I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of St Andrews (MA Hons), and continued my studies at the University of Essex (MA, Ph.D.), where I completed my thesis entitled 'Criticism and Painting: Modernism in the USA c.1958-63.' Since then, I have taught in the History of Art department at the University of Warwick, before joining the department in 2011.
The research undertaken during my Ph.D. provides the foundation for my research interest in the art and theory of the postwar period, with an especial focus upon two inter-related issues: legacies of painting after modernism, and the problem of value judgments in art criticism. On the subject of criticism, my paper 'Leo Steinberg and the Provisionality of Modernist Criticism' appeared in the peer-reviewed online journal Rebus in 2008. Focusing upon Steinberg's writings on Jasper Johns, I argued that Steinberg's 'provisional' method of criticism entertained notions of doubt and uncertainty absent from the more dogmatic Modernist criticism of the 1950s and 1960s.
'Aesthetics in the Expanded Field of Culture,' published in The Aesthetic Dimension of Visual Culture (2010), considered the relationship between Lawrence Alloway and Roger Fry over competing notions of the aesthetic: Alloway's pluralism set against Fry's elitist aestheticism. However, the paper argued for a more nuanced assessment of the supposed 'break' between aesthetics and visual culture, suggesting that Alloway's openness to a wider field of culture did not dispense with the notion of aesthetic experiece. A further paper on the subject, 'Mapping the Field: Lawrence Alloway's Art Criticism-as-Information,' published in Tate Papers (Autumn 2011), was a more comprehensive consideration of Alloway's criticism, focusing open the problematic notion of the art critic's aversion to formulating explicit value judgements. The paper argued that Alloway's recourse to a 'descriptive' criticism was impelled by the inherent complexity of Modernity; however, Alloway's inability to account for the normative aspect of judgement leaves the problem unresolved. In March 2013, I participated in the roundtable discussion ‘Where is Art Criticism?’ at Tate Britain, which forms part of the Tate research project ‘Artwriters in Britain.’ As part of this project, I produced a paper entitled 'Charles Harrison: Criticism, Complexity, Disinterest' delivered in absentia at Tate in October 2013. The paper considers Harrison's ambivalence towards recent approaches to artwriting which favour contextualised, theoretical approaches in place of the disinterested contemplation of the art object as internally complex and resistant to theorisation.
As part of my work on Alloway, I conducted research at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles in May 2011 as Project Researcher, returning in November 2012 to present at an academic workshop. The paper considers Alloway's notion of the artworld as a network in relation to the mail art of Ray Johnsonm and has been submitted for peer review. Recently, I have contributed a chapter to an anthology on the art press in the 20th century which discusses Harold Rosenberg’s critique of Artforum in the 1960s. I am also working on a chapter developed from a talk delivered in Frankfurt last year, entitled ‘October and the Ends of Painting.’ This paper assesses the problematic legacies of October, which continue to shape debates on painting. This stems from my AAH session '“Bad” Painting,' where I delivered a talk on Luc Tuymans: a painter who is almost entirely framed by the discourse of painting's alleged historical insufficiency. This paper will also be submitted for peer review later this year.