Visiting Artists

Visiting Artists

Along with our Ruffin Gallery exhibitions during the school year, the Studio Department has a very active visiting artist program. The faculty, by virtue of their connections in the national and international art world, are able to draw important and diverse contemporary artists to the University from around the world. Throughout the academic year, visiting artists in all media offer lectures, workshops, and studio visits.

Please join the Studio Art department in presenting our Ruffin Distinguished Artist-in-Residence for 2019-2020, Nick Cave!

The Studio Art department is thrilled to host 2019-2020 Ruffin Distinguished Artist-in-Residence Nick Cave for a conversation with Fralin Director Matthew McLendon in anticipation of his residency this coming Spring! ´╗┐Cave works in the visual and performing arts across mediums, including sculpture, installation, video, textiles, sound, and performance, to address themes such as race, gender, and class. He is best known for his body suit projects where he creates elaborate sculptural forms at scale with the human body. His is included in the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; and the Trapholt Museum, Kolding, Denmark, among others. Cave has received several prestigious awards including: the Art in Embassies International Medal of Arts Honoree (2017), the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Year in Review Award (2014) in recognition of his Grand Central Terminal performance Heard - NY, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2008), Artadia Award (2006), the Joyce Award (2006), Creative Capital Grants (2002, 2004 and 2005), and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2001). Cave, who received his MFA at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, is Professor and Chairman of the Fashion Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Visiting Artists for Fall 2019

Helen O’ Leary was born in Wexford. She attended NCAD and earned a BFA and MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL. Her work exists between the lines of painting and sculpture; object and image. Her constructions uses combined materials through a process O’Leary calls “knitting with wood”. These objects address authenticity, materiality, restorations, and explores the language of painting as a whole. She has been honored with the Rome Prize American Academy in Rome, Hennessy Purchase Award, IMMA, Dublin, John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship; two Pollock-Krasner awards; the Joan Mitchell Award for painting and sculpture; Research Awards from Penn State University, and several grants from the Arts Council of Ireland. She has attended many residencies, including the Culturel Irlandaise, France; the Sam and Adele Golden Residency, NY; ME; and Yaddo, NY.  Mac Dowell, NY, Bogliasco, Italy, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine. Exhibitions include the American Academy of Arts and Letters, NY; The American Academy in Rome, Italy, Sala Uno, Rome, Italy, The MAC Belfast, Ireland; National Gallery of Art, Ireland;  Maine Museum of Art, Bangor Maine, Patricia Sweetow Gallery, San Francisco, Lesley Heller Gallery, NY;  Zurcher Gallery, NY, Galerie le Petit Port, Belgium,; the Contemporary Arts Centre, Australia; Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, IL; Kerlin Gallery, Ireland; and Fenderesky Gallery, Ireland. She currently a fellow at the American Academy in Rome, Italy.  She lives in Jersey City, NJ, USA and Leitrim, Ireland.


Linda Goode Bryant is best known for founding the Just Above Manhattan (JAM) Gallery in 1974 that centered around supporting artists of color, which helped jumpstart the careers of well-known artists including David Hammons, Senga Nengudi, Maren Hassinger, Houston Conwill, among many others. More recently, Goode Bryant expanded her efforts beyond the art world and founded Project Eats, an initiative that promotes urban farming in black and brown communities in New York.


