Turbulent Bodies: Disruptive Materiality in Modern American Painting, 1880-1930


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


Department of Art History and Archaeology


This project historicizes the material processes of painting by Asher B. Durand, Winslow Homer, Albert Pinkham Ryder, and John Marin, exploring the ways in which they engaged with paint as a physical substance, and how these were shaped by aesthetic, philosophical, and religious attitudes towards the material world and sensuous experience. It argues that select paintings of Homer, Ryder, and Marin disrupted traditional, idealizing conventions of materiality, exemplified by the work of Durand. These paintings instead embodied processes in which the artists struggled with painting as rooted in the sensual world of the body and base materials, moments of disruptive materiality that are related to evolving conceptions of the mind, body, and matter in turn-of-the-century American culture.