Author: Charlene Haukom

Prof. Betsy Athens presenting at Homer at the Beach exhibition

Prof. Betsy Athens will be presenting at the Cape Ann Museum, as part of their Homer at the Beach exhibition and programming.

Winslow Homer and the North Sea, Saturday, November16 at 2:00 p.m.

This talk examines the influence of Homer’s time in Cullercoats, England, on his portrayal of the sea. While his earlier works cast the coast more benignly as a place for leisure or industry, his later canvases present the sea as a site of struggle between humanity and the natural world.

This Cape Ann Museum program is part of a larger collaboration of museums across the New England area highlighting Homer and his national and regional impact. Here, for example is a photo of Professor Athens’ groundbreaking 2017 exhibition catalogue Coming Away: Winslow Homer and England featured at the Harvard Art Museum as part of their exhibition promotion.

books on a table

“Being Without Being” Multimedia Exhibition

You’re invited to the opening reception for the new contemporary art exhibition, “Being without Being” on Tuesday, June 18, 6:00-8:00pm at the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery at UConn-Avery Point.  Both the exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. Shadia Heenan (co-curator of the exhibition and UConn MFA student in Studio Art) and I will offer brief remarks, and the event will be catered by Mort’s.

Being without Being Flyer
A Multimedia Exhibition featuring UConn MFA Studio Art students

Exhibition information:

UConn Avery Point & UConn School of Fine Arts are pleased to present “Being Without Being,” a multimedia exhibition featuring new work by UConn MFA in Studio Art students.

Olivia Baldwin
Elizabeth Ellenwood
Joe Caster
Shelby Charlesworth
Rachel Dickson
Paul Michael
Magdalena Pawlowski
Chad Uehlein

The perception of being can exist in two ways: as a tangible grasping, such as being human – all bones, flesh, and cellular mission – and intangibly, such as an emotional existence. In a non-linear manner, if we move from tangibility to the intangible, nearly invisible notion of being, we discover a state of “being without being,” suspended in multi-dimensional non-reality. Nothing is what it appears to be and feelings tend to guide us.

Some believe that the black-and-whiteness that a photograph captures tells us the truth. Yet, upon further inspection and multi-directional interrogation, the truth becomes a figment of particles grouped together without regulation, intention, or veracity.

This exhibition, entitled “Being Without Being”, presents works in various mediums by eight artists in order to examine the state of non-being – a space of indiscernible status. Ranging from photographs and paintings to sculpture and video art, the works are immediately abstract, whether in appearance, materiality, or through artistic intent. The show asks visitors to let their emotional responses guide them through the work. By avoiding an approach based on scrutiny and a desire to define the concept of being as we know it – as life, animation, tangibility – audiences can begin to understand the works in a more visceral way.

Co-curated by Shadia Heenan and Christopher Platts

“Being Without Being” is on display at the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery, located on the second floor of the Branford House at UConn Avery Point (1084 Shennecossett Road, Groton, CT 06340).

On view Thursday, June 20- Sunday, August 11, 2019.
Gallery Hours: Thursday-Sunday 12-4PM
Opening Reception: Tuesday, June 18, 6:00-8:00PM

CAG Event: Protests, Proclamations and Celebrations

Gallery Exhibit: Proclamations, Protestations, and Celebrations
Exhibition Dates:
Shen Xin (January 28 to February 8)
Sharon Hayes (February 25 to March 8)
Zou Zhao Xi Xi (April 1 to April 12)
Christian Falsnaes (April 22 to May 3)

What unites the four artists in CAG’s exhibition project is their use of live performance, interaction with the audience, notions of ritual and group mentality, speeches and singing employed for didactic recitation along with facets such as crowd incitement and persuasion.

About the four artists:

Shen Xin:
Shen Xin was born in Chengdu in 1990. She is currently living and working in London and Amsterdam. Shen Xin graduated from LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore in 2012 before she went on to earn her MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art in London in 2014. Through images and events, Shen explores emotions, value judgements and ethics that circulate through individual and collective subjects. Her recent solo exhibitions include half-sung, half spoken at Serpentine Galleries, London (2017); Strongholds at Lychee One, London (2017); At Home at Surplus Space, Wuhan (2016); and Shoulders of Giants at Senate House, London (2015). Her work was featured in group exhibitions at the New Museum Triennial (2018); The New Normal at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2017); and Frontier at the OCT Contemporary Art Terminal Shanghai (2017). Shen was awarded the BALTIC Artists’ Award in 2017. She will take part in the 2018–19 artist-in-residence programme offered by Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam.

