Qualifying Paper Presenter Profiles

These graduate students will be writing and presenting their qualifying papers during the 2018-19 academic year, the culmination of their Master's Degree.

Alexandra Buffalohead

Alexandra Buffalohead's Qualifying Paper is titled "Community-based Collaboration at the Field Museum, Fort Snelling, and Minneapolis Institute of Art." Her advisor is Dr. Jayme Yahr.

During the summer of 2018, Alex took a short summer trip to Chicago, Illinois and visited different institutions such as the Field Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago. This was during her museum studies internship at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. She was working with transcriptions and locating composition images for the upcoming Native Women's Show "Heart of Our People." These two experiences, as well as a curatorial review assignment for a museum studies course reviewing the Historic Fort Snelling at Bdote, inspired her to write her qualifying paper on the challenges and successes different institutions face with Indigenous communities. 

Alexandra Buffalohead - Alexandra Buffalohead

Rachel Decker-Di Flauro

Rachel Decker-Di Flauro's Qualifying Paper is titled "Dressing Up? Costume, Identity, and Performative Expectations in the Works of John Singer Sargent." Her advisor is Dr. Craig Eliason.

The concept of how “Costume Creates Character” was the basis of my Qualifying Paper research. Using theory based upon the works of art and fashion historian, Anne Hollander, I present the works of the American painter John Singer Sargent as a case study. In this extensive case study, I discuss ideas relating to how costume in portraiture creates performative expectations and how this, in turn, lends to portrayals of identity. Examining portraits from two categories, Theatrically Costumed Portraiture and Costumed Society Portraiture, I explore the nuances of costumes in various contexts and how the costumes create not only characters and performative expectations, but how they also serve to lend a greater understanding to the identities of the sitters. In my conclusion, I briefly explore how the same concepts relating to costumes and performative expectations can also be applied to portraiture which lacks the costume element.

Jayne Cole - Rachel Decker-Di Flauro

Lydia Eby

Lydia Eby's Qualifying Paper is titled "'Feed My Sheep': Priestly Formation and the Built Environment at the St. Mary's Chapel at the St. Paul School of Divinity." Her advisor is Dr. Victoria Young.

Lydia is writing on the history and ritual function of the St. Mary's Chapel at the St. Paul Seminaries, attached to the University of St. Paul. It is such a little building, easily overlooked, but so much of the history of St. Paul and the history of the Seminary is wrapped up in it; the people in involved have ranged from Archbishop John Ireland, to the railroad baron James J Hill and Minnesota architect Clarence Johnston. So much of their care and thought went into designing the chapel and making it play more than a passive role in spiritual formation and the formation of community within the seminary. Lydia's research delves into the goals of the founders and discusses how the spaces of the St. Mary's chapel negotiates the differences between a seminary chapel, a monastery chapel and a college chapel. A significant part of this discussion is how the space and decoration interacts with the various ritual services that take place in the space.

Lydia Eby - Lydia Eby

Bridget Gallagher-Larkin

Bridget Gallagher-Larkin's Qualifying Paper is titled "Dislocation and Nostalgia: Thomas Hovenden and the Home in the American Gilded Age." Her advisor is Dr. Jayme Yahr. 

My research focused on a Gilded-Age painter named Thomas Hovenden. I argued that Thomas Hovenden’s domestic genre paintings, specifically Bringing Home the Bride, 1893; Breaking Home Ties, 1890; When Hope Was Darkest, 1892; The Founders of a State, 1895 (unfinished); and The Old Version, 1881, depict transitional points in life that are centered in the home, or on the act of finding and making roots. The mundane genre scenes are emotionally incomplete domestic arrangements where there is an inherent focus on the past, including environments that display colonial furniture and the deliberate choice to create scenes that reflect pivotal life moments. A home that is in transition sparks the need for an individual to feel a sense of consistency and connection to their own past. Here, nostalgia becomes an emotion that provides a feeling of the familiar based in materials, rituals, and traditions. I utilized theories related to the sociological effects of nostalgia in American history as a framework for understanding Hovenden’s work and emphasis on the home. Further, I enhanced my research by using the Archives of American Art, which made Thomas Hovenden’s scrapbook accessible to me by microfilm. I began my research on Thomas Hovenden in Dr. Craig Eliason’s Painters of the American Gilded Age class. It transitioned as I delved further into the era and artist in an independent study with Dr. Jayme Yahr.

