthews may also describe the collaborative nature of her environmental design work, which often involves architects and other team members. Art historian Haicheng Wang will provide insights into the influence of other cultures on early Chinese art—his area of expertise—as well as Chinese contributions to world art. The art and design faculty will show digital images of their work during their lectures; visitors are encouraged to view the actual works at the School of Art's Jacob Lawrence Gallery.

The lectures and exhibitions are just one aspect of a thorough faculty promotion process. A promotion committee considers all aspects of a faculty member’s performance at the UW, including teaching, service, and creative, scholarly, and/or professional work. Three to five outside evaluators—experts in each faculty member’s field—review a detailed dossier as well.

The School of Art plans to videotape all six lectures and post them on the SoA website. But Ozubko hopes that the community will attend the lectures, taking advantage of this opportunity to hear from School of Art faculty firsthand. “They are all very passionate about their work and they all like to teach—that is certainly something that will come through in the lectures,” says Ozubko.

The featured faculty include:

September 26: Kristine Matthews, Division of Design
Kristine Matthews, assistant professor of visual communication design, specializes in the sustainable design of exhibitions, installations and print pieces, with clients ranging from the Victoria & Albert Museum to the UW Foster School of Business.

October 3: Mark Zirpel, Division of Art
Mark Zirpel, assistant professor of 3D4M: ceramics|glass|sculpture, is the Dale Chihuly Endowed Chair in Glass. He describes his work as multidisciplinary, driven by ideas and context, and notes that it often explores the convergence between art and science.

October 8: Haicheng Wang, Division of Art History
Haicheng Wang, assistant professor of art history and Mary and Cheney Cowles Endowed Professor, will provide insights into the influence of other cultures on early Chinese art—which is his area of expertise—as well as sharing Chinese contributions to world art.

October 10: Amie McNeel, Division of Art
Amie McNeel, assistant professor of 3D4M: ceramics|glass|sculpture, moves between sculptures crafted with wood, glass, clay, and steel, to delicate drawings and prints. She describes her work as creating a conversation between humans and the physical, organic world.

November 7: Helen O’Toole, Division of Art
Helen O’Toole, associate professor of painting + drawing and Jack and Grace Pruzan Endowed Faculty Fellow, builds her paintings slowly, comparing her process to working the soil, with each layer of paint paralleling literal layers found in nature but more importantly the layers of the rural.

November 14: Rebecca Cummins, Division of Art
Rebecca Cummins, associate professor of photomedia, explores the sculptural, experiential, and sometimes humorous possibilities of light and scientific phenomena, often referencing the history of optics and incorporating obsolete technologies incombination with newer media.