ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ART HISTORYjdallow@uab.edu Office // AEIVA 229 205.934.8974
M.A., Ph.D. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Areas of Specialization: Modern and Contemporary American Art, African American Art, Animals in Art, Human-Animal Relations
At UAB, Jessica teaches Art since 1945, Aspects of Contemporary Art, Art Criticism and Theory, Race and Representation, American Art to 1900, Modern Architecture, and special topics courses in her areas. With UAB students, she is involved in developing a digital archive documenting the history of Birmingham artists and arts workers.
Jessica’s current research on animals in art includes projects about the representation of dogs in the Birmingham civil rights memorial sculptures and about English artist Charles Simpson’s Rodeo, a portfolio of drawings he made of an American rodeo when it came to London in 1924. She is also completing a book But a Horse is Much, Much More that explores how visual representation constructs alternative identities—those of African Americans, women, and the animals themselves involved in equestrian sport—within the context of the ethical, gendered, and economic formations of modern American sport and leisure culture. It counters conventional understandings of equine and equestrian sporting art that are deeply enmeshed in the traditions of elite, European culture to offer an alternative history of the genre and its evolution in the United States and situate animal representation within the landscape of contemporary identity politics. Related essays have appeared in the journal Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide (2013) and the catalog Hoof Beats and Heartbeats: the Horse in American Art (University of Kentucky Art Museum, 2010). Research support includes grants from the Virginia Historical Society, Kentucky Historical Society, and UAB.
She is also interested in theories of the family in the history of art and southern self-taught art. She co-curated the exhibition Family Legacies: The Art of Betye, Lezley, and Alison Saar for the Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and her essay, "The Art of Creating a Legacy," appeared in the accompanying catalog (University of Washington Press, 2005). Essays on Betye and Alison Saar have been published in Feminist Studies (2004) and the anthology Reconciling Art and Motherhood (Ashgate, 2012). She has also written about murals by Clementine Hunter (in Sacred and Profane: Vision and Voice in Southern Self-Taught Art, University of Mississippi Press, 2007).