Photo of Roger Mesley

Roger Mesley

Retired Professor

Degrees:B.A. M.A. and Ph.D. (University of Toronto)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2343

Professor Mesley came to Carleton in 1981. In the majority of years since then, he has headed the Art History unit, be it as Chair or Assistant Director. In the 1980s, he was curator of the University’s art collection. This role culminated in the publication of his Art Carleton book, which launched a successful campaign for a Carleton University Art Gallery. Mesley’s teaching concentrates on nineteenth-century art, with forays into the twentieth century. He offers several single-artist courses (e.g. Van Gogh, Gauguin, Redon) and thematic ones (eg., “French Impressionism: Art, Society and Leisure” and “Myth, Religion and the Occult in Art: 1848-1914”). His lectures reflect his reactionary conviction that art can add pleasure and meaning to life – a view that art historian Griselda Pollock has dismissed as “bourgeois romantic humanism.” Despite this (or possibly because of it), Mesley recently received a Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award.

His hobbies include wine-tasting, record collecting (mainly soul, early rhythm’n’blues, blues and gospel: analog rules!), and retreating to his island in the Kawarthas to do his Thoreau-thing. Mesley has published on Redon, Van Gogh, Joel-Peter Witkin, Boris Anisfeld and others, but his primary commitment is to teaching.