Paige M. Medlock Johnson (PhD student)

Paige Medlock Johnson (at All Saints’ Chapel, Tudeley, England; the only chapel where all the windows are by Marc Chagall)

I earned a BA degree in Art Education with an emphasis in stained glass at Asbury University before going on to earn a Master of Arts degree in cross-cultural missions at Asbury Theological Seminary. After teaching art for nine years at various levels I moved from Kentucky to Scotland and completed the MLitt in Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen before beginning a practice-based PhD at the University of Stirling.  I am currently in my fourth/final year of research which bridges Critical Religion and Visual Culture at the University of Stirling.

Having taught in departments of both religion and art, I am most interested in how/where interdisciplinary connections bridge these academic classifications, inherently then engaging fields of aesthetic philosophy, theology, anthropology, ethics.

I have exhibited stained glass, photography, and mixed media works in personal and collective shows and have co-created several large-scale stained glass commissions installed in three different countries.  Having participated in cross-cultural relief work and educational trips has fed my artwork and research.  I have presented on themes of art and advocacy, aesthetics and theology, studio methods and materials, and visual art in liturgical worship.  I would like to see emerging contemporary programs on religion/theology and the arts deepen their roots and sharpen their critiques in studio art, art history, theological aesthetics, and cultural and media studies.

Research Interests:

  • Practice-based research: interdependent methods from studio and study connecting visual and verbal, media and mediation, exhibition and dissertation.
  • Re-thinking ontological and phenomenological aspects of aesthetic experience: interaction with visual art that causes reflective insight and desire to care for others.
  • Theological and ethical implications of visual art in public space and the dislocation, relocation, and blurring of boundaries when art moves between public, private, holy, human.
  • Cross-cultural nature of visual art to simultaneously distinguish and memorialize local/historical experience as well as translate that into vicarious/real lived experience of another (at personal, community, and even national levels).
  • The diplomatic and redemptive working of visual art in humans, differentiated from subjective notions of religious or political content which tends to be agenda-driven.
  • Specific research drawing primarily from the commissioned installations of stained glass by Marc Chagall, glassworks by Gerhard Richter, and aesthetic theory from Heidegger’s “Origin of the Work of Art” and Gadamer’s “Relevance of the Beautiful”.
  • Concepts of mimesis, reflection, representation, unconcealedness.
  • Current stained glass series is focused on the concept of family and belonging; previous ones included under this practice-based research project are: 1) an 8’x2’ Scottish landscape for the University of Stirling Art Collection (2012), and 2) a 12’x12’ Celtic trinity knot for an organization in the United States (2010).

Supervisors: Andrew Hass, Andrew Ginger

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