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Meet the new CFA Faculty for 2019-20

The College of Fine Arts features some of the most accomplished faculty in the world in our classrooms, studios, and stages. This fall a whole new class of faculty have joined the staff and we thought you’d enjoy learning about their backgrounds, areas of interests and career highlights with the following biographies.

School of Art

Jeehey Kim

Dr. Jeehey Kim earned her doctorate at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, with a dissertation on funerary portrait photography in East Asia. Her interest in the politics of memory has led her to explore the ethics of representation and the ways in which colonial legacies have structured trans-Asian modernity. Her research encompasses the history of photography, visual culture, and film studies in East Asia. Kim is currently working on two book projects: Imagining Korea through Photography, on the history of photography in Korea, and Photography and Death: Funerary Photo-Portraiture in East Asia. She also has been writing articles on vernacular photographic practices as well as on documentary films and visual culture in relation to the Cold War and to gender politics in East Asia. As a curator, Kim has organized exhibitions such as the recent “Pyongyang Bookstore,” at Seoul Metropolitan Library, which presented North Korean artists of the 1950s and ’60s.

Mark McKnight

Mark McKnight is an artist whose work has been exhibited internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include if water forgets how to play mirror (Queens, Los Angeles, 2018) and Turn Into (James Harris, Seattle, 2018). His work has been written about in Aperture Online, Photograph Magazine, and was recently discussed on The Magic Hour: Conversations on Photography. His photographs have been included in several group exhibitions and catalogs of photography including 20/20 Vision: An International Photography Biennial and Defining Photographs & Radical Experiments in Inland Southern California, 1950 – Present (California Museum of Photography, Riverside, 2019). In 2017 he published NOUNS, a collection of photographs that debuted at the Los Angeles Art Book Fair. Additional writing on his work can be found here and here. In 2009, Mark traveled to Finland on a Fulbright Scholarship. In 2017, he was an artist in residence at Storm King Art Center. McKnight is the winner of the 2019 Aperture Portfolio Prize and was selected as a 2019 Light Work A.I.R. In January 2020 his work will be the subject of two solo exhibitions in New York, at Klaus von Nichtsaggend and Aperture Foundation. In September the same year, his first monograph Heaven is a Prison, will be published by Loose Joints (London/Marseilles). Mark splits his time between Los Angeles and Tucson, where he is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of Arizona.

Gloria Wilson

Dr. Wilson has presented her work nationally and internationally highlighting the intersections of racial identity, arts participation and equity in (arts) education. Her pedagogical outreach has also positioned her as a facilitator for anti-racism workshops in museums and other arts spaces. She is a Fulbright recipient and has also presented workshops for Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero. Additionally, Dr. Wilson has been an invited artist/researcher for Spelman College’s Museum of Art BLACK BOX series and Youngstown State University’s annual Artist Lecture Series. As a qualitative research methodologist, she approaches her research and teaching through a variety of critical arts-based and ethnographic methods.

She serves on the editorial review boards for The Art Education Journal, The Journal of Art for Life and The Journal of Social Theory in Art Education. Additionally, she has published articles in Qualitative InquiryVisual Inquiry, the Journal of Social Theory in Art Education, the Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education, and in the Art Education Journal. She also has book chapters in The Palgrave Handbook of Race and the Arts in Education and inTransdisciplinary Feminist Research: Innovations in Theory, Method and Practice.

As an artist, her art-making practices interrogate systems of inequity and respond to the histories of the African Diaspora. Her work has been exhibited in university galleries in the Southeast U.S. and Midwest. She currently serves as an appointed member of the National Art Education Association’s (NAEA) National Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and is the Chair-elect for NAEA’s Committee on Multiethnic Concerns.

Alex Macias

Born and raised in Brownsville, Texas, along the U.S./Mexico border, Alejandro Macias earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Brownsville in 2008, and a Master of Fine Arts in Two-Dimensional Studio Art from the University of Texas – Pan American located in Edinburg, Texas in 2012.

His critically acclaimed work has been selected and exhibited both nationally and internationally. Competitively selected exhibitions include: New Texas Talent XXIV at Craighead Green Gallery in Dallas; Young Latinx Artists 23 at Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin; Images of Power at Freight Gallery in San Antonio; 34th Annual International Exhibition at the University of Texas at Tyler; Texas National 2019 at Stephen F. Austin State University; New Directions 2017 at Barrett Art Center in Poughkeepsie, NY; Americas 2018 Paperworks at Minot State University; F the Art World at Unarthodox in New York, NY; 1,956 Miles at Wave Pool in Cincinnati, OH; Brand 46 Works on Paper at Brand Library Art Center in Glendale, CA; The FL3TCH3R Exhibit at East Tennessee University in Johnson City, TN; and Objectified 2018 at the Czong Institute of Contemporary Art in Gimpo, South Korea.

He was an artist-in-residence at the Chateau d’Orquevaux in Orquevaux, France in June of 2019.