Sharon Hayes
American artist Sharon Hayes uses photography, film, video, sound, performance, and text to interrogate the intersections between the personal and collective sphere. Her deeply affective and queer approach to history and politics draws particular attention to the language of twentieth-century activism as well as drama, anthropology, and journalism.

A professor of fine art at the University of Pennsylvania, Hayes’s work has been shown at the 2010 Whitney Biennial, Documenta 12 in Kassel, and the 55th Venice Biennale, as well as in the most prestigious museums around the world. Her re-examination of protest, speech, and history is one of the most powerful reflections of the complexity and the urgency of our times.

Zou Zhao
Zou Zhao was born in 1989 in Fujian, China. She graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, with a BA in Fine Art, and completed her Masters degree in Contemporary Art Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2014. Her work has been shown in London at various venues, including the Camden Art Centre (2013), the UCL Art Museum (2013), No Where art space (2014), the Chinese Visual Festival (2014) and at Double Vision: Oversees, Chinese Women Invitation Exhibition 2014, He Xiang Ning Art Museum, China. She has also co-curated The Strange Impression of seeing things for the first time at the Art Pavilion in 2013 in London, and was the recipient of the Berenice Goodwin Award for Performance from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London in 2013.

Christian Falsnaes
Unsuspecting exhibition visitors become part of Christian Falsnaes’ performances. In his work, he deals with the notions of ritual and group mentality, including himself and the role of the artist. What happens when people – especially those who are used to the rituals and dynamics of highly codified social fields such as the art world – have to give up control? Falsnaes employs directives to underscore the significance of individual will, turning the reactions of his audiences into material for their own self-reflection.

UCONN Art History Grad Nicholas Orchart’s Successful Internships

Nicholas Orchart, a recent UCONN graduate of Art History, took part in helping to create an exhibition at the Worcester Art Museum that hopes to Illuminate early American connections to slavery.  To see an article written about this exhibit, see here:

Nicholas is now at a paid internship at MoMa.


Alternative BFA Photography Show – Apr. 17

We are pleased to invite you to view our latest photographic work. This work is independent and reflective of each artist’s endeavors over the past few months in Senior Project. Come and celebrate our finished work and enjoy delicious appetizers and beverages during the opening reception on Tuesday, April 17th from 5-6:30pm. The work will remain hanging in the Art Building until Friday, April 20th.

MFA Studio Art Group Exhibition

Close Third Person: MFA Studio Art Group Exhibition
April 3-May 6, 2018

Opening reception:  Wednesday April 18
5 pm – 7:30 pm
Free of charge and open to the public

Close Third Person highlights new work by the Studio Art MFA class of 2018. The exhibition features painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, ceramics, installation, and digital animation.

The Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art program at the University of Connecticut is an intensive, multidisciplinary approach to the development of work in a wide range of media, including painting and drawing, photography and video, printmaking, sculpture and ceramics, and installation and performance. The three-year program focuses on the advancement of each student’s abilities as an artist. New graduate studio facilities in the historic Kirby Mill, situated on the banks of the Natchaug River, offer each student a fresh, well-lit space in a tranquil setting. Work in the studio and studio-based classes is combined with courses in art criticism, theory and history, and teaching to provide a context of ideas for developing students’ visions. Frequent contact with faculty members and visiting artists exposes the students to diverse viewpoints and practices. The Studio Art MFA program at UConn combines the creative excitement and intellectual energy of an art school and a major research university, providing students with the best of both worlds. Learn more at

Artist Talks: Close Third Person
2018 Studio Art MFA candidates discuss their work.
Date: Wednesday, April 18, 3:00 to 5:00 pm.

Participating Artists:

Kelsey Miller
My art turned overtly political in January 2017 when I made letterpress signs for the Women’s March. Now the air is ever more clouded, fervent. Political opinion simmers continuously below the surface of the everyday and news advances at a rate faster than we can comprehend it. Belief, denial, complacency, and fear are emotional complexities that often seem at odds with scientific data. My work addresses the polarization of opinion and fact, informed by current events, archival documents, nationalism, and weather—a symbol of change and its real harbinger. The act of making resists the act of skimming, insisting that I absorb and respond to what has happened and is happening. My practice is a call to action, but also a pause, with the intention of offering a moment of reflection and sanctuary, in hope of finding better solutions for navigating this changing world.
Kelsey Miller was born on the island of Antigua and moved to the United States at the age of ten. She earned a BA in Studio Art from Wellesley College and spent four years as a chef on a sailboat before returning to land and pursuing her MFA at the University of Connecticut. Kelsey exhibits work nationally and internationally in solo, juried, and small group shows.

Jelena Prljević
As a storyteller, I use layering to build narratives. Using erasure, light, and the regenerative power of shadows I suggest time. Through process and material, my drawing serves as an invocation of place and reflects experiences of transition. Life is always in flux. Light and time give perspective, allowing change to unfold. Who defines whom? Does a final form exist or is its essence fluid? These questions are constant in my work. I champion the power of personal mark-making to build structures, erase them and build again to reveal life as it moves between light and shadow. My drawings and animations illuminate intimate observations grounding them in a present moment. Documentary, magical and sentimental, my work embraces the healing potential of storytelling through fragments of time, memory, and motion.
Jelena Prljević is an artist from Serbia whose practice exists within the intersection of drawing, animation, and installation. She holds a BFA from the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, RS where she received several awards for painting and drawing. During this period, she participated in many national and international group exhibitions and collaborative projects. Jelena was awarded The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant to support the development of her MFA thesis project.

Kaleigh Rusgrove
Narrative photography exists between fact and fiction. I use my camera to create false moments of importance and to record artifacts of questionable authenticity. I interlace the seen with the contrived. Together these elements build a convincing story; one leaving the viewer unable to find their footing in either reality or fantasy. This body of work, this story, focuses on current environmental issues. Climate change falls into the same strange in-between where my work exists. The reality of the situation is distressing, the political response both alarming and laughable, and information presented is often contorted. Through research I find inspiration for image-making, combining what I have witnessed with what I have imagined. In my practice, I have come to learn that the most frightening moments are not always born from the wildness of the mind, but exist in real life.
Kaleigh Rusgrove was born in Bristol, Connecticut and spent her formative years photographing her younger sister against a leaf-patterned bed sheet with a Kodak disposable camera. Moving on to a point-and-shoot as a teenager, she made a series of portraits of local troublemakers that earned her moderate praise among the other neighborhood kids. Kaleigh eventually settled on the solitude of photographing herself with a DSLR. At some point she decided to keep making pictures forever.

Erin Koch Smith
My work often starts with something abstract—like a wayward emotion or a decontextualized word or phrase. I like language that feels vaporous and substantial, as if a dream sat on your head. Narrative is important as an impetus to painting, but my paintings are not stories. They are plotless, hero-less, scattershot moments, birthed from boredom, loneliness, and heartache, operating within the welcome limitations of the language of painting. On canvas, there are no rules for gravity, and floating objects can be heavy as lead. I search for form through scraping and damaging the surface, playing with images of swan beds, mangled chairs, and rainbows the way I used to play with Barbie dolls as a kid, bashing their plastic parts together, trying to land on something tender.
Erin Koch Smith was born in Richmond, VA where she fell in love with drawing and painting at an early age. Her studio practice encompasses a variety of approaches including painting, drawing, installation, and performance. She earned a BFA in Painting and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2005, and after living in Ithaca, NY for a number of years, relocated with her family to pursue an MFA in Art at the University of Connecticut.  

Claire Stankus
Tidy piles of studio scraps, flowers on the floor, puzzle pieces, and birthday cakes are recurring features in my work. I collect seemingly banal and discarded objects and paint my daily encounters with them; expressing that even a pile of junk is worth painting. While some paintings are made directly from observation, others start from photographs of quickly-passed moments. I use casual marks, flattened fields of color, and invented line and shadow to break down the recognizable into something ambiguous yet familiar. The remaining abstraction is where we may find unexpected humor or joy. I want each painting to become something odd or sweet and give viewers a second chance to spend more time with an experience they may have overlooked.
Claire Stankus was born and raised in the suburbs of Albany, NY and earned a BFA in Painting from Syracuse University in 2012. She has attended artist residencies at the Chautauqua Institution, Vermont Studio Center, and Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild. Claire was recently interviewed and featured on the podcast Studio Break.

