Visiting Artist Lecture: Inverted Landscapes by Rebecca Najdowski

Please join us for a virtual artist talk by Rebecca Najdowski this Monday, April 5 at 7:00 PM (EDT), hosted by the Department of Art & Art History. In her presentation titled, Inverted Landscapes, Rebecca will share insights into her Ph.D. research and creative practice, which explore concepts of representation (photo/video), technology, and the environment. More information is below, including an invitation to the Zoom meeting room and an artist biography. The event is free and open to the public — please feel free to share with others who may be interested.

If you have questions or would like additional information, contact clare.benson@uconn.edu.

Topic: Inverted Landscapes – Rebecca Najdowski Artist Talk

Time: Apr 5, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 935 2172 8321

Passcode: e4w1zr


About the artist:


Rebecca Najdowski is an American artist, researcher, and educator based in Naarm/Melbourne, Australia. Her practice involves experimental photography, video, and 3D modelling as a way to explore the materiality of photomedia. With a focus on how photo images render representations of nature, she considers the ensuing implications of how we, as humans, comprehend the world around us. Much of her photomedia-driven artwork has experimented with its materiality by inviting natural elements — geothermal activity, the sun, time — to change the content and texture of the work.

Rebecca’s images, objects, and films have been presented internationally, including Aperture Gallery in New York; FORMAT Festival in the United Kingdom; and Athens Digital Art Festival in Greece. She holds a PhD from Victorian College of the Arts (University of Melbourne) and an MFA from California College of the Arts in San Francisco and was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Brazil. From 2013–2015 she was an Artist Fellow at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona, where her work is now part of the collection. Rebecca has been an artist-in-residence at Banff Centre in Canada; the Institute for Electronic Art at Alfred University, New York; and at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, California.

Rebecca was raised on the traditional lands of the Pueblo people and the Jicarilla Apache in Northern New Mexico, spent many years on the lands of the Ohlone people of the San Francisco Bay Area, and currently lives and works on unceded Wurundjeri and Boonwurung land.

Visiting Artists Breanne Trammel and Mary Banas – next week!

Breanne Trammell is a multi-disciplinary artist with a background in printmaking. Her practice is fluid and project-specific as she pivots between installation, sculpture, publishing, performance, curatorial projects, and collaborative making. Her studio work is a playful constellation of diaristic sculptural objects and prints that explore the confluence of high and low brow, and shares commonplace experiences that are mined from the everyday and her personal history. Using humor and playful formalism, Breanne subverts traditional printmaking techniques to elevate low and ubiquitous objects, printed matter, and digital ephemera. Her publishing imprint Teachers Lounge loosely operates as a forum to explore subversive topics and reveal hidden histories related to education, activism, politics, sports, and visual culture. Breanne’s work has been widely exhibited and she has been an artist-in-residence at the Women’s Studio Workshop, Kala Institute, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Ox-Bow School of Art, Endless Editions, among others. Breanne received her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and is an Assistant Professor of Fine Arts at the University of Cincinnati.

Mary Banas develops conceptual and informed designs for brands, institutions, and social practices with her independent creative practice YES IS MORE which includes design, visual research, and teaching.

Mary has designed for and with organizations and companies including COLLINS, Designer Fund, Dolby Labs, Honor, Mode Analytics, Postmates, Segment, and WBUR Boston. In 2018 she designed Japanese-American singer-songwriter Mitski’s album Be The Cowboy which was nominated in the “Best Recording Package” category for the 61st annual Grammy Awards.

She was a resident for Design Inquiry, Maine in 2016 where she developed work investigating the possibilities and limitations of line, both as a form and concept, and in 2018 with a close-read of Sol LeWitt’s 1981 artist book Autobiography resulting in Alternative Texts: What Are You Reading? which launched at Limited Edition Gallery inside John McNeil Studio in Berkeley, CA.

Mary has taught graphic design since 2009, notably as Visiting Assistant Professor in Residence at the University of Connecticut, Rhode Island School of Design, the University of Bridgeport, as well as leading design workshops for the Center for Creative Solutions (Vermont), Dolby Labs (San Francisco), OTIS College of Art and Design (Los Angeles), and the Berkeley Art Museum + Pacific Film Archive (Berkeley). She has been a visiting critic at MICA and Pratt Institute.