Fred Fox School of Music

Molly Gebrian, viola

Molly Gebrian has distinguished herself as an outstanding performer, teacher, and scholar throughout the US and Europe. Her love of contemporary music has led her to collaborate with many composers, often in premieres of works written for her, and she has worked closely with the Ensemble Intercontemporain and Pierre Boulez for performances at the Lucerne Festival. In 2010, she designed a performance project entitled “Trios for Two,” which resulted in seven brand new works for viola and piano/percussion (one player) with pianist/percussionist Danny Holt. This music has been performed in Houston and Los Angeles, and the project was recently featured in Los Angeles at REDCAT (in Walt Disney Concert Hall). For more information, please see the Trios for Two page.

Molly completed her Doctor of Musical Arts in viola performance from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and also holds a Masters of Music and Graduate Diploma in viola performance from the New England Conservatory of Music, and Bachelors degrees from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music, in both viola performance and neuroscience.

One of her biggest passions is understanding how people learn and experience music, which has led her to collaborate on neuroscience research with leading scientists on music and the brain.  Her background in neuroscience gives her unique insight into how the brain learns and how musicians can best use this information to their advantage in the practice room. Given this expertise, she is a frequent presenter on topics having to do with music and neuroscience.

>> Personal Website

Fanya Lin, piano

Described as a “striking interpreter” who gives a “committed and heartfelt performance” by Musical America and The New York Times, pianist Fanya Lin has captivated audiences worldwide with her charismatic and gripping performances. Her orchestral appearances include the Toruń Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony, Savannah Philharmonic, Grand Junction Symphony, and Aurora Symphony. Fanya’s performance of Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was described as mesmerizing by Hastings Times and Festival Flyer.

An avid soloist, Fanya promotes classical music to the general public by creating innovative concert programs and engages her audience by presenting interactive performances. Her solo recitals have been featured in numerous prestigious concert series, including the Schubert Club Musicians on the Rise, Stecher and Horowitz Young Artist Series, and Eslite Emerging Artist Series. Fanya also dedicates herself to new music by performing with contemporary music organizations such as Focus and Axiom.

As a chamber musician, Fanya has collaborated with world-class musicians including Noah Bendix-Balgley (concert master of Berlin Philharmonic), Romie de Guise-Langlois (clarinetist of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society), and Ta’u Pupu’a (tenor in major opera productions including Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera).

Fanya earned her Doctoral Degree at the University of Minnesota under the guidance of Distinguished McKnight Professor Lydia Artymiw; her Master’s Degree at The Juilliard School with Professor Hung-Kuan Chen and Jerome Lowenthal; and her Bachelor’s Degree at Weber State University with Dr. Yu-Jane Yang.

>> Personal Website

Jennie Gubner, ethnomusicology/GIDP

Jennie Gubner is an ethnomusicologist, violinist, and visual ethnographer with a PhD from the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology. Her research interests include Latin American popular music, ethnomusicological filmmaking and multimodal approaches to ethnographic scholarship, studies of music and neurodiversity and aging, and participatory music scenes as sites of social activism across the Americas and Europe.

Jennie’s current multimodal book project explores the politics and social aesthetics of neighborhood tango music scenes in Buenos Aires through the lens of experiential film, photography, and written ethnography.

Jennie is now working in the UCSF Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics as the lead Clinical Researcher on an exciting cross-sectional study of music in dementia caregiving relationships. Although she lives in San Francisco, she is still connected as a Visiting Research Associate to the Indiana University Bloomington Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, where she taught from 2016-2018. Prior to IU, she worked as a Faculty Fellow at Colby in the Departments of Music and Latin American Studies.

As a violinist, Jennie enjoys playing Argentine tango and folklore, bluegrass & old-time fiddle, and Sicilian popular music.

>> Personal Website

Marissa Olegario, Bassoon

Known for her compelling and personality-driven performances, Marissa Olegario enjoys an active and diverse performance schedule as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician. Marissa has appeared in concerts under conductors such as James Conlon, John Adams, Peter Oundjin, Rafael Payere and Leonard Slatkin. As an avid pit performer, Marissa has performed in productions including Puccini’s La Boheme and Madama Butterfly, Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Verdi’s La Traviata and Falstaff, as well as the world premiere of Derrick Wang’s American comic opera Scalia/Ginsberg.

Marissa has also collaborated with the Martha Graham Dance Company in a production of The Rite of Spring, performed film scores including Jeff Beal’s original score to Buster Keaton’s silent film The General, and partnered with Dance for Parkinson’s to provide live music for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

Marissa was a semi-finalist for the 2016 Matthew Ruggiero International Woodwind Competition and was recognized as a recipient of the Yale School of Music Alumni Prize.  She enjoys an eclectic chamber career appearing at the Phoenix Chamber Society Winter Series, the Norfolk Chamber Festival, and the clasclas festival in Spain collaborating with artists such as Guy Braunstein, Gili Schwartzman, and Matan Porat. She actively subs with the acclaimed Breaking Winds Bassoon Quartet and will appear on a Naxos produced album with leading artists including David Shifrin, Stephen Taylor, Frank Morelli, and William Purvis, featuring Beethoven’s serenades for winds to be released in 2020.

