Vernissage Follow Up

My, the local papers were good to us! Thank you, Cedric, for getting the word out to the photographers and journalists at all stages of the vernissage process.

In the photo at top, student photographers, sculptors, and a couple of painters (Ann Haley, second from left) and Julie Miller (second from right) are seen in Studio 2 in front of Sami Woolhiser’s final piece from her sculpture installation course.

In the lower right photo, Ana Gardiner (in red jacket) is seen with peers, near to a table in Olivier 3 that includes her sustained en plein air painting of the Maison Basse courtyard, a work that found a home during the vernissage.


Virtual Vernissage: A Walk-through of the Final Exhibition

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Lacoste School of the Arts – the Vernissage is here!

The Vernissage is from 2 – 7 pm on Saturday, November 17 with the reception from 5 – 7 pm. The students are in their final hours of preparation. Sami Woolhiser and Caroline Hepler-Smith are the Vernissage assistants for painting. They have coordinated the work flow and a mountain of information with timeliness and clarity, and the painting students have answered the call for assistance reliably showing up for their shifts.

The painting students will exhibit work from their painting courses and from other courses, such as Travel Portfolio and Installation, in a variety of the spaces at Lacoste. There are over 600 works that will be on view (there are 44 photographers here along with the 20 painters and a goodly number of sculptors and other majors). For anyone who has taught or studied here, you will recognized that additional space was needed to accommodate this profusion. Of note the back cave of the printmaking space has been outfitted with wires on the two main walls and one side wall, and it has become a show-case space, with a vaulted ceiling of more than 20 feet. Also, one wall of the boutique has been turned over for the display of small works, such as panoramic sky paintings, and Studio 3 is full. Here is 10% of the work that will be exhibited.

And of course, in classic Lacoste fashion, Rue St. Trophime and Rue du Four become outdoor walking galleries. Works by Sean Muldrow and other painters are strategically positioned to pull the viewers from one venue to another, and the students will be out in force for their one-day showing to greet guests and help them to discover every square inch of art that is to be seen.

We all wish that you were all here.

All photo documentation created by Kayla Cloonan, BFA Painting, SCAD Savannah

Vernissage How-To

Seven painting students applied for two Vernissage Assistant roles in painting. Sami Woolhiser, from Landscape Painting, and Carolyn Hepler-Smith, from Advanced Painting, were selected. Throughout the week preceding the exhibition (in addition to preparing their own work), they attended to a variety of responsibilities, prepared information, communicated needs, delegated duties, and problem-solved a variety of logistical factors. Their organizational abilities, good eye for placement, people skills, and skills with hand tools ensured that the painting students knew what they needed to do when.

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In the early part of the week, Sami and Hepler masterminded the submission of label information and photographs of work to be exhibited, created a schedule of volunteers, and measured all exhibition spaces that were designated for the exhibition of paintings. Throughout the process, the guiding rule was, “Everyone helps” and the spirit of camraderie spurred many painting students to help in ways that they didn’t know would be necessary or even, that they had the requisite skills. Aaron Edwards learned to bend and crimp metal when he needed to fabricate hanging supports for his “Wolf” from flat metal rods. Tyler Giordano’s experience as a preparator resulted in professional results wherever he had a hand – precise and thoughtful installation. Emily Nelms, Mizuki Katakura, and Kate Phillips took charge of production and placement of labels, which was a very important task: if the labels are crooked, messy, or poorly placed, it would be like smeared lipstick on an otherwise well-put-together woman.

In preparing to install the work, one of the main considerations regarding which works would go where was determined by if the work needed to be on a white wall or if it would be shown to best advantage on one of the stone walls (or ‘antique’ walls, as Cedric says). He provided floor plans of each space and Hepler calculated that of approximately 180 linear meters, 120 were in spaces with white walls, and 60 were in spaces with antique walls. She made a sample layout on paper to make sure that key works by every painter could find an attractive space. As the plan developed, Cedric proposed solutions based on his experience with seven prior Vernissages. Paintings were to be exhibited in nine distinctly different exhibition spaces, some small and intimate such as Olivier 3, and others grand and imposing, such as the vaulted back gallery of the printmaking studios. Additionally, paintings were hung on existing nails in the antique walls of the village streets. (It turned out that these were prime places because guests could view the work passively. In more than one instance, a painting in the street helped a student to sell a painting that was on exhibit in one of the caves.) Ten paintings were exhibited on easels around the village to visually pull guests from one exhibition area to another. Throughout the entire process, Cedric Maros made suggestions and provided the means to help realize the very best possible Vernissage. For instance, this year he rented 20 metal grids to provide additional places to display artwork. Every one of the grids was utilized.

Placing work for best effect of the overall exhibition took patience, flexibility, innovation, coordination, and in the end, physical labor. Sami and Hepler worked hand-in-hand to see the exhibition through, including de-installation on the following day, when everyone learned to give, barter, or trade their works as well as how to safely remove paintings from stretcher bars. With such a big group of painters this quarter, Cave 2 has become a well-stocked ‘stretcher bar’ cave: it’s possible that future painters in Lacoste won’t need to buy a single stretcher bar.

Thank you, Sami and Hepler, for the time and care that you put into the success of the exhibition for everyone.

