Renowned historian and artist Nell Irvin Painter visited the Lincroft campus on Dec. 4, hosting a workshop with Brookdale art students before giving a free public presentation in the CVA Gallery.
Painter, a former Princeton University professor and a leading voice among American historians, has also established a noteworthy career as an artist, earning praise for her visually arresting blend of manual and digital artforms.
The former Guggenheim fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellow and National Endowment for the Humanities award winner spent the afternoon with art instructor Amy Faris and Brookdale art students, each creating their own work of mixed-media art. Painter then asked the students to explain their finished pieces using only 25 words.
“It really forces you to get down to the essence of your work,” Painter said. “You have to stop and say, ‘This is what I did; this is why I did it.’ It’s a great tool.”
In the evening Painter gave a presentation to dozens of local artists, art enthusiasts and community members, explaining the various methods, messages and inspirations behind her work.
Displaying a number of her collages and original paintings, Painter explained how and why each were composed and highlighted their underlying themes, which ran the gamut from gender and race issues to historical art forms and cultural ancestry.
Answering questions from the audience, Painter also explained her transition from acclaimed academic to emerging artist, and provided some advice for the young, aspiring artists in attendance.
“As you get older, you realize that natural talent doesn’t mean all that much,” she said. “You just have to keep at it.”
Learn more about Painter and view some of her work by visiting her website.
The visit, part of this year’s Visiting Artist Program at Brookdale, was an enormous success, Faris said.
“This was such a rare opportunity for our students and the members of the community, and it was just so amazing to see their reactions today,” said Faris, coordinator of the program.
One of those community members, local artist and Brookdale alumnus Myke Karlowski, said he enjoyed hearing Painter speak about her artistic process and being able to ask her a few one-on-one follow up questions at the conclusion of the talk.
“It’s just really interesting to hear artists like Ms. Painter talk about what they have accomplished,” Karlowski said. “It’s inspiring.”
The Visiting Artist Program, now in its second year, is co-sponsored by the Brookdale Arts Society, the Monmouth County Arts Council, Liquitex, Winsor and Newton and private donors. The series will continue in late March with a visit by ceramic sculptor Jeannine Marchand.
For more information contact Amy Faris at email@example.com or call the Brookdale Art Department at 732-224-2520.
View more photos of the Dec. 2 presentation here.