Three Knox College art history majors presented a symposium last Friday featuring research they have been dedicated to for the past year. All three were advised by Associate Professor of Art Gregory Gilbert, who described the research process as an immersion not unlike what is expected of studio art majors.
The first to present was senior Rachel Hautzinger, whose project focused on a sculpture from the 1600s titled “St. Teresa in Ecstasy” by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The focus of her findings was how the sculpture, which resides in a Roman chapel, was made to promote the Catholic Church’s then-masculine agenda. Hautzinger argued through these findings that the woman portrayed in the sculpture did not represent the free-thinking woman St. Teresa was in real life.
“Sort of the general idea for the project was my final paper of Baroque Art and Architecture,” Hautzinger said. “It was nice to have a base of research. I have also seen the work in person, so that made it interesting.”
Along the lines of her major, Hautzinger is interested in working at a museum in education or business services.
Hundreds of years after St. Teresa, senior Maggie Linck’s project focused on post-World War I Germany and the period of social rebellion that followed. According to Linck, this rebellion was characterized by the emergence of a bisexual and sometimes lesbian subculture, which was largely expressed through fashion for women.
“I sort of fused all of my [past art history] papers to come up with my project,” Linck said.
Taking a more contemporary turn, senior Erin Duff’s project dealt with the films of Gordon Matta-Clark. Metta-Clark filmed the creation of his sculptures. According to Duff, Matta-Clark’s sculptural endeavors explored “the limitless conception of space in relation to the human body.”
Throughout her presentation, Duff showed clips of Matta-Clark’s films. One involved the laborious process of cutting straight through an entire house to let a beam of light in. Another involved a man driving a car down a road to a garbage dump where it was then destroyed by a bulldozer.
According to Duff, most of Matta-Clark’s works involved statements about man-made environments and how they have failed to serve people. He forced people to see man-made structures in uniquely bizarre ways.
“I quite love him,” Duff said of Matta-Clark. “This is going to sound bad, but I just kind of flipped through a book of art and ended up choosing him. I’m glad I did.”