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Faculty News

​​​​Dr. Thomas Strasser, a recipient of the 2017 Summer Scholars Award from the School of Art and Sciences, will spend the summer traveling to Greece to complete the analyses of engravings and publication of the Damnoni Stone tools. Project Title: The Domnoni Cave Excavation and the Asphendou Cave Petroglyphs








Nora Rabins, a Visiting Lecturer of Studio Art, has been selected as an NEH Summer Scholar from a national applicant pool to attend one of 24 seminars and institutes supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Endowment is a federal agency that, each summer, supports these enrichment opportunities at colleges, universities, and cultural institutions, so that faculty can work in collaboration and study with experts in humanities disciplines.Nora will participate in an institute entitled "American Material Culture: 19th Century New York." The 4-week program will be held at Bard Graduate Center and directed by Catherine Whalen and Katherine C. Grier.


Professor Heather Leigh McPherson at the RISD Museum

​Heather Leigh McPherson -  Raid the Database 3 is a series of artist-curated digital exhibition projects inspired by the RISD Museum's historic exhibition Raid the Icebox 1 with Andy Warhol. Using the popular Myers-Briggs personality test, local artist Heather Leigh McPherson assigns sixteen objects a personality type, elaborating the connection between form and personality in a poetic, abstract voice. 

​​​​On Monday March 20th, Art History Professor Deborah Johnson gave a talk on two busts of African-Americans by sculptor Florence Kane at the Providence Art Club. Deborah was also a featured daily speaker and of course gave a wonderful talk that was enjoyed by all. PC alumni Michael Rose"13  is Exhibitions Coordinator at the Providence Art Club, and responsible, along with PC alumna and gallerist, Catherine Little Bert, for PAC's current show, "Making Her Mark, A Celebration of the Providence Art Club as a Cultural Force for Women Artists.” There is a symposium on March 25th from 9:30-5:30 which is free with a reservation. ProvidenceArtClub.org


Painting Professor Heather Leigh McPherson exhibited her work at Grin Gallery in a solo show titled "Tip of the Nose"  from

March 18-April 15, 2017. Reception March 18, 6-9pm, 60 Valley Street, Unit 3, Providence, RI 02909
contact@grinprovidence.com, p. 401 272 0796

This body of work assembled two- and three-dimensional gestures into wall-hanging reliefs, paintings on canvas, and projected videos. Exploring concepts of perception and transparency, McPherson took the surface of the painting as a metaphor for communication. What is transmissible from self to other? What can transgress the membrane of the surface, whether physically or perceptually? As the nose is too close to the eye to be seen, proximity precludes apprehension.

The exhibition was laced with imagery of faces. Another kind of boundary, the face is always in between; it is a site of contact between vision and the body, the organ that translates sense into expression. McPherson turns to the concept of faciality as a way to describe facial representations outside the language of portraiture. This framework situates the face as a surrogate for other discursive forms of meaning— a constructed field of values and coercions.

McPherson’s paintings place colorful poured paint alongside shapes rendered with digital smoothness; smoky textures seem to cross through the picture plane, unsettling the surface. Translucent, low-relief sculptures combine textiles, clear epoxy, and delicate paper drawings. Within the drawings, iconography of the face accompanies expressive fragments—scrawls, text, and cartoons—that function as self surrogates. This collage-like grammar underscores the permissiveness of the exhibition, which spans text and image, as well as sculptural, painterly, and time-based processes. McPherson’s work performs the indeterminacy that attends expression, desire, and communication as a whole.

​Heather Leigh McPherson lives and works in Providence, RI. Recent solo exhibitions include High Bottom at Actual Size Los Angeles, 30 Special Colors at Greenlease Gallery in Kansas City and Anytime Concept at Vox Populi in Philadelphia; she was also included in the 2016 deCordova New England Biennial. Winner of the 2015 Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Merit Fellowship in Painting, McPherson holds a bachelor's degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's from Rhode Island School of Design. She has been on the full-time faculty of Providence College since 2009. hmcpherson.com​


The Work of ASCSA-Affiliated Project leads to first Pre-Neolithic Artifacts​ on display in Crete. Professor Thomas Strasser and Eleni Panagopoulou co-directed the Plakias Mesolithic Survey.​ Professor  Strasser conducted research this summer at the Asphendou Cave Petroglyph Project in Crete. This research is funded by the Rust Family Foundation, Providence College.

