Joseph Dreiss

Professor of Art History
Survey of Western Art, 19th Century Art – 20th Century Art, Modern Architecture
Melchers Hall 104
(540) 654.1938

Joseph Dreiss, Professor of Art History, has taught at the University of Mary Washington since 1976. He specializes in contemporary art and art criticism, contemporary architecture and the relationship between art and neuroscience, especially with regard to the implications of neuroplasticity for our understanding of the transformative potential of aesthetic experience.

Dreiss teaches Introduction to Western Art I and II, Neoclassicism to Impressionism, Post Impressionism to Abstract Expressionism, American Art, Pop Art to the Present, Seminar in Contemporary Architecture and Methods of Art History.


Gari Melchers: His Works in the Belmont Collection. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1984.

Recent Catalogue Essays/Articles

“What Are We Fighting For: J. Coleman’s History Repeats,”

{Cre8} Space Studio Gallery, October, 2010.

“Steve Griffin: Forty-Five Years of Painting” Rawls Museum Arts, Courtland VA, July 16 to September 10, 2010.

“Towards Enlightenment: J. Coleman’s Wandering Stars” Pandemic Gallery, Brooklyn, N.Y. April 2010.

“The Two Faces of Prudence: The Phenomenology and Neuropsychology of Free Will” The International Journal of the Humanities, Vol. 3, Issue 7, 2006, pp.121-128.

Recent Papers/Presentations

“Leon Golub’s Interrogations and the Abu Ghraib Photographs: Human Nature on Display in Painting and the Media,” Virginia Humanities Conference, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, April 2008.

“Psychoanalytic Art, Quantum Physics and the New Mind/Matter Paradigm,” Ridderhof Martin Gallery, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Va., March 26, 2008.

“Aesthetic Experience as Meditative Practice: Neuroplastic Transformation though Ritual and Reiteration.” 22nd Annual Conference of the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts, Charlotte, North Carolina, November 14, 2008.