Research

Our teaching staff are exhibiting artists, publishing scholars and curators whose work provides a stimulating learning environment. Staff research informs our teaching and ensures that the skills you learn and the knowledge we impart are practice orientated and current. Our researchers regularly collaborate with museums, galleries and professional associations to exhibit artworks and publish research of national and international significance that has impact, scope and relevance.

Our research on the twentieth-century artist- collector Hugh Blaker and the paintings at one time in his possession, for example, has led to the positive identification of a previously disputed portrait by Amadeo Modigliani as well as new insights on a canvas recently discovered by the Louvre Museum to be St Joseph the Carpenter – a master work by French Baroque painter Georges de La Tour – and provenance on an earlier version of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

A significant aspect of our research in art history is concerned with the reassessment of artistic careers and the recuperation of traditional practices, especially those that have been marginalized or neglected: our staff have published on the French nineteenth-century painter, collector and horticulturist Gustave Caillebotte, the twentieth-century German photographer Erich Retzlaff, once renowned for depicting the land and people of Germany, and now lesser known Royal Academicians. More than a record of the past exhibitions, our catalogues raisonné on painter-printmakers such as Sydney Lee, Stanley Anderson and Charles Tunnicliffe now serve as standard references.

Not restricted to visual and material culture, our interdisciplinary research also concerns music, spoken word, and sound. Through conference papers and publications, exhibitions and performances, workshops and collaborations, our researchers are contributing to emerging fields such as audionarratology and audiovisuology (i.e. experimentation by visual artists with noise, music and text). Our research in the history and practice of photography concerns historic and alternative photographic processes as the basis for fine art practice and art historical research. It engages with the study of lens-based processes as well as the photograph as a mode of image making through which notions of identity and memory can be explored.

Our Fine Art research has led to the formation of an international network of artists, print workshops and universities aiming to increase the profile of lithography and attract collaborating artists to Aberystwyth. Our Collaborative Fine Art Printmaking project develops meaningful links between the practice and teaching of printmaking, as well as research in traditional, digital and cross-disciplinary media. Interdisciplinary and collaborative practice has resulted in multi-faceted outcomes – including drawings, photographs, poetry, video and sound to publications, performance and panel discussions – that engage diverse audiences in exciting new ways with current debates surrounding issues such as conservation, sustainable land management, wildlife protection and biodiversity.

As the only institution in Wales offering undergraduate and research degrees in Art History, we are also mindful of our special commitment to the visual culture of Wales. As well as exhibitions and monographs devoted to twentieth-century Welsh artists George Chapman, John Elwyn, Nicholas Evans, Gwilym Prichard, Christopher Williams and Claudia Williams, our research in this field includes the collecting habits of queer Welsh Victorian dilettante George Powell of Nant-Eos, near Aberystwyth, and the wildlife art and forensic animal studies of renowned Anglesey-based artist and Royal Academician Charles Tunnicliffe.

The internationally renowned collections of the School of Art Museum and Galleries are a significant resource and provide a focus for staff and student projects. Through publication, exhibition, conference, residencies, public speaking, broadcasts and online databases our staff reach an ever-wider range of beneficiaries, including students and academics, curators and collectors, art dealers and auctioneers, publishers and broadcasters, art critics and the general public.