Art in Italy Exhibit Shows Off Student Work

A Rogers State University art exhibit this month will show more than 40 works by 12 student artists inspired by the cities and landscapes of one of the cradles of western classical art – Italy.

The Art in Italy exhibit which runs from Aug. 15 – Aug. 30 in the Foundations Gallery on RSU’s Claremore campus, features photography, painting and drawing created by students as they traveled through Rome, Florence, Venice and the Italian country side. The show opens with a reception on Aug. 15 from 5-7 p.m.

The works were created by students participating RSU’s Studies-at-Large program in Montone, Italy.

Many of the featured pieces were created en plein air rather than in a studio, said RSU Associate Professor Denny Schmickle, head of the Department of Fine Arts. Armed with canvas and brush, camera or sketchbook, the students were told to explore the country’s narrow village streets, crowded plazas and bucolic farmland to find inspiration and create art among the locals.

“It’s just a different experience than painting in a studio,” Schmickle said. “The environment really permeates your work. Instead of looking at a photograph or trying to recreate something from memory, you are right there. You can see, hear and smell what you are painting. People come look over your shoulder, talk to you, ask questions. It really adds something that you can’t get any other way.”

The exhibit will include scenes depicting life in Montone, a medieval village in the hill country of Umbria in central Italy, where the group spent the majority of their four-week experience studying under the tutelage of RSU professor Michael McKeon.

“The work in this show is phenomenal,” said Schmickle. “If you have never been to Italy before, and even if you have, it’s fascinating to see it through the eyes of the students, some of whom had never before left the United States.”

The student artists include: Jessica Blair (Claremore), Terry Brachtenbach (Adair), Jo Ann Burkeen (Broken Arrow), Gretchen Chaffin (Bartlesville), Renee Dotson (Broken Arrow), Anna Dowell (Tulsa), Alana Joyner (Langley), Vici Lawson (Salina, Okla.), Francyne Melberg (Catoosa), Margaret Rardin (Tulsa), Allison Romero (Tulsa) and Hannah Westlund (Owasso).

For more information on RSU’s Fine Arts program, including the study abroad opportunity, visit the Department of Fine Arts website or call 918-343-7740.