Dr Claudia Tobin, Faculty of English
I am a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in English and a Research Associate at Jesus College. Before coming to Cambridge I held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art in London and worked on editorial and curatorial projects at arts institutions including the National Portrait Gallery and Royal Drawing School. I was awarded an AHRC doctoral scholarship to complete my PhD at University of Bristol, and during my second year I held a Fellowship at the Huntingdon Library, California.
Nineteenth- and twentieth- century literature; visual cultures; ekphrasis and art writing; modern dance and experimental theatre; colour writing and chromatic technologies; vibrational aesthetics; the life of objects; early twentieth century spirituality
My research centres broadly on the relationship between literature and the visual arts in the twentieth century. My PhD thesis explored the genre of ‘still life’ across different media, in prose, poetry, painting, dance, and sculpture of the early- to mid-twentieth century. I am currently revising my thesis for book publication under the working title, Modern Stillness.
My new research project investigates representations of chromatic experience at the intersection between modern art and literature. At the outset of this project I have recently published two essays on the eloquence of colour in Vanessa Bell’s abstract painting, which were commissioned by Tate Gallery as part of their ‘In Focus’ series.
My interdisciplinary research often involves collaborations with museums and galleries. During 2013-14 I assisted Prof Frances Spalding on the National Portrait Gallery exhibition, Virginia Woolf: Art, Life, and Vision. I also consult and write for contemporary art galleries and am currently working with Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London on a project relating to visual artist William Tillyer. Other projects include editing a multi-author book for the Royal Drawing School (in contract with Thames & Hudson). Provisionally titled Ways of Drawing, it will explore the role and meaning of drawing in art history and contemporary practice.
In 2016 I organised the symposium ‘Animals in Art’ as part of the conference, ‘Animals Under Capitalism: Art and Politics’ at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Bristol. I have convened numerous symposia and events relating to the conversation between artists and writers as part of the interdisciplinary research network ‘Art Writing, Writing Art’, which I co-founded in 2013 at University of Bristol. I continue to convene the Royal Drawing School’s 'Lecture and In-Conversation Series', which features contemporary artists, writers, and film-makers from Maggi Hambling to Michel Faber to Danny Katz.
Areas of Graduate Supervision
I teach undergraduate and postgraduate literature and visual cultures courses. I welcome inquiries relating to postgraduate research on the subjects detailed above.
Modern Stillness (in preparation)
‘ “Landscape is Weather”: William Tillyer Painting the Elements’, Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London (commissioned, forthcoming 2017)
‘ “The Humbleness of all his Objects”: Modern Writers, Cézanne, and Still Life’, Horizons anglophones/Present Perfect, Presses Universitaires de la Méditerranée (forthcoming publication early 2017)
'Test for Chrome Yellow: The Eloquence of Colour', in Grace Brockington (ed.), In Focus: Abstract Painting c.1914 by Vanessa Bell, Tate Research Publication, 2017, http://www.tate.org.uk/research/publications/in-focus/abstract-painting-vanessa-bell/test-for-chrome-yellow
'Decoration, Abstraction and the Influence of Middle Eastern Textiles', in Grace Brockington (ed.), In Focus: Abstract Painting c.1914 by Vanessa Bell, Tate Research Publication, 2017, http://www.tate.org.uk/research/publications/in-focus/abstract-painting-vanessa-bell/decoration-abstraction
Catherine Goodman: The Last House in the World, exhibition catalogue, Marlborough Fine Art, London (November 2016)
Fixing Memory: Paul de Monchaux, exhibition catalogue, The Piper Gallery (2013)
Walter Nessler: Post-War Optimist, monograph on twentieth-century German exile artist (J & C Marshall-Purves, 2012)