BFA, University of Connecticut
MFA, Rhode Island School of Design


Breanne Trammell and Mary Banas

2019 Guggenheim Fellowship Winner: Prof. Janet Pritchard


Congratulations to Prof. Janet Pritchard for being awarded a 2019 Guggenheim Fellowship. Each year, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awards roughly 175 fellowships to select individuals from a pool of over 3,000 applicants. These fellowships are intended to recognize individuals that express an exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.

Janet’s work as a landscape photographer is exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States, as well as in the United Kingdom. Her photography is also a part of eight prestigious permanent collections in venues both here and the U.K. Her current project, More than a River: the Connecticut River Watershed, is expected to continue for many years. It involves photographing the Connecticut River landscape and contextualizing it as a complex set of interconnected systems where the land and riverscape impact the lives of the people who call it home and vice versa. Her work seeks out the intersection of nature and culture. The Guggenheim Fellowship will provide her with the opportunity to better understand the ecological concerns throughout the watershed and delve deeper into a few significant topics that she can weave into the larger story she will be telling through her work.


janet pritchard winner

Anonymous Is a Woman – Art Exhibition Opening Reception


Please join us for the opening reception of Anonymous Is A Woman, reflections on the erasure and representation of the female body through history by Isabella Saraceni ’19 (Studio Art, SFA).  The reception will be held on Monday, April 15, 2019 from 6:00pm-8:00pm in VAIS Gallery, Art Building Room 109. This event is open to the University community and the general public. The show will run from April 15th – April 19th. Click here to learn more about the artist. This project is funded by a UConn IDEA Grant.


isabella saraceni

Scholarship Show


The annual Scholarship Show on Wednesday, April 3rd, was a success! There were 22 individual named scholarships with 24 recipients. Students submitted their artwork and were chosen by a jury of professional artists to be displayed in the Scholarship Show. Awards winning pieces were chosen from the juried pieces. There were also 56 recipients of the Fine Arts Talent Scholarship which is awarded based on academic achievement and GPA, and did not require any submission of work. The winning pieces are on display in the Arena Gallery, which is where the ceremony took place. Anne D’Alleva, Dean of the School of Fine Arts, presented the Dean’s Scholarship and Professors Alison Paul and Mark Zurolo announced remaining scholarship recipients.


Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon TODAY

Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon hopes to bring more coverage of gender, feminism, and the arts on Wikipedia. The Art + Feminism Edit-a-thon will be taking place on Monday, April 1 from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Greenhouse Studios and the Humanities Institute, located in the Babbidge Library. If you are at the Hartford Campus, it will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. in HTB 223 Computer Lab.

Read more about the Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon here

Sharon Hayes Opening Reception

Sharon Hayes moved to New York City in 1999 and quickly noticed a relationship between art and activism. Her work touches on the ideas of romantic love, queer theory, activism, and politics. She uses various mediums such as recordings, speeches, songs, and letters, in combination with her own writing, to produce multi-channel video installations. Her interest in public space stemmed from her interest in public speech and she hopes to interrogate the intensely intimate and profoundly public relationship of speech and action.

Sharon also delivers political texts in the form of on-street recitations to further analyze the intersection of history, politics, and speech. Through this work she seeks to answer the question of how does the protest sign create meaning? She also aims to understand the positionality of the sign-holder, so she often holds the sign herself. She uses political slogans from the past, as she’s interested in seeing what conversation it will create in the present. When people approach her and ask what she’s doing, she doesn’t tell them she’s an artist or doing a performance because when someone hears that, they tend to have a ‘Oh I get it, art is weird’ response and carry on; this inhibits real conversation and questions from arising. By telling them she’s just interested in protest, she is able to create genuine conversation and raise questions that go deeper into the given topic and parallel the typical questions people ask about art and performances.

Sharon explained that she is also interested in ever so slightly disrupting the concept of time and does her best to do so in her performances and artwork. When she showcases her work, the video installations are projected on a surface with a 7-degree angle toward the audience. She believes that this method is a strategy used in documentary film but that she does not classify her work as documentary.

Students were given the chance to hear Sharon speak to all of this in person, as well as pick her brain about both her work and art in general, at the opening reception that was held for her on Monday, February 25th.


CAG Exhibition: Protests, Proclamations and Celebrations

Protests, Proclamations, and Celebrations: 
Sharon Hayes

Part Two of Four Acts




Artist Sharon Hayes is part of our four part exhibition, Protests, Proclamations and Celebrations. She addresses ideas of romantic love, queer theory, activism, and politics. Incorporating recordings, speeches, songs, and letters along with her own writing, she describes her practice as “a series of performatives rather than performance”. She will be participating in an artist talk and opening reception from 5 pm to 7pm on Monday 25th in the Art Building at UCONN. Please join us for refreshments and conversation with the artist.