Emily Larned has been publishing as an artistic practice since 1993, when she made her first zine as a teenager. Working in an overlapping region of graphic design, socially engaged art, speculative design, craft, book arts, and writing, she practices many diverse handmaking processes, including typesetting, embroidering, bookbinding, letterpress printing, risograph printing, knitting, and handcoding with HTML & CSS. The economy, resourcefulness, and repetition of these slow processes directly inform her DIY, feminist approach as an artist and designer. Emily likes working directly with materials to learn, and lets the inherent feedback loop of making and testing determine the form. In addition to creating artifacts, she builds systems of distribution and facilitates opportunities for engagement. Her work explores morale, or how we feel about what we do, and she prefers to alternate solitary studio practice with group work. She teaches graphic design, and she views design as an optimistic, speculative activity: a collaborative method of interrogating problems, challenging parameters, imagining alternatives, and building desired futures. Emily is co-founder of Impractical Labor in Service of the Speculative Arts (ILSSA, est. 2008), a union for reflective creative practice, which to date has counted nearly 400 members in 37 states and 6 countries. ILSSA examines the immaterial working conditions of artists and makers through participatory projects, publications, and exhibitions. With her imprint Alder & Frankia (est. 2016), she publishes collaborations and reissues of archival material. Emily's award-winning artist books, zines, & publications (including Muffin Bones zine, Memorytown USA zine, Parfait zine, & artist books under her former imprint Red Charming) are collected by over 70 institutions internationally, including the Tate, the Brooklyn Museum, the V&A, & the Smithsonian, & are exhibited around the world. Her work has been awarded honors by the AIGA (50 Books | 50 Covers), the Type Directors Club (TDC) (The World's Best Typography), and the Connecticut Art Directors Club (CADC) (Gold & Silver awards in Book Design, Spirit of Creativity Award). She graduated from Yale School of Art with an MFA in Graphic Design.Emily learned letterpress printing from Robin Price while an undergraduate at Wesleyan University, & she served on the Board of Booklyn Artists Alliance for eight years. She has curated several exhibitions of independent publishing, taught at every education level from after-school program through MFA, & has presented about her work at dozens of institutions. Emily is currently Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.


Peter Burr is an animator and artist based in New York City.  His work has been shown widely and he has been the recipient of both a Creative Capital Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Influenced by the graphics and structures of lo-fi gaming, his 3 channel video-work, Infinite Death Labyrinths, was on view in the Ruffin Media Gallery on the first floor from Sept 27 – Oct 4, 2019. Of this work Peter says: There are 2 ways to view a labyrinth: one in which it is fragmented (looking around from inside of it) and one in which it is unified (looking at it from far away outside) . The fragmented view, seated within the constant doubling-back of its architecture, breeds a sense of chaos and confusion through its constricted walls. The comprehensive view, however, may dazzle us with an artistry of order. Find a vantage high above the spatial coil and the paths flatten into an image. From this simple shift in perspective one physical structure becomes two: it is both a path and a pattern.



Titus Kaphar Poster

Titus Kaphar



Visiting Artists Lectures

*A Quick and Tragic Thaw: A Collaboration by Yvonne Love and Gabrielle Russomagno Artist Talk September 24: 4:45 PM

Emily Larned: October 11 5:00 PM

Recent Visiting Artists

Titus Kaphar

Marisa Williamson

Mildred Beltre















Past visiting artists

Janine Antoni Patrick Dougherty Karen Kunc Elena Sisto
Cam Archer Ellen Driscoll Ellen Kuras Thomas Struth
John Arnold Nicole Eisenman Judith Linhares Nato Thompson
Michael Bell-Smith Hasan Elahi Danny Lyon  Annu Vertanen
Randy Bolton Emmet Gowin Sally Mann Terri Weifenbach
Tom Burckhardt Paul Graham Suzanne McCelland Stephen Westfall*
Kendall Buster Brent Green Jessica Mallios Marisa Williamson
David Bunn Sam Green Abelardo Morell  
William Christenberry Tyler Green Stanley Nelson  
Dawn Clements Ann Hamilton Christen Patterson  
Cecelia Condit Julie Heffernan* J. Morgan Puett  
Linda Conner Daniel Heyman Martin Puryear  
Tim Davis Christian Jankowski Claudia Rankine  
Laura Doggett Michael Kruger Adam Schreiber  



* These artists have been Painters-in-Residence. For more about the Lee E. Fleming Fund for Visiting Artist in Painting, visit this page >


Ruffin Distinguished Artist in Residence

La Pocha Nostra Workshop

La Pocha Nostra Workshop sign-up ->


La Pocha Nostra

La Pocha Nostra Schedule of Events


Photo Karaoke

Great Mojado Invasion

Great Mojado Invasion

The Peter B. and Adeline W. Ruffin Foundation established the Ruffin Distinguished Artist in Residence in 2012. The endowment created an annual teaching position designed to bring artists of significant international stature to the University on a rotating basis. Every year the newly appointed Ruffin Artist in Residence offers unique classes, gives a public lecture and has an exhibit or screening of their work for the university community. Throughout the academic year students have the opportunity to interact directly with the artist through seminars and critiques. 