Week 7 Landscape Painting: Fontaine de Vaucluse, take two

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For our Week 7 painting site on Tuesday, November 5, the Landscape Painting class returned to Fontaine de Vaucluse. We got an early start to get more hours ahead of the earlier sunset. Aurelie in the Maison Basse kitchen prepared sandwiches and other picnic items for us so no one had to stop to buy lunch. Some students settled in to work within Petrarch’s garden. Kim Bates took on larger works focusing on the transition of water from glass smoothness into dramatic turbulence. Sujay created a painting of water that looks good upside down. Ana focused on the bands of green and gold in the surface reflections and Sami turned her talents to feature a blast of golden leaves amidst the rising crags of the area. Mizuki created several works in the garden as well. Tyler created a small sensuous study of the Sorgue as it approached an old dam. Melodie focused on the dam itself, allowing the painting of the area from the prior week to remain visible in the upper area. Julie painted the turn of the river over the damn, the weeping willow tree, and houses on the opposite bank. Just before  sunset, a rainbow warned that rain was coming. The shift of color during that time was spectacular, awe-inspiring. We were chilled by the time we loaded the van with fresh paintings and gear, and during the entire return trip, a light show unfolded with skies of colors so intense that if we’d captured them in a painting, they would have seemed exaggerated.

Painters write.

This blog is not the only thing that the painting students have been writing this term. Most students in Lacoste take at least one art history course. They are assigned a substantial amount of reading and I’ve heard so much about their research papers that I thought it might be interesting to create a list of topics from this term.

Severed Ties and Opened Eyes: Cézanne’s  Isolation and the Advancements That Followed

Gaugin in Arles

Cézanne: Pushing Formalism

Vincent Van Gogh, Mad Genius in Arles

Religious Influence on Art

Vincent Van Gogh’s Influence on the Evolution of Art

From Infrastructure to Historical Treasure: The Legacy of Pont du Gard

Cézanne and Zola: Pursuing Greatness

The painting students reported that Professor Trittel noted that painters, as a group, received the highest grades on their papers. I have yet to confirm that directly with Professor Trittel!

Vernissage Promotion

Congratulations to Julie Ferris (B.F.A. Painting, SCAD Savannah) and Melodie Allegre (B.F.A. Painting, SCAD Savannah), who were selected to record a radio spot to promote the Fall 2012 Vernissage. To hear the promo, click here. (Note: the students used their best accents to address their audience in French.)

Also, congratulations to Charles Parham (M.F.A. Painting, SCAD Atlanta), whose improvisational drawing of a perch city was selected as the Vernissage postcard image. Postcards are being mailed far and wide, and today, the landscape students handed them out in Fontaine de Vaucluse and placed a poster there as well.

Paris notes

By Sandra Reed, professor of painting, SCAD Savannah

The painting students explored Paris from October 31 through November 3, 2012. On Sunday afternoon, October 28, in advance of the trip, the students met with Professor Reed in the Maison Basse cafeteria for a planning workshop. On Monday morning, October 29, Eleanor Twiford, SCAD Lacoste academic director, met with the painting students to review the itinerary and to set expectations. Materials provided to students included a list of galleries and museums with hours of operation and special exhibitions, which was assembled by Hélène Soalhat with contributions from faculty members.

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The academic itinerary combined specific venues for each class with open time and the responsibility to research and develop a plan to incorporate visits to specific venues and works of art that were of individual interest. In general, on Wednesday afternoon the students made commercial gallery visits and at night went to the Palais de Tokyo; on Thursday the day started with the Musée d’Orsay and the Centre Pompidou later on; on Friday we began at the Louvre and then met up at the Musée de l‘Orangerie. In between and on Saturday until the train at 7 pm, students re-visited sites or ventured farther afield.

Several students will be writing posts about their experiences at the galleries, museums, and cultural sites of Paris. For me, a visit with my graduate school professor was a highlight. Professor Smith has lived in his Paris apartment part-time since 1978 and full-time since retiring in the mid-1990s. I visited him there ten years ago on my first visit to Paris, also with a group of SCAD students.

Photos by Sandra Reed

Landscape Painting – Week Six (Fontaine de Vaucluse)

Landscape Painting headed to Fontaine de Vaucluse today, Tuesday, October 30. After exploring Petrarch’s garden, the source, and nutella crepes, the class settled in alongside the clear Sorgue made emerald by the brilliant plants beneath the water’s surface. We all determined that we need to come back here next week.

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Taking Time, Faculty Presentation by Professor Reed

Sandra Reed, professor of painting at SCAD Savannah, was the fifth presenter in the SCAD Lacoste Fall 2012 Faculty Presentation series. The final faculty presentation, by Professor Allen Peterson, will be Wednesday, November 7.

By Sherran Deems, professor of foundation studies, SCAD Savannah

On Monday, October 29, Sandra Reed, professor of painting in SCAD Savannah, gave a presentation on her approach to landscape.  Prof. Reed had a Power Point presentation continuously running showing examples of her work as students, faculty and staff arrived.

Before the presentation began students were talking among themselves trying to decide if she worked from photographs. They came to the conclusion that she had to be using photographs; no one could be that exact when working plein air. Imagine their surprise when Prof. Reed began by addressing that very sentiment – indicating that many times people think she works from photographs but she never does.  All of her work is done on location and may take several years to complete.

A short video interview of her as she was working helped all to understand how she worked and why she approached the image as she did. She then went on to explain that part of the attraction of working plein aire was in addressing the changes that happen over time since she seldom finishes a work in one sitting.  She discussed her choice of subject matter; about working on location; about being greeted by people who gave her stories from their history about her choice of subject, and how the entire process enriched the end result. The work became not just about what she was seeing but about the history of the place as it evolved over time.

Thanks to Prof. Reed’s presentation we all left with a much richer understanding of what it means to work on location and why the decision to do so can transform the end result.

Photo Credit: Alexandra Telgmann