Northwestern University, B.M., Yale School of Music, M.M., SUNY Stony Brook, D.M.A.

>> Personal website

Kay He, composition

Dr. Yuanyuan (Kay) He is a composer and video artist with roots in China.  Her works often explore and intertwine various forms of media to create unique audiovisual experiences that engage the audience. Many of her works involve collaborations with choreographers, dancers, video artists, audio technicians, and stage lighting and design artists. Kay serves as the Creative Director for Electronic Music Midwest (EMM), which is an annual music festival dedicated to programming a wide variety of electroacoustic music and providing high quality electronic media performances. She is also the founder and Director of the Austin-based Turn Up Multimedia Festival for Women Artists, which promotes women composers, performers, and visual artists.

During her career, Kay has won many awards and been selected for many performances in the U.S. and abroad.  Most recently, her piano trio Imprint of the Spring Breeze won the grand prize at the 2nd ACC International Composition Competition in 2017 (Gwangju, South Korea).  ISCM selected the flute and electronics piece On the Pivot of an Abandoned Carousel for its 2016 World Music Days (Tongyeong, South Korea).  Passeig de Grácia for orchestra was selected for the 2015 ACO Underwood New Music Readings (New York, NY).

Kay earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and her Master of Music degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition from the University of Texas at Austin where she studied under Dr. Russell Pinkston and Dr. Yevgeniy Sharlat.

>> Personal website

Robert Gordon, music in general studies

Dr. Robert Edward Gordon is an Assistant Professor at the Fred Fox School of Music in the College of Fine Arts. He facilitates cross-college interdisciplinary partnerships that includes teaching, course development, grant writing, and scholarly research. Trained as a philosopher and an art historian, his work encompasses a broad range of interests: Eastern art and philosophy, art and economics, freedom and its relationship to the fine arts, and humanistic geography. With an emphasis on the epistemologies of contemporary life, his writings investigate how the meanings and ideas embedded in the world (artworks, architecture, nature) are experienced in terms of the subjective attitudes, perceptions, and values of the individual.

Dr. Gordon has taught art history and philosophy at various colleges and universities over the last ten years. He has lectured at large corporations and museums on Baroque and Contemporary Art, and worked in Chicago as a corporate art consultant in addition to managing a number of retail art galleries. Elements of his research are incorporated in the Japanese American National Museum’s Traveling Exhibition.

Professor Gordon is presently working with local museums and religious organizations on an exhibition that highlights the importance of Tibetan stupas located throughout the American Southwest. His current book project, Reality is Here: The Appearance of Buddhist Architecture in America, investigates the scriptural foundation for Buddhist architecture and its development in an American setting.

>> American Culture and Ideas Initiative bio

School of Theatre, Film & Television

Andrew ‘Andy’ Belser, Director

Andrew Belser is the Director of the School of Theatre, Film & Television. Andy comes to the University of Arizona from Penn State University where he was a Professor of movement, voice and acting in the MFA Performance program.  At Penn State Andy was also Director of the Arts and Design Research Incubator, a studio laboratory where artists and designers join with scientists, writers, philosophers and others to research and create artistic projects for national/international venues. Andy created and directed FaceAge, a multi-media installation and series of documentary films exploring aging questions in cross-generational interactions that toured the United States. Through his work with the FaceAge project, Andy was honored to serve as the Penn State Laureate in 2017-2018.

Belser was the founding Artistic Director of The Gravity Project, a professional theatre company, international performance research center, and new work incubator. Belser’s teaching and directing career has centered on devising new work and revisioning classics, movement forms, voice/breath work, interdisciplinary theatre approaches, and solo work. He regularly directs and mentors new projects, particularly solo work, and is the director of Michelle Krusiec’s award-winning solo play Made in Taiwan. He is a certified Feldenkrais® practitioner, a Master Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework®, and Creative Director for the Fitzmaurice Institute.

Belser is currently writing a book The Performer’s Field Guide to Applied Neuroscience, scheduled for 2020 publication by Routledge. Belser maintains an active schedule of teaching acting workshops and individual actors in New York, Los Angeles, and other international locations.

>> Personal website

Emily Smokovich, CT Asst. Prof, MEZZO-SOPRANO

Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ms. Smokovich began her piano studies at age 5 and voice lessons at 15. She completed her B.M. and M.M. at the prestigious Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, studying with Andreas Poulimenos. Role highlights include the collegiate premiere as Margaret Johnson in The Light in the Piazza and Annina in Der Rosenkavalier.  Ms. Smokovich has worked with renowned conductors, directors, and coaches, such as David Effron, Dan Riddle, Michael Ehrmann, Carol Vaness, Virginia Zeani, and Sylvia McNair.  Along with a deep love of performing, Ms. Smokovich has a great desire to teach, to share her love of music with others, and to support other singers.  She believes that it is important to give young singers the proper tools to proceed into the music world with a healthy, supported, and sustainable sound, as well as a comprehensive knowledge of the music in general.

>> Personal website

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