Theory-Practice Collaboratory #5:
Conceptual Materiality

Friday, February 27, 10:00am-3:00pm
Humanities 6261 (Art Dept. 6th Floor)

A mini-symposium featuring two dynamic participatory workshops at the intersection of conceptualism and materiality.

To RSVP and receive readings, please email art.scholarship.mellon@gmail.com

Faisal Abdu’Allah, “Thinking & Making to Disseminate”

Adeve 300dpi

The workshop emphasizes the importance of memories, but more importantly demonstrates how to create a road map for critical enquiry and enlightenment. Individuals must think deeply about their practice, be able to express their vision in words effectively and understand the field of contemporary arts practice. They have to be able to develop a comprehensive, analytical and discerning eye. Understanding that process is not only a vehicle but also the vessel that contains the thinking, and both are reliant on each other. The interpretation of the work can be affected by the method of delivery – framed, unframed, performance, spoken word, participatory, sculpture, photography, etc. By following the process of thinking and making, individuals will create works that are powerful, meaningful and evocative.


The work of Faisal Abdu’Allah repositions ideologies relating to representation and memory through the interface of photography, printmaking, moving images and performance. Since his acclaimed graduation show at the Royal College of Art he has exhibited extensively in the UK and internationally, including shows at Tate Modern, National Portrait Gallery and 55th Venice Biennale. Abdu’Allah has been the recipient of numerous prizes, including the 2012 Mayors prize for sustainability for his film ‘Double Pendulum’, Decibel Visual Artist Award and First Prize at the Tallinn Print Triennial. In 2010 he was the visiting professor and artist in residence at Stanford University, California, in 2012 he completed his PhD at the University of East London. He has featured in ‘The Fade’, directed by Andy Mundy-Castle, starring Pharell Williams of the Neptune, Joe Budden and Jay Sean. In 2014 he unveiled his third major public art project on the facia of the new Village School in London (for kids with disabilities) and is currently working on a public art project for Edinburgh Printmakers, Scotland. Abdu’Allah is represented by Magnolia Editions, California, USA and Autograph ABP, London, and is currently an assistant professor in the art department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


[12:00-1:00: Lunch/Break]


Lex Lancaster, “Living Color”


Linda Benglis, Phantom (1971)

Linda Benglis, Phantom (1971)

This workshop considers color as a living element – an unruly medium with body, depth, plasticity, and animation – exploring its queer capacities to exceed representation and materialize alternatives beyond fixed binaries of difference. Contemporary queer and feminist art practices that utilize color as their medium also prompt a reconsideration of its political implications and alternative aesthetic possibilities. From gendered cosmetics to the racialized surface of skin, the blush of shame to the glow of toxic sludge, color not only evokes life but also plays on the edges and in-between spaces of the normative or expected. Color is both a marginal surface and excessive substance that produces its own feelings and sensations, corrupting the boundaries between constructs of inside and outside, subject and object, nature and artifice. Come explore the possibilities that may surface through the animate and messy medium of living color.


Lex Lancaster is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Art History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, specializing in contemporary art and visual culture, queer theory, gender and sexuality studies. A practicing curator, Lex has organized and installed two local exhibitions in Madison—“Our House!”—that explored concepts of queering and unsettling the domestic spaces of home. Lex’s dissertation, Dragging Away: The Queer Work of Abstraction in Contemporary Art, focuses on the work of contemporary queer and feminist artists who are activating the alternative aesthetic, historical, and political possibilities of abstraction.


This event is presented by the Art + Scholarship A.W. Mellon Workshop, generously supported by UW-Madison Center for the Humanities, and co-sponsored by the Center for Visual Cultures.




Facilitating conversations between experimental scholarship, creative writing, performance, new media, digital text, and visualization studies, Art + Scholarship A.W. Mellon Workshop’s Theory-Practice Collaboratories engage a richly interdisciplinary nexus of questions, practices, and possibilities for unsettling generic and medium-specific boundaries.  Collaboratories provide opportunities to engage in collective exploration of playful, creative scholarship through such practices as performance-making, sensory awareness, digital remediation, public discourse, and relational aesthetics.  


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