Williston’s Grubbs Gallery opened the second trimester with an exhibit of work from the Fine Arts faculty. Two art teachers, a photography teacher, the gallery’s curator, the costume designer, and an art intern all have personal work on display. Below are artist statements from each faculty member, in which they describe the story behind the art, the focus of their work, and their perspective as artists. The Williston Visual Arts Faculty Show will be on display through January 6 with an opening reception on Sunday, December 15 from 2-4 p.m. See the full gallery schedule here.
Rachel Chambers, Middle School Fine Arts Teacher
I’m a Materials Studies/Installation artist from Philadelphia, PA with a M.F.A. in fiber arts and a M.Ed. in education. My site-specific installations are created with cardboard, knitting, or paper. I start by making small pieces that I then fit into a larger space.
For me, the best part is the way so many interactions take place, which is ironic for me because my process demands such solitude. In order to see the entirety of my composition I have to interact with both my work and the site. Then there’s the interaction with how time of day changes the shadows on the walls and highlights on the medium. There is even an interaction with sound, almost like a recording studio, if there’s enough cardboard surrounding the viewer. Lastly, because of the installation’s size, viewers can usually step into the work; the interaction with the audience has to be taken into account.
Some of my installations are complete cardboard rooms with the corrugated edges facing the viewer: walls, ceiling, and floor. It really absorbs all sound and toys with your depth perception.
It’s not about the end product—it’s about the process and the discovery of space and light along the way. When the show is complete, the work is dismantled and recycled. Only images prove that it ever existed.
Ilene Goldstein, Costume Designer
My work as a costume designer for the theater is a wonderful collaboration of ideas driven by melding the visions of the director and designers, and of course, the play itself.
My jewelry creations are an offshoot of my love of color and texture. Through different bead weaving stitch techniques I am able to take inspiration from many sources and translate my visions into jewelry pieces.
Ed Hing ’77, Upper School Photography Teacher
The images presented are both an extension of, and a departure from, an ongoing body of panoramic black and white images that I have been working on for the past twelve years. Ten Years/Ten Countries is now in phase two. So maybe it will become Twenty Years/Twenty Countries? I hope I am fortunate enough for that to become a reality.
From a technical standpoint I am working on the (possible) transition from capturing the original scenes with my trusted xPan panoramic film camera to utilizing a full frame digital dSLR. There are both benefits and tradeoffs, and I’m not sure which way I’ll end up going.
The content of the photographs in this exhibition are a departure from my usual subject matter because there are no ‘famous’ places depicted. My most recent summer travels through Costa Rica were somewhat cleansing and brought a greater appreciation for a simpler, quieter image. Here is a little ‘back to nature’ sensibility.
Take a deep breath, enjoy the solitude.
Natania Hume, Upper School Fine Arts Teacher, Grubbs Gallery Curator
This recent body of work was partly inspired by the installations of multiple, handmade ceramic objects by contemporary ceramic artist Edmund de Waal. I hope to create a similar rhythm through the repetition of similar, but varied, objects, in this case using bud vases. The installation of vases is meant to emphasize the empty space on the wall behind the objects because empty spaces encourage creativity and invite us to fill them, if only with emotion or imagination.
As a designer, I believe the method of construction should be considered in the design and production of objects. These vases are rustic and organic in style and are made one at a time on a potter’s wheel.
My work has been influenced by myriad things including modern and minimalist art, the Bauhaus movement, shaker design, and the slow food movement.
Kate Verdickt ’05, Art Intern
I am interested in creating paintings that rely on intuition and transformation. Inspired by the colors and shapes found in nature and outer space, I try to channel the energy of the planet or nebula whose form serves as my initial composition.
My hand works quickly, as if controlled by a force. The painting asks for what it needs, and every brushstroke creates a chain reaction. Working cyclically, the foundation of the painting is covered by layers of new shapes. Only after several phases of transformation does a final composition eventually present itself. The process of refining is slower, as I carefully coax the colors and shapes into focus. When a harmonious balance between solid and ethereal is achieved the painting is complete, and a mysterious, new world comes into view.
Susanna White, Upper School Fine Arts Teacher
It is a first for me, a genuine, humbling thrill. It is one of those great moments in my profession, when I literally see what it is that I love about my job. Our gallery is an educational gallery and I think it will be interesting for my students to see the different types of work I enjoy doing most.
The pieces I have included in the show represent two very different painting approaches, but ultimately both become a dance between myself and the paint, trying to gain the wisdom to know when to let the paint lead me and when to impose my will upon it.
The more observational paintings were painted on location over a period of time during a very specific time of year. When I paint on location I am very aware of the temperature, the wind, the presence or absence of people, and the sounds surrounding me.
The more abstract work starts with an idea, is often done late at night and when I am alone and free to experiment, almost meditatively. It is intuitive and spontaneous. What holds true in all of the work is a love of the pure act of painting with its elusive challenges, filled with nuance, mystery, and wonder.
I am particularly excited to be a member of this year’s faculty art show, not only because I am able to see the beautiful work of my colleagues, but also because one of them is a former student of mine, Kate Verdickt ’05. Her work thrills me as much now as it did when I first visited her in French House and was stunned by the incredible drawings hanging on her dorm room wall.
That was a moment I have never forgotten and often remember as having been like happening upon a hidden treasure. At the time she was not enrolled or involved in the visual arts. Now, fast-forward to the present day and our work hangs side by side.