Bridget Gallagher-Larkin - Bridget Gallagher-Larkin

Dakota C.M. Hoska

Dakota Hoska's Qualifying Paper is titled "Andrea Carlson: Layered Visuals Expand Global Conversations." Her advisor is Dr. Heather Shirey.

Dakota Hoska was looking for a Master's program, when she was encouraged by her employer, Jill Ahlberg Yohe, Ph.D, curator of Native American Art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, to take a master's level class in Native American Art History during the summer of 2016 at St. Thomas. It turned out that St. Thomas's Master's program, which offers many evening classes, was the perfect fit for Hoska, who was juggling a busy work schedule with raising two teenage boys. St. Thomas allowed Hoska to focus on Native art and perspectives in every class she took, which really prepared her for her next career--Assistant Curator of Native American Art at the Denver Art Museum.

Dakota Hoska is a painter as well as a scholar and so she knew the subject matter for her Qualifying Paper would be a Native painter.  Then the Minneapolis Institute of Art purchased the work from one of Hoska's personal idols, Andrea Carlson. Carlson's work is entitled "Sunshine on a Cannibal," and it is a visual explosion of color and technical acumen. Using this painting as a case study, Hoska unpacks the visual significance of the imagery Carlson uses in her work and discusses how it broadens the artistic possibilities for Native artists coming after her. Hoska also states that Carlson's work is part of a much bigger conversation. In her thesis, Hoska argues that Carlson joins a global group of artists from a variety of backgrounds who are firmly rooted in their own heritage. Through their artistry, these international artists work to expand artistic categories that were previously monopolized by Western artistic canons.

Dakota Hoska - Dakota C.M. Hoska

Hanna K. Stoehr

Hanna K. Stoehr's Qualifying Paper is titled "When Death Sleeps She Dreams Of You: Dario Robleto’s Semiotic Reworking of Sylvia Plath." Her advisor is Dr. Jayme Yahr. 

Hanna K. Stoehr’s Qualifying Paper, When Death Sleeps She Dreams Of You: Dario Robleto’s Semiotic Reworking of Sylvia Plath is an investigation into the ways in which a selection of Dario Robleto’s oeuvre represents an reworking of American remembrance and memento mori through the semiotic reworking of Sylvia Plath poems contained within the artwork. These themes are apparent in a selection of the artist’s assemblage-style sculptures and two-dimensional works. His materials come from a treasure trove of rarities, featuring oddities, bones, personal belongings, American Civil War-era objects, Victorian mourning materials and ephemera—all, when combined, contain visual links to the historic memento mori—a term used to describe the visual culture produced throughout history to remind viewers of the fleeting nature of mortality. However, Robleto’s intentional alterations of materials containing Plath’s poetry creates a semiotic interruption, offering nuance and emotional qualities that add to our collective American history of mourning as influenced by the life and work of Sylvia Plath. Dario Robleto has used Plath as a beacon of understanding, harnessing the emotional qualities of her poetry to influence our comprehension of the objects of mourning that make up his materials. Robleto is a maker of meaning, and his use of Plath’s poetry creates space to explore the liminal qualities of memento mori unique to the relationship forged between these two artists.

Hanna K. Stoehr - Hanna Stoehr

Michelle Turner

Michelle Turner's Qualifying Paper is titled "Layered Identities: Sonia Boyce's Use of Wallpaper in Exploring Social Space." Her advisor is Dr. Heather Shirey.

Michelle Turner is writing on contemporary British artist Sonia Boyce. Her paper explores the why behind Boyce's repeated use of wallpaper in her art, starting in the early 1980s and continuing into the present. More than decorative, Michelle argues Boyce has used wallpaper in her work to communicate ideas on identity, specifically how identity is multifaceted rather than one-dimensional. While scholars have written on individual works by Boyce involving wallpaper, none have commented on her continued relationship with this visual element. Michelle was first introduced to Sonia Boyce in Spring 2018 through Dr. Heather Shirey's "Afropean" course. Since then, Michelle had the opportunity to travel to London, meet Boyce in person, view a number of her works, and discuss Boyce's art with other professionals thanks to the UST Art History Research Grant.

Michelle Turner - Michelle Turner