Students Explore Art History, Studio Work in NYC
February 01, 2019
By Shruti Mungi '19
Touring galleries and museums, working intensively at New York Studio School, and networking with Knox alumni were just some of the things eight art students did during winter break through the Knox in New York program.
The short-term immersive experience, taught by Associate Professor of Art Tony Gant and Professor of Art Lynette Lombard, combines an art history course and studio work with a two-week travel component to New York City. After the trip, students come back to Knox to create artwork inspired by their experiences.
“In terms of exploring a cultural center and its power, in terms of visual art, New York is a place where art is lived daily,” Lombard explained. “To actually visit it with a thriving art production at play, students can more fully see its complex workings in a manner not possible when studying far afield.”
During fall term, students split their time between learning art history and working on their own paintings in the studio. “The coursework included lectures and class discussions that approached art history through a different lens, such as through an artist’s perspective instead of a historian’s,” said Emma Fabert '20.
In New York, students were exposed to art as a way of life by visiting museums, galleries, and studios, and attending drawing classes and lectures by well-known art historians and artists. Lombard says that they were also able to have a look at the inner workings of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, among other art institutions.
“From ancient times all the way to this very day, we saw art that was made throughout history," said David Petrak '19. "Being able to see these ancient pieces and experience both types of artwork was a privilege.”
(Above: A group photo of students and art faculty in NYC by Emma Fabert '20. Below: Photos of students by Fabert. Photo of student artwork at the New York Knox Club Art Reception by Professor Lynette Lombard.)
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A goal that students worked toward was to research an artist of their choice in New York, acquaint themselves with the artist’s work in person, and present this information to the class. Both Fabert and Petrak remarked how being exposed to the art scene in this manner influenced their own work and their approach to art history.
Since Fabert’s preferred medium is photography, she was excited by the opportunities to learn and shoot photos in New York. “Seeing masterpieces in person inspired me as a photographer and gave me a better understanding of composition, color, alignment, and space. I also loved being able to see my favorite photographer's work in person and taking street photography in my free time,” she said.
Petrak said that experiencing New York with the art program made art history more relevant to him as a practicing artist. “It is one thing to study art history in a classroom and another thing to apply historical themes to my own work and see how my work lines up with the expansive traditions that have come before me.”
At the end of the program, students were given the opportunity to present their work and network with alumni at the New York Knox Club Art Reception. Students David Petrak '19, Alex Davis '18, and Cathy Saytal '21 sold their artwork to alumni during this event.
“It was an amazing experience to have someone be interested enough to buy your work,” said Petrak. “I’m starting to learn that not only does your work have to be enticing and strong to sell, but you also have to be sociable and interactive with people so they can put a face to your work.”
On returning to Knox, student artwork made in New York and at Knox after the trip was displayed in an exhibition in the Whitcomb Art Center.
Students who participated in the trip were: