Staff Profile

  • Dr Craig Staff is a Professor in Fine Art and is also the Programme Leader for the MA Fine Art. He has taught at the University of Northampton since 2003, having completed his PhD in Fine Art (Painting) at Nottingham Trent University and his MFA (Distinction) at the University of Ulster.

  • Dr Staff teaches theory and practice-based modules across the BA Fine Art, BA Painting and Drawing and MA Fine Art programmes. His teaching responsibilities also encompass working with Ph.D. students.

  • Dr Staff’s research has been geared towards the analysis of how painting has been able to assert itself as a legitimate form of enquiry within a broader set of discursive contexts.

    After Modernist Painting: The History of a Contemporary Practice, published by I.B.Tauris in 2013 was a critical re-evaluation of the contested nature of the medium of painting over the last 50 years. The research monograph examined issues that pertained to painting during the period in question, rather than the practice of art per se, as previous studies have attempted to do. This research monograph built upon of his previous study, Modernist Painting and Materiality, published by McFarland in 2011.

    Monochrome: Darkness and Light in Contemporary Art, published in 2015 by I.B.Tauris was the first account of the monochrome’s continued relevance within contemporary art.

    In addition to having published on the intellectual histories of modernism, the focus of Dr Staff’s research has also considered how time is written into the work of art. His study Retroactivity and Contemporary Art, published in 2018 by Bloomsbury considered contemporary art’s relationship with both history and historical materials. This was more recently followed by his monograph Painting, History and Meaning: Sites of Time, published in 2021 by Intellect. This study sought to examine the notion, following Jean-François Lyotard, that paintings function as ‘sites of time.’

    Dr Staff’s most recent research monograph, Weak Painting After Modernism: Material Strategies 1968-1978, published by Routledge in 2023, sought to approach a period in painting’s history in the U.S. through the philosopher Gianni Vattimo’s idea of pensiero debole or so-called weak thought.

  • For publications, projects, datasets, research interests and activities, view Craig Staff’s research profile on Pure, the University of Northampton’s Research Explorer.

  • Monographs

    Sites of Time: Painting, History and Meaning, Intellect, 2020

    Retroactivity and Contemporary Art, Bloomsbury, 2018

    Monochrome: Darkness and Light in Contemporary Art, I.B.Tauris, 2015

    After Modernist Painting: The History of a Contemporary Practice, I.B.Tauris, 2013

    Modernist Painting and Materiality, McFarland, 2011

    Articles and chapters

    ‘Resurfacing the Past: Art-Historical Baggage, Painting and Pedagogy,’ in Teaching Painting: Painting the New, Cambridge Scholars, (forthcoming)

    ‘Teaching students to write about art: the results of a four year patchwork text project’ Journal of Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education, Vol. 18, No. 2, 1 October 2019, pp.137-151

    ‘Teaching Painting in the Expanded Field: Positioning, Pedagogy and Practice,’ in Teaching Painting, (ed. Ian Hartshorne, Donal Moloney and Magnus Quaife), Black Dog, 2016, pp. 45-49

    ‘Burrowing Under the Apparent: The Blindfold Drawings of Claude Heath,’ in On Not Looking: The Paradox of Contemporary Visual Culture, (ed. Frances Guerin), Routledge, 2015, pp. 123-136

    ‘A Poetics of Becoming: The Mythography of Cy Twombly,’ in Contemporary Art and Classical Myth, (ed. Isabel Loring Wallace & Jennie Hirsh), Ashgate 2011, pp. 43-55    

    ‘Embodiment, Ambulation and Duration’ in Modes of Spectating, (ed. Alison Oddey and Christine White). Intellect, 2009, pp. 207-218

    絵画の示差的存在論のための覚書, ‘Towards a Differential Ontology of Painting,’ trans. Katsumoto Ishizaki, Rear 21, May 2009, pp. 68-76

    ‘Towards a Differential Ontology of Painting,’ in A Future for Modernism? The possibilities of re-inhabiting an abandoned critical position, (ed. David Sweet). MIRIAD, 2007, pp. 44-57

    Exhibition catalogue essays/commissioned texts

    ‘Inbetweeness or the ever-failing attempt to let the orange orange: Hannah Leighton-Boyce’s Repose’, 2018 [online]

    ‘Living in an Age of Dinosaurs: The Untimely Paintings of Alex Pollard’ in Paleo Fauvism: Alexander James Pollard. HOP Press, 2018, pp. 3-5      

    ‘The digital medium: as transmission, as storage,’ in Painting, Drawing and the Digital Symposium, (exhibition catalogue), 2017, unpaginated.

    ‘Something of the previous day,’ in Fully Awake (exhibition catalogue), 2017, unpaginated

    ‘Craig Staff writes on Real Painting.’ Abcrit: discourses on abstract painting and sculpture. July 2015 [online] 

    Painting qua painting (as noun and verb). July 2015 Essay commissioned by the Castlefield Gallery, Manchester to accompany the exhibition Real Painting which was held 12th June-2nd August 2015. [online] 

    ‘Why 43?’ in The 43 Uses of Drawing, (exhibition catalogue essay), Rugby Museum of Art, (2011), unpaginated

    ‘Michael Evans and Jo Love: Grey Matters,’ in grey matters (exhibition catalogue essay), Aqffin Gallery, London, 2009, p. 2

    ‘Speaking in the Vernacular: Insularity, British Art and Modernism,’ in Tracing Britishness, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, 2008, pp. 2-4

    ‘An email conversation between Slavka Sverakova and Craig Staff, Circa, 2007 [online] 

    Encyclopedia, dictionary and blog entries

    ‘Painting of the week: 106,’ I.B. Tauris blog, 2 February 2016

    ‘Painting and Performance,’ I.B. Tauris blog, 19.February 2013

    ‘Painting of the week: 63,’ I.B. Tauris blog, 22 March 2013 

    ‘Painting of the week: 67,’ I.B. Tauris blog, 26 April 2013 

    ‘Painting of the week: 69,’ I.B. Tauris blog, 10 May 2013 

    Art: The Whole Story, (ed. Stephen Farthing), Thames and Hudson, 2010, pp. 30-31; 452-455; 456-457466-467; 468-469; 470; 544-545; 546-547.

    501 Great Artists: A Comprehensive Guide to the Giants of the Art World, (ed. Stephen Farthing), Barrons Educational Series Inc., 2008, pp. 16-17, 301, 310-311, 363, 383, 388, 393, 398, 412-413, 418, 437, 439, 470, 472, 473, 482, 506, 507, 508, 517, 519, 530, 532, 550, 551, 557, 591, 609.


    ‘London: Extended Painting,’ Circa 108, Summer 2004, pp. 88-89