Ancient tools discovered by Strasser team displayed. Stone tools dating back at least 130,000 years that were found on the Greek island of Crete during archaeological research led by a Providence College faculty member are being displayed for the first time in a museum in Crete. The discoveries are significant as they push the history of seafaring in the Mediterranean back by more than 100,000 years and have implications on the colonization of Europe and beyond by early African hominins, our pre- Homo sapiens ancestors.

In 2008 and 2009, Dr.Thomas F.Strasser,professor of art history,led a team of archaeologists and geologists, and several PC undergraduate students,on the Plakias Survey in Crete.It was the first project to identify Mesolithic and Palaeolithic artifacts in datable geologic contexts.The team explored caves in the area around the town of Plakias and discovered stone tools that included traditional microliths,spines,denticulates,end scrapers,and percoirs,as well as bifaces(hand axes),cores,and cleavers. 

Some of the artifacts are now exhibited in a museum in the 16th century church of St.Francis in the western Crete city of Reythmynon.  ​


Professor Jim Janecek and Professor Heather McPherson exhibited their work in a PC-G show traveling to Chicago. Illinois. [Old/New] Psychedelic Providence 12.4–1.15.17 Tiger Strikes Asteroid in Chicago, Illinois

​[Old/New] Psychedelic Providence highlights current manifestations of the psychedelic in the productions of artists living and working in Providence, Rhode Island today. Some iterations involve the typical combination of kaleidoscopic color, intricate rendering and sharply delineated layouts. Still abound are references to Op Art, craft, pop, counterculture and sci-fi ambience. Trippy landscapes allude to the prevalence of the city’s motley mix of Victorian tradition and scenery. Un-stereotypical references to drugs and party culture pop up every once in a while, too. But graphic form and streamlined composition come together in ways they have not before. There is less visual overload, fewer references to collected display and cultural otherness, and more sensitivity towards repetition. The artists in this exhibition restrain the wildest of ways into compact arrangements. They organize dreamy surreal-ness into tight units and orderly editions, suggesting that the psychedelic, while inspirationally boundless, needs some limits… even in psychedelic Providence.


Professor Heather Leigh McPherson  exhibited her art in a group exhibited titled deCordova New England Biennial 2016​ which ran from October 7, 2016 – March 26, 2017. The deCordova Museum is located in Lincoln, Ma.


​The Work of ASCSA-Affiliated Project leads to first Pre-Neolithic Artifacts on display in Crete. Professor Thomas Strasser and Eleni Panagopoulou co-directed the Plakias Mesolithic Survey​.​ Professor  Strasser conducted research this summer at the Asphendou Cave Petroglyph Project in Crete. This research is funded by the Rust Family Foundation, Providence College.

Ancient tools discovered by Strasser team displayed. Stone tools dating back at least 130,000 years that were found on the Greek island of Crete during archaeological research led by a Providence College faculty member are being displayed for the first time in a museum in Crete. The discoveries are significant as they push the history of seafaring in the Mediterranean back by more than 100,000 years and have implications on the colonization of Europe and beyond by early African hominins, our pre- Homo sapiens ancestors.


In 2008 and 2009, Dr.Thomas Strasser,professor of art history, led a team of archaeologists and geologists, and several PC undergraduate students,on the Plakias Survey in Crete.It was the first project to identify Mesolithic and Palaeolithic artifacts in datable geologic contexts.The team explored caves in the area around the town of Plakias and discovered stone tools that included traditional microliths,spines,denticulates,end scrapers,and percoirs,as well as bifaces(hand axes),cores,and cleavers.

Some of the artifacts are now exhibited in a museum in the 16th century church of St.Francis in the western Crete city of Reythmynon.  


