Daniel Ackermann is a PhD student, and is a curator at MESDA.
Aaron Ambroso, originally from Michigan, spent most of his childhood in the Durham, NC area. My undergraduate degree is from East Carolina University, where I majored in multidisciplinary studies, focusing on art history. My areas of interest include the history of colonialism, contemporary art, critical theory, historiography, and the politics of museums. More specifically, I’m interested in how art and aesthetics are constitutive elements in the creation of primitivism and civilization. In relation to museums, I am also hoping to pursue research on the history and theory of ethnological and anthropological display.
Kim Bobier is an art history doctoral candidate and the advisee of John P. Bowles. She is originally from Michigan. Kim earned a B.A. degree from Lake Forest College and an M.A. degree in art history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she wrote her M.A. thesis “Ur-Mutter #8: Framing Art’s Political Impotence.” She specializes in twentieth-century and contemporary art, while researching the functions of African American art history, black artists, gender and sexuality as well as the politics of representation within these period contexts. Her dissertation investigates late twentieth-century artwork that engages the civil rights movement’s legacy. Kim is currently participating in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program as a Helena Rubinstein Fellow in Critical Studies.
Franny Brock is a doctoral candidate at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, specializing in eighteenth-century French art and works on paper. She was advised by Dr. Mary D. Sheriff until Dr. Sheriff’s death in fall 2016. Her dissertation, entitled “Drawing the Amateur,” is now being supervised by Dr. Melissa Hyde (University of Florida). Franny’s project examines drawings made by amateurs, particularly women, working outside of the Academy in eighteenth-century France. Before arriving at UNC, Franny completed her BA in Art History at Oberlin College in 2009 and her MA in the History of Art at The Courtauld Institute of Art in London in 2012. She was awarded The Philanthropic Collaborative/Fidelity Scholarship by The Courtauld and completed her master’s degree in eighteenth-century French and British drawings, taught by Dr. Katie Scott and Professor David Solkin. While at Oberlin, Franny served as Curatorial Assistant at the Allen Memorial Art Museum, where she co-curated an exhibition of modern and contemporary drawings. Franny has also held internships at The Frick Collection in New York and at the Dallas Museum of Art.
Ashley Bruckbauer grew up near Austin, TX and earned her B.A. in Art History from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. After teaching English in China and working at the Dallas Museum of Art, I came to UNC-Chapel Hill in 2011 and completed my M.A. in Art History in 2013. My broad area of interest is eighteenth-century French art, particularly works related to aesthetic and cultural exchanges between France and Asia, and Dr. Mary D. Sheriff serves as my advisor. My dissertation, titled “Dangerous Liaisons: Ambassadors and Embassies in Eighteenth-Century French Art,” examines the expansive body of visual and material culture surrounding diplomatic exchanges between France and nations such as England, Cochinchina (Vietnam), and the Ottoman Empire. During my graduate studies, I have also served as a teaching assistant in the Department of Art and held intern positions in the curatorial and education departments of the Ackland Art Museum.
Katherine Calvin is a third-year graduate student from Fayetteville, Tennessee. She received her BA in Art History and English Literature from Vanderbilt University in 2013 and her MA in Art History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015 with the master’s thesis, “Touching Watelet: L’Art de peindre and the Performance of Philosophical Materialism.” Broadly, she studies 18th and early 19th century European art and visual culture under the direction of Dr. Mary Sheriff and is pursuing an external minor in English Literature. She is interested in the intersection of word and image in book production and the history of the book as it relates to theories of knowledge production, particularly ideas of nationalism and otherness. She is currently researching cross-cultural exchange among France, Britain, and the Ottoman Empire as relates to the topic of ruins.
Alexandra Deyneka grew up in Kharkov, Ukraine and Columbia, SC. She holds a B.A. in International Studies, Russian, and Art History from the University of South Carolina (2004); a Master’s Diploma in Conservation and Restoration from the Istituto per l’Arte e il Restauro, Palazzo Spinelli, Florence, Italy (2006); and an MA in Art History from UNC-CH (2007). Alex’s research interests include religious painting in eighteenth-century Italy; intersections of sense theories, medical knowledge, and visual culture; and women in the arts and natural sciences. Her advisor is Dr. Mary Sheriff.
Erin Dickey is a Fellow in the IMLS-funded “Learning from Artists’ Archives” program and an MA Art History/MS Information Science dual degree candidate. She came to UNC from Asheville, where she was Development + Outreach Coordinator at Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center. Prior to working for BMCM+AC, she was a Mobile Facilitator for the national oral history nonprofit, StoryCorps. She received her M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Chicago in 2010, and her B.A. in English and Religious Studies from Boston University in 2008. She is interested in 20th-century and contemporary American art, archives, and art librarianship.
