On Wednesday, October 14, Dr. Sara Christensen-Blair, NSU Associate Professor of Art, spoke at a Noon Forum for faculty, staff, students, and members of the Aberdeen community titled: “What I Did On Mu Summer Vacation.” While she typically spends her summers traveling, this past summer was vastly different. Instead of flying internationally or visiting major museums, she dedicated her summer to continuing to research and work on her artwork. According to Christensen-Blair, she spent a majority of her summer writing her “just for fun” dissertation. While she would prefer painting over writing, she is currently working on obtaining a PhD in Visual Arts: Aesthetics, Philosophy, and Art Theory. She hopes to be finished with the program by December of 2015.
She has titled her dissertation The Domestic Sublime. She put a lot of thought into this title as she wanted to demonstrate the use of paradoxes as well as an infinite cycle. In this context, she also defines sublime as a flux between two things, which can be frightening, interesting, and/or overwhelmingly beautiful. She had the opportunity to speak with some of her favorite artists while working on her dissertation, including Tara Donovan and Liza Lou. Between spending quality time with her family and working on her PhD, she also found time to run and set personal race records, including a 5K, 10K, and half-marathon. Academically, she also had the chance to plan the logistics for an upcoming May 2016 faculty-led travel course to Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam, titled “The Birth of Modernism.” In addition, one of her favorite pastimes involved learning how to paint digitally. While she loves painting, digital painting is similar and can be recreated with online programs. She admits that a con of digital painting is losing color quality when printing the finished products. Students on campus also have the opportunity to paint digitally with specialized tablets in the Mac Lab. Christensen-Blair is excited to see where art will be taken in the future as technology continues to improve and create new opportunities and ideas.