[Submitted] Academic Presentation. "Chicanas in “Chicano noir:” an initial exploration of Adan Hernandez’s paintings, 2002-2008." 27th Annual Conference on the Americas, Athens, GA, February 16-17, 2024.
Abstract: This presentation will be an initial approximation to paintings created between 2002 and 2008 by San Antonio artist Adan Hernandez (1951-2021), known for his prolific work in the style dubbed “Chicano noir.” The term “Chicano noir” refers to “film noir,” a style of Hollywood films that emerged in the 1940s and 50s, where stories unfold in dark settings and characters display cynical attitudes and motivations. Hernandez completed his early “Chicano noir” paintings in the late 1980s in response to living in San Antonio’s Westside, the barrio largely populated by Mexican Americans and one of the poorest in the country. These early paintings show nocturnal figures in dizzying settings, engaging in violent or suspicious actions—a representation which, Hernandez believed, reflected the urban experiences of Chicanos. Between 2002 and 2008, his paintings show a marked shift, where his focus turns to female figures—rather than males. Alienated young women are shown in situations of hardship or as indifferent witnesses to violence. Hernandez’ paintings from this period are held in important collections but have not been studied beyond description. I intend to explore them in connection to relevant contemporary sources that impacted the artist and his work during this period.
[Submitted] Panel. "Latinx Initiatives at the University of North Georgia." 27th Annual Conference on the Americas, Athens, GA, February 16-17, 2024.
The University of North Georgia is home to a significant Hispanic or Latinx student population. Besides recruitment and student support policies led by the upper administration, faculty and staff develop self-directed Latinx initiatives that support the institutions’ core value of “student-focus.” Panel participants will discuss some of these initiatives, their goals, and their success in promoting engagement with the Latinx community of Northeast Georgia.
Panel Chair: Ana Pozzi Harris
Participants: Maria Jose Maguire, Kyle Murphy, Ana Pozzi Harris, Alvaro Torres Calderon.
[Submitted] Academic Presentation. "Latinx students in art exhibitions at UNG: fostering growth mindset and student success." 27th Annual Conference on the Americas, Athens, GA, February 16-17, 2024.
Abstract: Since 2021, the University of North Georgia has hosted a total of four student art exhibitions focused on Latinx themes. The popularity and overall success of these exhibitions has increased each year, demonstrating their perceived value for the university community. Each year, however, it is initially difficult to motivate Latinx students to participate, and special interventions are needed to receive an adequate number of art submissions. Scholarship on first-generation and Latinx student populations points at a combination of socioeconomic, cultural, and psychological factors to explain the barriers faced by Latinx students. Following existing research, this presentation inquires why Latinx student engagement at these UNG art exhibition opportunities presents challenges and which interventions are most effective to overcome the challenges. Ultimately, following my interventions, many Latinx students participate each year, and their biggest gain is an increased growth mindset. This contributes to their sense of campus belonging and to student success. From my experience, and following current education theories, I discuss the relationship between growth mindset, sense of belonging, and student success resulting from participation in art exhibitions intended for targeted populations.
[project coordination in progress] 2024 Bayeux Tapestry Replica Exhibit, College of Arts and Letters, University of North Georgia, September 14-19, 9 am-3 pm.
[project in progress] Presidential Innovation Incentive Award, grant-funded project, with Elissa Ferguson. “The Historic Church Project: Community Engagement through Undergraduate Research and Information Design."
Abstract: The purpose of the Historic Church Project is to create information displays that communicate the historical, architectural, and social value of the building located at 85 South Chestatee Street in Dahlonega. This monument references the early history of the University of North Georgia through inscriptions on stained-glass windows and it is also an example of southern rural church architecture with Gothic Revival style features. Though presently closed to the public, the Historic Church will be renovated in the near future for university and community use. Our project will generate engagement with this significant monument through a two-fold process: in Fall 2023, two students will conduct research and produce polished academic manuscripts about the site’s history and architecture, and about its social role in the city and region. In Spring 2024, a third student in the role of graphic designer will adapt the researchers’ scholarly work into accessible information displays intended for broad audiences. The displays will be presented inside the building’s renovated interior for the community’s enjoyment. In engaging students, this project fulfills two high-impact practices: undergraduate research and internship. The Historic Church Project is needed to publicly disseminate the building’s value as a site of cultural heritage.
[In progress] Participant. 2023-2024 Faculty Academy on High-Impact Educational Practices (HIP).
Researching and writing an updated version of the course Art History Undergraduate Research adjusted to HIP standards under the mentorship of Dr. Esther Morgan Ellis. The revised course will include content on art historiography and the systematic discussion of research methods and writing.
[Forthcoming] “Chicano art and the mass media: Mel Casas in 1967,” Latin American and Latinx Art and Visual Culture, v. 6.2, April 2024. <peer reviewed>
Abstract: This essay explores three paintings by Mel Casas dating to 1967. The author argues that these paintings communicate the artist’s critical consciousness about the social disadvantages of Mexican Americans, both historically and at the crucial period of change that led to the formation of Chicano groups in San Antonio, Texas. The author observes that Casas incorporates skin tones in his painted characters, and this prompts a racialized interpretation. The analysis is grounded on the dualistic picture space represented in Casas’ remarkable series, the Humanscapes, where the artist both critiqued and incorporated mass media and advertising images. To construct an interpretative context for the paintings, the author explores sources extracted from San Antonio newspapers, tracing debates about the changing racialization of Mexican Americans and about the formation of combative political groups in this city, where Casas lived and worked. The three paintings, then, engage with a politicized context and with Casas’ personal experiences, establishing a continuous narrative with Casas’ best-known Chicano-period paintings such as Brownies of the Southwest.