Miranda Elston is a Ph.D. candidate at UNC-Chapel Hill working with Dr. Tania String. Her dissertation project, “Spatial Interaction: Architectural Representations in Henrician England” explores the theme of sixteenth-century experience and perception of architectural space through pictorial representations in England. Originally from Washington state, Miranda completed her undergraduate studies at Western Washington University and earned her MA in The History of Decorative Arts and Design at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum Parsons, The New School program. Her MA thesis was titled, “Henry VIII & Interiors of Persuasion: Henrician Magnificence within the Ceremonial Chambers of Whitehall Palace.” She has previously worked as a consultant researcher and digital developer for Local Projects, where she worked on digital installations for the National Building Museum, the National Museum of American Jewish History, and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Last year she was a Kress Fellow for Applied Research at the Ackland Art Museum, and she is currently a Maynard Adams Fellow for the Public Humanities.
Klint Ericson is a PhD student.
Davenne Essif completed her undergraduate degree in Art History through the Chancellor’s Honors Program at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. She is currently a student of Daniel J. Sherman and is working on research for her PhD dissertation tentatively titled, “La Mère Moderne: Motherhood in French Visual Culture 1910-1940.”
Beth Fischer works on the context, display, and reuse of early medieval images and objects. Current projects include the medieval reuse of late antique sarcophagi, Carolingian manuscripts and codicology, and the global exchange of medieval ivory. She works with Dr. Dorothy Verkerk, and is completing a dissertation titled “Depictions of Spatial Experience in Early Carolingian Gospel Books, 787-814.” This dissertation asserts that illuminated manuscripts provide clues for how early medieval viewers experienced and communicated their understanding of architecture, exterior spaces, and the cosmos. While not “naturalistic,” these images can be used in concert with anthropological and neuroscientific studies of perception to understand aspects of lived experience.
Beth also works with the Office for Undergraduate Research to engage undergraduate students in research in all disciplines, and has taught online and in-person courses in subjects ranging from “Art in the Crusader States” to “The Handmade Book from Codex to Graphic Novel.”
Beth is originally from Portland, Oregon, and her BA is from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Carlee Forbes is a PhD student in African art history, studying under Dr. Victoria Rovine. Forbes’s research focuses on colonial-era Congolese art. She analyzes Congolese artistic innovations and relationships between Congolese artists and their various patrons. Forbes recently was part of the team to organize the exhibition and publication of Kongo across the Waters, featuring pieces from the Royal Museum of Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium, and U.S. collections. She received her bachelor’s degrees in history and arts and humanities from Michigan State University and her master’s degree in art history from the University of Florida.
Laura Fravel is a PhD student.
Elizabeth Grab is a second year MSLS / MA candidate in the School of Library Science & the Department of Art. She is also one of six fellows in the IMLS-funded project “Learning from Artists’ Archives: Preparing Next Generation Art Information Professionals through Partnerships with North Carolina’s Artists’ Archives.” Through the fellowship, Elizabeth worked on institutional artists’ archives at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, as well as established the studio archive of Durham letterpress artist Brian Allen. She has and will continue to present the fellowship’s findings at library and art conferences to encourage and facilitate much-needed collaborations between artists, information professionals and scholars. Continuing her focus on material culture started as an art history student at Wellesley College, Elizabeth will work under the department’s JJ Bauer to examine the post-war female domestic consumerism evidenced by the advertising and sales of three leading pottery companies. For more on her work, visit elizabethgrab.com.
Erin Grady is an MA student.
Russell Gullette is a PhD student, advised by Dr. Daniel Sherman.
Brianna Guthrie is a Ph.D student specializing in 16th and 17th century British portraiture, with a focus on portrayals of the family. Originally from Florida, she received a B.A. in Art History and History from Syracuse University in 2006, focusing on Italian Renaissance art and British history, respectively. In 2008, Brianna completed her M.A. at the University of Florida with a thesis that explored the history of collecting within Caroline court culture. Upon graduation, she was employed by the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, FL, as a Curatorial Assistant for three years where she worked on 17 exhibitions, several of which were extensive, internationally touring shows. Prior to entering the department, she had been an Adjunct Professor at Palm Beach State College and the Grants Coordinator for the Armory Art Center, also in West Palm Beach. Brianna works under the direction of Dr. Tatiana String.