Volume Two cover imageAcknowledgements
In its second year, RENDER continues to provide a place for graduate students to share their academic work and encounter new ideas within and across disciplines. The sense of community and spirit of collaboration created by the students, staff and professors at Carleton that make the journal, and the academic work featured within it, possible. I would especially like to thank this year’s journal committee, Caitlin Charbonneau, Emma Hamilton-Hobbs and Rebecca Sullivan, for their hard work, Professor Peter Coffman for his guidance, this year’s contributors for their thoughtful writing, and the Art History Graduate Students’ Society for its continuing support.
Sarah Eastman (editor)


Parametric Architecture: From Technique to Aesthetic
by: Ben Connolly, MArch

As the field of architecture moves into the 21st century, a revolution in technological software is changing how architects and engineers  perceive the built environment. As new trends emerge in this shift, one closely aligned t contemporary thought and discourse is the idea of parametricism and parametric architecture. What began as a largely reactive tool for developing technical aspects of architecture has slowly been adapted for a wide range of uses as the computer becomes increasingly important in the regular workflow of offices and universities.

In this continuing evolution of parametric thought, there has been a recent but steady divergence from its origins as a technique, with a group of contemporary architects pushing it towards new frontiers of style, image and form as an entity unto itself; arguably culminating in Patrik Schumacher’s Parametricist Manifesto. This shift is parallel to that from post-rational to pre- rational parametrics, with architects choosing to allow parametrics to drive the formal design, rather than analyzing and shifting technical details.

This essay will explore the significance of parametricism’s ongoing shift from practical technique to visual aesthetic, and attempt to find the implications this poses for the role of the architect. It will begin with a brief overview of the history of parametric architecture, followed by an analysis of these two seemingly opposed views of parametricism, and finally, endeavor to draw a link between the two.
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Charles Greul: The Non-Aboriginal Forebearer to the Northwest Coast Printmaking Movement
by: Amy Johnston, MA Art History

Charles Greul was a non-Aborignal printmaker working in the style of the Northwest Coast during the mid-twentieth century. The scarcity of information on his life and work is acute, leaving only a birthdate of 1923, a possible immigrant status and a printmaking career based in British Columbia spanning the 1950s to the early 1960s. This paper discusses his work through four areas of study: authenticity, appropriation, the tourist market and reactions to, and against, his work. Together, they provide a basis from which to discuss the ways Greul and his prints inserted themselves into the changing discourse of Northwest Coast Aboriginal art production, appreciation and dissemination. Cumulatively, this paper aims to provide a contextualization of Greul’s work in order to argue that his prints played a crucial role in the rise of the printmaking medium among Aboriginal artists of the Northwest Coast. One of Greul’s promotional flyers, found in the Carleton Univeristy Art Gallery’s MacDonald collection, is the foundation from which this argument derives.
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Lessons of Darkness: The Roles of the Punctum and the Abject in the Traumatic Works of Christian Boltanski
by: Allen Ley, MA Art History
Since the advent of photography, images of traumatic events have had an intense effect on their viewers. Due in large part to the photograph’s intrinsic sense of indexicality, these types of images brought forth a sense of reality that was unparalleled in the established genres of painting and sculpture. In her famous essay “In Plato’s Cave”, Susan Sontag divided her life into two parts – one before she saw photographs from the concentration camps of Bergen-Belsen and Dachau, and the other after she had seen these images. In contemporary society, the world has been inundated with traumatic images – images of abuse, terrorism and genocide.

It is important to understand how these types of images trigger such powerful traumatic reactions in order to better understand the psychological elements that lie beneath the surface of these images. Using works by the artist Christian Boltanski, this paper proposes an analytical framework that links two key theoretical models. The first is Roland Barthes’ concept of the photographic punctum, which he defined as something within a photograph that “pierces” the viewer; something that happens on a personal level and is unique to the individual viewer. The second theory is Julia Kristeva’s model of the abject, which refers to a human reaction such as horror to a threatened breakdown in meaning, which can be caused by the loss of the distinction between subject and object, or between the self and other. I argue that these two theories are intertwined and can provide a more inclusive model to explain how traumatic photographic works and images operate on the unconscious level.
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Shamans and Shams: Illustrations of Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge and the Work of Norval Morisseau
by: Kristyn Rolanty, MA Art History

Values, beliefs, and traditions can all be manifested and communicated through art. This paper explores the communicative power of art through a critical examination of the sacred imagery present in the works of Ojibway artist Norval Morrisseau (1932-2007). Morrisseau appropriated much of his imagery from the pictographic scrolls and oral traditions of the Midewiwin Society, a group of Anishnabe shamans. Morrisseau defended this appropriation on the grounds of generating respect for and understanding of Ojibway heritage. Nevertheless, many Aboriginal community members objected to him sharing images imbued with traditional knowledge. To protect the further misappropriation of sacred imagery and Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge, indigenous communities are looking to Western legal systems, specifically Intellectual Property (IP) laws. However, several features of the modern copyright system are incompatible with Aboriginal beliefs and values. Further, the recent flood of Morrisseau forgeries circulating in the art market complicates issues of appropriation and threatens the sacredness of the imagery. If these paintings are being reproduced by a third party, likely a non-Native, what does this mean for the sacrality of the symbols? Do these illegitimate artworks undermine Morrisseau’s intentions to respectfully share the traditions of his culture? The cultural, ethical, and legal significance of this work aims to extend beyond the scope of Art Historical discourse and contribute to the realization of a more collaborative relationship between Native and non-Native Canadians.
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Curiosity, Collecting and Authenticity: Venetian Glass in Victorian Britain
by: Meredith Stewart, MA Art History

The emergence of cut glass technology in Britain in the late eighteenth century led to their dominance in the glass-making industry in Europe. A revival of glass blowing in Venice in the nineteenth-century, however, introduced new competition in the British monopoly. Despite the economic threat that Venetian glass posed to glass manufacturing in Britain, the British were eager to acquire and collect those pieces coming out of Venice. This collection of Venetian glass by the British in the nineteenth century presents a puzzling method of nation building, and a new way of approaching our understanding of British self-identity at this time. The revival of glass making in Venice was not only of the industry itself, but also of the old forms and techniques mastered during the Renaissance. As a result, the glass pieces produced at this time were mimicries of the more ancient forms and styles. The British fascination with these revived forms brings to light questions of authenticity. This paper aims to investigate what constituted an “authentic” product in the nineteenth, and explore British notions of authenticity. Through the study of Venetian glass production and its collection in Britain, attitudes towards modernity and progress on the part of the British are revealed. Furthermore, the display of these pieces speaks to a larger position that the British Empire held in the nineteenth-century.
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