Visual Arts Faculty Share Their Work in Pugh Lobby
They’re used to showing off their students’ masterpieces, but this month in the Fine Arts Center, current and former Ravenscroft visual arts faculty are sharing some of their own work.
The exhibition, curated by Middle and Upper School art teacher Erin Stelling, fills the Pugh Family Lobby with paintings, sketches, photography and mixed-media pieces that will delight — and possibly surprise — the teachers’ students and colleagues.
“We saw this show as an important opportunity to highlight the diverse and creative talent of current and former visual art faculty,” Stelling explained. “At school we are most known for facilitating creative opportunities for our students, but outside of teaching we each pursue our own artistic processes and interests.”
New Middle and Upper School art teacher Allison Tierney, who maintains an active studio practice, selected four paintings that she feels represent her approach to her work as a whole.
“I often start with a material or object and create a painting inspired by it. In a way, the painting is a vehicle to celebrate the object or material,” she said. “For these four paintings I was inspired by fabric: the way it drapes, its prints or patterning, and the warp and weft that creates it.”
Middle School art teacher Jennifer Lam shared several pieces, one of which tells a personal story.
“I chose a graphite pencil drawing, ‘Daddy's Girl,’ that I drew in 2013 of my husband and daughter when she was a baby. I made the drawing right before our second daughter was born, and I wanted to show the closeness of our first child and her daddy,” she said. “I wanted to focus on showing their emotions, and how I also felt, in their presence at that moment in our lives.
“The second piece I chose is ‘Autumn Birches,’ an acrylic painting on canvas of birch trees in autumn. It felt really appropriate to show that particular painting in October as the seasons change here. I have always been fascinated with trees, and I was inspired by what I saw when looking up into the trees on a walk in the woods. I wanted to show the changing colors, the textures of the tree bark, and the bright openness of the sky above.”
Lower School art teacher Amelia Karpowitz said choosing pieces for this show was particularly exciting because she hasn’t exhibited her work since high school and wanted to share special pieces with her students.
“I wanted them to see something I did as a student in high school since some of my first students are now in high school,” she said. “I also wanted them to see things they could relate to: the tie-ins I have to Yayoi Kusama and Georgia O’Keeffe are ones I hope they will recognize since we studied them as our Master Artists in previous years. I also want them to see that there are many ways to create art. You don’t have to confine yourself to one medium — you can work in multiple media depending on your mood or combine them if it feels right. For Georgia’s piece I learned how to cross stitch and fell in love with the medium. Even though this piece took over 10 months, creating it was such an interesting challenge, and really relaxing once I found the rhythm of it.
“If I were exhibiting in a public space I would focus more on my works that were more technically proficient,” she added. “For this exhibit I wanted my students to see what I love that I have created.”
Karpowitz’s colleagues echoed that sentiment.
“It’s a really unique feeling, sharing your work with students and colleagues, and definitely one that is different from a public gallery,” Tierney said. “In a public gallery, you don’t always know who is viewing your work or have the chance to see or hear their reactions. In the school gallery, you know the viewers, which makes sharing your work a more vulnerable experience.”
“It is humbling to show my work in a public space, as it has been a long time since I've shown my work in a gallery,” Lam said. “It is also inspiring to see my work hanging near the work of my extremely talented colleagues.”
The exhibit, which also includes work by former art teachers Joyce Fillip, Roz Cooper and Julie Cardillo, is open through the end of the month.
1. Retired Middle School art teacher Roz Cooper shared these two untitled 2018 pieces created using alcohol ink on canvas.
2. Retired Upper School art teacher Joyce Fillip’s submissions explore the range of her interests, including watercolor, mixed media and digital prints.
3. Karpowitz talks about her pieces as she and her fine arts colleagues tour the exhibit.
4. Stelling’s work includes digital photographs and linocuts.
5. Lower School art teacher Kristen McCarthy, at right, discusses her work, currently on display in the Pugh Family Lobby.
6. Members of the Fine Arts Department tour the exhibition and discuss their colleagues’ work.