Archive for the 'Art and Gender Studies course' Category


Art and Gender Studies Artwork Take 4

That last installment of this series. please click here, here, and here to view the series in its entirety.


These images are intended to be viewed together as a series and should be considered as such.  As my artists statement indicates this series concerns the depiction of the body in wet-drapery and the modern action of shaving.


In Western society women are expected to shave their skin in order to be desirable to the opposite sex.  Western men prefer a woman with freshly shaved legs, armpits, and a groomed vagina.  While this may seem shocking in Eastern culture it is a common grooming practice in the West.  Beauty salons offer the Brazilian bikini wax to remove all hair from a woman’s private area while drug stores sell shaving cream, razors, and hair removal cream.  However, I have always found something edgy and dark in shaving the most intimate parts of your skin in order to be sexually desirable.

New Image


Art and Gender Studies Artwork Take 3

From creating these images two things have become clear.  Firstly, that the role of women has greatly evolved from classical times in which they wore wet drapery and secondly that the act of shaving is a very sensuous activity that is intended to physically attract.  Hence there are many contradictions present in these photographs.

Over the past few days I have been questioning why we shave our bodies.  To fit in with the culture of grooming in our society?  To attract attention to out skin?  To signify or encourage the need for physical affection.  It is a very complex grooming process.

These images were created as part of my PhD course work at National Taiwan Normal University.  They will be exhibited in a group show at the end of June.

To see the previouse parts of this series please click here and here.


Art and Gender Studies Artwork take 2

Here is the second installment of the series concerning shaving and female grooming.




Personal Reflection May 4th

This week much time has been spent getting back into the swing of my frantically paced life in Taipei after the transformative experience of NAEA. Last week our class reflected on Alex de Cosson’s article The Hermeneutic Dialogue which fused the processes of research and personal reflection.


While I have respect for the concept of de Cosson’s work and appreciate the use of his own artwork to inform his research I find his article to be too self absorbed. His writing is awash in “I” statements, (15 uses in a seven sentence paragraph). This over personalization of inquiry can diminish its impact and make the final product seem like unfinished field notes.

At the NAEA conference I ran into Liora Bresler and asked about the submissions she receives at the International Journal of Education & the Arts. She told me that many articles are rejected for being “bad personal reflections”.


The nature of arts-based research is personal reflection in conjunction to the research study involving engagement with the visual arts. Canadian scholars such as Rita Irwin, Harold Pearse, Patti Pente, and Fiona Blaikie have demonstrated the validity of arts-based research through their contributions to the field which combine personal insights alongside theoretical analyses and qualitative methodologies. However, some scholars take the liberty of arts-based research too far. Their process is less about the research at hand and instead focuses too much on personal experiences in regards to inquiry, pedagogy, and biography . “All about me”. God help me is all I have to say.



Personal Reflection

jo1 jo21

Here are two old photographs of me at age 24 in 2001.  The first was taken at Atomic nightclub which depicts my photographer identity at the time.  The second photograph, (and let’s all have a laugh at the terrible blue fuzzy fur coat), was the official graduation photo from my Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Ottawa.
Last week’s class was my favorite of the semester so far.  It was a pleasure to investigate Nicole Porter’s Article Exploring the Making of Wonder: The A/r/tography Model in a Secondary Art Classroom.  Porter’s article raised many questions on the idea of space, human space versus professional or teaching space.  Moreover, she confronted the outrageous notion that art teachers should not teach in their own classrooms.


An image from Atomic nightclub, 2001.
Yoyo did a fantastic job analyzing Porter’s work and her reflection contained the following questions: “What are the similarities and differences between artists and art teachers?  Consider the terms artists, art teacher, artists-teacher, and teaching artists?”

Another image from Atomic.
This caused our class to question the tension of power and ranking between the art teacher and art specialist.  Moreover, we considered the educational training of the art specialist who is more respected as an authentic artist but less involved invested in the institution.  What’s more Yoyo questioned why so many art teachers don’t make art?  As we concluded this can be due to self-limitation, and fear that art making may not be accepted by the institution.
This triggered a memory of a 25 year old version of myself who was ostracized at the alternative high school where I worked for taking nightlife photographs for a local newspaper.  My colleagues were biased again the subject matter and did not respect my art even if it was accepted by the local media.


At age 26 I left my job teaching Secondary art to start an M.A. in Culture and Values education at McGill University.  At the time it  seemed deeply wrong that art teachers were not encouraged to create art.  In Secondary education the notion of  “team work” is often prized over “individuality”.  This outlook can prohibit professional and personal progress in favor of appeasing the political dynamics of a provincially minded staff .

However, Porter’s article gives the message that art teachers can be authentic artists as we should be.


