Meet Jessamine Batario, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow

Jessamine Batario joined the Lunder Institute team in August after earning her PhD in art history at The University of Texas at Austin. She just bought her first real pair of snow boots, but already had a canoe.

Jessamine works on a variety of programming for Lunder Institute fellows, visiting artists, and scholars, linking them to Colby College faculty and students, as well as to other artists and writers in Maine. This semester, the Occupy Colby exhibition became a classroom for her: she engaged with students in Anthropology, Environmental Studies, and English to consider the artworks on view through a variety of disciplinary lenses.

When she’s not teaching in the galleries, Jessamine also supervises a cohort of five undergraduate research assistants. Together, they are working with Tanya Sheehan, the Lunder Institute’s distinguished scholar and director of research, on this year’s Research Fellows Program on art by African Americans. They’re also laying the groundwork for next year’s initiative, which will focus on modernism and the arts of the southwest.

In addition to her activities at the Lunder Institute, Jessamine maintains a scholarly profile working on a wide range of topics in modern and contemporary art. An essay on pareidolia—the tendency to discern meaningful images in abstract forms—was published in the October issue of The Brooklyn Rail. Her next project, which will appear in the peer-reviewed journal Different Visions, explores the relationship between theory and history, opening a dialogue with contemporary artists and scholars of medieval art. Outside of Maine, you can find Jessamine at the upcoming College Art Association conference in Chicago, where she will be presenting a paper titled, “Simulations at the Byzantine Fresco Chapel.”

The Lunder Institute for American Art at Colby College gratefully acknowledges the generosity of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in supporting this postdoctoral fellowship.