Tag Archives: book

Winthrop Welcomes Emily Connell, Visiting Artist Workshop

Emily Connell joins
Winthrop University’s Department of Fine Arts
to host an Artist Workshop
Topic:  Slip Cast Books
Thursday, April 18, 2013
4:00p.m. to 6:15p.m.
Art Education Room


Emily Connell Bio

Emily Connell creates her work through a variety of media, including ceramics, video, photography, and performance.  Her unique background informs her work which walks a line between two spiritual extremes. 

Connell worked on her artwork at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snow Mass, Colorado, and the International Ceramics Studio in Kecskemet, Hungary.  Emily Connell received her BFA degree in ceramics from the Kansas City Art Institute.  Currently, she is a Ceramics Instructional Assistant to George Timock at the Kansas City Art Institute and a 2012-2013 Charlotte Street Foundation Urban Culture Project Studio Resident in Kansas City, Missouri.

Connell’s work is published in area publications and Ceramics Monthly magazine.  She exhibits nationally, including an exhibition at the Houston Center for Contemporary Crafts.  In 2012, Connell received the Regina Brown Fellowship to research Catholic processions in Italy during the spring of 2013.



Emily Connell’s Artist Statement

“The progressive secularization of modern man has altered the content of his spiritual life, but not broken the mould of his imagination; a huge residue of mythology lingers in the zones that have escaped regimentation.”

–Mircea Eliade, Images et symbols, Paris 1952.

The mysticisms I experienced as a child at Catholic school still hold a great power over me, influencing my art. I make my work in two stages. First I create objects inspired from religion, and configure them into a scene. Next I use my body to create a context and purpose for the objects. By recording these symbolic interactions through the lens of the camera I produce photographs and video to display alongside my objects. The combination of photographs and relics create a narrative while also heightening the mystery of spiritual purpose.

Using a found vade mecum, or a book of reference (encyclopedia, Bible, dictionary), I cover it, page-by-page, in slip. Firing the book in a kiln transforms it into a reliquary shell, containing the ashes of the book within. Ensuring stability for the delicate book I encase it with chalky plaster. I then use a masonry-saw to cut the piece, revealing the cross-section of the ceramic pages.index

These objects become a part of my pseudo-ritual interaction that I perform and document. The use of my body blurs the separation of roles in religious practice, from the sacred leader and practitioner/parishioner, all the way to that of the cynic.



Our First Faculty Interview…..Dr. Laura Dufresne


Introducing our first Faculty Interview….

Dufresne Author ISBN 0-7734-1890-3We had the wonderful opportunity to interview Dr. Laura Dufresne, Winthrop University’s Professor of Art History, Coordinator of Art History Programs.  The following responses are excerpts from our in-person conversation:

Tell us about your educational background.  You have an undergraduate degree in Psychology, you served as a VISTA, you have a Specialization Certificate in Gerontology, and a PhD in Art History.  Why did you choose these areas of specialization?  Why art? 

I have an artistic past including music and painting.  My Grandfather was a sculptor.  The arts were the focus in our family.  I knew I would be working in the art or service industry.  Avoiding art critiques, I channeled my focus in the service industry and worked with older Americans and Social Services.  It is interesting:  As a senior in college, I discovered Art History and stuck with it.  Even after I graduated, I took classes at night.  I studied at 3 different colleges until I settled in Seattle to complete my Graduate Degree in Art History.

How has your educational combination helped you in your endeavors?

My educational combination helped with my art.  I used to paint older people.  I found it to be a natural affinity and a natural flow of my interests.

How important do you think it is for artists to know about Art History, and why?

I think it makes sense for artists to know about Art History because of its historical framework.  I think it depends on the student, but the framework of Art History helps art make sense.  Some students may rely heavily on the influence and dialogue of types of art.  Some students may find it to be intimidating.  I think Art History influences are exciting, but even as I say that, I want to leave a loophole for Outsider Artists.  I do think Art History is important for everyone as enrichment in any field.  Art History relates to every field – even math and economics.

What is your intrigue with the Medieval and Renaissance periods in art?  What is your intrigue with Christine de Pizan?

My upbringing is in the Catholic Church.  I found it to be a dazzling sensory experience with its sounds, smells, and sights…And the incredible stories about the lives of Saints.  I am intrigued with Christine de Pizan because she lived in the courts…she was a woman of the Late Middle Ages.  She worked within the system (of society) and still defied it.  She illustrated books – and back then, illustrations were expensive and required a royal patron.  I enjoy analyzing these images and by doing so, I create a type of revisionist history.  The illustrations were true to the message of the later periods.

