Dr Victoria Carruthers - Nat Sch of Arts (Faculty of Education and Arts)

Fully accredited supervisor - Can supervise as principal supervisor


My research areas are primarily focused on modern and contemporary art history and theory. I also have an interest in the intersections between visual cultures and politics, literature, music and philosophy. I completed an Honours degree at the College of Fine Arts (UNSW) and then traveled on a scholarship to the UK where I completed a PhD at the University of Essex, awarded in 2012. My doctoral thesis focused on the art of the late American surrealist Dorothea Tanning with whom I worked in New York before her death in 2012. Before studying art history, I completed a BA in literature and philosophy and a Masters by thesis on Shakespeare's late plays, both at the University of Sydney.

My research interests have been broad and reflect my education in the Humanities and my personal interest in the history of music. For this reason, I would consider my research practices genuinely interdisciplinary with a grounding in feminist practice and ideology. I have a growing interest in the metaphysics of death, dying and creativity, reflected in collaborative research with academics at the University of Sydney.

My publications include essays on Tanning's work and its relationship to music, gothic literature and mermaid imagery. I have also published on surrealist poetry, Young British Artists, the surrealist Czech artist Emila Medkova and have recently published the first critical monograph on Dorothea Tanning.


Phone :4264 (Strathfield)
Email :Victoria.Carruthers@acu.edu.au
URIs : Staff Directory Profile

Research Interests

Modernism, surrealist art practice, ; contemporary art, gothic literature/aesthetics, ; visual cultures, feminist practice, politics, ; neoliberalism, interdisciplinary studies, ; feminist/eco theology, metaphysics of death ;

Methods Expertise

Visual, textual and discourse analysis ; Qualitative approaches, ethnography ;

Research Projects

Completed Projects

  • Gestalt: 'reality', cognition and affect in relation to the cinematic experience (Undergraduate) (Principal Supervisor)
  • Living history: feminine narratives in the weave of Amazigh textiles (ACU) (Undergraduate) (Principal Supervisor)
  • Activism or commodity? Critiques of 'street' art in contemporary society (ACU, submission November 2016) (Undergraduate) (Principal Supervisor)
  • Impossible Topographies: the spatial art of Marcel Duchamp (University of Sydney) (PhD) (Co-Supervisor)

Current Projects

  • Spectres in the Studio: Time, Memory, and the Artists Haunted Imagination (PhD) (Co-Supervisor)
  • Developing a digital platform through which to reveal a new understanding of God the Creator through the exploration of ecology in Laudato Si (PhD) (Co-Supervisor)
  • A Narrative of the Imagined Future: How Art-Making Displaced a Narrative of Suicidality (PhD) (Co-Supervisor)

Selected Publications


Dorothea Tanning: Transformations


Dorothea Tanning Essay, in The International Encyclopedia of Surrealism

Joyce Mansour Essay, in The International Encyclopedia of Surrealism


Emila Medkova: a female photographer of Prague, in Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art


Mermaids and Metaphors: Dorothea Tanning's Surrealist Ocean, in Framing the Ocean, Social Space in Western Art.


Excessive bodies, shifting subjects and Voice in the poetry of Joyce Mansour, in Dada/Surrealism.


Dorothea Tanning and Her Gothic Imagination, in Surrealism and the Americas


Between Sound and Silence: exploring some connections between John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen and the sculptures of Dorothea Tanning, in Art, History and the Senses, 1830 to the present