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By Karen Nikos-Rose on February 21, 2019

Friday offers art history and music at UC Davis

By Jeffrey Day, College of Letters and Science

The annual Templeton Colloquium in Art History at UC Davis will explore how art made during the Enlightenment doesn’t always fit neatly into commonly held ideas about the period. Titled “Art and the Enlightenment,” the colloquium will look at how 18th-century paintings are frequently at odds with Enlightenment ideals of reason, equality and beauty.

“The Enlightenment is thought of as uber-rational, but it had a whimsical aspect to it as well,” according to John Lopez, assistant professor of art history and coordinator of the symposium. “Study of painting of this period demonstrates that the art could be wildly hubristic, overambitious, and even went as far as rejecting tenets of the Enlightenment. We’ll be looking at the nuances. There are new perspectives that are out of the box.”

Featured speakers will be Mark Ledbury, Power Professor of Art History and Visual Culture and director of the Power Institute at the University of Sydney, Australia, and Amy Freund, associate professor and Kleinheinz Family Endowed Chair in Art History at Southern Methodist University. Presented by the College of Letters and Science’s Department of Art and Art History.

Ledbury’s talk, “Painting, Ambition and Enlightenment,” will use what he describes as the “excessive and outsized history paintings” of Charles Le Brun, Jean-Baptiste Greuze and Jacques-Louis David to explore the dynamics of history painting and Enlightenment ideals of perfection.

Freund’s presentation, “Men, Dogs, and Guns: Painting Against the Enlightenment,” will analyze Jean-Baptiste Oudry’s painting “Henri-Camille, Chevalier de Beringhen” to show how hunting art of the time presents a “visual culture of violence, death, and the raw exercise of power.”

The colloquium is made possible through an endowment established by Alan Templeton (BA, art history and psychology, ‘82).

Catch "extreme metal" featuring UC Davis grad performance

Ehnahre is an experimental extreme metal ensemble and contemporary composition collective based in Boston, Massachusetts, that will play Friday night at the Pitzer Center. Members of the ensemble will perform student compositions at the Shinkoskey Noon Concert Thursday, as well. UC Davis alum Richard Chowenhill is on guitar.

Chowenhill (BA, music, 2010), an award-winning composer and guitarist, has had his music performed across North America by the Lydian String Quartet, the Talujon Percussion Ensemble, the Beat City Percussion Ensemble, the Wellesley Composers Conference Orchestra, Music from China, members of the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra, members of the UC Davis Early Music Ensemble, the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble, and numerous other soloists and ensembles. Originally from California, he has performed as a guitar player in numerous California-based bands and chamber ensembles.

Currently he performs with Ehnahre and will appear on its forthcoming record. Drawing influence from his experiences performing in rock and metal bands, chamber ensembles, orchestras, jazz groups, an early music ensemble, several theater productions, and a Hindustani vocal ensemble, his compositions frequently reflect his diverse musical background. Currently the resident composer and associate artistic director with the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble, he is pursuing a doctorate in music composition and theory at Brandeis University.

  • Ryan McGuire, bass and voice
  • Richard Chowenhill, guitars
  • Jared Redmond, piano
  • Joshua Carro, percussion

Works by Ehnahre include: Godhead, A Wandering Fire, The Crow Speaks, The Marrow, An Exiled King.

Coming up

Later this month, catch a Great Depression-era tale of love and communism.

“Flora the Red Menace,” the first collaboration between the creators of “Cabaret” and “Chicago,” will be resurrected by the Department of Theatre and Dance. The musical by Tony Award-winners John Kander and Fred Ebb will be presented in the Wyatt Pavilion Theatre Feb. 28–March 9.

The musical is set in 1935 when the world faces an uncertain political and economic future. At the height of the Depression, the government-funded Federal Theatre Project gathers a group of performers to tell the story of optimistic Flora Meszaros, a newly graduated art student. She embarks on a career as a fashion illustrator in Manhattan and soon falls in love with Harry, a fellow artist. But her beloved turns out to be an idealistic communist. Is Flora herself a “red menace” or just that good old Broadway standby: a girl in love?

Read more and get tickets on the department's website.

On good writing

For a good read, catch this story about a professor emeritus still passionately teaching and practicing the craft of good writing.