In the history of women, Christine de Pizan talked about how to live in the world and what other jobs women could have…the skills they could use for others. I like uncovering these kinds of hidden gems – for example, taking a super popular person and finding their personality contradictions.  She was in a convent her last years – there she wrote her poem, The Poem of Joan of Arc.

And we hear you have a new book on Christine de Pizan, The Fifteenth-Century Illustrations of Christine De Pizan’s ‘The Book of the City of Ladies’ and ‘The Treasure of the City of Ladies.’  Congratulations!  

CLICK HERE for the Winthrop News Link

Dufresne Cover ISBN 0-7734-1890-3To order or for more information….

Mellen Press


While “googling” you, we came across your Pinterest site.  Share your favorite images from your collection.

1)   Dress lights hanging in a tree, lit up, in an absurd, magical way.

2)   Lady with big hair  {Note from interviewer:  Not sure which one Laura meant…so maybe you will find her…great collection of eye candy!  CLICK HERE}

If I asked you to tell me one place to go and one thing to do there, where and what would you suggest?

Italy!  Italy has everything…history, fruits, vegetables, historic churches, and gorgeous beaches.

Your turn to travel…You have been selected to go on an all-expenses-paid partying trip for three days with historical figures – an artist, a writer and one free choice. Who do you choose?  Where do you go?

1)    Charlotte Bronte – Writer choice because I love her writing and want to invite her, even though I don’t think she would be a good conversationalist.

2)    Simone Martini – Artist choice because he would travel and talk.

3)    Julia Margaret Cameron – Photographer/Artist is my extra choice.

We would go to Italy and rent a villa by the sea.

We heard you have an upcoming trip to Italy in May 2013.  What have you planned for this trip?   

This trip is the “Dream Child” of Paula Smith.  She is a Professor of Ceramics and Art…teaching for over 30 years.  We are taking students from CPCC and Winthrop, plus other connections from the community.  It is a full 7 days of trips with Ceramics plus Art History plus Italy!  La Meridiana is a beautiful place to stay with gourmet food.  We are also going to Certaldo to shop…where Boccaccio was born.  So many activities!  So much history!  Here is a link on the workshop and the itinerary:  CLICK HERE

If you could visit three galleries or museums right now, which ones would you choose?

Medieval Art and The Cloisters

The Vatican for Catholic Art, Classical

The Getty Villa in Malibu

What art have you purchased in the last six months?

A clay bust from an artist at Kansas City Art Institute

Name some of your favorite artists:

Nam Jun Paik, electronic world, video arts

Laurie Anderson Performance Artist

Frank Gehry – Architect

Maya Yang Lin A Popular Artist

If you had an uninhibited alter ego, what would he/she be doing?

Lounge Singer, 1940’s hits.  {Interviewer’s note:  CLICK HERE for a link on “How to be a Lounge Singer”…}

Share 3 words to describe you.

1)    Happy

2)    Curious

3)    Bossy

What makes you laugh?

Almost everything – laugh at everything.  Read How to be Happy.  Life is full of humor.

Tell us something not many people know about you (until now).

I cannot spell.  Spell-check changed my life.

Predict your future.

Traveling.  Living adventurously.  Moving toward a sunset.  Writing on blog.  I would like to write another book, perhaps from my blog.  See where the writings lead me…

at-sunset-evening-skyThank you, Dr. Dufresne, for your time and for sharing your thoughts with us.  Enjoy seeking sunsets!

Sad News for Winthrop…Justin Van Hoy


Sad news for Winthrop…

Justin Van Hoy – the “Dutch Giant” – one of our most accomplished alumni of the VCOM-GD program, died.

Justin graduated from Winthrop in 2004, and soon moved west to Los Angeles.  He had an early association with Designer/Artist Shepard Fairey.  Justin opened his gallery in the Los Angeles area:  http://thislosangeles.com/ (currently featuring a show, Parentheses, with the works of Paul Martyka and Reed Elliott) and announced the publication of his book, Milk and Honey: Contemporary Art in California.

Quote from Chad Dresbach,  Chair, Department of DesignJustin Van Hoy at Winthrop University:

“I’m more than a bit shocked by this. Dutch was an excellent designer, a powerful thinker, and a good, reliable friend; he cared deeply about what he was doing, was generous to others, and he was always a strong supporter of the program. He had beat back cancer, twice, and went through a terrific amount of pain for someone so young.

Whether you knew Dutch or not, take a moment to realize ‘one of our own has fallen.’ The world is a much poorer place for the loss of Justin.”

Check out Justin’s art and design at http://work.thedutchpress.com <http://work.thedutchpress.com/