“With the addition of Mary Blackburn and Brittany Ransom, the Division of Art is beginning its next phase of development,” Michael Corris, chair of the Division of Art, said. “Mary will be spearheading our new art and urbanism program and contribute to teaching at all levels. She will be introducing new courses on art in the context of the city, which means our students will be able to engage with the very fabric of Dallas as a laboratory for visual art.”
Mary Walling Blackburn’s work ranges from art installation and network-based media to video art, performance, sculpture, social practice and critical theory. Blackburn received a national ArtMatters grant in 2011, which is given by invitation only to artists who display a decisive engagement with social justice.
Her current project involves research in Turkey and at the Syrian border. A specific aspect of her art practice involves an experimental educational project, The Anhoek School, a graduate program in which student-teacher monetary exchange is replaced with a barter system – students work for the school in exchange for classes (anhoekschool.org).
The nomadic school has been invited to stage classes in Aarhus, Denmark; at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin; at Southern Exposure in San Francisco; and through The Laboratory at Harvard University.
Blackburn earned a B.A. in history from the University of New Hampshire and an M.F.A. in interactive telecommunications from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and served a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2011.
Brittany Ransom joins SMU from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she was adjunct assistant professor of new media arts/electronic visualization.
She has guest-lectured at DePaul University, The Ohio State University and Loyola University, Chicago, and served as Artist-in-Residence in the Meadows School’s Division of Art in fall 2011.
Ransom is one of a growing number of new media artists interested in the boundary between human and animal societies.
She has created environments that aim to heighten awareness of the world from the point of view of other species.
Her work is interactive and often relies on the direct contact between organisms and technology.
Ransom is the recipient of numerous arts council awards and scholarships, including the prestigious College Art Association Professional Development Fellowship in January 2011. She received her B.F.A. from The Ohio State University in art and technology, and her M.F.A. in 2011 from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
As a member of the faculty of the Division of Art, she will be working closely with the Center of Creative Computation, an interdisciplinary research and teaching center at the Meadows School that integrates theory and methodology from computer science and engineering with aesthetic principles and creative practice from the arts.