Tawrin Baker's research focuses on vision and color in the 16th and 17th centuries, particularly the intersection of anatomy and medicine, mathematical optics, and natural philosophy. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Visual Studies Department at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is working on a project that traces the history of the ways the eye was both anatomized and visualized, and how the two practices informed one another, in the early modern period.
Lecturer in Sculpture and Fine Arts
Tom Bendtsen was born in Copenhagen Denmark, raised in Canada. He did his undergraduate work at OCAD in Toronto, before completing an MFA at SUNY Buffalo in 2003. He has exhibited his works at the Albright-Knox gallery in Buffalo, N.Y.,Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton N.J., Southern Alberta Art gallery in Lethbridge, The Rooms in St Johns NFLD, OpenSpace in Victoria B.C. Canada. He has also exhibited at the Koffler Gallery, Mercer Union, and has contributed to a variety of self generated exhibitions in the Toronto area. He was a featured artist at Toronto’s 2008 Nuit Blanche and 2009 Luminato festivals of contemporary art. His films have been widely screened in Europe, Canada and the USA. He has also received grants from the Toronto; Ontario and Canada council for the Arts and in 2006 was awarded a Chalmers Art Fellowship. He is currently lives and works in Philadelphia.
Lecturer in Visual Studies
Kevin Connolly works on perceptual learning, cases in which a person (often an expert) perceives the world in an improved way because of prior exposure or practice. As a Mellon Fellow with the Penn Humanities Forum, he was focused on the role of expertise and learning in color perception. He was previously a postdoctoral fellow with the Network for Sensory Research, an interdisciplinary group of perception researchers with research hubs at Harvard, MIT, Toronto, London, and Glasgow. In 2011, he received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Toronto.
Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Studies
Matt Freedman is a sculptor, graphic artist, performer, writer and curator with a background in cartooning and anthropology. His current work explores the consequences when DIY versions of modern spectacles revive half-remembered cultural myths. Solo exhibition venues include Pierogi Gallery (Brooklyn), vertexList (Brooklyn), Flipside (Brooklyn), FiveMyles (Brooklyn), and SculptureCenter (New York).
Adam Seybert Professor in Moral and Intellectual Philosophy and Director of Visual Studies
Gary Hatfield (PhD, University of Wisconsin–Madison) taught at Harvard and Johns Hopkins before coming to Penn in 1987. He works in the History of Modern Philosophy, the philosophy of psychology, theories of vision, and the philosophy of science. He is a member of the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, the Penn Perception group, and the History and Sociology of Science Graduate Group. He has long been fascinated by visual perception and the mind–body problem.
Adjunct Professor in Fine Arts
Sharka Hyland teaches courses on typography and visual communication, as well as visual studies. She has received awards from the American Association of Museums, American Federation of Arts, and American Institute of Graphic Arts. Her text-based drawings have been exhibited in solo and group shows, most recently at Gallery Joe in Philadelphia and at Josee Bienvenu Gallery in New York.
Professor of the History of Art and Interim Director of Visual Studies
Michael Leja (Ph.D., Harvard) is a Professor in the History of Art and the Visual Studies Program Director. Professor Leja studies the visual arts in various media (painting, sculpture, film, photography, prints, illustrations) in the 19th and 20th centuries, primarily in the United States. His work is interdisciplinary and strives to understand visual artifacts in relation to contemporary cultural, social, political, and intellectual developments. He is especially interested in examining the interactions between works of art and particular audiences...
Lecturer in Photography and Visual Studies
Anna Neighbor is a visual artist, teacher, and union organizer for faculty in higher education. She works with readymade debris gathered from sites of overlap between transient landscapes and new construction, creating figurative sculptural works in erotic homage to the human drive to labor and to build. She has exhibited most recently at New Boone (Philadelphia), PNCA (Portland), Vox Populi (Philadelphia), Bodega (Philadelphia), and Three Walls (Chicago).
Visual Studies Associate Director
Ian Verstegen is the Associate Director of Visual Studies. He is the author of Arnheim, Gestalt and Art: A Psychological Theory (2005), A Realist Theory of Art History (2013) and Cognitive Iconology: When and How Psychology Explains Images (2014), and has edited volumes on the Della Rovere family (2007) and the American philosopher Maurice Mandelbaum (2010).