We would like to express our gratitude to our families, friends, faculty, and peers who have provided continuous support and guidance over these three years.
We would also like to thank UConn’s Design Center for the creation of this catalog and accompanying materials.

Art & Art History Scholarship Show is Coming!

Hello Art & Art History Majors,

Before you leave the thrills of Spring Break behind…I thought I’d remind you to bring back your best artwork from home for the Scholarship Show.

The official call for entry will be sent out when you return next week.

It’s free to enter, and we have literally thousands of dollars to give away in scholarship money, so keep your eyes peeled for the email reminders!

 *APPLICATIONS will be DUE Monday March 26th

As always, we look forward to seeing what you’ve got!

Professor Paul

Spring into the Arts! 3/26

Dear Prospective (Admitted) Art & Art History Students,                  

I’m very happy to invite you to join our faculty and current students on Monday, March 26, for a special event: Spring into the Arts!

We’ll begin with a welcome reception at 2:00 pm, in the Arena Gallery, located in the Art Building at 830 Bolton Road, Storrs.  From there, we will proceed to two unique hands-on workshops with our faculty, followed by dinner with current students and faculty. We wrap up at 7:00 p.m., which is in plenty of time for you to take in an evening arts event on campus or explore our downtown.


Of course, we’re looking forward to the chance to spend time with those of you who’ve already decided to join the Class of 2022, but we’ll be equally glad for a chance to show those of you who are undecided the best of who we are and what we do at UConn Art and Art Hisotry.  Please come see why taking advantage of the Best of Both Worlds – an immersive studio or art history education in the context of a major research university – provides a wonderful foundation for careers in the arts.


This event provides a unique opportunity for prospective students to spend time with us, as part of our community.  As a side note, while we’re usually very happy to see parents and families, Spring into the Arts! is an event for admitted students only.   However, we will be hosting a parents’ session from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. on this evening in Room 101 of the Art Building.  Parents and families will be able to speak with Eva Gorbants, Assistant Dean and Director of Advising for the School of Fine Arts.  Assistant Dean Gorbants is a great resource, and is very knowledgeable about all academic matters here at UConn.  Parents and families will also be welcome to join us at the general University Open House on Saturday, April 14.


The following are itineraries for admitted students and parents:


Spring into the Arts! – 3/26/18 (Admitted Students)
2:00 – 2:30 p.m. Welcome Reception – Arena Gallery, Art Building
2:30 – 4:00 p.m. Hands on Watercolor Workshop: Participants will work with Professor Kathryn Myers.  This workshop will be held in the Art Building, Room 116.
4:00 – 4:15 p.m. Break
4:15 – 6:00 p.m. Studio Lighting Demonstration: Participants will see a demonstration of lighting techniques, and the resulting effects.  Participants will actually take photographs, with the guidance of the Photography instructors.  This workshop will be held in the Art Building, Room 102.
6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Taco Bar Dinner – Arena Gallery, Art Building


Spring into the Arts! – 3/26/18 (Parents/Families)
6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Parents’ Session w/Eva Gorbants, Assistant Dean and Director of Advising – Room 101 of the Art Building

To reserve a place at Spring into the Arts, RSVP to by Wednesday, March 22, and please let us know if you have any special dietary needs.  Feel free to contact us with any questions at that email address or by phone at 860-486-3930.


Cora Lynn Deibler

Department Head

MFA Studio Art Thesis Preview Opening Reception 2/28 from 4-6 pm

On Wednesday Feb. 28th Greenhouse Studios, located on the 1st floor of the Homer Babbage Library, will host the opening reception of the MFA Studio Art Thesis Preview from 4-6pm.

This event is the first art exhibition to be shown in the newly installed gallery space within Greenhouse Studios.

The exhibition features the work of the five current, third-year studio art graduate students and serves as a preview of their work before the culmination of their final thesis exhibition to held at the William Benton Museum of Art, beginning in April.

Featured artwork by:

Kelsey Miller

Kaleigh Rusgrove

Erin Smith

Jelena Prljevic

Claire Stankus

Curated by: River Soma

Please join us for some art, inspiration and the celebration of our new gallery space. All are welcome and light refreshments will be served.