Department of Art & Art History

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Visual Arts Complex
Visual Arts Complex

Art History Graduates


Ashley  Mingus

Art History MA, 2017
Medieval and Renaissance Art, Gothic Architecture, Italian Risorgimento, art as political and religious propaganda. Ashley is an incoming MA student focusing on the Italian Renaissance and its politicization. She is most interested in the way art, politics, and religion intersect and how both rulers and common people have commissioned works in order to disseminate specific political messages. During her undergraduate research at the University of Denver, she won the departmental Best Thesis award in 2014 for her paper entitled “Polemical Paintings and Statues as Sermons: The Use of Art by Italian Nationalists and the Catholic Church during the Late Risorgimento Period.” She traveled to Italy as part of an inter-term study abroad class on Renaissance art, architecture, and culture, and presented part of this research at the 2013 Front Range College Advisory Committee Student Symposium. She completed an internship at the Denver Art Museum, and has worked for the past four years at the History Colorado Center and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. In her free time, she enjoys her classes in fourteenth-century Italian swordsmanship with the Rocky Mountain Swordplay Guild.


Jade Gutierrez

Art History MA, 2017
I am interested in colonial Latin America, especially the Andes, and the complex art forms that result from colonial hegemonic societies. I have recently been researching textile production in the Andes and how both indigenous and Spanish spirituality and religion manifest themselves in colonial clothing. I am also interested in memory, identity, and in the construction of meaning; especially in societies that have undergone extensive change or a traumatic event such as the Spanish Civil War and the colonization of the Americas.


Alex Penn

Art History MA, 2017
Contemporary art, participation, installation art, globalization, conceptual art, curating, digital humanities, museum studies, post minimalism and the history of sculpture. Alexander is a second-year Master of Arts student. Before matriculating at CU, he received his Bachelor of Arts from the Department of History of Art at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. His research interests are found in the sub-discipline of contemporary art history and involve investigation of the development and use of participatory art practices as well as how contemporary artists respond to globalization. Alexander is the recipient of several honors and awards, including Vanderbilt’s Frances and John Downing Research Award and the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Warshawsky Fellowship. He has held positions at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and the Tinney Contemporary Art Gallery, both in Nashville, and at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Alexander currently works as a Research Assistant to the Director of the Denver Art Museum, and he fosters his interest in teaching as a teaching assistant to CU’s World Art lecture.  


Sara Sisun

Art History MA, 2017
Anatomy, Early Modern, Dissection, Critical Theory, Art Practice Sara Sisun received her BA in Art Practice and Creative Writing from Stanford University in 2009 and her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in Painting on a full fellowship in 2011. Following graduation, Sara taught oil painting, drawing, color theory, and anatomy at the Bay Area Classical Atelier, the San Francisco Art Institute, and the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. Sara’s interest in the relationship between artists and dissection developed when she worked as an assistant for an artistic anatomy course at the Stanford University Medical Center taught by Michael Grimaldi and Dan Thompson. Sara’s research at CU focuses on science and art during the Early Modern Period. She is also interested in theories of interpellation and anarchy. Sara teaches an immersive seminar for high school students in Art and Art History every summer in Florence, Italy. She is the recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant, the Stacey Scholarship, and the Alpine Fellowship.


Chad Davis

Art History MA, 2016
My research involves a semiotic approach to art within the colonial period from both Mesoamerica and Northern Europe. I am interested in the cross-cultural negotiations, alterations, power discrepancies, adaptations, and influences between the two varying sign systems in an attempt to discover new, heterogeneous interpretations and variants in the image.  


Hope Fuchs

Art History MA, 2016
My area of focus in art history is the Italian Renaissance and the Baroque. Specifically, I am studying sculpture, and am currently exploring the myth of the artist as genius using Bernini's bozzetti as a case study. I hope to examine notions of spontaneity and the value of the artist's touch while questioning contemporary beliefs regarding Renaissance art practice.