Personal Reflection March 30th

This week our readings from Julie Lymburner and Patti Pente empathize lived experiences that inform arts-based research through personal reflection and art-making.  There is an ideological shift that Pente describes, where values are passed through the art-teach to students.  This phenomena is well established academically and has been documented by scholars such as Noddings, Palmer, and Green.

explrn picture_argyris_organizational_learning
Donald Schön practices of “reflection on action”

While I feel self-reflection is important to maintain balance in our overlapping identities as artists/teachers/and researchers I do not find the practice  essential in contemporary educational research.  Personal reflection can provide insight into the background of a researcher’s study and provoke meanings that may have otherwise been unmentioned.  However, too much personal reflection can be very self-indulgent and as David Pariser would argue is it educational research?
An example of journaling

This question can be answered by the context of the research, strength of the study design, and findings.  However, one must not get too carried away with the “I”, and “me” references.  Often trivial bibliographical statements are better expressed over wine with ones girlfriends than placed alongside reflections of teaching pedagogy.  Irwin, Grauer, and Pente’s arts-based researched is tightly structured and contains references to social science methodology alongside personal reflections.  However, certain researchers fail.  While I appreciated the lessons to be learned from Lymburner’s arts-based journaling, her article was much too self-focused to be considered research.  A nice idea, an illuminating reflection yes! As research, no.



Personal Reflection 4

Judy Chicago and an image from her Birth Project 1982

This week I have been working hard on my Judy Chicago presentation.  Quite honestly I did not know much about Chicago until I started to research her life and art.  She is a phenomenal inspiration and I feel so excited at the prospect of seeing her at NAEA this April.

Dr. Karen Keifer-Boyd

Karen Keifer-Boyd’s (2007) article From content to form: Judy Chicago’s pedagogy with reflections by Judy Chicago in Studies in Art Education was also very informative.  Keifer Boyd empathized Chicago’s teaching goals in exploring artistic process and promoting a balanced teacher-student relationship in student art critiques.  Chicago’s pedagogy encouraged the teacher to act as facilitator of discussions as opposed to the all knowing hierarchical leader.  Her classes are taught in a circle formation without desks or chairs so that participants can observe each other’s body language.  She encouraged silence in critiques to provoke thought that could lead to greater artistic reflection.

The Dinner Party, 1979

As an educator I very much wish all my classes could be taught this way.  In Taiwan many classrooms are structured with desks pointing to the front of the room where the teacher talks.  This discourages class participation and interaction which ultimately creates lower learning outcomes.

In the Shadow of the Handgun, 1983
When I first started teaching at Huafan I moved the classroom desks to be in a square formation so all students could have eye contact and engage in discussion.  The process was time consuming and awkward.  It was labor intensive to have to re-arrange sixty classroom desks and chairs each week.  In addition, this type facilitator-based of teaching style was unknown students who still expected the teacher to lead discussion.

It is always darkest before the dawn, 1999

Perhaps in the future art educators of all disciplines can adopt Chicago’s example in and create product focused pedagogy with a student-centered teaching style.

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  • Grow With HubSpot New York February 23, 2016
    The marketing software company HubSpot sponsored an event at Irving Plaza in New York, NY on Thursday February 18th to provide an overview of their services to potential clients and marketers. HubSpot markets through Web 2.0, social media, email marketing, CRM, and blogs. The event began at 2pm and began with a session on how […]
    Jo Rees
  • TCS NYC Marathon Long Training Run #1: Race review July 26th, 2014 August 14, 2014
    Pacers from the New York Flyers running club 20.9 miles 8’37” pace/mile time This was a very meaningful race that I’d trained hard for. I knew that running 20 miles along the rolling hills of Central Park was going to be a challenge. I wanted to finish and finish strong. The race began at 7am and […]
    Jo Rees
  • Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon Race Review: 1:49:40, June 22nd 2014 August 14, 2014
    This was a special race as it took place in my hometown of Vancouver, BC. I had wanted to run a Vancouver race for a while and it was an absolute pleasure to run through UBC, West Van, and Stanley Park for 13.10 miles. The course began at UBC’s Thunderbird Arena and ran along SW […]
    Jo Rees
  • Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon: Race Review 3:58:18 August 14, 2014
    It was a great experience to run my first marathon at home in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois on April 26th. I decided to run with the 3:50 pace group and met a lot of interesting people on the course. Our pacer Steve had run 13 marathons in one year and I connected with others who traveled across […]
    Jo Rees
  • February 2014 April 12, 2014
    Here are some images from New York and Urbana, Il from February 2014
    Jo Rees
  • PicFrame Collages March 17, 2014
    Here are photographs from our trip to Washington DC last weekend that are framed using the PicFrame app.
    Jo Rees
  • Photographs from January 2014 February 10, 2014
    Here are some images from Urbana, IL and New York, NY from January 2014
    Jo Rees
  • Photographs from December 2013 February 9, 2014
    Images from the holidays in Urbana, IL and New York, NY  
    Jo Rees
  • Photographs from November 2013 February 9, 2014
    Here are some images from last November in Urbana, IL and New York, NY
    Jo Rees
  • Photographs from October 2013 February 9, 2014
    Here are some images from Urbana, IL from last October and early November
    Jo Rees

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