My courses in Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque art and architecture challenge students to understand the cultures which created the works we study. By reading primary texts and intellectual histories, we not only attempt to learn the mindset of patrons and artists, but we also bring life to the painting, sculpture, and architecture under scrutiny.
Among my favorite courses are those I have co-taught with other faculty. Professor Kathy Muehlemann (Studio Art) and I explore the techniques and history of the painting and mosaic media in Art 204. Students learn how to do the methods in the studio and in lecture learn the use and meaning of these techniques in Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Italy. Perhaps the best part of this course is the subsequent study tour to Italy. There can be no greater joy for a teacher and art historian than witnessing students first encounters with original works of art. I have also co-taught with Mara Amster in the English Department. We hope to teach again our course on Renaissance Women in Art and Literature. It was the perfect topic for this interdisciplinary approach.
I am devoted to taking students to see original works of art and architecture. In addition to the biennial study tour to Italy, I am keen to develop other study tours, such as the Art & Theatre seminar in London and Edinburgh that I co-led in 2006. All of my students have the opportunity to see world-class collections on our annual field trip to Washington, DC.
My research interests lie in fifteenth-century Siena, a time and place in which art was integral to ones public and personal life. My most recent publication is a chapter on Iconography and Identity in a Renaissance Republic in Art as Politics in Renaissance Siena (Ashgate, 2009).
After having taught at a large University, which I did enjoy, coming to Randolph, however, has been a particularly rewarding experience. The smaller classes allow more one on one interaction with my students, giving me the opportunity to better understand their interests and classroom needs. I strongly beleave that every student that walks through the door has a great deal to offer and has strong potential for developing their own individual artistic voice.
My goal is to give students as many different artistic experiences as the semester allows. I introduce them to contemporary an historical artists and have them experiment with different mediums and styles in hope of expanding their ideas of what art is and can be in contemporary society. I beleave strongly in their learning the basic concepts and techniques of art, but I encourage the students to take that knowledge and work on developing their own creative expression.
I am pationate about art and the art making process and hope that each student leaves my classroom with the beginnings of their own passion and excitement about making art.
"I became an artist in New York City. I lived and worked in a loft in lower Manhattan. I could not wait to finish school before diving into the art world. While I was still in undergraduate school I had my first gallery show on 57th street at the Jock Truman Gallery.
"I steeped myself in the galleries and museums and studios that I visited. Making art, showing it, looking at the work of other artists and having endless conversations about art, all contributed to my growth as an artist.
"That is why I say that I am an artist that teaches, not a teacher who makes art. The distinction is important in that it points to my background as a professional artist and what this background brings to my teaching. I want my students to step into art as deeply as they want to. I will be there to support and encourage them and hopefully to help them stand in awe as I have stood so often."
Kathy Muehlemann earned a B.F.A. from State University of New York. She has also studied fresco painting in Italy.
Her work has been represented and shown in one-person exhibitions both in New York galleries, including the Pamela Auchincloss Gallery and the Virginia Zabriskie Gallery, as well as in museums such as the Contemporary Museum (Honolulu), the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, the Hyde Collection, the Lannan Museum, the Maier Museum of Art, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Her work has been included in more than one hundred group exhibitions in the United States and abroad. Her work is in the collections of American museums including the Ackland Art Museum, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Contemporary Museum (Honolulu, Hawaii), the Grey Art Gallery (New York University), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Miami), and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Kathy has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation ,and she was awarded a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome in 1988.
Prior to teaching at Randolph College I lived in New York City and participated in a very vibrant art world. It is this experience that is probably the greatest asset that I bring to the classroom. I have traveled in many parts of the world and even lived in Italy for a couple of years. This enabled me to experience firsthand many of the art treasures that different cultures have produced. The diversity within these treasures informed my belief that there are vast possibilities and approaches to making art. I see no conflict in my belief in modern art and my teaching from observation. I teach life drawing as well as realistic and abstract painting, always looking towards each student's particular sensibility.
Because students start at different levels and develop at their own speeds, teaching to the individual seems most beneficial. The small class size at Randolph makes this possible. At the same time I feel we are part of a shared culture that is fortunate to be educated. That education includes art history, pop culture, and the means to express oneself in whatever medium, one is working. Although there is an informal atmosphere in my studio classes, there is also a structured philosophy in operation. I enjoy very much working with students and the students seem to enjoy the hard work that produces their accomplishments.
My research and teaching interests are in modern and contemporary art, with an emphasis on identity, feminism, activism, and abstraction in art since 1960. Currently, I am completing an article that examines the intersection of ethics and aesthetics in two installations by the contemporary Colombian artist Doris Salcedo. I'm also finalizing a paper on a series of reliefs by the American artist Lee Bontecou. I have presented my research at the Feminist Art History Conference, the Annual Conference of the College Art Association, the Asians in the Americas Conference, and the Association of Art Historians Annual Conference in Norwich, England.
At Randolph, I teach 19th-century European Art, Modern European Art, American Art and Architecture, and the second half of the survey of Western Art. Special topics that I plan to teach include "Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Contemporary Art", "Art and Activism since 1960," and "African American Art from Colonialism to the Present".
I try to make the course material relevant to students and encourage them to develop their own perspectives on the subjects we investigate together. My approach to teaching stems from my belief in the power of students' voices to co-construct the learning experience within the college classroom. This commitment to integrating student voice in the classroom closely aligns with my scholarly interests in issues of identity. I also have a graduate degree in fine arts and this training has furthered my commitment to keeping the work of art central to the study of art history. All of my courses take advantage of the resources at the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College. The Maier's outstanding collection and exhibitions make Randolph College an exceptional institution at which to study (and to teach!) the history of art.
When students complete my courses, I hope they are more confident in their abilities to ask important questions that are meaningful to them, to think and read critically and carefully, and to listen and look with a more open mind than when they arrived. These skills are relevant to all of the disciplines that they encounter in a liberal arts education and support a life-long love of learning. When I'm not teaching or writing, I enjoy painting and drawing, running, reading the New Yorker and cookbooks, traveling, and spending time with my family.