Professor Deborah Johnson discussed Hillary Clinton's candidacy with Newsweek magazine. Female U.S. Presidential Contenders Before Hillary Clint​on in 2016 by Michele Gorman.​​


Professor Ann W.Norton, Art History Professor at Providence College presented a lecture titled "Afghanistan's Traditional Arts After Years of Conflict" on Wednesday, October 19th at 5:30pm with a reception to follow.This lecture took place at Boston University,725 Commonwealth Avenue,Room 303A.This lecture was part of the GSHAAA Lecture Series

 A reception including the work of Professor Jim Janecek, 2016 RISCA Fellowship Exhibition, was held on Thursday Feb. 25, in Bannister Gallery, Rhode Island College.Artist's Talk & Closing Reception, Friday March 25, 2016. ​Professor James Janecek holds a degree in Design from The Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, and a Master of Fine Arts from Stanford University. He teaches courses in the Art Department at Providence College in the fields of Printmaking, Design, and Digital Imaging, has taught innovative special topics courses such as Bauhaus Interactive and Nintendo Drawing and has received two Davis Foundation grants for Drawing with Digital Media.

Professor Eric Sung, Associat​e Professor of Art presented a 2016 Post Sabbatical Talk titled "Photographing Place as Witness" on February 18th in the Great Room, Ruane Center for the Arts. This lecture series was sponsred by the School of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Ann Norton, Professor of Art History presented a 2016 Post Sabbatical Talk titled "Boots of the Sun-God: Following Bronze Age Migrations" on March 8th in the Great Room, Ruane Center for the Arts. This lecture series was sponsred by the School of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Ann Norton attended a conference in Italy titled: Art and Psyche in Sicily, Layers and Liminality, September 2-6, 2015. The paper Professor Norton presented was titled 'Lost' and 'Found' Archaeology and Meaning.


Professor Thomas Strasser presented his research in a lecture titled "Stone Age Seafaring in the Mediterranean, Very New Evidence for Very Early Mariners"​​​ at the Archaeological Institute of America Philadelphia Society, The William A.​ McDonald Lectureship in Aegean Prehistory. The lecture was held on Monday, September 28, 2015 at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia. 

Professor Ann Norton returned from Australia where she gave a lecture titled “Following the Sun-God: A Motif and Its Survival,” The 9th International Convention of Asian Scholars, Adelaide, Australia,

Art under attack. ISIS wasn't the first group to destroy ancient art. Hear Dr. Joan Branham of the Providence College Art and Art History Department discuss the destruction of antiquities throughout history. She also discusses how ISIS's videos depicting this destruction serve a clear purpose – as propaganda tools in sync with the group’s monotheistic ideology.

Rhode Island Monthly Magazine, May 2015: "Senate Policy Office Director Marie Ganim credits research by Professors Deborah Johnson of Providence College and Frances J. Leazes Jr. of Rhode Island College on the economic impact of the arts in helping to pass the $35 million Creative and Cultural Economy bond referendum, to support improvements at arts facilities and historic sites read more


Professor Johnson was quoted in a Newsweek article "Could the U.S. Currency Get a Feminist Facelift?"  giving her opinion on this topic. read more​.


Professor Paul Crenshaw tells The Boston Globe that thieves who stole works of art from the Boston Public Library probably "knew what they were looking for. read more​


Professor Johnson was assisted in the original study by Patricia Krupinski'16 art history major, and it was published as: "Should States Invest in the Arts as a Tool for Economic Growth?," The College and University Research Collaborative, May 2015.


Professor Joan Branham participated in the Moskow Workshop on May 10-12, 2015 at Brown University. 


Professor Deborah Johnson was selected to chair a panel at the CAA, National Conference in Washington, DC Feb. 3-6, 2016. The panel she chaired was titled "Material Culture and Third-Wave Feminism".

While the emergence of a third wave of feminist theorizing in the early 1990s—and recent declarations of its end—is a still-contested phenomenon, there is little question that the emphases of millennial feminists have shifted. In recent feminist production, issues of individual subjectivities, ethical nonuniversality, mainstream political agenda, and sex positivity, among others, have taken on unprecedented prominence. How has third wave impacted the production and perception of material culture? For example, the popular-culture icon Beyoncé has declared herself a “modern-day feminist” while presenting work seen by many as uncritically exploi​tational. Not dissimilarly, the reception of Jeff Koons’s work Made in Heaven has transitioned dramatically from its appearance at the Venice Biennale in 1990 to its 2014 appearance at the Whitney Museum dependent largely upon determinations of the sexual agency of Koons’s subject, Ilona Staller. Papers addressing theoretical issues as they relate to material culture and third-wave feminism as well as monographic analyses of specific artists are equally welcomed.​​