Having recently been awarded my PhD in the History of Art, I am currently working on developing the ideas and themes explored in my thesis. My research in this area broadly addresses the relationship between theories of perception and late 19th and early 20th century French art. I am particularly interested in the work of Cézanne and the Cubists and how the styles they developed relate to historical and contemporary notions of representation, vision and touch.
I studied for my BA and MA at Bristol University and then went on to complete my PhD at Warwick thanks to a grant from the AHRC. Whilst at Warwick, I also took on teaching responsibilities, leading several modules on modern and contemporary art. Since graduating in 2011 I have lived and worked in London, where I have undertaken various roles in gallery management and arts administration.
I have taught various undergraduate modules, including 'Contemporary Art', 'The Arts of Modernity' and 'Theories and Methods of Art History'; I also have a professional teaching qualification in English Language and have spent 6 months working in adult education in Italy.
I will not be taking on postgraduate supervisory responsibilities during my time at Birmingham. Please direct enquiries to a relevant member of staff.
My research is concerned with the complex relationship between art and visual perception. In treating these two intertwined concepts, I aim to acknowledge the multiple dimensions of seeing, treating it as a product of human psychology, history and culture. More specifically I consider the emergence of new techniques of representation in late 19th-century France and how and why, in terms of their relationship to sight and positioning of the viewer, these depart from the pictorial traditions established in the Renaissance.
One underlying principle which I believe elucidates a number of these changes, and which I discuss as being articulated in the art of Cézanne and the Cubists, is the acknowledgement of the viewer as an active, corporeal presence whose own visuomotor capacities are thematised by the work. I explore how this phenomenological approach relates to 19th-century theories of vision - especially the writing of Hippolye Taine - and more broadly I discuss how this reflects an antipathy to spectacular society and the reorganisation of perception which it entailed.
I am currently using this approach to develop an interpretation of Synthetic Cubism which challenges the dominant 'semiological view' proposed by Rosalind Krauss and Yve Alain Bois. Countering the idea that Picasso's collages emphasise flatness and thereby instigate a shift to a symbolic mode of reference, I argue that they highlight the mutability of the pictorial sign by melding iconic, indexical and symbolic modes of signification. In particular, I am interested in the way that Picasso foregrounds indexicality by drawing attention to the marks of his own craftsmanship such as cutting and tearing. I consider the unique kind of perceptual engagement this invites from the viewer, and how, in setting up a more physical relation to the work of art, this approach paves the way for future artistic experiments into phenomenological space.
In the Department of Art History, Film and Visual Studies I am Joint Honours Programme Contact and Student-Staff Committee.
In my spare time, I draw and paint and have contributed work to various exhibitions in London. I have also undertaken voluntary work with a local charity which uses creative activities to help people suffering from mental distress.
Catalogue forewords for exhibitions at the Fairfax Gallery, London (2010 – 11)
‘The Art of Subversion: Satire and Sots Art, Diplo, (April 2005, Independent magazine, no longer in print)