News from our current graduate students


[After]Lives of Objects: Transposition in the Material World 

Art & Architectural History Graduate Symposium 

University of Virginia Department of Art 

March 18-19, 2021 - Online Symposium 

Keynote Speaker: Kristel Smentek, Associate Professor of Art History, Department of Architecture, MIT | Author of Mariette and the Science of the Connoisseur in Eighteenth-Century Europe (2014) and Objects of Encounter: China in Eighteenth-Century France (forthcoming) 



Our graduate students are conducting impressive work and contributing actively to the field by researching, presenting, curating, writing, and teaching. Read about some of their accomplishments here.  


  Lucia Colombari specializes in twentieth-century European and American art, with an emphasis on transatlantic exchanges and Italian modernism. She collaborated on two exhibitions at UVA in fall 2018: Contested Identities: America Personified in Print Media of the 1920s, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library; and Unexpected O’Keeffe: The Virginia Watercolors and Later Paintings, The Fralin Museum of Art. In spring 2018, she co-curated with eight other UVA graduate students the exhibition Beyond Dreamings: The Rise of Indigenous Australian Art in the United States at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection. For the latter’s catalogue, she published her essay “1988: The Scintillating Arrival of Aboriginal Australian Art in the U.S”. Her article “‘To Stimulate the Imagination and Inventive Attitude’: the Société Anonyme and the Italian Futurism” will be published in the Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin, 2021. Among other grants and fellowships, her work has been supported by a Library Research Grant from The Getty Foundation and a Summer Research Grant from the UVA Society of Fellows. She received the Graduate Teaching Award from the Department of Art in 2019-20. She has served as Academic Chair of the UVA Art History Graduate Association and as the Career and Professional Development Liaison for the PhD Plus Program at UVA. She is co-organizer of the 2021 Art and Architectural History Graduate Symposium at UVA. 


Emma Dove with Rare Book School instructors and attendees at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 
Emma Langham Dove is currently researching medieval devotional manuscripts that contain full-page images of the side wound of Christ. She has an article under submission on the sacrality of the female body in the fourteenth-century Margaret Hours. In 2019-20 she was awarded a Battestin Fellowship by the Bibliographical Society of Virginia to study affective interventions in Books of Hours in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. She was also awarded a Rare Book School Fellowship to attend the course "The Bible and Histories of Reading" at the University of Pennsylvania. She and one of her former students, third-year undergraduate Lauren Kim, won a Double Hoo Research Grant to fund their project “From Time to Time: Defining the Book of Hours through Visual, Material, and Textual Engagement”. This project led to the creation of a database called “Digitized Devotion”, which allows students whose research is restricted by COVID-19 to locate information about medieval prayer books, and which was recently awarded a New Horizons grant from the Medieval Academy of America. During the 2020-21 academic year, Emma will be working with a cohort of six students on a Praxis Fellowship at the Scholars' Lab. She will also present a conference paper at the Feminist Art History Conference (postponed from 2020). Emma is in the process of writing her dissertation prospectus. 



Ash Duhrkoop with artist Sammy Baloji in the exhibition History from below the Mountain: Tshibumba Kanda-Matulu and Sammy Baloji at VMFA

Installation image of History from below the Mountain: Tshibumba Kanda-Matulu and Sammy Baloji at the VMFA
Ash Duhrkoop is a second-year PhD student specializing in twentieth-century and African art, with an interest in ecocriticism. Her current research considers the impacts of colonialism, industrialization, and extractive economies on art and material culture in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Last year, she curated an exhibition titled History from below the Mountain: Tshibumba Kanda-Matulu and Sammy Baloji at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which is currently on view. The exhibition brings together the paintings of Tshibumba Kanda-Matulu and the photomontages of Sammy Baloji. Their works explore the contested geography and history of mineral extraction in the artists’ home city of Lubumbashi, DRC. Ash is also a co-author of the forthcoming publication When Metaphor Becomes Material: Studying the Arts of Africa at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, due out this winter, which features the results of a grant-funded project for technical analysis and in-depth research of the VMFA’s collection of African art.


Elyse Gerstenecker presenting at the Southern Studies Conference in January 2020. 
Elyse Gerstenecker is writing her dissertation "In Some Way Southern: The Newcomb College Pottery, William Lycett’s Studio, and Design in in the New South, 1883-1910". She held the Barringer-Lindner Fellowship at The Fralin Museum of Art in 2019-2020, during which she curated the exhibition Figures of Memory (spring 2020) and presented a public Lunchtime Talk on the exhibition. She has published “Woman’s Work: A Confluence of Education, Design, and Craft” in Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art (Spring 2020) and contributed an exhibition catalogue entry for Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle (2019). She is organizing a panel for the 2020 SECAC Conference (online this fall) on “Motivating Forces: Women in Arts Education”. She has presented research at the Southern Studies Conference (2020); the Association for Art History (2019), and at SECAC (2018). In 2020, she received the William C. and Susan S. Mariner Southern Ceramics Fellowship at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts Summer Institute. Her work has also been funded by, among others, the American Ceramic Circle and the Winterthur Museum, Garden, & Library. She earned the Distinguished Graduate Teaching Assistant Award in 2018-2019.


Clara Ma on her research trip in Sichuan, China
In the summer of 2019, Clara Ma took a research trip to Sichuan, China to identify and record images of Avalokitesvara from the eighth to the tenth century in ten cliff-sculpture sites. Her trip was supported by an Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Summer Research Fellowship. That winter, she traveled to Dunhuang, China to study the archaeological remains from the Tibetan Occupation Period. Clara is the Summer 2020 Religion, Race & Democracy Lab student research collaborator and is developing a podcast on the use of religious rituals in the Hong Kong protests with Matthew Slaats, PhD candidate of Urban Planning at the School of Architecture. 


