The University of Alabama department of art and art history was well-represented at this year’s SECAC, held online because of COVID-19 and hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts. SECAC (the Southeastern College Art Conference) is the annual meeting of one of the largest academic art organizations in the country.
Research papers by three UA faculty and four current or recent graduate students were accepted for presentation at the conference. In addition, two faculty members chaired presentation sessions.
In the session “Forms of Violence – Session II,” Dr. Lucy Curzon (associate professor, contemporary/ modern art history) presented “Representing Violence: Laura Knight’s ‘The Nuremberg Trial’ (1946).” Curzon also chaired “Forms of Violence – Session III.”
Jonathan Cumberland (assistant professor, graphic design) presented “In-Focus: Enabling Creative Freedom within Specific Parameters” in a session titled “Graphic Design – Building Better Design Portfolios.”
Dr. Rachel Stephens (associate professor of American art history) co-presented “The Heroine of Virginia”: Anti-Abolitionist Violence in a Rare 1814 Watercolor;” and chaired a session, “American Art – Session II: New Perspectives on American ‘Masters’.”
Art History Graduate Students at SECAC
Three art history graduate students and one who graduated in May of 2020 presented current research.
In the session “African American Art Chronicles—The Lost Generation: Post War-1960s,” Nadia DelMedico presented her research paper, “Eras of Iconography in Manuel Hughes’ ‘Arkansas Memories’ Series.”
Olivia Turner presented “El Greco’s Allegory of the Holy League and the Tradition of Prophetic Imagery in the Culture of Early Modern Spain” in an open session on Medieval and Renaissance Art.
In an open session on American Art, graduate student Shannon Walsh presented “The War Spirit at Home: Lilly Martin Spencer’s Civil War.”
UA Alumni Present at SECAC
In a session titled, “Women in the Arts: Ambitious Patrons, Strategic Promoters, and Skilled Producers,” Faith Barringer, who received the MA in Early Modern art history in 2020 from UA, presented “Creating a Female History Painter: The Reception Pieces of Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun.” Barringer is enrolled in the doctoral program in the School of Art and Art History at the University of Florida.
Other alumni presenting at SECAC included Dr. Michelle Moseley-Christian (MA 2000, BA 1997, art history) who presented “New Iconographic Interpretations of the Spinning Eve in Early Modern Imagery.” Moseley-Christian is co-director of the MA in Material Culture and Public Humanities program and associate professor and chair of the art history and visual culture department at Virginia Tech’s School of Visual Arts.
In a session titled Agents of Social Change: Performance Art, Public Art, Street Art, Social Practice in the Age of Resistance, Dr. Corey Dzenko (MA 2007), now an assistant professor at Monmouth University in New Jersey, presented, “Notes from the Secretarial Pool: Sheryl Oring’s “I Wish to Say.”
Dr. Laura Lake Smith (BA 2000, art history), visiting lecturer in modern and contemporary art at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, chaired the session “Contemporary Art in the Wake of the Digital Revolution.”
SECAC Creates Community for Artists and Art Historians
The Southeastern College Art Conference promotes the study and practice of the visual arts in higher education and is now the second-largest national organization of its kind.
SECAC has played a vital role in creating a community for artists and art historians since its founding in 1942. UA’s department is a charter member of SECAC and the faculty has a long history of participation in the governance of the organization, since the term of SECAC president Dr. Virginia Rembert Liles (1977-78), who served on the board for 17 years and received SECAC’s Distinguished Service Award. Currently, Dr. Rachel Stephens represents her home state of Louisiana on the board, and department chair and professor Jason Guynes recently finished his term as past president. This year Guynes completed his nine-year leadership track. He served three years as first vice-president of SECAC, three years as president and three years as past president.
For more information about The University of Alabama’s programs in studio art and art history, visit our Degree Programs page.