Since joining the School of Art and Art History at the University of Denver in 1986, I have worked to build and maintain our thriving BA and MA degree programs in Art History and Museum Studies. I teach a variety of classes in European Art History from the 18th century through the present, including World Art, The Goddess in Art, 19th Century Art, and Dada and Surrealism. Recent seminars include An Italian Odyssey, a review of 18th and 19th century British artists and the influence of their travels to Italy, as well as other topical seminars on British Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite artists. For our Museum Studies program, my History of Collections class traces the history of collections from the Renaissance to the present, addressing the interconnections between artists, patrons, dealers, art markets, provenance, connoisseurship, and the historical development of museums and private collections. My Art and the History of Science class focuses on works of art that stem from three major categories: Art and the Natural World; Art and the Human Body; and Art and the Human Mind. I also teach a Common Curriculum class, Artists on Film, which investigates representations of artists in popular films and documentaries and evaluates the myths versus the realities of their lives and art. In 2008, I launched a new Advanced Seminar, Harry Potter and Esotericism, which explores how J.K. Rowling adapts in her novels the esoteric traditions of magic, witchcraft, alchemy, herbals, and divination and the visual images that these hermetic paths have generated. Also, for Undergraduates I team-teach with Professor Eleanor McNees (English) two linked classes, ARTH 2618 and ASEM 2518 on Art and Literature connected to the cities of Rome, Florence and Venice. Students can take both classes in the fall and travel to those cities after Fall Quarter ends.
My research interests have broadened from a specific interest in surrealism and alchemy explored in Max Ernst and Alchemy: A Magician in Search of Myth (University of Texas Press, 2001) to an investigation of the history of alchemical philosophy and its visual imagery, from its foundations in late antiquity through the present, analyzed through a feminist lens. I am currently writing a book entitled Alchimia: Women, Gender and Sexuality in Alchemical Images. I also published an interactive oracle, The Alchemy Stones (2002), which has been translated into four languages. I have given papers and published articles on various aspects of this research at national and international conferences of the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts (SLSA), the Association for the Study of Esotercism (ASE), in Bath for the Sophia Centre of the University of Wales and at conferences of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE) in June 2013 in Gothenburg, Sweden and in March 2015 in Riga, Latvia In March 2014, I gave a keynote lecture at the University of Cambridge's conference, "Visions of Enchantment," and wrote an essay, "Alchemy and Surrealism" for the Art and Alchemy exhibition at the Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf, which opened April 4, 2014. I am also currently conducting research for a future book Rene Magritte and Alchemy.
Professor, European Modern Art
University of Denver
2121 E. Asbury Street
Denver, CO 80208 USA
Campus Address: 024 Shwayder Art Building