Speakers and staff at the Beyond Dreamings Symposium convened by the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia. 
Eleanore Neumann’s dissertation, "The Global Landscapes of Maria Graham (1785-1842)", examines how British artist and author Maria Graham strategically employed the genre of landscape to shape her artistic identity while traveling between Bombay, Rome, Valparaíso, Rio de Janeiro, and London. To support her research, Eleanore was awarded the Junior Fellowship and the Andrew Wyld Research Support Grant from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art; a Travel Grant for Study in the UK and Ireland from The Huntington Library; the Edgar Shannon Fellowship from the Jefferson Scholars Foundation; and a travel grant from UVA’s Americas Center/Centro de las Américas, among others. She has presented a paper at the International Congress on the Enlightenment, and will present papers at the 2021 American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Conference, for which she has also organized a panel, and the Paul Mellon Centre’s “British Art and Natural Forces: A State of the Field Research Programme” in November. A short essay based on the paper for the Paul Mellon Centre will be published in PMC Notes in fall 2020. She continues her work with digital humanities and with the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection. During her Praxis Fellowship (2018-2019) in the Scholars' Lab, she collaboratively developed a decolonial StoryMap of Robert Frost's New Hampshire and 3D-printed a replica of Marcel Duchamp’s 1918 Chess Set for the exhibition Public Domain 2019 at UVA's Special Collections Library. She participated in the Digital Humanities External Review Recommendations Committee organized on behalf of the Provost. At the Beyond Dreamings Symposium convened by the Kluge-Ruhe, she presented the essay she published in the related exhibition catalogue, in addition to moderating and participating in a panel dedicated to curating Indigenous art. With the support of UVA’s Mapping Indigenous Worlds Lab, she is currently collaborating on the development of a digital timeline for the exhibition Madayin: Eight Decades of Aboriginal Australian Bark Painting from Yirrkala. This September, she will present the evolution of this project at UVA’s Humanities Informatics Lab Symposium. 


  Lauren Van Nest’s dissertation is titled “Sacral Performance & Extended Royal Bodies in Ottonian Bamberg: The Case of Henry II & Kunigunde (1002–1024)”. She focuses on objects of imperial patronage in the Ottonian Empire, with a particular interest in examining the relationships crafted between these objects, their ritual environments, and the bodies of their patrons. She has presented her research at the Leeds International Medieval Congress and the International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI. She currently serves as a committee member of the Graduate Student Committee of the Medieval Academy of America and as a student committee member of the International Center of Medieval Art. She served as co-coordinator of the Medieval Colloquium at the University of Virginia from 2018 to mid-2020. Lauren was a 2019-2020 Praxis Fellow with UVA’s Scholars’ Lab, for which she co-created a digital humanities project titled Land and Legacy. The project focuses on land development and expansion of UVA and the UVA Foundation, and how these changes have affected local communities, reshaped city and county topography, and contributed to local inequities. Lauren also co-curated the exhibition Beyond Dreamings: The Rise of Indigenous Australian Art in the United States at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection. 


  Meaghan Walsh’s dissertation project focuses on turn-of-the-century American art with a focus on American realist artists and their depictions of New York City in the early 20th century. Her research has led her to Washington, DC and New York City, where she conducted archival research in the Archives of American Art and New York Public Library, and analyzed the technical and material aspects of a selection of paintings in her dissertation in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of the City of New York. She has co-curated three exhibitions in the University’s museums and libraries, including Contested Identities: America Personified in Print Media of the 1920s, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, fall 2018; Unexpected O’Keeffe: The Virginia Watercolors and Later Paintings, The Fralin Museum of Art, fall 2018; and Beyond Dreamings: The Rise of Indigenous Australian Art in the United States, Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, spring 2018. In the latter exhibition’s catalogue, she published “The Politics of Painting and the Painting of Politics: Indigenous Australians Battle for Land Rights.”  


  Chloe Downe Wells’s research topic is Steichen at the Intersection: Photography and Intermediality in Early Twentieth-Century Modernism. Her areas of study include the history of photography, and nineteenth- and twentieth-century art and visual culture. Chloe is a contributing author to the exhibition catalogue Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle (Peabody Essex Museum, 2019), after co-curating two exhibitions on Lawrence at UVA in 2016. She was a Praxis Digital Humanities Fellow at the UVA Scholars’ Lab in 2019-2020. She was awarded a Kapp Family Fellowship in Summer 2019, and a Hobby Family Foundation Fellowship and a UVA Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences Summer Research Award in 2018. This year, she is the Barringer-Lindner Curatorial Fellow at The Fralin Museum of Art



And, some brief news from recent PhDs! 


In-progress view of Alicia Caticha’s PhD defense in June 2020 
Alicia Caticha successfully defended her dissertation in summer 2020, and has begun her tenure-track assistant professorship at Northwestern University, where she specializes in eighteenth-century sculpture and decorative arts. She recently published her third article, “Madame Récamier as Tableau Vivant: Marble and the Classical Ideal in Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s Apesh*t in Journal18, and has another article forthcoming in French Porcelain Society Journal vol. VIII.


Charlie with “Dr. Mom” Liz Doe Stone just after her PhD defense.
Liz Doe Stone celebrated the arrival of her son Charlie in November 2019, and in April 2020—with Charlie only 5 months old!—she successfully defended her dissertation. She is currently teaching a senior seminar called “Global Impressionisms” in her new position as lecturer of art history at McGill University in Montreal.