Kellman, Tila L. 1943–

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Kellman, Tila L. 1943–

PERSONAL: Born December 8, 1943, in Berkeley, CA; citizenship, Canadian; daughter of John (a lawyer) and D'Arcy (a homemaker; maiden name, Dieckmann) Landon; married Martin Kellman (a professor), June 23, 1972; stepchildren: Lisa, Lynn. Education: University of California, Berkeley, M.A. (geography), 1971; York University, M.A. (art history), 1987, Ph.D., 1996. Hobbies and other interests: Gardening, hiking, travel.

ADDRESSES: Home—887 South Side Harbour Rd., R.R.7, Antigonish, Nova Scotia B2G 2L4, Canada. Office—Department of Art, St. Francis Xavier University, P.O. Box 5000, Antigonish, Nova Scotia B2G 2L4, Canada.

CAREER: Art historian and critic. St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada, member of art gallery acquisition committee, 2003–. Guysborough Antigonish Pictou Arts and Culture Council, chair of communications, 2003–. Member of board of directors, Arts Atlantic, 2003–.

MEMBER: Universities Art Association of Canada.


Figuring Redemption: Resighting My Self in the Art of Michael Snow, Wilfrid Laurier University Press (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada), 2002.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Research on the practice of Taiwanese and Canadian artist Edward Pien, including an exploration of fear.

SIDELIGHTS: Tila L. Kellman told CA: "My writing develops my interest in how meaning gets started in visual art, and how this embroils one's sense of self, or identity.

"To explore this involves shifting the perspective of criticism in the visual arts 180 degrees to the viewer's side. Art criticism tends to stand implicitly in the artist's shoes, even when purportedly objective. It's unrealistic to expect the audience to repeat the artist's experience because the audience is always from a different context. Working from this gap between artist and viewers, I hope to show that much visual art, especially in a literate society, interrogates and participates in constructing the sense of self.

"My writing flows from the philosophy of the self developed after World War II by Paul Ricoeur, French phenomenologist, language theoretician, and theologian.

"I begin writing from notes scribbled in front of art work. From these I develop a close reading of work in the first person, then work outward. This provides the basis for a third-person analysis of prior criticism and interpretation, and for considering the different contexts of artist and viewer, or myself. It's like making a collage or stitching together a quilt.

"For my book I chose Michael Snow's practice because he is a pivotal figure in the development of contemporary art worldwide, he is Canadian, and criticism continues to ignore implications for the viewer that his work explores. I want to renew the conversation over this important artist's work.

"I have written about Edward Pien's practice because it provokes visceral engagement and questions the self and its fears using resources from the very different art traditions of Asia, Europe, and the Canadian Inuit all at once."

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Kellman, Tila L. 1943–

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