Third Annual Reception for Arts and Letters Seniors

Author: Lonnie Atkinson

On March 30, 2012, the College held its third annual reception for Arts and Letters students completing their senior theses this spring.

All seniors doing a thesis were invited to participate in a photo shoot and complete a short questionnaire about their projects to put into a slideshow showcasing their work. Approximately 170 students chose to participate.

Below is a list of the students from the Department of Art, Art History & Design and a brief description of their respective theses.


Barbara Johnson, Department of American Studies, Minor in Art History
“The Myth of the American Indian: Representations and Identity of Upper Midwest Tribes”

I address the problem of representation of Upper Midwest Indian tribes. I contend that the history of Native American visual representations by white explorer-artists like George Catlin has caused these tribes to be overlooked in art, while romantic images of Plains and Southwestern Indians remain popular. I investigated why certain images have become pervasive and why some seem to be overlooked in museums and consumer culture.



Caroline Maloney, Double major in Anthropology and Art History
“‘God-Daughter of a Witch and Sister to a Fairy’: Pamela Colman Smith and the Celtic Twilight”

This art historical study analyzes Pamela Colman Smith’s involvement with the Celtic Twilight movement in the first decade of the 20th century. I examine how Smith learned to artistically and personally operate through the Irish folkloric and mystical strands of Celtic Twilight discourse, and I endeavor to understand her legacy as one of the few illustrators and watercolorists to visualize Celtic Twilight themes.



Shannon McNaught, Major in Art History, Supplementary major in French and Francophone studies, Minor in European studies
“The Real Caillebotte Affair: Examining the Shifts in Reception of the Private Collection of Gustave Caillebotte”

Upon his death, Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte bequeathed to France his entire private art collection, an array of nearly 70 works from artists such as Monet, Renoir, and Cézanne. The French administration, however, only accepted a portion of the paintings and pastels. I assert this resulted in a shift in the originally intended reception of the collection. I traveled to Paris to see the collection and did research in archives there.



Kirsten Milliard, Double Major in Art History and Theology
“Images of the Crucifixion From the Scriptorium of Saint-Bertin, c. 1000 C.E.”

My thesis compares two Crucifixion scenes, one in a psalter and one in a Gospel book, that were created under the direction of Abbot Odbert at the Flemish monastery of Saint-Bertin, c. 1000 C.E. Through this comparison, I explore the theological and cultural themes of interest to the monks who created the manuscripts.



Anna O’Meara, Major in Art History, Minor in French
“Cinema Against Cinema: Imagery in Howls for Sade”

Howls for Sade by Guy-Ernest Debord is a film without images that transitions between black and white screens. It has an occasional white-screen voiceover and 20 minutes of black silence at the end. I investigated the aesthetic and political aspects of this film and how it participates in discourse with its artistic predecessors and the cultural context that informs it.



Tatiana Spragins, Double Major in Art History and Italian
“Phenomenology and Richard Serra”

I describe how Richard Serra incorporates the theory of phenomenology in his video and sculptural works. At first I was interested solely in his sculptures, but as I did research into his drawings and video art, I began to understand how he embraces phenomenology in his entire approach to art making and the creative process behind it.