Krystle Kelley

Art History MA, 2016
My research interests are in critical theories of art and cultural districts and tourism/consumerism and the intersection of public and private spheres, particularly in the consideration of education and social equity. I also work with the Visual Resources Center and Dr. Ariana Maki on a grant funded project using the image archive of Dr. Ronald Bernier (former CU professor and Himalayan art and architecture specialist), tracing and cataloging major art and architectural sites in the Himalaya region that are at risk and useful for further scholarship.


Arielle Myers

Art History MA, 2016
Focusing on contemporary art in Eastern Europe, specifically from the South Slavic region, my research explores the ways in which artists negotiate the politics of memory, confession, innocence and victimhood in their work. I am interested in the strategies that artists from this region employ to forge new identities following the fall of socialist government and the 1992-1995 Wars of Secession. In this case, art often serves a generative function- aiding in the construction of new, more inclusive national narratives by allowing artists and publics to perform memory and process trauma through the recalling of experiences before, during, and after the war. I have previously written on artworks that respond to gendered nationalisms and gendered violence in the Yugoslavian Wars of Secession, such as Jenny Holzer’s Lustmord series (1993-1996) and Maja Bajević’s Women at Work series (1999-2001). My master’s thesis will expound on the relation of conflict and memory in South Slavic post-Socialist contemporary art.


Jamie Summers

Art History MA, 2016
I am interested in the ways images of women are used to communicate anxieties the of men during times of socio-political uncertainty, and how those images are utilized to propagate these anxieties with the intention of control or eradication. My research focuses on the fin-de-siècle, looking specifically at femme fatale imagery and its relationship to the changing political, scientific, and social climate leading up to World War I.


Mary Rose Williams

Art History MA, 2016
My focus area is Medieval art. My current research explores the sculpture of the French Romanesque period.


Morgan Butts

Art History MA, 2016
I will be focusing on Latin American art for my thesis. My current research delves into imagery that relates to Pre-Columbian perceptions of death, sacrifice, and the afterlife in the Andes.


Raquel Vega

Art History MA, 2015
I'm interested in the subject of mestizaje in colonial visual culture, namely  how public space is affected by religious and other dominant structures, and how this develops meaning over time for Latino communities.


Katie Kisiel

Art History MA, 2015
My thesis is on the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas. More specifically, I am interested in the six "alternate chapel paintings," currently on display next door at the Menil Collection, which were included with the original commission but never installed. My thesis will explore the possibilities that these "extras" might hold for the Rothko Chapel space.


Katie Morrison

Art History MA, 2014
My interests are twentieth century urban photography and visual culture, race, and class in the United States.  My research concerns the visual development of urban identity in Detroit, Michigan from images of the 1967 Twelfth Street riot through the contemporary phenomenon of “ruin porn.”    


Giustina Renzoni

Art History MA, 2014
My focus is on representations of gender, class and race/ethnicity during the Spanish Colonial period, as well as how the present-day repercussions of these cultural constructs are depicted in contemporary Latin American art.


Caitlin Roberts

Art History MA, 2014
I am focusing on spousal portraiture in fin-de-siècle France, specifically dealing with two paintings by Matisse and Cézanne.  By setting these works in contrast to Picasso's portrait of Gertrude Stein, I hope to illuminate social and sexual issues, which have been previously naturalized under the guise of marriage and domesticity.


Amanda Saracho

Art History MA, 2014
My research focuses on how the display of Native American Art in museums has affected the art practices of contemporary Native American artists. This will include studying sacred objects, items used for daily use, and contemporary paintings.


Mack Sjogren

Art History MA, 2013

Focused on contemporary performance art and critical theory, especially works around the world that create a body of resistance to forms of ideological oppression--performance art that is ethically committed to community. 



Caleb Zuniga

Art History MA, 2013
My research explores the construction of place and communal identity in ancient and early modern Latin America through various media, including: pictorial manuscripts, architecture, and personal adornment.


Rachel Hawthorn

Art History MA, 2013

Focused on Critical Theory and 20th century art, related to memory, specifically the public and private face of representation of loss in terms of national traumas and tragedy.