Current Ruffin Distinguished Artist

Spring 2019 

La Pocha Nostra

Workshop sign-up ->


Past Ruffin Distinguished Artists

Marisa Williamson, Spring 2018

Laura Doggett, Spring 2017 

Terri Weifenbach, Spring 2017

J. Morgan Puett, Spring 2017


Mark Dion, 2015-16

Claude Wampler, 2014-15

Cindy Bernard, 2013-14






















Lee E. Fleming Fund for Visiting Artist in Painting

Lee E. Fleming Fund for Visiting Artist in Painting Past and Upcoming Painters-in-Residence


Margaret McCann

Spring 2015

Margaret McCann studied at Yale U., Washington U. in St. Louis, and the NY Studio School, and has taught painting, drawing, sculpture and art history at the NY Academy of Art, Pratt Institute, Syracuse U., Boston U., Stockton and Montclair in NJ, and UNH, and in Rome, Italy at RISD, Trinity and Saint Marys colleges, U. of Loyola-Chicago, John Cabot U., and the International School in Umbria. In addition to editing the Skira/Rizzoli book "The Figure," she has published art reviews for Art New England and The Portsmouth Herald; poetry; and political humor for Her awards include Fulbright, Ingram-Merrill, Blanche E. Colman, and NH State Council grants; artist residencies at Ragdale, Millay, American Academy in Rome, and Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris. Her solo exhibitions include Antonia Jannone Disegni di Architettura in Milan, The Painting Center in NYC, and Artemesia Gallery in Chicago. McCann's work has been reviewed in La Repubblica, Corriere della Sera, the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post and the NY Observer.


Stephen Westfall

November 2014

Stephen Westfall is a New York City-based artist and Assistant Professor of Painting at Rutgers University. His work is represented by Lennon Weinberg Gallery in New York as well as galleries in Switzerland, Munich, and Paris. He is the recipient of multiple prestigious awards, including a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, three fellowships from National Endowment for the Arts, and the Rome Prize Fellowship. In addition to his painting and teaching, Stephen is a Contributing Editor to Art in America.


George Nick

Spring 2014
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George Nick is a realist painter known for his work of Boston's landscapes and urban spaces. A native of Rochester, New York, he received his BFA and MFA from Yale University. His work has been featured in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, DC), and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (Tel Aviv, Israel), among many others. In addition to his painting, he also taught at Massachusetts College of Art for over twenty years, and he will return to the classroom during his residency at UVA to teach Intermediate Painting II.


Julie Heffernan

October 2012
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Julie Heffernan is a New York-based artist and Professor of Art at Montclair State University in New Jersey. She received her MFA from Yale School of Art, and her work has been included in many national and international collections, including the Columbia Museum of Art (Columbia, SC), the Virginia Museum of Fine Art (Richmond, VA), the Zabludowicz Art Trust (London, UK), and Catherine Clark Gallery (San Francisco, CA). David Cohen, art critic for the New York Sun, described her work as "...a hybrid of genres and styles, mixing allegory, portraiture, history painting, and still life." She is the recipient of an Artist Fellowship at MacDowell Colony and an Individual Artists Grant from the New York Foundation of the Arts, among other awards.


Samira Abbassy

April 2012
Download announcement (pdf) >

Samira Abbassy is an Arab-Iranian artist whose work addresses the topics of women, war, and identity. Born in Ahwaz, Iran, Samira moved to London as a young girl and eventually attended Canterbury College of Art. She relocated to New York City in 1998, where she played a foundational role in helping set up the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts. Her work has appeared in public and private collections both nationally and internationally, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Government Art Collection, the British Museum, and the Farjaam Collection in Dubai. Additionally, Samira was awarded a Yaddo residency fellowship in 2006 and a Joan Mitchell Painting/Sculpture Award in 2010.