Ricerche: Three, 2016, Film Still


Fingernails on a Blackboard: Bella, 2014, Video Still 


We Cannot Leave This World to Others, 2014, Video Still


Ricerche: Three, 2016, Installation Shot


Protests, Proclamations, and Celebrations: Shen Xin

Part One of Four Acts



Shen Xin delivered an artist talk to the UCONN community followed by a reception at the Contemporary Art Galleries. Shen also met with the graduate students for individual critiques. 


Installation view of Shen Xin’s Escape Forms: Prologue, 2016 and Provocation of the Nightingale, 2017. 


Still from Provocation of the Nightingale, 2017


Shen Xin speaks at the Thomas J. Dodd Center

Artist Talk: Nathan Fox

Nathan Fox, an award-winning illustrator, held two talks and a public critique for UConn students on February 19th.  He is co-creator and artist on THE WEATHERMAN and is Chair of MFA Visual Narrative, a low-residency graduate program in visual storytelling. He works with clients such as NYTimes, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Wired, Scholastic, MT, Nike, and more.


nathan fox flyer

Tim Saternow Lecture on Watercolor Painting

Tim Saternow joined us at the Arena Gallery on February 19th to discuss watercolor painting.

watercolor painting lecture

Tim Saternow is an American painter whose watercolors explore the lost and forgotten areas on the edges of the urban scene. His paintings encompass the industrial streets of New York City, to the empty lands of Joshua Tree, California, to houses of Provincetown, MA. Tim got his BFA at SUNY Purchase in New York and his MFA from Yale University. Formerly, Tim was a Professor both at Carnegie-Mellon University from 1992 to 1996 and here at UConn from 1996 to 2006, where he taught graduate level Theater Design and Art Direction. When Tim was in his MFA program, he wasn’t taught how to create watercolors even though he was expected to use it as a medium and in film– this inspired him to teach it here at UConn when he was a professor. He loved creating watercolors so much that he decided to move to New York City to work full-time as a painter.

Tim came back to UConn on Tuesday, February 19th to talk to our MFA students about his journey as an artist, the process of creating his watercolors, how he mounts his work, and how to navigate the world of residencies and gallery showings post-MFA. His creation process begins with him making a value sketch that focuses on the light and dark, and negative and positive aspects of the scene. If the sketch interests him at this level, he moves forward to create a finer detailed sketch, then a colored sketch, and then the watercolor itself. When he makes the transition from colored sketch to watercolor, he first creates a grisaille (a gray monochrome painting). With the aim of deconstructing the image so as to not duplicate a photograph, he then splashes water and bursts of color on the painting. He works with those splotches and adds more local color until he feels like it’s done.

Tim has a series of work called PARK—  each watercolor was of different parking garages in New York City and had the work ‘park’ somewhere in the painting. He advised the MFA students to market their artwork in terms of a theme, showing PARK as an example. He said the theme could even be the medium used to create the artwork, but that typically having a theme is the best way to get people interested in showing your work at galleries.  He also advised them to focus on forming connections with others, as this was how he got to show work in many of the galleries his work has been in.

Tim’s work is so stunning and unique. Our MFA students were able to see his paintings first-hand and have the opportunity to ask him questions that resonated with where they’re at in their artistic careers. Thanks Tim!


Tim Sadernow Image

Tim Sadernow Image

Tim Sadernow Image

Artist SHEN XIN Talks with UConn MFA Students

Artist Talk


Shen Xin, the current artist featured in the Protests, Proclamations & Celebrations exhibition in
the Contemporary Art Gallery, visited an MFA seminar to allow time for the graduate students to
ask questions about her artwork, the processes behind it, and her career path. Their dialogue
covered a range of topics, one of them being her transition from MFA to post-MFA to life as a
professional artist as that resonated with the graduate students. She also spoke on how her
work has changed since being out of school, how she casts people for her videos and the
fluidity of her movie making process. She touched on some of the personal challenges that
she’s faced as an artist, how she handles negative comments and critiques about her work, how
to navigate and seek out funding, and highlighted the relationships she’s formed through her
work. She expressed her passion for teaching in the future and mentioned that she has a gallery
in Shanghai.